PAL DVD vs NTSC DVD: Which is Better
I'm always interested in getting the best available release of a movie or TV show, and sometimes that means importing PAL region DVDs. One thing that's not clear to me is the advantages/disadvantages of each format (PAL DVD vs NTSC DVD). Here is my understanding of it all, but I would love to hear from the experts of online-shashki.
PAL is higher resolution (576 vs 480), which is an advantage even in NTSC regions. When viewed on a higher definition display (e.g. HDTV, computer monitor), you have a higher resolution source to upconvert from.
Another point is 24fps sources, i.e. films. With NTSC DVDs, 3:2 pulldown is used, which effectively preserves the original frames and audio (disregarding compression of course). This can be done in one of two ways. More commonly (?) and desirably, the frames are encoded intact with instruction for the decoder on how to perform the pulldown. Alternatively, the pulldown is applied before encoding. In either case, the audio speed is unaltered, and the original frames can be obtained for playback on a 24fps capable display, either by simply ignoring the pulldown instructions, or by applying a reverse pulldown. However, the reverse pulldown process is imperfect and can introduce issues. (Side question, is there a way to tell which method a given DVD uses?)
With PAL DVDs, the original frames are intact and are simply played back at 25fps. I'm not sure if the audio speedup is applied before or after encoding. Assuming it's before encoding, I imagine a reverse speedup can be applied without introducing issues (my audio science knowledge is even more lacking than my video science knowledge, lol).
So for films, given the same master and compression quality, PAL DVDs should have equal AQ and better PQ over their NTSC counterparts, due to (slightly?) higher resolution and less chance of reverse telecine issues. Even when played on a 30/60fps display, the result from a PAL DVD should be equivalent to that of its NTSC counterpart but with improved resolution (the player would convert the PAL DVD from 24fps to 30/60fps, the same as the NTSC encoder would do). For NTSC-based TV shows, the NTSC DVD may be preferable as I'm not sure how 30fps is typically encoded on a PAL DVD. I've read that many TV shows are 24fps anyway.
Last edited by cyborgLIS; 04-22-2016 at 12:55 PM.