Pioneer DV-525 VCD NTSC/PAL playback question : LUSENET : Video CD : One Thread

I have a Pioneer DV-525 DVD player and I just got into VCD's. I've bought a couple of VCD's that I know are in NTSC format and they play fine. I'm thinking about buying some PAL VCD's but I'm not sure it will handle it since my TV is NTSC only.

I know that non-U.S. versions of this player have an output selector for NTSC or PAL, but mine does not. If I play a PAL VCD with this player on an NTSC TV, will it convert the output to NTSC, or will it just look like a mess?

Note: I just got a Hong Kong release of "Tokyo Story" on VCD, which was advertised as NTSC, but doesn't specify on the package. Through the DVD player, it seems to cut off the top and bottom of the picture, because the subtitles are flush with the bottom of the screen, but if I view it on my PC (not my preferred method), there is space below the subtitles and there also seems to be less cut off the top.

To me, this indicates that this may be a PAL VCD after all, and that my DVD player is converting the output to NTSC, which causes it to lose some lines at the top and bottom. If this is the case I may not have anything to worry about, other than losing a little of the picture, but I'm still not sure.

Forgive my longwindedness, just trying to make my problem clear. Any help is appreciated.

-- Rod (, October 12, 2001


Pioneer 525 has built in converter on the fly to suit your TV output. Just simply plug and play. It will play both Pal/NTSC to either PAL or NTSC TV....cheers

-- (, October 12, 2001.

Non-US versions of the 525 indeed have a selector where NTSC/PAL/auto can be chosen. Note that this has mainly to do with the color system, not with the sync (which is a complex relation of framerate, resolution, and number of lines, etc.). When NTSC is chosen the color out is NTSC, regardless of the framerate and resolution of the VCD, and the same with PAL. If auto is chosen, a VCD with a resolution of 352x240 (always tied to 29.97fps as per White Book) is output in NTSC and a 352x288 VCD (always tied to 25fps) is output as PAL. A US 525 will output all VCDs in NTSC and if you have a multisystem TV or an NTSC-only TV that can correctly display 50 and 60Hz vertical sync you will not notice anything amiss. Your TV is neither (NTSC only in color and sync) so you see what you see when you attempt to play VCDs meant for PAL.

-- Mehmet Tekdemir (, October 13, 2001.


Could you please clarify this last sentence?

Thanks very much for these replies, they've been very helpful.

-- Rod (, October 15, 2001.

The one way to tell for sure if you have PAL or NTSC is to go to and download the free Teco Bit Rate Viewer. Have it analyze the video file on your VCD and it will tell you if you have NTSC or PAL video. I would bet that you have PAL. I have yet to see a commercial VCD that was NTSC, but I just may not have bought enough and I can't say with absolute certainty that they don't exist.

-- Jason (, October 15, 2001.

Note that ALL VCDs, regardless of framerate or resolution, as per standard White Book spec, will always have a constant video bitrate of 1150kbps, and audio of 224kbps, for a total of 1374kbps. It's hard to see if the bitrate alone will tell what framerate/res a VCD has. I have avoided mentioning PAL VCD or NTSC VCD because VCDs in and of themselves have little to do with either: the concept of PAL and NTSC is analogue, and of course VCDs are digital things. Merely to tell a player that the decoded video should be modulated with NTSC color and sync, the VCD has a framerate of 29.97 and a resolution of 352x240. Conversely to tell the player it should be modulated as PAL the VCD has a framerate of 25 and a resolution of 352x288. Nothing is preventing a player from modulating a 352x288 VCD with NTSC (appears to happen with Pioneer US-version 525s), but since a 352x288 VCD will ALWAYS have a framerate of 25 then the video output is a hybrid with NTSC-color and a framerate of 25. Most recent TVs (even NTSC-only ones) will happily switch between 25 and 29.97fps without missing a beat so everything should be okay. One of the bottomlines: if U load any particular VCD in your PC and check the MPEGAV contents (play it, even) particularly its resolution, if it's 352x240 then it is meant for NTSC playback, and if 352x288, it's meant for PAL. Right there on the PC, while it's playing back in its pristine digital glory, all we care about are its framerate and resolution, two of the characteristics with which it is known, and we don't even have to care about PAL and NTSC for now because they are out there in the analogue world right after your player's DAC.

-- Mehmet Tekdemir (, October 15, 2001.

I just got a PAL VCD yesterday, and it worked just fine on my Pioneer. It seems to overscan a lot, but I guess that is just part of the conversion to NTSC. Otherwise, the picture is fine, although it did seem kind of jumpy. Not really jumpy, but kind of jerky rather than fluid. On the PC it looks much better. Is this because the bit rate is too high for my player? Or because of the 25 fps frame rate?

-- Rod (, October 19, 2001.

i have a pioneer dv-525 player and it works fine on dvds from all over the world you just have to flick da switch at da back

-- mr ------------------- (, February 18, 2003.

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