FAQ - What are the NTSC, PAL, and SECAM video format standards?

NTSC is an abbreviation for National Television Standards Committee, named for the group that originally developed the black & white and subsequently color television system that is used in the United States, Japan and many other countries. An NTSC picture is made up of 525 interlaced lines and is displayed at a rate of 29.97 frames per second.

PAL is an abbreviation for Phase Alternate Line. This is the video format standard used in many European countries. A PAL picture is made up of 625 interlaced lines and is displayed at a rate of 25 frames per second.

SECAM is an abbreviation for Sequential Color and Memory. This video format is used in many Eastern countries such as the USSR, China, Pakistan, France, and a few others. Like PAL, a SECAM picture is also made up of 625 interlaced lines and is displayed at a rate of 25 frames per second. However, the way SECAM processes the color information, it is not compatible with the PAL video format standard.

NOTE: All DVD players sold in PAL countries play both types of disc formats. Most NTSC DVD players cannot play PAL discs.

Many foreign countries use a different video format standard to broadcast and display video. There are three major video format standards used around the world: National Television System Committee ( NTSC, Phase Alternating Line (PAL), and Sequential Color and Memory (SECAM) . The table below provides a list of countries and the video format standard used in each.

Country Video Format Standard
Afghanistan PAL
Algeria PAL
Antiqua NTSC
Argentina PAL
Australia PAL
Austria PAL
Bahrain PAL
Bangladesh PAL
Barbados NTSC
Belgium PAL
Bermuda NTSC
Brazil PAL
Brunei PAL
Bulgaria SECAM
Canada NTSC
Canary Isle PAL
Chile NTSC
China PAL
Colombia NTSC
Congo SECAM
Costa Rica NTSC
Cuba NTSC
Cyprus PAL/SEC
Czechoslovakia SECAM
Denmark PAL
Dominican Republic NTSC
Dubai PAL
Ecuador NTSC
Egypt SECAM
Eire PAL
El Salvador NTSC
Ethiopia PAL
Finland PAL
France SECAM
Germany PAL
Ghana PAL
Gibraltar PAL
Greece SECAM
Guatemala NTSC
Haiti SECAM
Honduras NTSC
Hong Kong PAL
Hungary SECAM
Iceland PAL
India PAL
Indonesia PAL
Iran SECAM
Iraq SECAM
Israel PAL
Italy PAL
Ivory Coast SECAM
Jamaica NTSC
Japan NTSC
Jordan PAL
Kenya PAL
Korea NTSC
Kuwait PAL
Lebanon SECAM
Liberia PAL
Libya PAL
Luxemborg PAL/SEC
Malaysia PAL
Malta PAL
Mauritius SECAM
Mexico NTSC
Monaco SECAM/PAL
Morocco SECAM
Netherlands PAL
New Zeland PAL
Nicaragua NTSC
Nigeria PAL
Norway PAL
Oman PAL
Pakistan PAL
Panama NTSC
Peru NTSC
Philippines NTSC
Poland SECAM
Portugal PAL
Puerto Rico NTSC
Qatar PAL
Saba,Sarawak PAL
Saudi Arabia SECAM
Sierra Leone PAL
Singapore PAL
South Africa PAL
Spain PAL
Sri Lanka PAL
Sudan PAL
Surinam NTSC
Sweden PAL
Switzerland PAL
Syria SECAM
Taiwan NTSC
Tanzania PAL
Thailand PAL
Trinidad NTSC
Tunisia SECAM
Turkey PAL
UAE PAL
Uganda PAL
UK PAL
Uruguay PAL
USA NTSC
USSR SECAM
Venezuela NTSC
Yemen PAL
Yugoslavia PAL
Zaire SECAM
Zambia PAL
Zanzibar PAL
Zimbabwe PAL
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