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480i is the video mode used for standard-definition digital videoin the Caribbean, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Myanmar, Western Sahara, and most of the Americas (with the exception of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay). The other common standard definition digital standard, used in the rest of the world, is 576i.
It originated from the need for a standard to digitize analog TV (defined in BT.601) and is now used for digital TV broadcasts and home appliances such as game consoles and DVD disc players.
The 480 identifies a vertical resolution of 480 lines, and the i identifies it as an interlaced resolution. The field rate, which is 60 Hz (or 59.94 Hz when used with NTSC color), is sometimes included when identifying the video mode, i.e. 480i60; another notation, endorsed by both the International Telecommunication Union in BT.601 and SMPTE in SMPTE 259M, includes the frame rate, as in 480i/30.
Although related, it should not be confused with the analog "525 lines" resolution, mandated by CCIR Systems M and J and usually paired with NTSC color. This association explains why 480i is sometimes inaccurately called "NTSC", even though NTSC only exists in the analog domain.
For analog NTSC, there are a total of 525 scanning lines per frame of which originally 483 lines were visible (241.5 visible lines per field + 21 lines of vertical blanking per field = 483 + 42 = 525 lines per frame) and later 480 (240 complete lines per field). [For quad video recording systems, the math suggests 15 transverse head passes, each consisting of 16 lines of video, are required to complete one field.]
A full frame consists of two fields. One field contains the odd-numbered lines and the other contains the even ones. By convention an NTSC video frame is considered to start with an even field followed by an odd field. The disparity of the line numbering compared to other systems is solved by defining the line numbering to start five equalizing pulses (or 2 and a half lines) earlier than on all other systems, including Systems A (405-line) and E (819-line) even though they had no equalizing pulses, on the first equalizing pulse following an active line or half line. This has the effect of placing a half line of video at the end of the even (first) field and the beginning of the odd (second field). Thus the line numbers correspond to the real lines of the video frame. On all other systems, the field was considered to start with the falling edge of the first field pulse which gave the confusing position that the odd field (first) had a half a line of video occupying the latter half of a whole line and ended with a whole line of video but half a scanning line (and vice versa for the even field). The NTSC convention solved this confusion.
For DV-NTSC only 480 lines are used. The digitally transmitted horizontal resolution is usually 720 samples (which includes 16 samples for the horizontal sync and horizontal blanking) or 704 visible pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (with vertically rectangular pixels) and therefore a display resolution of 640 × 480 (VGA); that is standard-definition television (SDTV) with a 4:3 aspect ratio (with square pixels).
The field rate (not the frame rate) is usually (60/1.001) = 59.94 hertz for color TV and is often incorrectly rounded up to 60 Hz. There are several conventions for written shorthands for the combination of resolution and rate: 480i60, 480i/30 (EBU/SMPTE always use frame rate to specify interlaced formats) and 480/60i. 480i is usually used in countries that conventionally use NTSC (most of the Americas and Japan), because the 525 transmitted lines at 60 hertz of analogue NTSC contain 480 visible ones.
In each case of the use of the ‘60’ terminology, it is merely shorthand for 59.94, to differentiate it from 30 (29.97) or 24 (23.976).
Color information is stored using the YCbCr color space (different from NTSC that used YIQ) with 4:2:2 sampling (also different from NTSC) and following Rec. 601 colorimetry.
480i can be transported by all major digital television formats (ATSC, DVB and ISDB) and on DVD.
NTSC is the first American standard for analog television, published in 1941. In 1961, it was assigned the designation System M. It is also known as EIA standard.
Phase Alternating Line (PAL) is a colour encoding system for analogue television. It was one of three major analogue colour television standards, the others being NTSC and SECAM. In most countries it was broadcast at 625 lines, 50 fields per second, and associated with CCIR analogue broadcast television systems B, D, G, H, I or K. The articles on analog broadcast television systems further describe frame rates, image resolution, and audio modulation.
Standard-definition television is a television system that uses a resolution that is not considered to be either high or enhanced definition. Standard refers to offering a similar resolution to the analog broadcast systems used when it was introduced.
Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media. Video was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were quickly replaced by cathode-ray tube (CRT) systems, which, in turn, were replaced by flat-panel displays of several types.
Interlaced video is a technique for doubling the perceived frame rate of a video display without consuming extra bandwidth. The interlaced signal contains two fields of a video frame captured consecutively. This enhances motion perception to the viewer, and reduces flicker by taking advantage of the phi phenomenon.
Chroma subsampling is the practice of encoding images by implementing less resolution for chroma information than for luma information, taking advantage of the human visual system's lower acuity for color differences than for luminance.
ITU-R Recommendation BT.601, more commonly known by the abbreviations Rec. 601 or BT.601, is a standard originally issued in 1982 by the CCIR for encoding interlaced analog video signals in digital video form. It includes methods of encoding 525-line 60 Hz and 625-line 50 Hz signals, both with an active region covering 720 luminance samples and 360 chrominance samples per line. The color encoding system is known as YCbCr 4:2:2.
D-1 or 4:2:2 Component Digital is an SMPTE digital recording video standard, introduced in 1986 through efforts by SMPTE engineering committees. It started as a Sony and Bosch – BTS product and was the first major professional digital video format. SMPTE standardized the format within ITU-R 601, also known as Rec. 601, which was derived from SMPTE 125M and EBU 3246-E standards.
CIF, also known as FCIF, is a standardized format for the picture resolution, frame rate, color space, and color subsampling of digital video sequences used in video teleconferencing systems. It was first defined in the H.261 standard in 1988.
The display resolution or display modes of a digital television, computer monitor or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. It can be an ambiguous term especially as the displayed resolution is controlled by different factors in cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, flat-panel displays and projection displays using fixed picture-element (pixel) arrays.
YPbPr or Y'PbPr, also written as YPBPR, is a color space used in video electronics, in particular in reference to component video cables. Like YCbCr, it is based on gamma corrected RGB primaries; the two are numerically equivalent but YPBPR is designed for use in analog systems while YCBCR is intended for digital video. The EOTF may be different from common sRGB EOTF and BT.1886 EOTF. Sync is carried on the Y channel and is a bi-level sync signal, but in HD formats a tri-level sync is used and is typically carried on all channels.
1080i is a combination of frame resolution and scan type. 1080i is used in high-definition television (HDTV) and high-definition video. The number "1080" refers to the number of horizontal lines on the screen. The "i" is an abbreviation for "interlaced"; this indicates that only the even lines of each frame, then only the odd lines, are drawn alternately, so that only half the number of lines are ever updated at once. A related display resolution is 1080p, which also has 1080 lines of resolution; the "p" refers to progressive scan, which indicates that each full frame appears on the screen in sequence.
576i is a standard-definition digital video mode, originally used for digitizing analogue television in most countries of the world where the utility frequency for electric power distribution is 50 Hz. Because of its close association with the legacy colour encoding systems, it is often referred to as PAL, PAL/SECAM or SECAM when compared to its 60 Hz NTSC-colour-encoded counterpart, 480i.
576p is the shorthand name for a video display resolution. The p stands for progressive scan, i.e. non-interlaced, the 576 for a vertical resolution of 576 pixels. Usually it corresponds to a digital video mode with a 4:3 anamorphic resolution of 720x576 and a frame rate of 25 frames per second (576p25), and thus using the same bandwidth and carrying the same amount of pixel data as 576i, but other resolutions and frame rates are possible.
A Pixel aspect ratio is a mathematical ratio that describes how the width of a pixel in a digital image compared to the height of that pixel.
MUSE, commercially known as Hi-Vision was a Japanese analog high-definition television system, with design efforts going back to 1979.
In video engineering, field dominance refers to the choice of which field of an interlaced video signal is chosen as the point at which video edits or switches occur.
Broadcast-safe video is a term used in the broadcast industry to define video and audio compliant with the technical or regulatory broadcast requirements of the target area or region the feed might be broadcasting to. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the regulatory authority; in most of Europe, standards are set by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
625-line is a late 1940s European analog standard-definition television resolution standard. It consists of a 625-line raster, with 576 lines carrying the visible image at 25 interlaced frames per second. It was eventually adopted by countries using 50 Hz utility frequency as regular TV broadcasts resumed after World War II. With the introduction of color television in the 1960s, it became associated with the PAL and SECAM analog color systems.
525-line is an American standard-definition television resolution used since July 1, 1941, mainly in the context of analog TV broadcast systems. It consists of a 525-line raster, with 480 lines carrying the visible image at 30 interlaced frames per second. It was eventually adopted by countries using 60 Hz utility frequency as TV broadcasts resumed after World War II. With the introduction of color television in the 1950s, it became associated with the NTSC analog color standard.