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Pal Dvd Player - Why You Might Need a PAL DVD Player

ntsc dvds foreign purchase

If you have ever bought a DVD before, then you may have noticed a label on it declaring that it was either PAL of NTSC. Chances are, you have no idea what that meant, and really don’t need to. PAL and NTSC are two formats of video encryption, the technical details of which are quite boring and rather useless to the average video viewer. The main difference is that they are regional – that is, NTSC is used primarily in North America, and PAL is used in a variety of European, African, and Asiatic countries, as well as several others. Here’s an exact diagram of where the various encoding formats are used:

If you are in the US, or any other North America country, then any regular DVD player that you purchase will use the NTSC encoding format. This is fine for almost all of the DVDs you will purchase, but what if you want to purchase a foreign DVD? You will need a PAL player.

The annoying thing about this is that there isn’t really a difference in the DVD itself, or in the technology in the DVD players. A DVD is a blank piece of media that can have video written to it in with any sort of encryption – PAL, NTSC, or a different type. The difference between PAL DVDs and NTSC DVDs is purely software, not hardware. This makes it seem like one DVD player would be able to play either, with specially written software. More bad news about this – they could. However most DVD players have the only one mode enabled by default, and the other mode purposely disabled. This is for the same region the DVD region codes exist – as a means of Digital Rights Management, or DRM, by the movie studios. The idea is that by restricting (geographically) where movies can be played, it will be harder for pirates to smuggle stolen or copied DVDs to a foreign country. Unfortunately, this really gets in the way of us watching legality purchased DVDs from other countries.

If you want to watch a foreign movie, then you will need to purchase a PAL DVD player. These are perfectly legal, they are just hard to find. One of the best ways to get one is to purchase it online, from a foreign manufacturer. They will allow you to watch PAL encoded DVDS, but unfortunately, will probably have NTSC disabled, so you will still need a regular local NTSC DVD player.

Going through the work of getting a PAL DVD player can be quite a hassle, but is also worth it if you have a foreign movie you want to see. PAL DVDs are really nothing more than geographically restricted DVDs, but the technical differences between PAL and NTSC aren’t relevant – experts disagree on which format is better, and if one is, then the difference is minute.

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