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Video Formats NTSC vs PAL / Connectors / Up to when?


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Hi all,

 

I am a video game enthusiast. I love everything about games. I can't say I'm 100% a collector, because I don't really like the "collecting" part, all I care about is the games. What do I mean by this? Well, I love having the original hardware and playing on it, but I have absolutely no desire to hunt down (and buy $$$) games for the systems, and I rather only get the flash carts/drive emulators, etc. Best of both worlds in my opinion.

 

So, as any self/respecting collector (ok, *system* collector :P ) I have items that are both from the US and Europe (and some from other places too), and which are therefore originally either PAL or NTSC.

 

Additionally, one of course wants to try to get the best picture out of their system(s).

 

So besides the consoles, I currently have a "normal" CRT TV, with standard composite, I have a Commodore 1702 monitor with composite + chroma/luma, and I also have a giant ass 29" European TV with SCART connectors.

 

 

So here's what I want to know from any knowledgeable folks, since it's seems all the info I find are about the signals themselves, or people trying to connect their consoles to modern LCDs, etc but not what I want to know.

 

This arises from seeing posts about things like Atari composite mods where a US/NTSC console is working fine on a PAL TV, trying a PAL Amiga through composite on my NTSC TV and also displaying fine, etc. and trying to understand how it works to know if using special cables or modding will work for different cases.

 

 

I know that NTSC and PAL are two different systems originally designed for broadcasting TV, that each has their frequencies, methods, etc., etc. and that all this is definitely present when you have a console outputting through it's RF connector and into a TV's tuner input.

 

I also know that in theory, when you have RGB this does not matter, and so a console/computer connected to a TV/Monitor through an RGB cable will come out fine and in color regardless of the NTSC/PAL combination between them.

 

But what I'm missing is this: up to what point/connector types are PAL/NTSC still "present" and *WILL* matter and not work correctly if you hook up an NTSC console to a PAL TV (Or viceversa)?

 

Also keep in mind for the sake of this discussion I just care about CRT TVs, not really LCD and new ones that maybe don't even support/have problems with older low res signals like the many 240p consoles, etc.

 

 

Thanks!!

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I'm not sure I get your question right, but here is my answer anyway :

Composite connectors, the RCA yellow, red and white plugs, are universal.

S-video connectors are more prevalent in the US but is usually found on the most recent Euro TVs.

SCART exists almost only in Europe.

For RF video, USA have the F connector, the same than on sattellite connection. Europe use the FM connector.

PAL consoles usually have an harwired cable with a FM connector. Connect it on your PAL TV.

NTSC consoles usually have a shitty RF box, ditch it and use a RCA to FM or F connector.

 

So bottomline : anything A/V works, RF doesn't. There is also a Japanese SCART that is electrically uncompatible with the EuroSCART but it's extremely rare.

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I'm not sure I get your question right, but here is my answer anyway :

Composite connectors, the RCA yellow, red and white plugs, are universal.

S-video connectors are more prevalent in the US but is usually found on the most recent Euro TVs.

SCART exists almost only in Europe.

For RF video, USA have the F connector, the same than on sattellite connection. Europe use the FM connector.

PAL consoles usually have an harwired cable with a FM connector. Connect it on your PAL TV.

NTSC consoles usually have a shitty RF box, ditch it and use a RCA to FM or F connector.

 

So bottomline : anything A/V works, RF doesn't. There is also a Japanese SCART that is electrically uncompatible with the EuroSCART but it's extremely rare.

 

Hi!

 

sorry, but I don-t think you understood what I asked at all... :(

 

I already know about the connectors, and what they-re for/quality/etc. My question is if the different signals they carry still have the NTSC/PAL information in them and therefore it matters to match a PAL console with a PAL TV (or NTSC with NTSC) using connector type "X".

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What does not work is composite or S-video to play NTSC systems on PAL TVs and likely vice versa. The connectors are the same, but unlike with RGB the differences of the TV standards are not bypassed.

 

 

Hmm.. see now that is completely opposite to the example I read where this fellow in the UK bought a US (NTSC) Atari 2600, modded for comp. video and it was disaplying just fine on his PAL TV...

 

Same with a PAL Amiga 1200 I tested at home on my NTSC tv, which also worked in color via composite :?

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Hmm.. see now that is completely opposite to the example I read where this fellow in the UK bought a US (NTSC) Atari 2600, modded for comp. video and it was disaplying just fine on his PAL TV...

 

Same with a PAL Amiga 1200 I tested at home on my NTSC tv, which also worked in color via composite :?

Well, I am from Germany and basically grew up with this topic... we always wanted to Play in 60Hz because most games back in the day were made for NTSC, we had squished screen and slow game speed, so modding your console for 60hz was always the solution, in all articles on the matter I read back in the day back to the Mega Drive/Genesis days when people put switches on their consoles. For example, the PlayStation came with composite cables... and it would display NTSC in black and white. For older Systems (that all came with RF, everything pre-PS1 and Saturn in Germany afaik) I never tried composite myself. PS2 was the same, as was Xbox.

 

From what I understand, if your TV displays another norm via composite, it is simply compatible with it. No idea if maybe compatibility via RF is impossible for some technical reason. RGB is the only method to get around that and make a TV that does not Support the other norm display correctly. I have never had a TV that would display NTSC in Color via anything less. The only thing I had was a VCR that would convert signals.

 

BTW, Scart connectors do not guarantee RGB either; while most TVs with Scart do Support RGB, there are those that don't. Not all pins are used on those TVs. You might especially in the low budget range buy a TV with scart that still displays all NTSC b/w, no matter what cable you use.

 

All I can say on the matter. At the very least I can say that composite is definitely no guarantee to make foreign norms run correctly. It may work on your TV for some reason, but that is not the rule.

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Yes, Scart can be wired for composite, S-video and/or RGB, so it can be hard to tell which you have, unless you plug in and check.

 

As for general picture issues, most TVs sold in Europe in the last ten years or so will support NTSC perfectly through AV connections (but not RF). Although you have to remember there are two parts: 50 or 60Hz, and PAL or NTSC colour frequency. TVs in Europe ever since the early 90s have usually supported 60Hz fine, it's the colour frequency that has been the sticking point, so you get a stable picture but in black and white. RGB nullifies this because it has no PAL or NTSC encoding, thus you will get a colour picture regardless.

 

I'm of the opinion generally (and no one has ever come in to dispute this thought) that all TVs worldwide are made NTSC, and then the PAL bits get added on top. It makes sense, it reduces costs in general, inside of making two entirely different TVs internally. Thus us folks in Europe get the best of both worlds, as we can play US and Japanese consoles without issue on our TVs. Whereas Americans will struggle to find any display units in the US that can handle PAL 50 properly.

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Hi!

 

sorry, but I don-t think you understood what I asked at all... :(

 

I already know about the connectors, and what they-re for/quality/etc. My question is if the different signals they carry still have the NTSC/PAL information in them and therefore it matters to match a PAL console with a PAL TV (or NTSC with NTSC) using connector type "X".

 

I'm sorry; but I can answer this question as well!

All video signal carry different things, but here we can narrow those to what you wanna know :

PAL and NTSC.

First as it was mentionned, there is a frequency issue/ PAL and NTSC (and SECAM) are color standard and are not related to a TV frequency (even if, not counting short-lived experiment, NTSC is only a 60htz color system, but PAL and SECAM were/are used on both 50 and 60 htz system - yes, SECAM was used shorty in Vietnam or Laos on a 525 lines 60htz system).

 

A composite/S-video signal is made of a luminance signal (the black and white picture) and the chrominance (the color).

The lunimance is what tells our TV to get into 50 and 60 htz mode.

Most European TV since the mid 80 are able to display a 60 htz picture - I have a 1983 TV that can do that fine.

The chrominance signal is detected by our TV that will apply the correct filtering - else it won't show. Most European TV are multistandard PAL/SECAM/NTSC.

Unless your TV carry the mention "multistandard" it can be hard to know if it's compatible with a specific system unless you test it.

Most DVB set top boxes have selectable video standard between PAL and NTSC - some even allow you to do PAL 60. It can be a quick way to test your TV.

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TVs in Europe ever since the early 90s have usually supported 60Hz fine, it's the colour frequency that has been the sticking point, so you get a stable picture but in black and white. RGB nullifies this because it has no PAL or NTSC encoding, thus you will get a colour picture regardless.

That is a great explanation and basically clarifies my point. The picture itself is indeed "stable" even via composite, it is pretty much always the color that is the only problem. I was unaware this were seperate technical issues though, I was under the impression the 60hz itself was what screwed up colors. Thanks!

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