Video security and surveillance equipment use two broadcast standards, NTSC and PAL, sometimes called “European PAL” and “North American NTSC”. Knowing which standard your Surveillance equipment, security cameras or video recorder uses is essential when updating firmware. Since most security & surveillance equipment is manufactured in Asia for use worldwide either standard can be used in your surveillance equipment. NTSC and PAL video security cameras and DVR’s NVR’s video encoder/decoder and receivers will work in any region if they are paired with security cameras/ and video recorders of the same format. As an example, a NTSC security camera will work on NTSC DVR in a country that uses the PAL format, the same goes for PAL a digital video recorder in North America which will work with a PAL surveillance camera. Because it will work does not make it a good idea, as a rule: Always use the video format that was intended for your region. Mismatched security devices will result in unusable video security footage, until resolved you will see moving horizontal lines, rolling pictures or a blank screen instead of clear & crisp video security footage.
There are two additional TV standards SECAM and ATSC but these aren’t often used in security and surveillance equipment, so we will not go into further detail about them. We have provided the name for each organization’s acronym and a link to further research if you would like to know more about their functions.
NTSC – National Television System Committee
ATSC – Advanced Television Systems Committee
DVB-T – Digital Video Broadcasting
PAL – Phase Alternating Line.
SECAM – Sequential color with memory. Developed in France “Séquentiel couleur à mémoire” in French
Encoding standard by region.
NTSC: used in North America and portions of South America and Asia.
PAL: used in most of Europe, Asia, Oceania and portions of South America and Africa.
SECAM: Implemented in France, used in parts of Africa and Eastern Europe
ATSC: are a set of standards for digital transmission. H.264, H.265 & MPEG codecs are among the video compression standards used in security and surveillance equipment. Such as IP cameras, Network video recorders (NVR). Wikipedia maintains a list on ATSC standards. You can visit the ATSC website here. The ATSC oversees many standards, this infographic shows the 17 finalized standards that were added in November of 2017 for the 3.0 update.
With the world going digital our TV standards are changing too. Many of the NTSC countries have chosen the ATSC standard for digital transmission. Digital broadcasting allows higher-resolution television, but digital standard definition television will continue using frame rate & lines of resolution (TVL) established by the analog NTSC standard. Countries the used the PAL standard have converted or are currently converting from PAL to DVB-T or DVB-T2 too, a few other countries have chosen DTMB or ISDB for their digital TV standard going forward.
Maintain a list of which TV standard individual countries use.