What Is Foreign Video Tape Conversion ? (also referred to as Digital Standards Conversion)

The majority of the world uses TV standards that are different and incompatible with the US TV standard (NTSC). Therefore, foreign video recordings cannot be played on US equipment, or even displayed on US standard TV sets. 

As part of our video duplication services at RMAVP, we convert your foreign video's to digital file or DVD.

With our digital standards conversion services, we can make a complex task super easy for you -- just send us your master tape and we'll do the rest!


Video Formats we can handle

Betacam, Betacam SP, Betacam SX, IMX, Digtal Betacam,  3/4" Umatic, HDV (1080i type 2), DVCam, Mini DV, 8mm video, Hi 8mm video, SVHS, VHS, C-VHS, DVD, and most any digital file formats.

What is the Video Conversion Process?

We'll take your master video tape and play it on a compatible deck. This signal is then sent to a "Standards Converter" where the video signal is reassembled to the video format that we want to duplicate to. Sounds simple, but is a rather complex process.  We can convert your video to or from NTSC, PAL, or SECAM.

Why are There Different Video Standards?

Here's a little history why - In 1953 the US was the first country to widely implement the first color TV broadcast system based on the NTSC standard (National Television System Committee). Currently, NTSC standard is used in the US and in most countries of the Western Hemisphere as well as Japan and some other countries of Asia. Frame rate (number of times the screen is redrawn in a second) is 29.97frames per second with 525 lines/frame.

Later in the 50’s and early 60’s the PAL standard (Phase Alternating Line) was adopted by most European countries, except for France, which uses the SECAM standard (the French acronym for Sequential Color with Memory). With wider channel bandwidth, these standards allow for better picture quality than NTSC.  Both PAL and SECAM have frame rates of 25 frames per second with 625 lines/frame. In addition to different frame rates and line numbers, standard video speed is slower in PAL and SECAM than in NTSC.

Brazil uses a TV broadcast standard called M-PAL, which is a hybrid of NTSC (for luminance information) and PAL (for chrominance information).  Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay use N-PAL, which is a modified version of PAL (with narrower bandwidth). MESECAM, which is partially compatible with SECAM, is used by most former Soviet-block countries and by many countries in the Middle East.

The process called standards conversion makes possible to display video in one standard which was broadcast or recorded in a different standard.To accurately output video in the desired standard, the standards converter (also called scan converter) eliminates superfluous frames and lines or “makes up” the “missing” ones.  The output represents interpolated frames based on comparison of individual input frames.

The NTSC format plays video tape at a higher speed (2.0 meters/minute) versus PAL and SECAM format (1.42 meters/minute).

A blank NTSC tape will allow for longer recording times in PAL/SECAM.  Conversely a blank PAL/SECAM tapes will appear too short when recorded in NTSC. 

This table compares recording times in NTSC and PAL/SECAM formats. 

List of Countries and Associated TV Broadcast Standards

Some TV Stations in Eastern European countries have started broadcasting in the PAL standard, since the Berlin Wall cam down.  Therefore, some of the countries listed in the SECAM/MESECAM column may also have PAL broadcasting standard.  However, since practically all video players sold in those countries can read both PAL and SECAM/MESECAM video, choosing the right standard isn’t a problem when sending videos for use in these countries.

CountryFormat CountryFormat CountryFormat CountryFormat
Ecuador             NTSCLiberia             PALSenegal             SECAM
Afghanistan         PALEgypt               SECAMLebanon             SECAMSierra Leone        PAL
Albania             PALEl Salvador         NTSCLibya               SECAMSingapore           PAL
Algeria             PALFiji                PALLuxembourg          PALSouth Africa        PAL
Antigua             NTSCFinland             PALMadagascar          SECAMSpain               PAL
Argentina           PAL-NFrance              SECAMMalaysia            PALSri Lanka           PAL
Australia           PALGabon               SECAMMalta               PALSt. Martin          NTSC + PAL + SECAM
Austria             PALGambia              SECAMMartinique          SECAMSudan               PAL
Bahamas             NTSCGermany             PALMauritius           SECAMSurinam             NTSC
Bahrain             PALGibraltar           PALMexico              NTSCSwaziland           PAL
Bangladesh          PALGreece              SECAMMonaco              PAL +
Sweden              PAL
Barbados            NTSCGreenland           NTSCMongolia            SECAMSwitzerland         PAL
Belgium             PALGhana               PALMorocco             SECAMSyria               SECAM
Belize              NTSCGuadeloupe          SECAMNetherlands         PALTahiti              SECAM
Benin               SECAMGuam                NTSCNew Caledonia       SECAMTaiwan              NTSC
Bermuda             NTSCGuatemala           NTSCNew Guinea          PALTanzania            PAL
Bolivia             NTSCGuyana              SECAMNew Zealand         PALThailand            PAL
Brazil              PAL-MHaiti               NTSC +
Nicaragua           NTSCTogo                SECAM
Brunei              PALHonduras            NTSCNiger               SECAMTobago              NTSC
Bulgaria            SECAMHong Kong           PALNigeria             PALTrinidad            NTSC
Burma               NTSCHungary             PALNorway              PALTunisia             SECAM
Cambodia            NTSCIceland             PALOman                PALTurkey              PAL
Canada              NTSCIndia               PALPakistan            PALUganda              PAL
Canary Islands      PALIndonesia           PALPanama              NTSCUnited Arab
Chile               NTSCIran                PALParaguay            PALUnited Kingdom      PAL
China               PALIraq                SECAMPeru                NTSCUnited States       NTSC
Colombia            NTSCIreland             PALPhilippines         NTSCUruguay             PAL-N
Congo               SECAMIsrael              PALPoland             PAL +
Venezuela           NTSC
Costa Rica          NTSCItaly               PALPortugal            PALViet Nam            SECAM
Cuba                NTSCIvory Coast         SECAMPuerto Rico         NTSCVirgin Islands (US)NTSC
Curacao             NTSCJamaica             NTSCQatar               PALYemen               PAL
Cyprus              PALJapan               NTSCReunion             SECAMYugoslavia          PAL
Czech Republic      PAL +
Jordan              PALRomania             PAL +
Zaire               SECAM
Denmark             PALKenya               PALRussia              SECAMZambia              PAL
Djibouti            SECAMKorea (North)       PALSaipan              NTSCZimbabwe            PAL
Dominica            NTSCKorea (South)       NTSCSamoa               NTSCZambia              PAL
NTSCKuwait              PALSaudi Arabia        PAL +
Zimbabwe            PAL