Help with DVD - anybody experienced this?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Oct 30, 2001.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I mentioned in Recordings that I recently bought the DVD of "Shadows and Light" by Joni Mitchell in the hope of seeing Jaco in a really good band - amongst other things.

    So OK I live in England but bought the DVD via the net from audiophile imports in the US who said that it should work on all DVD players - all regions. It is imported from Hong Kong.

    But when I try to play it - sound is OK, but I get a fuzzy black and white picture that is divided into three horizontal strips, making it basically impossible to see much although you can get an idea.

    I have a PlayStation 2 which plays DVDs and can change regions - but no matter which region I try, it has no effect on the problem described above.

    Anybody else experienced this and does anybody know a solution or way round this? Is there a webiste for asking questions about DVD problems?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  3. Eheh...
    That's enough to make me skeptical.
    How much was it?
    Was the packaging decent?
    What about the disc itself? Did it look...well, REAL?

    There's all sorts of fake stuff in Hong Kong, DVDs included.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Thanks for the link - I'm reading it!

    I don't have a "real" DVD player - what's an NTSC disc?
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I guess most of Asia has TV in NTSC format, as opposed to PAL.

    There are PAL and NTSC DVD-videos.

    95% of all PAL-DVD-players can play NTSC, but I'm not sure about the PS 2, since it's primarily a game console.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    How annoying - nobody tells you this when you buy the things! I have looked all over the packaging of the DVD and nowhere does it mention anything about PAL or NTSC - there is a lot of talk about which region - 1-5 etc. but nobody has ever mentioned this to me before! I feel "ripped off" now! :(
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Check it out on a computer with DVD drive or a standalone player - it should run on those.
  8. Region 1 encoding is for US & Canada only, or something like that. Kind of like the NTSC/PAL system with videos. I don't really pay attention to all that stuff, though, because my VCR & DVD player are auto-switching, so if you put in a disc or tape that's got a different encoding/system thingy (forgive me for not knowing what it's called, I'm tired from swimming. :p) than the last disc or tape that was in the machine, it automatically switches. In fact, most of the DVD & VHS players you buy in Hong Kong tend to have that nifty auto-switching function.

    And just as a little useless side note, most Asian machines use PAL format. I think. :p
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Oops, now I remember.

    JAPAN is using NTSC (America's revenge for Pearl Harbor ;) ) - the rest of Asia uses PAL.
  10. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Ah, yes, the beauty of NTSC--Never The Same Color......
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Nobody seems to mention whether a DVD is Pal or NTSC in their adverts or ordering facilities - and there's nothing on the boxes of the DVDs I have that says one or the other - so how do you avoid buying something that you can't play?

    I'm not buying a DVD player just for one or two discs! :mad:
  12. Bruce - Thanks for the heads-up re. 30th Anniversary OGWT Double DVD. I received (ordered from the UK), a couple of days ago, and it plays just fine in the DVD player in my laptop, which also has S-Video out, so I can plug it straight into the TV. I noticed the DVDs were marked "region 0", and there was no problem playing them in my player (which is set up for the USA). I was impressed by the quality of the sound - refreshingly "clean" - I don't remember the programmes sounding as good when I heard them back in the early '70s! - I could do without Andy Kershaw, though - I've always thought that he sounded like a prick when I heard some of his stuff on the Beeb Woild Soivice, and these DVDs do nothing to weaken that impression...

    Thanks again, man!

    - Wil
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    My copy, also bought from Audiophile Imports, is fine. Yes, it's a Hong Kong disc; yes, it looks professionally packaged(same as any DVD I've seen here)...yes, it's SUPPOSED to play in any type of Region player.

    Sorry, Bruce-
    Next time you're in the States, I'll give ya my VHS copy...
  14. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I didn't know PS2s can do that. Did you get a modified model?

    As for your DVD, maybe you can send it back to Audiophiles Import for a refund or exchange. They have good customer service (at least 1 year ago when I last dealt with them).
  15. Hmmm...well, it was always a possibility.

    This is about the point where my advice/guidance on the topic dwindles. :p
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'm touched! Thanks Jim. I can probably try it in a friend's DVD player - from what I've gleaned, it seems that most proper DVD players willl play both PAL and NTSC.

    I think I must have made the wrong choice - everybody and everything I've seen was going on about the "Region" thing being the barrier to playing US DVDs and I noticed that the PlayStation 2 as well as just having come down in price a lot, had a piece of relatively cheap software to allow changing of regions - and I would get the bonus of being able to play games as well.

    I would probably have been better off buying a DVD player but before starting this thread I had no idea that PAL vs NTSC was an issue! :(
  17. XavierG

    XavierG In Memoriam

    I thought PAL & NTSC only applied to video tapes.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well so did I, until I bought this disc and started this thread! ;)

    Here's a quote from the link that JMX gave me at the top of this thread :

    "The MPEG video on DVD is stored in digital format, but it's formatted for one of two mutually incompatible television systems: 525/60 (NTSC) or 625/50 (PAL/SECAM). Therefore, there are two kinds of DVDs: NTSC DVDs and PAL DVDs. Some players only play NTSC discs, others play PAL and NTSC discs. Discs are also coded for different regions of the world (see 1.10).

    All DVD players sold in PAL countries play both kinds of discs. These multi-standard players partially convert NTSC to a 60-Hz PAL (4.43 NTSC) signal. The player uses the PAL 4.43-MHz color subcarrier encoding format but keeps the 525/60 NTSC scanning rate. Most modern PAL TVs can handle this "pseudo-PAL" signal. A few multi-standard PAL players output true 3.58 NTSC from NTSC discs, which requires an NTSC TV or a multi-standard TV. Some players have a switch to choose 60-Hz PAL or true NTSC output when playing NTSC discs. There are a few standards-converting PAL players that convert from a NTSC disc to standard PAL output. Proper standards conversion requires expensive hardware to handle scaling, temporal conversion, and object motion analysis. Because the quality of conversion in DVD players is poor, using 60-Hz PAL output with a compatible TV provides a better picture. (Sound is not affected by video conversion.)

    Most NTSC players can't play PAL discs. A very small number of NTSC players (such as Apex and SMC) can convert PAL to NTSC. External converter boxes are also available, such as the Emerson EVC1595 ($350). High-quality converters are available at TenLab and Snell and Wilcox.

    There are three differences between discs intended for playback on different TV systems: picture size and pixel aspect ratio (720x480 vs. 720x576), display frame rate (29.97 vs. 25), and surround audio options (Dolby Digital vs. MPEG audio). (See 3.4 and 3.6 for details.) Video from film is usually encoded at 24 frames/sec but is preformatted for one of the two display rates. Movies formatted for PAL display are usually sped up by 4% at playback, so the audio must be adjusted accordingly before being encoded. All PAL DVD players can play Dolby Digital audio tracks, but not all NTSC players can play MPEG audio tracks. PAL and SECAM share the same scanning format, so discs are the same for both systems. The only difference is that SECAM players output the color signal in the format required by SECAM TVs. Note that modern TVs in most SECAM countries can also read PAL signals, so you can use a player that only has PAL output. The only case in which you need a player with SECAM output is for older SECAM-only TVs (and you'll probably need a SECAM RF connection, see 3.1).

    A producer can choose to put 525/60 NTSC video on one side of the disc and 625/50 PAL on the other. Most studios put Dolby Digital audio tracks on their PAL discs instead of MPEG audio tracks.

    There are actually three types of DVD players if you count computers. Most DVD PC software and hardware can play both NTSC and PAL video and both Dolby Digital and MPEG audio. Some PCs can only display the converted video on the computer monitor, but others can output it as a video signal for a TV.

    Bottom line: NTSC discs (with Dolby Digital audio) play on over 95% of DVD installations worldwide. PAL discs play on very few players outside of PAL countries. (This is irrespective of regions -- see 1.10.)