Converting the GeoVISIONTM  NTSC Signal to PAL or SECAM



PAL, NTSC, and SECAM Explained

NTSC (National Television System Committee) is the video standard used in many countries around the world and for Marks Products GeoVisionTM Camera systems. NTSC was the system adopted in the 1950s as American television manufacturers prepared for the changeover from black & white to color television. The primary philosophy behind the NTSC system was - to make sure that color broadcasts wouldn't look garbled on the black & white TVs predominantly used at the time, NTSC is used in North and South America (excluding Brazil), and many parts of the Far East. While it's not technically superior, it's more widely used because it is used in the United States and Japan. When a VHS, DVD or laserdisc is released using the NTSC format it can have a maximum resolution up to 525 lines with a vertical frequency of 60hz.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is a video standard used in Western Europe (excluding France), Australia, some parts of Africa and a few regions of the Far East.  When a VHS, DVD or laserdisc is released using the PAL format it can have a maximum resolution up to 625 lines with a vertical frequency of 50Hz. There are different types of PAL standards, one of which uses a vertical frequency of 60Hz instead of 50Hz. PAL is an encoding scheme that allows for sharp pictures and color.

SECAM (Sequentiel Couleur Avec Memoire)
The SECAM standard is used in
France and eastern Europe, much of the Middle East, and some parts of Africa and the Caribbean

So can you play a PAL VHS, DVD or laserdisc on an NTSC TV? The answer is no. TVs are either NTSC capable, PAL capable or both. Nearly every TV in the United States is NTSC only. If you live in a country where PAL is the standard, you can generally get a TV that is capable of both PAL and NTSC native playback.

So you live in an NTSC country and you want to play a PAL Video tape or DVD, what's are the options? Look at the possible solutions and the good and bad of each.




Buy a NTSC / PAL TV  or VCR Allows native playback of both NTSC and PAL standards.

Native playback of both signals

Expensive - Have to import it (high shipping + taxes). Power converter needed.

Buy a NTSC / PAL Converter - Converts PAL to NTSC format, allowing for playback on NTSC TV (or vice versa)

High quality conversion if you get a good model.

May cost more, good equipment starts at approximately $200.

DVD decoder card - Many have PAL / NTSC conversion capability


Quality isn't as good as the other solutions,



Format Standards by Nation

The following link provides a list of countries listed by video format used.


World Television Conversion Standards


For a more detailed explanation on video format conservation standards go to:

Building Bridges between the Standards

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