CCTV / Video Broadcast Standards (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)

Different countries of the world use different analog video broadcast standards. You must use CCTV equipment that matches your country's standard or you will have compatibility problems with your components.

In a Nutshell:

The 3 main analog video broadcast standards used in the world are NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. All of the equipment that we sell at Optiview is NTSC (the USA standard).

If you are going to use the CCTV equipment outside of the United States, check this list of NTSC, PAL, and SECAM countries to see what video standard is used in your country.

Converters from one standard to another are available but they will only add to your installation complexity and cost, and may degrade the resulting image, so we do not recommend them.


More information and background:

NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) is the video standard used in North America and most of South America. It was developed around 1941 and originally had no provision for color television. In 1953, a new version of the NTSC standard was created to handle color. In NTSC, 30 frames are transmitted each second. Each frame is made up of 525 individual scan lines.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is the predominant video standard used overseas. It was first developed in Western Europe around 1950. In PAL, 25 frames are transmitted each second. Each frame is made up of 625 individual scan lines.

SECAM (Sequential Color with Memory) is a standard originally developed in France around 1961. SECAM uses the same bandwidth as PAL (625 lines per frame) but transmits the color information differently.

Some of the differences between the standards stem from the different electrical power systems in use. In the United States and other countries, electrical power is generated at 60 hertz, so for technical reasons the NTSC signal is also sent out at 60 'fields' per second. Most televisions use an interlaced system. This means that 30 lines of the image are sent out, followed by the alternating 30 lines. This line alternation happens so fast that it becomes undetectable, much like a film running through a projector. The result for an NTSC television is 30 frames of a complete image appearing every second. In contrast, Europe uses a 50 hertz power supply. So the equivalent PAL lines go out at 50 fields per second, or 25 alternating lines.


For a big picture view of the countries of the world and their video broadcast standards, see here.

NTSC Countries PAL Countries SECAM Countries
America
American Samoa
Antigua
Antilles (Dutch)
Aruba
Bahamas
Barbados
Barbuda
Belize
Bermuda
Bolivia
British Virgin Islands
Burma
Canada
Chile
Columbia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Curacao
Diego Garcia
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Fiji
Grenada
Guam
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Japan
Johnston Islands
Korea South
Leeward Islands
Mariana Islands
Marshall Islands
Mexico
Micronesia
Midway Islands
Montserrat
Myanmar
Nicaragua
Okinawa
Palau
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Puerto Rico
Samoa
St Kitts and Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent
Surinam
Taiwan
Trinidad and Tobago
United States of America
Venezuela
Vietnam
Virgin Islands
Abu Dhabi
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Argentina
Ascension Island
Australia
Austria
Azores
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belgium
Bosnia Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Britain
Brunei
Cameroon
Canary Islands
Cape Verde
Cayman Islands
China
Christmas Island
Cook Island
Croatia
Cyprus
Denmark
Dubai
Easter Island
England
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Finland
France
Gambia
Gaza & West Bank
Germany
Ghana
Gibraltar
Great Britain
Greenland
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Holland
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jordan
Kenya
Kuwait
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Macao
Macedonia
Madeira
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Montenegro
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Norfolk Island
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Sardinia
Scotland
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tanzania
Thailand
Tonga
Tristian Da Cunah
Turkey
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Vanuatu
Vatican
Yemen
Yugoslavia
Zambia
Zanzibar
Zimbabwe
Andorra
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Benin
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia (Kampuchea)
Central African Republic
Chad
Congo (Peoples Republic)
Corsica
Czech Republic
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Estonia
France
Gabon
Georgia
Greece
Guadeloupe
Guyana (French)
Hungary
Iran
Iraq
Ivory Coast
Kampuchea
Kazakhastan
Korea North
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Libya
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Mali
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
New Caledonia
Niger
Polynesia
Reunion
Romania
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Slovakia Republic
St Pierre
Syria
Tahiti
Tajikistan
Togo
Tunisia
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
Wallis Island and Zaire

Last Modified: Dec 15, 2012
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