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Remembered Today:

A technical DVD question


Aurel Sercu
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Two weeks ago I showed a US friend the Ypres Salient and other parts of Flanders. (Through Jacky Platteeuw we arranged to give him the opportunitiy to read the Exhortation at the Last Post, Menin Gate, truly the height of his trip !)

Of his visit I made a video (camera Sony Digital 8) which I (as always) transpose to VHS (Pal).

My US friend asked me to send a copy to him, converted to DVD. (I know that when sending my VHS I should have it converted to NTSC, or he should have it done in the US).

I know nothing about DVD and don't have a DVD player or DVD recorder. So I will have to have it converted here, in Ypres.

My question : when I have my VHS tape converted to DVD, is there something I should know, and ask the person who converts my tape ? As far as I know there is a technical problem related to Regio's or something like that (USA being Regio 1, Europe Regio 2, and there also appears to be a Regio free), but maybe this is only for DVD films bought or rented ? I haven't the slightest idea.

So, in a nutshell, when having my VHS tape converted to DVD, should I ask for Regio 1 or Regio Free ?

Aurel

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Usually when VHS is copied to DVD the result is a Region Free Copy,but just to be on the Safe Side,when you recieve the Original Disc,you can burn a copy of it at Home on your Computer or lap Top,this will Definetly make it a Region Free Copy as previously mentioned.Aurel if you ever want to start making your own DVD Films a very Simple but effective programme you can buy for this is Pinnacle Studio 9,you can find it very cheap on Amazon.I have used this programme a Number of times to produce short DVD Films,and i would reccommend it to someone who has no previous knowledge of DVD Film Making. :D

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Thanks, DMcNay and PBI for the advice.

So Region Free will be OK. And that's what I will ask for.

But Region 1 would be OK too for my US contact ? (But of course this can't be played on a European DVD player here, so that I cannot test it before I send it ?)

And all US DVD players can use Region 1 ?

And if so, is there a reason to prefer Region 1 for USA instead of Region Free ? (Maybe it has some advantages I cannot think of here ?)

Aurel

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Aurel, if your [european] DVD player is a 'multizone' player, then you would be able to test the DVD before you sent it, if you had it made as a region 1 DVD. I know down here in New Zealand it is almost impossible to buy a DVD player that is not multizone, not that anyone would specifically go looking for one.

I don't think there are any advantages in making it region 1 for your US friend - their DVD player should play both region 1 and region free. And the good thing about having it made region free is that you could give a copy to someone else who isn't from the US, if you wanted to.

But... do you still have to worry about PAL versus NTSC? Because I'm fairly certain televisions are also either NTSC or PAL or both. And from what american friends have told me, US televisions - even new ones - are generally only NTSC. Whereas - as with our DVD players being multizone - down here you would find it difficult to buy a new televison that did not play both NTSC and PAL.

Allie

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Hi Aurel,the DVD Region Numbers are purely there so that the Manafacturers and Film makers can make lots of Money.Most of the DVD machines you can buy now However are Region Free,so you can watch Films from all Countrys.

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Re the Television..most newish Televisions should support both PAL or NSTC without any problems. :D

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Hi Aurel,the DVD Region Numbers are purely there so that the Manafacturers and Film makers can make lots of Money.Most of the DVD machines you can buy now However are Region Free,so you can watch Films from all Countrys.

If you think it is bad now, wait until Microsoft starts selling Vista. That has the ability to only let you watch a DVD on your PC/Home Media Centre a limited number of times.

Pete

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Thanks, Pete and Allie and PBI, I have learned a lot in a short time.

Allie, as to NTSC. You wrote :

"But... do you still have to worry about PAL versus NTSC? Because I'm fairly certain televisions are also either NTSC or PAL or both. And from what american friends have told me, US televisions - even new ones - are generally only NTSC.

I'm not sure I understand, but aren't you saying ("generally only NTSC") that my VHS-cassette cannot be played on most US TV sets ? That would confirm what I think I knew. In the past I sent a VHS tape to the States a couple of times, and every time the receiver first had to have it converted to NTSC.

PBI,

You wrote : "Most newish televisions should support PAL and NTSC." Do you mean in the States ?

I'm interested in that aspect too, since I also intend to send a VHS cassette to my American contact (together with the copy on DVD.)

Aurel

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Aurel, from what I've been told, if you are wanting to watch something that is in PAL format, it is not just the video player (or DVD player) that you have to worry about, but also the television set. Both have to be able to play PAL. PAL and NTSC are to do with the number of frames of film per second, as I understand it.

So, if you send over something to the USA that is PAL format... if they have a video player that plays both NTSC and PAL they still might not be able to see it properly because of their TV.

Televisions here have been PAL/NTSC for about 8 years or so, at least. But friends of mine in the US have told me they have to specifically buy a television that plays both, which is more expensive than an ordinary television that plays only NTSC.

Allie

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Alii hit the nail:all US TV sets do NOT have PAL. 99.9% are NTSC only. The other 0.01 is my TV which was bought for use in the US and Europe. It carries indeed a much higher price and is only sold by special internet shops. So you can be sure a VHS PAL tape is useless in the USA. (Besides 99.9 % video tape Players are NTSC only -guess who owns the other 0.01 %?). Send him a DVD which should be fine as 99.9% of US higher priced DVD Players are region free -no the other 0.01% does NOT belong to me!

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Egbert and Allie,

Thanks. Again I am a wiser man now. Indeed I had the question you (Allie) anticipated : is the problem of a VHS Pal tape having to be seen in the US related to the VCR (videoplayer) or to the TV set ? Now I see it is both.

And one final question. Should a VHS PAL tape be converted in the US to VHS NTSC, would that mean additional loss of quality ? I suppose it would. (And since I have already had had loss of quality while editing my Sony camera Digital 8 > VHS Pal, that extra loss would be highly unwelcome.)

Aurel

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To be honest, Aurel, I'm not sure how noticeable the loss of quality would be. I know that NTSC is inherantly not as good as PAL in some ways, but better in others, but if this would be noticed by the ordinary viewer I've no idea.

From something I found online:

PAL is higher in resolution (576 horizontal lines) than NTSC (480 horizontal lines), but NTSC updates the on-screen image more frequently than PAL (30 times per second versus 25 times per second). What does this mean in practice? NTSC video is lower in resolution than PAL video, but because the screen updates more frequently, motion is rendered better in NTSC video than it is in PAL video. There is less jerkiness visible.

Converting NTSC to PAL

When converting from NTSC to PAL, two things need to be accomplished. 480 lines of resolution have to be upconverted to 576 lines of resolution, and 30 images per second have to be downconverted to 25 images per second.

The resolution upconversion does not actually add any real picture information to the image, as you cannot create real picture information where none existed before. It does, however, make the picture viewable on a PAL display, and often results in a superficially better-looking image.

The frame rate conversion actually results in a loss of temporal resolution, as PAL has a lower frame rate than NTSC.

Converting PAL to NTSC

The converse situation applies to PAL to NTSC conversions. 576 lines of resolution are downconverted to 480 lines of resolution, and frames need to be inserted to go from the 25 frames per second of PAL to the 30 frames per second of NTSC. Once again, the resultant image is of less actual resolution than the original image, as information is discarded spatially and made up temporally.

Allie

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Allie,

Thanks.

As can be expected : PAL > NTSC = loss of quality indeed

I know that this loss for some people may be acceptable, but my standards are high.

I really should go entirely digital (DVD)

But at my age ? <_<

Aurel

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PBI wrote:

Re the Television..most newish Televisions should support both PAL or NSTC without any problems.

Better to ask first before buying the TV set. Having purchased a NTSC-compatible VCR (As to be able to play American videos: I live in Spain) I seized the occasion to buy a new TV and, having decided for a cheap one, when I asked the seller about compatibility with foreign VHS/DVDs, I was told that the set didn't have that feature, BUT he had a number of sets (a bit more expensive) which had it. Not a large number of people is concerned about this issue (as watches mostly local channels and locally released VHSs and DVDs), but the option exists for those interested.

I suppose that, if NTSC-compatible sets ara available here, that PAL-compatible sets are available in the USA

Gloria

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