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7 posts

Wannabe Geek

#91564 15-Oct-2011 17:46
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Hi all,

I'm looking for a new DVD/Blu-ray player, but as I have a Samsung TV from the USA, I need something that can output a NTSC signal and handle PAL and NTSC discs.  I thought that HDMI signals were independent of PAL/NSTC, but almost ran into problems with my Freeview receiver as it initially did not work on my TV (default was PAL, but luckily it had a NSTC output option). Region coding is no problem as my discs are region free.  I know Oppo make a player that fits the bill, but I'm not willing to pay $1300 (max budget of $400).  Can anyone advise on a suitable player?


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727 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #533788 15-Oct-2011 18:14
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Ok - it's maybe a silly question, but are you sure the TV doesn't accept PAL? Even the Panasonic CRT TV I bought in the mid 80's accepted both PAL and NTSC.


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Uber Geek

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  #533796 15-Oct-2011 18:52
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More likely talking about 576i50, 576p50, 720p50 and 1080i50 (vs 60 Hz) timing via HDMI than analog PAL signal.

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Uber Geek

  #533798 15-Oct-2011 18:56
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NTSC and PAL are analogue television broadcast standards. The corresponding television resolution formats are 480i at 60Hz and 576i at 50Hz. HD resolutions are 720p and 1080i/p at either 50 or 60Hz and none of them have anything to do with PAL or NTSC beyond being either 50 or 60Hz. Televisions sold in the USA are usually unable to support 50Hz signals, as are many of their Blu-ray players.

The good news is that there are so few Blu-rays that require 50Hz that there are lists of them online. Once Were Warriors is an example of a disc encoded at 50Hz.

The way Blu-ray players handle 50Hz varies. Some won't, some will always transcode to 60Hz, some may let you select what you want to do.

I think the HDMI will tell the player that it doesn't support 50Hz modes - so either it won't work or the player should automatically transcode to 60Hz, depending on the model. Nearly all films are encoded at 24Hz and transcoded to 60Hz if the TV doesn't support a 1080p24 signal.

I thought that HDMI signals were independent of PAL/NSTC, but almost ran into problems with my Freeview receiver as it initially did not work on my TV (default was PAL, but luckily it had a NSTC output option).
Is that a MagicTV? Outputting 480i60 to the TV is going to give poor quality, have you tried 1080i/p?. But any option that involves transcoding 50Hz to 60Hz is going to hit quality and cause judder.

The best option is to get a 50Hz-friendly television.


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Wannabe Geek

  #533944 16-Oct-2011 12:52
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OK, I did not realize a HDMI signal could be either 50 or 60 Hz, thanks for the info. I guess my TV cannot handle a 50 Hz signal. So most Blu-ray players output 60 Hz signals, which is good for me, but what about when they play a DVD? I'm guessing PAL DVDs output at 50 Hz so this may be a problem for my TV?

BTW, the Freeview receiver I have is an Ultraplus 980HD (satellite), which can upscale to 1080i and be switched between 'PAL' and 'NTSC'.

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  #533999 16-Oct-2011 17:18
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See if you can find any service manuals for your TV, the lockout of the 50Hz modes is a region protection thing, just like the lockouts of the old analog TV bands were in europe to stop people taking TVs across borders, most TV's since the mid 90's were able to have the other RF standards turned on in the service menu, so a ex UK tv would then work in the rest of europe etc.


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  #534003 16-Oct-2011 17:21
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xarqi: Ok - it's maybe a silly question, but are you sure the TV doesn't accept PAL? Even the Panasonic CRT TV I bought in the mid 80's accepted both PAL and NTSC.

The vast majority of TV's sold in the US don't support 50Hz modes.

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  #534006 16-Oct-2011 17:26
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Its been common for years that US models dont support 50Hz scan rates, where as outside of the US 99% of sets from the 80s on supported both and PAL60 halfway modes. Its like as far as the US is concerned there is nothing outside their borders, the same still exists today with HDMI

I suspect your FreeView decoder transcoding to 60Hz must look atrocious personally I would give up but a new TV and be done with it.


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Uber Geek

  #534864 18-Oct-2011 17:57
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What model TV do you own? If it is 60Hz-only it would probably still be ok for someone's use as a shop display or presentation monitor.

Did you realise Freeview via satellite is not in HD? You can only get HD from Freeview|HD aerial broadcasts or the Sky television HD pay-TV service.

Receivers don't do transcoding very well. PCs do it much better, I can't say I know why. But there would still be at least a little jitter from a HTPC solution.


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Wannabe Geek

  #534942 18-Oct-2011 20:27
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Thanks for all of the info!

It is a Samsung LN40A750. Yes I do realize Freeview is SD, that's why the receiver upscales to 1080i. So far I've been very happy with the receiver, far from being atrocious, the 60 Hz output looks excellent to me, no jitter or other major artifacts. My only gripe with this receiver is that audio occasionally gets out of sync, but power cycling fixes this.

While I would love a new (bigger!) TV, my problem is that I've spent enough on this one and have a US PS3 (only works on some NZ TVs).

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any option to enable 50 Hz in the factory mode options (thanks richms for this suggestion).

But all of this is getting away from my original question, which seems to boil down to; can anyone advise on a DVD player (preferably with Blu-ray) that can handle 50 and 60 Hz ('PAL' and 'NTSC') DVDs? From what everyone here is saying it would need to output at 60 Hz regardless of DVD (i.e. transcode from 50 to 60 Hz).

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Uber Geek

  #536603 22-Oct-2011 23:10
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I don't think it would be easy to find anyone able to give you a full answer on this problem. The 50Hz issue is known in the US but too few people export North American televisions to make it a known issue in the rest of the world. How any specific NZ market Blu-ray player model would behave when told to play a PAL DVD through HDMI that rejects 50Hz is anyone's guess.

You will need your Blu-ray player to be region-freed for DVDs. At least some Sonys are shipped in that state, and others have written on this forum that Panasonic authorised service agents will do it on Panasonics for free upon presentation of receipt after purchase.

The only useful information I can see is this list
Which doesn't give much hope if there is any firmware symmetry between the NZ and US models.

You could try contacting each brand's technical support as they might have someone with an answer.

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