Difference Between NTSC, PAL and Secam (With Table)

There are three types of standard television formats. Namely, NTSC, PAL, and Secam. These different formats are required for broadcasting in multiple countries. Since all of them are extremely compatible with each other, the video formats are changed into their respective zones.

NTSC vs PAL vs Secam

The main difference between NTSC, PAL, and Secam is that NTSC stands for National Television Standard Committee. On the other hand, PAL and Secam stand for Phase Alternating Line and Sequential Color with memory. NTSC is used in many countries of America, PAL is utilized in India, Australia, and the UK while Secam is significant in The USSR, China, and Pakistan.

NTSC is National Television Standard Committee and was developed around the mid-fifties. United States of America is responsible for the creation of the NTSC format, which is the senior most format of broadcasting. More than thirty prominent countries are using this format of television standard.

PAL means Phase Alternating Lines and this type of format is used by Asian and European countries. This format came into existence around the late sixties and has remained one of the popular choices of TV Standards. It has a significantly well picture format with complete resolution.

Secam has multiple types of full forms. In some countries, it is Sequence of Color and Memory while in other countries it is Sequential Couleurmmoire. This standard of video is used by countries like The USSR, China, and other Asian countries. This type of standard came into existence around the late fifties.

Comparison Table Between NTSC, PAL and Secam

Parameters of ComparisionNTSCPALSecam
Founded in NTSC was founded in the United States of AmericaPAL was founded in EuropeSecam was founded in France
Frames per secondNTSC has 60 FPSPal has 50 FPSSecam has 50 FPS
Price rangeThe price range of NTSC is mediumThe price range of PAL is expensiveThe price range of Secam is the cheap

Studio color mixing
NTSC is the easiest to mixPAl is medium easy to mixSecam is hard to mix
Frequency rangeThe frequency range is 3.58 MhzThe frequency range is 4.43 MhzThe frequency range is 4.25 Mhz

What is NTSC?

NTSC is the foremost and primal form of television standard. It was shaped in the early fifties by the United States of America. It is also used by several other countries. This standard is completely compatible with other formats and this is the main reason for its popularity.

It has a high rate of frames per second, which is 50fps. The number of lines used for this transmission is nearly five hundred and twenty-five. The resolution of this television standard ranges from 720p to 480p to 240p. The resolution is critical in determining its picture quality.

NTSC is significantly used in more than thirty countries. Namely Taiwan, Philippines, Myanmar, nations of Pacific Islands and its territories. It is one of the most affordable standards out there that is easy to mix and color. However, the standard is subject to a stronger color cross.

What is PAL?

PAL was the secondary form of a standard that came into existence after NTSC. It was shaped by European countries and perhaps mostly used by them. It was initiated during the late sixties and formulated around the seventies. PAL carries a better picture quality and resolution which is an added advantage of this television standard. 

Most of the resolution format ranges from 720p to 288p versions. It has nearly twenty percent better resolution than NTSC. Elaborately it is known as the Phase Alternating Line. It has more lines per second than NTSC which is around 625. 

But the frame rate is less and rates 25 frames per second. The multiple types of variants used for PAL transmission are M, I, N, NC, B, etc. The film source for transmissions of PAL is progressive.

The countries that use PAL as their standard television format are New Zealand, South Africa, Macau, Bangladesh, Gambia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, and many more. Additionally, this type of standard system is mostly compatible with the analog forms of television broadcasting.

What is Secam?

Secam was the last standard of television that existed. This type of standard came into existence around the late sixties and was developed by France. The full form of Secam translates to the sequence of color and money. 

There is only a minute difference between the specifications of Secam and Phase Alternating Line. The different part is mostly related to their color transmission which Secam does better than Pal.

Secam employs various types of resolutions, ranging from 720p to 288p. The frequency range of this standard is about 25hz while the frame rate is simply fifty frames per second. It is also the cheapest form of video standard used for broadcasting. The color amplitude is quite reduced in Secam, especially for monochrome colors.

Countries that use Secam are Chad, Central African Republic, North Korea, Poland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Togo, Syria, Niger, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, and a lot of others.

Main Differences Between NTSC, PAL and Secam 

  1. NTSC was shaped in the United States of America, PAL was shaped in Europe and the formulators of Secam are not known.
  2.  NTSC makes use of 525 lines, PAL utilizes 625 lines and Secam also uses the same number of lines which is 625.
  3. NTSC provides 60 frames per second, PAL gives 50 frames per second and Secam also gives 50 Frames per second.
  4. NTSC has a total of 9 color bust cycles, PAL has a total of 10 color bust cycles while Secam only has Red and Blue color bust.
  5. NTSC has a medium range of price, PAL is the most expensive standard while Secam is the cheapest.

Conclusion

The introduction of television standards has itself revolutionized the world. These standards have allowed individuals to connect globally and reach the mediums of infotainment. The order of their arrival is NTSC in the mid-fifties, PAL in the late sixties, and Secam in the later sixties.

Many countries use this set of Television Standards and then there are some which do not use them. The reason why a lot of countries have enforced this system is mainly to prevent piracy and other threats. 

Since these standards are not at all compatible with each other, it becomes equally difficult to pirate or copy them illegally. Therefore these standards also help in maintaining the copyright status by securing incompatibility with each other’s format.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1405734/?casa_token=YiQKJGcgIaMAAAAA:LODeqvQJ8DHL8rDIP1iZa-Z2BWbd8Mdyk7X0GWWpidzHKG0e47tCLJPXqQBGGBRr7LbPo4jD9Zo
  2. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200508824120833.page