PAL, short for Phase Alternate Line, is an analogue television encoding system used in broadcast television systems in many countries. Other common analogue television systems are SECAM and NTSC. This page primarily discusses the colour encoding system. See the articles on broadcast television systems and analogue television for additional discussion of frame rates, image resolution and audio modulation. For discussion of the 625-line / 25 frame per second television standard, see 576i.
The term PAL is often used informally to refer to a 625-line/50 Hz (576i), television system, and to differentiate from a 525-line/60 Hz (480i) NTSC system. Accordingly, DVDs are labelled as either PAL or NTSC (referring informally to the line count and frame rate) even though technically the discs do not have either PAL or NTSC composite colour. The line count and frame rate are defined as EIA 525/60 or CCIR 625/50. PAL and NTSC are only the method of the colour transmission used.
The basics of PAL and the NTSC system are very similar; a quadrature amplitude modulated subcarrier carrying the chrominance information is added to the luminance video signal to form a composite video baseband signal. The frequency of this subcarrier is 4.43361875 MHz for PAL, compared to 3.579545 MHz for NTSC. The SECAM system, on the other hand, uses a frequency modulation scheme on its two line alternate colour subcarriers 4.25000 and 4.40625 MHz.
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