NTSC and PAL are two video encoding system. For FPV cameras, the main differences are in the frame rate per second and resolution between the two.
They stand for NTSC – National Television System Committee and PAL – Phase Alternating Line.
Whether to use PAL or NTSC is no longer an important decision for FPV, because most FPV equipment nowadays support both standards. Having said that, you should always pay attention to what your FPV camera and other equipment support to avoid surprises.
Difference Between PAL and NTSC
NTSC is used in North America, Japan and South Korea. PAL is a different video standard that is incompatible with NTSC, and is used in most of Europe, Australia and large parts of Africa and Asia. They have different resolution and frame rate.
PAL: 720 x 576 @ 25fps
NTSC: 720 x 480 @ 30fps
So Which one should I use?
As mentioned, the concern about whether to use NTSC or PAL is unnecessary now, since most devices (VTX, VRX, FPV goggles and monitor) can play video in both formats. Most people I know just use the standard in their country. The only reason you want to use one over the other, would probably because what you intend to do with the recorded footage.
There are people prefer PAL over NTSC for OSD display advantages. The higher resolution in PAL allows slightly sharper and clearer text display on the screen. Some people prefer NTSC for the slightly higher frame rate, and it helps with smoother FPV video playback.
Apart from image resolution and frame rate differences, PAL also automatically corrects for tint control while NTSC offers a slightly more fluid picture. I personally found YouTube and Vimeo seem to handle NTSC footage better due the the higher frame rate, and smooth footage.
To learn more about how to choose a good FPV camera for quadcopter.
Post created in Dec 2014, last updated in Aug 2016.