Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/16886644
Wajo is correct: all consumer DVD recorders create "region 0" (i.e. "region-free") discs. North American recorders sold in our stores record in the NTSC format, which used to be a problem for our European/PAL friends until a few years ago when nearly all new PAL televisions began shipping with built-in NTSC>PAL converters.
Not quite correct.
Since the late 80s/early 90s - most TVs sold in Europe have locked to both 50Hz and 60Hz SD TV signals. In the early days, they still only included PAL 4.43MHz chroma decoders for composite/S-video, in addition to the standard SCART RGB inputs. If you connected a regular NTSC 3.58MHz source (as output from a US VCR or Laserdisc player at the time) you'd get a locked, but black and white picture. Therefore in the late 80s we started to see "NTSC Playback" VCRS (and in some cases Laserdisc players) in Europe. These replayed NTSC 60Hz VHS recordings as PAL 60Hz (i.e. they were output with PAL chroma, but at the same line and field rate as regular NTSC) You get a perfectly acceptable colour picture. The only thing converted was the chroma information - the actual video standard remained 60Hz.
However very quickly - certainly by the early 90s - it was standard for European TVs to have multi-standard chroma decoders - capable of PAL, SECAM and NTSC decoding (often both NSTC 4.43 and NTSC 3.58) - whcih meant you didn't need an NTSC to PAL 60 transcoder in your player device.
By the time DVD players arrived in the late 90s, you could pretty much guaranteee that all modern TVs sold over the last 5 years or so would be compatible with NTSC composite outputs and display a colour NTSC 60Hz picture with no problems. (My 21" 4:3 Sony Trinitron from 1994 does and isn't unusual) This was NOT a conversion from NTSC to PAL internally - it was a straight NTSC decode - just as a US TV would operate.
However the NTSC decoder (for composite/s-video) was actually redundant in most European SDTVs used with DVD players - as our 21 pin SCART socket (standard on European TVs since the early 80s) has supported RGB (similar quality to component) interconnects - which bypasses PAL and NTSC composite chroma entirely.
This means that "PAL" discs are replayed in RGB 50Hz and "NTSC" discs are replayed in RGB 60Hz. As a large number of TVs sold for nearly two decades in Europe have locked to an RGB 60Hz signal (even if they only have a PAL chroma decoder) - there is no issue with replaying "NTSC" discs on a reasonably modern European display if you have an RGB connection.
NOTE - this is not an "internal PAL to NTSC conversion" it is a native display at 60Hz - either from RGB, or from decoded NTSC (or in some cases PAL 60)
I used to repair TVs with my father - and European TVs had multi-standard decoder chips in them years ago - 50Hz PAL and SECAM decoded and displayed at 50Hz, 60Hz NTSC (and PAL-M) decoded and displayed at 60Hz.
The only slight issue is that some European CRT SD TVs show slightly more line-structure when displaying 60Hz content, as they have a spot-size optimised for the European 50Hz 625/576 line format rather than the US 60Hz 525/480 line format - meaning you see slightly more visible scan lines.
Odds are good you can simply send your self-made NTSC dvds to the UK and your friends/family will have at least one TV with built-in conversion.
Compatibility rather than conversion would be a better way of describing it. European TVs just display NTSC sources these days - they don't "convert" as such.
Ask them to check before you proceed: if they do not have an up-to-date television, you will be stuck with aggravating workarounds. Its a total pain in the ass to hard-convert NTSC recordings to PAL, and the effort on your part is unnecessary. If you're doing the favor of recording things for them, its really their responsibility to either own a current television or an inexpensive converting DVD player like a Phillips.
The quality will also nosedive if you do a conversion at the consumer level.
I've not owned a TV since the 80s that wouldn't display a 60Hz signal - and all my current displays (21" CRT 4:3 from 1994, 28" CRT 16:9 from 2000, 40" LCD 16:9 HDTV from 2006, 40" LCD 16:9 HDTV from 2008) will display 60Hz video - and all have NTSC decoders (though I use RGB SCART for SD TVs and HDMI for HD TVs)
There are no recorders of any kind that will internally convert one format into the other, even the multi-region recorders only work with one format at a time (if you feed them NTSC, they record NTSC, if you feed them PAL, they record PAL).
Yep - though there WERE VCRs with internal (but lousy) converters that would take an NTSC 60Hz signal, convert it and then record a 50Hz PAL signal, and vice versa. I think Panasonic marketed a model called the W1? (They were usually tuner-less - as multi-standard tuners are more complex than multi-standard decoders)
The only options are to buy an analog standards converter to connect between your VCR and DVD recorder (costs $200, seriously degrades video quality) or to use complex software on your PC to perform a digital conversion (no picnic).
I think you mean a digital standards converters. Analogue converters transcode the chroma from PAL 4.43 to NTSC 3.58 or from NTSC 3.58 to PAL 4.43 but DON'T change the line-standard from 625/576 50Hz to 525/480 60Hz. They are useful in some situations (colour replay of PAL content when you have a US TV that locks to 50Hz but doesn't have an NTSC decoder for instance)
To record a PAL 50Hz DVD from an NTSC 60Hz source you will need a digital standards converter - as only digital techniques are viable for converting from 50Hz to 60Hz and from 525/480 to 625/50 line frames - or vice versa.
(They may have analogue inputs - but the conversion is done digitally. Some just field drop/repeat and line drop/repeat, more expensive ones used multiple-field and multiple-line interpolation - changing the interpolation based on the motion - c.f. 4-field/4-line adaptive)
Seriously, your friends/family need to step up on their end: its much easier all around if they obtain a converting television or converting DVD player.
BTW its apparently a much easier trick to convert NTSC to PAL than PAL to NTSC, which is why conversion became a popular affordable feature in European televisions but is still a rarity in North American displays.
Sorry - that is just wrong. There is no CONVERSION going on in European displays. Europe traditionally used both PAL and SECAM - so multi-standard PAL and SECAM displays (both 50Hz) were available throughout the 80s. (Belgium used PAL B/G, France used SECAM L for instance)
It seems that for some reason multi-standard compatibility - NOT CONVERSION - became much more popular in Europe. This could be because we startede importing US Laserdiscs, VHS tapes and DVDs, and a multi-standard decoder is better quality AND cheaper than a conversion.
One would think the move to LCD and plasma technology would make multi-format TVs more affordable, but the big name brands prefer not to offer it, leaving the field to bargain display brands. Your $399 Olevia is multi-format, your $2199 Panasonic is NTSC-only: go figure mfr logic.
Though in Europe - all HDTVs with the pan-Europe "HD Ready" logo have to be both 50Hz and 60Hz. My Sony 40W4000 will accept PAL, SECAM and NTSC composite/s-video, and 480i/p 60Hz, 576i/p 50Hz, 720p 50Hz and 60Hz,1080i/p 50Hz and 60Hz, and 1080p 24Hz - with no conversion other than scaling (if the source is not 1080 lines) and de-interlacing (if the source is interlaced)...
Apologies if this seems like a long post... I'm a former broadcast video R&D engineer, and get a bit annoyed at the confusion that concerns multi-standard displays and conversions.