NTSC vs. PAL: What's the difference?

  • comments 1
  • views7,648

Difference between NTSC and PAL

NTSC and PAL are television encoding systems that were created in started back in the late 1950s. The reason that PAL was established was because NTSC was having some trouble displaying pictures on the television due to the way the color was encoded. These encoding systems were used all over parts of the world to watch television in house holds. Some of the major differences between the two are the type of encoding systems, the picture quality and of course the prices. Another huge difference was where these systems were used, in which countries.


Color Encoding

One of the bigger differences between the two is the different color encoding techniques that each type uses. On one hand you have the older NTSC which has a color tint to the receivers that allow for manual color correction. This basically means that if not adjusted correctly you will have faulty or bad colors. The difference is that PAL uses phase alternation to remove hue errors, which means there’s no need for any type of tint control. PAL does however have a 1h delay line which brings down the resolution a bit, but it’s nothing close to being noticeable by the eye like NTSCs hue errors.

Picture Quality

If you’re looking for the one that has the best picture quality then you will be sure to get the PAL televisions. While the PAL televisions have a little lower resolution, their overall picture quality is a lot better then NTSC. The NTSC has more frames then the PAL; however PAL has more lines then the NTSC at 50 fields per second. The NTSC only has 525 lines of resolution while the PAL has a nice 625 lines of resolution. This means that the PAL has better quality and picture resolution over the NTSC. The PAL also has 25 frames per second that causes the motions to be shown faster.

Country Usage

These two different televisions were and are used in various countries all around the world. While one may have more countries in one region, the other quickly sweeps the next. Let’s visit some of the countries and see which television they each use. The NTSC or National Television System Committee is used in countries like; United States, Canada, Taiwan, Peru, Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Japan, Ecuador, South Korea, Cuba, Chile and even the Dominican Republic. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) on the other hand is seen in counties like; India,Turkey, Norway, Nigeria, Malaysia, Liberia, Iraq, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Hong Kong, Germany, Finland and many other countries.


  • PAL has a better overall quality of pictures on the television versus the NTSC.
  • PAL has 625 lines of resolution while the NTSC has only 525 lines of resolution and more FPM.
  • The color encoding on the two are very different from one another.
  • PAL uses phase alternation to reduce and remove color hues on the television, while NTSC has tint control which is used to manually change the color.
  • They both display pictures to the best of their ability, only with some slight differences to some.
  • PAL televisions are more expensive then NTSC.


comments 1 Comments

  • Omega . 3+ yrs. ago

In "Picture Quality" it is written that "While the PAL televisions have a little lower resolution, their..." >> in the same paragraph: "This means that the PAL has better quality and picture resolution over the NTSC." can you make this contradiction clean please?

In addition I just want to make it clear that "25 frames per second" does not make the motion faster unless it is played on 30 fps system. Only when you play lower frame rate on higher one displays fast motion. And playing higher frame rate on lower one displays slow motion.

Finally I want to ask about the examples u gave about the countries. I'm not sure that India uses PAL.

Post a Comment
  • Name*
  • Email*