Wednesday, 5 September 2007

PAL vs NTSC

I feel like I should illuminate all those who have ever been curious as to what all the fuss is about regarding the whole "PAL vs NTSC" debate.

For those who don't know, PAL (which stands for Phase Alternating Line) is the standard video format that most televisions and video recorders are set to in the UK & most of europe, Australia, China and a other countries around the world.

NTSC stands for the National Television System Committee. It is the video format that all other countries use, including USA, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

NTSC is able to show at approx 30 frames per second (60hz refresh rate), where as PAL shows at 25 frames per second (50hz refresh), effectively sacrificing a quicker picture rate for better picture quality.

In the early days of game development, US and Japanese developers had to convert their finished games from NTSC format to PAL format. This meant they had to reduce the picture size and speed in order to get the game to show properly in PAL. On the whole, they were successful, with little to no complaints.

Over time, PAL users became aware of the differences between their versions, and NTSC versions that their atlantic cousins were enjoying, and complained that they wanted a feature to be added to allow them to at least play in NTSC if they wanted. Now most games that come from America and Japan at least give the user the option of selecting to play in NTSC, with various degrees of success I might add.

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