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NTSC - 525 lines (all of North and Central America, Philippines, South Korea and Japan)

PAL - 625 lines (most of Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, the Pacific and Southern Africa)

SECAM - 625 lines (France, Russia, C.I.S., Middle East and Northern Africa)

PAL-M - 525 lines (used in Brazil)


NTSC - 30 frames / second - 60Hz

PAL - 25 frames / second - 50Hz

SECAM - 25 frames / second - 50Hz

PAL-M - 30 frames / second - 60Hz


Whereas with NTSC you have a choice between non-drop and drop frame time code, PAL and SECAM have only one kind of time code. It is similar to non-drop frame as it does not skip any numbers, but like drop frame it runs in real time. Non-drop (SMPTE) counts exactly 30 fps and drop frame (NTSC) counts 29.97 fps. Drop frame skips two frames at the beginning of each minute, except for the 10th minute, so that the frame rate is running at exactly real time. Non-drop does not run at real time, with a difference of about 4 seconds per hour. Drop frame is therefore used by broadcasters to get an accurate running time with "real-time".


One other major difference between each of the standards is in the way color information is encoded from its primary Red, Green and Blue (RGB) component.


NTSC is primarily used in North and Central America, The Philippines, South Korea and Japan. PAL is more widely used, covering most of Western Europe, Scandinavia, Poland, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, parts of the Middle East, Algeria, Eastern and Southern Africa. SECAM is used in France, Eastern Europe, Russia, parts of the Middle East, Central and Western Africa.

World television standards tend to reflect the former colonial divisions of the world, so former French colonies in the Middle East and West Africa are SECAM, whereas Eastern and Southern Africa are PAL due to the British and Dutch influence.

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