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is NTSC and PAL
Written By: A.P.I
|Grab your games console,
turn it upside down and check that little yellow sticker in the middle,
it tells you what type of PlayStation you own... PAL or NTSC. While your
at it, grab one of your games and look just below the Playstation logo
either on the box or the disk and the label should be the same as that
on your console.
If you use the Internet, its definitely worth you spending a few moments reading this article as it could save you both time and prevent you from wasting your cash.
NTSC and PAL are the two main Television formats that are used all over the world. If your game console is not the same format as your TV, or the game you buy is different from the console format, then in most cases your games will not work properly (or at all).
A television screen is made up of hundreds of tiny dots or pixels which give off colored light when contacted with a beam of electrons. This beam is fired by an electric gun from the back of your TV which sweeps across the lines of pixels row by row extremely quickly. Because PAL and SECAM systems use an extra one hundred lines, it offers increased picture quality. However the NTSC scans the picture at a faster rate due to the American electricity supply being regulated at 60Hz rather than 50Hz but this has little effect on the picture quality. What does make a difference is when games are developed using the NTSC system. This affects the PAL and SECAM performance due to line difference and scanning frequency.
The first color television set developed in the United States after the war. NTSC stands for National Television Systems Committee and uses 525 lines and a 60Hz field frequency. This means that an electronic gun fires a beam at the back of the screen illuminating phosphor dots one at a time. To create a clear picture all 525 lines are updated 60 times in one second.
Developed in Britain and West Germany during the 1950's. PAL stands for Phase Alternation by Line and uses 625 lines and a 50Hz field frequency. This means that an electronic gun fires a beam at the back of the screen illuminating phosphor dots one at a time. To create a clear picture all 625 lines are updated at a slightly slower rate of 50 times in one second.
A color system developed in France during the 1950's. SECAM stands for Sequential Couleur a Memoire and uses 625 lines and a 50Hz field frequency. This means that an electronic gun fires a beam at the back of the screen illuminating phosphor dots one at a time. To create a clear picture all 625 lines are updated at a slightly slower rate of 50 times in one second.
Why do we have three television standards?
After the Second World War the United States were the only country with the resources to research telecommunications as the rest of the world had other things on their minds such as rebuilding their towns. American scientists developed the first TV towards the end of the 40's and named it NTSC. By the time the rest of the world could afford this luxury a team of British and German engineers had devised a system that gave a higher picture resolution than NTSC with reduced distortion and named it PAL. French developers produced an alternative system with a differing method of color transmission.
Countries could now choose their system therefore French colonies and the Soviet opted for SECAM, other European countries including Britain and former British colonies chose PAL, while NTSC remained with the United States, Canada and countries bordering the US.
Which countries are compatible with NTSC, PAL & SECAM Playstation games?
BOLIVIA CANADA CHILE COLUMBIA CUBA EQUADOR GUATEMALA CENTRAL AMAERICA JAPAN SOUTH KOREA MEXICO PERU UNITED STATES VENEZUELA
ALBANIA ALGERIA ANGOLA ARGENTINA AUSTRALIA AUSTRIA BELGIUM BOSNIA BOTSWANA BRAZIL CAMEROON CROATIA CHINA DENMARK HUNGARY FINLAND GERMANY GHANA GREAT BRITAIN HONG KONG ICELAND INDIA INDONESIA IRELAND ISRAEL ITALY KENYA NORTH KOREA LIBERIA LUXEMBOURG MALAWI MOZAMBIQUE NETHERLANDS NEW GUINEA NEW ZEALAND NIGERIA NORWAY PAKISTAN PARAGUAY PORTUGAL ROMANIA SIERRA LEONE SINGAPORE SOUTH AFRICA SPAIN SRI LANKA SWEDEN SWITZERLAND SYRIA TANZANIA THAILAND TURKEY UGANDA URUGUAY YUGOSLAVIA
AFGHANISTAN ARMENIA BULGARIA BURKINA FASO BURUNDI CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUB. CHAD CONGO CYPRUS CZECH REPUB. EGYPT FRANCE GREECE IRAN IRAQ LEBANON LIBYA MADAGASCAR MONGOLIA MOROCCO VIETNAM ZAIRE
Why do some PAL games have black borders?
If a game is developed using a PAL system, then all 625 lines are used on the screen. Hence, no black borders. However, most games are developed in Japan and the US using only 525 lines, leaving 100 lines redundant. These show as ugly black borders on the top and bottom of your screen and runs approximately sixteen percent slower.
Fortunately European developers discovered that by using polygons the image could be slightly stretched and by developing a PAL version alongside the NTSC game allowed easier conversions. Because of the growing size of the PAL market Sony now expect the best possible conversions before granting a license.
Can I play a NTSC game on my PAL Playstation?
You must first obtain a television set that can accept an NTSC signal. Most modern televisions are multi-sync but there is really no way to tell unless you try out an NTSC game. It is highly likely that your set will be compatible if it has a S-Video imput.
Next purchase an import copy of the game you require to play. These are available in most countries and may be purchased through our shopping page. Finally you need a Playstation that is compatible with the discs country of origin. Import consoles are available from many sources but remember to connect it via a step-down transformer that relates to the correct US/Japanese voltage or it may simply explode.
So can you play import games on your PAL Playstation? Well, yes and no. Inside almost every Playstation is a security chip which will only allow your unit to read discs that offer the correct country password. NTSC require the NTSC code, PAL the PAL code and Japanese NTSC requires the Japanese code.
By installing a security code, Sony can restrict the games that they want you to play. This is done for many reasons.
First, to ensure that the games you play on your unit are transmitted to the highest standards possible. This will only happen if the version of the game you are playing has been specifically developed with your PAL television in mind. Most gameplayers would be extremely irate if they purchased a game from their local dealer only to find that it played in black and white or produced a flickering picture. Perhaps no picture at all.
Second, world wide games would see the market blitzed with copies and pirate discs that are extremely inferior in both sound and visuals, thus damaging Sony's reputation for quality products.
Finally, copyright, censorship laws and controlled promotion would be thrown into confusion, damning a self regulated market to stricter government enforcement's.
There are three ways to bypass the security chip but non can be recommended due to the damage that may be caused to your unit by these actions and any such actions would render your year long warranty invalid. Sony discovered these foul moves and altered the way in which the country code is checked therefore these methods may only work with pre-1996 units. Disc swapping involves loading a PAL discs country code into your PAL unit and then switching the PAL disc with an import CD.
The first method is to open the lid of your PSX and place a PAL disc onto the drive. Switch on the machine without closing the lid and go to the CD screen. Insert an object into the small button at the back right of the compartment to fool your machine that the lid is closed. Music tracks will load from your disc including the country code. When the disc stops spinning remove it and replace with an import CD. Exit the screen and your import will load up. The second method involves switching your PAL CD with an import CD while the disc is still moving after the country code has been loaded but this method will severely damage your disc drive should not be practiced.
The third method is to contact an electronic establishment and ask them to solder a bypass over the security chip. Once again this action will invalidate your warranty. Many problems have been reported from this action with the most common being damage caused to the motherboard resulting in the PSX braking down after only a couple of months. What is a White Playstation? The White Playstation is MPEG compatible and was specifically designed for the Far-Eastern market allowing owners to play hugely popular CD movies through their consoles. This solved the problem of Sony having to release a PSX equipped with an MPEG adapter. It was recently reported that White Playstation production was halted because many Far-Eastern televisions were multi-standard allowing importers a whole market to divulge in.
Will a SCART lead give me full color pictures? A SCART lead has 21 pins which have many uses. Unless the SCART lead is wired for RGB, then the NTSC picture will appear on a PAL television in black and white. This is because the SCART lead is only wired for composite video and not RGB. With an RBG SCART lead, both PAL and NTSC Playstation pictures will be displayed in a full sharp color.
What is a Net Yaroze? (The Black Playstation)
The Net Yaroze is a package from Sony that includes everything needed to start programming your own Playstation games. Available in Europe for just over £500, the Net Yaroze is a slick charcoal gray unit that bares a remarkable resemblance to your standard light gray Playstation. Apart from the dark textured finish that oozes quality, the machine is externally the same, bearing the similar rear sockets, front joypad and memory card slots. The unit comes with two standard joypads, a power lead and the aerial cable.
You are also supplied with an access card which looks similar to a memory card and just happens to slot into the same port. This card authorizes communication between your PC and the Yaroze.
Software tools include a link cable connecting the Yaroze to the PC via the I/O and COM ports, a CD to be installed on your hard disc and three manuals which offer a step by step guide to creating your very own games.
To act as a troubleshooter, Sony have a Yaroze Web site installed on the Internet which may be used to answer FAQ's. There is also the facility to upload or download new software and a chat page that Yaroze users of the world may discuss topics connected with the industry.
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Please note that the views expressed in this review are those of the writer and not of A.P.I