Last updated

SDTV resolution by nation; countries using 576i are in blue. TV-line-count-world.svg
SDTV resolution by nation; countries using 576i are in blue.

576i is a standard-definition digital video mode, [1] originally used for digitizing analog 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 color encoding systems, it is often referred to as PAL, PAL/SECAM or SECAM when compared to its 60 Hz (typically, see PAL-M) NTSC-colour-encoded counterpart, 480i.


The 576 identifies a vertical resolution of 576 lines, and the i identifies it as an interlaced resolution. [1] The field rate, which is 50 Hz, is sometimes included when identifying the video mode, i.e. 576i50; another notation, endorsed by both the International Telecommunication Union in BT.601 [2] and SMPTE in SMPTE 259M, includes the frame rate, as in 576i/25.


In analogue television, the full raster uses 625 lines, with 49 lines having no image content to allow time for cathode ray tube circuits to retrace for the next frame (see Vertical blanking interval),. [3] These non-displayed lines can be used to transmit teletext or other services. In the digital domain, only the visible 576 lines are considered.

Analogue television signals have no pixels; they are continuous along rastered scan lines, but limited by the available bandwidth. The maximal baseband bandwidth is around 6 MHz which, according to the sampling theorem, translates to about 720 pixels. This value is enough to capture all the original information present. In digital applications, the number of pixels per line is an arbitrary choice. Values above about 500 pixels per line are enough for a perceived quality equivalent to analog free-to-air television; DVB-T, DVD and DV allow better values such as 704 or 720 (matching the maximum theoretical resolution of the original analog system).

Color information is stored using the YCbCr color space (regardless of the original PAL or SECAM color system) with 4:2:2 sampling.


Originally used for conversion of analog sources in TV studios, this resolution was adopted into digital broadcasting or home use. In digital video applications, such as DVDs and digital broadcasting, colour encoding is no longer significant; in that context, 576i means only

The 576i video format can be transported by major digital television formats, ATSC, DVB and ISDB, and on DVD, and it supports aspect ratios of standard 4:3 and anamorphic 16:9.

Progressive Sources

When 576i is used to transmit content that was originally composed of 25 full progressive frames per second, the odd field of the frame is transmitted first. This is the opposite of 480i. Systems which recover progressive frames, or transcode video should ensure that this field order is obeyed, otherwise the recovered frame will consist of a field from one frame and a field from an adjacent frame, resulting in 'comb' interlacing artifacts.

PAL speed-up

Motion pictures are typically shot on film at 24 frames per second. When telecined and played back at PAL's standard of 25 frames per second, films run about 4% faster. This also applies to most TV series that are shot on film or digital 24p. [4] Unlike NTSC's telecine system, which uses 3:2 pull down to convert the 24 frames per second to the 30 fps frame rate, PAL speed-up results in the telecined video running 4% shorter than the original film as well as the equivalent NTSC telecined video.

Depending on the sound system in use, it also slightly increases the pitch of the soundtrack by 70.67 cents (0.7067 of a semitone). More recently, digital conversion methods have used algorithms that preserve the original pitch of the soundtrack, although the frame rate conversion still results in faster playback.

Conversion methods exist that can convert 24 frames per second video to 25 frames per second with no speed increase, however image quality suffers when conversions of this type are used. This method is most commonly employed through conversions done digitally (i.e. using a computer and software like VirtualDub), and is employed in situations where the importance of preserving the speed of the video outweighs the need for image quality.

Many movie enthusiasts prefer PAL over NTSC despite the former's speed-up, because the latter results in telecine judder, a visual distortion not present in PAL sped-up video. [5] states "the majority of authorities on the subject favour PAL over NTSC for DVD playback quality". Also DVD reviewers often make mention of this cause. For example, in his PAL vs. NTSC article, [6] the founder of MichaelDVD says: "Personally, I find [3:2 pulldown] all but intolerable and find it very hard to watch a movie on an NTSC DVD because of it." In the DVD review of Frequency, [7] one of his reviewers mentions: "because of the 3:2 pull-down artefacts that are associated with the NTSC format (…) I prefer PAL pretty much any day of the week". This is not an issue on modern upconverting DVD players and personal computers, as they play back 23.97 frame/s–encoded video at its true frame rate, without 3:2 pulldown.

PAL speed-up does not occur on native 25 fps video, such as British or European TV-series or movies that are shot on video instead of film.

Software that corrects the speed-up is available for those viewing 576i DVD films on their computers, WinDVD's PAL TruSpeed being the most ubiquitous[ citation needed ]. However, this method involves resampling the soundtrack(s), which results in a slight decrease in audio quality. There is also a DirectShow Filter for Windows called ReClock developed by RedFox (formerly SlySoft) that can be used in a custom DirectShow Graph to remap the reference audio timing clock to correct the clock timing skew using an accurate self-adaptive algorithm resulting in effective removal of judder during panning caused by Euro pulldown including audio pitch correction via time-stretching with WASAPI Exclusive Mode and SPDIF AC/3 Encoding output modes.

See also

Related Research Articles

NTSC Analog color television system developed in the United States

The National Television System Committee (NTSC) developed the analog television color system that was introduced in North America in 1954 and stayed in use until digital conversion. It is one of three major analog color television standards, the others being PAL and SECAM. All the countries using NTSC are currently in the process of conversion, or have already converted to the ATSC standard, or to DVB, ISDB or DTMB.

PAL Colour encoding system for analogue television

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-line / 50 field 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 Original analog television systems

Standard-definition television is a television system which uses a resolution that is not considered to be either high or enhanced definition. SDTV and high-definition television (HDTV) are the two categories of display formats for digital television (DTV) transmissions. "Standard" refers to it being the prevailing specification for broadcast television in the mid- to late-20th century.

Video Electronic moving image

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 were later replaced by flat panel displays of several types.

Interlaced video Technique for doubling the perceived frame rate of a video display

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.

Telecine Process for broadcasting content stored on film stock

Telecine is the process of transferring film into video and is performed in a color suite. The term is also used to refer to the equipment used in the post-production process. Telecine enables a motion picture, captured originally on film stock, to be viewed with standard video equipment, such as television sets, video cassette recorders (VCR), DVD, Blu-ray Disc or computers. Initially, this allowed television broadcasters to produce programmes using film, usually 16mm stock, but transmit them in the same format, and quality, as other forms of television production. Furthermore, telecine allows film producers, television producers and film distributors working in the film industry to release their productions on video and allows producers to use video production equipment to complete their filmmaking projects. Within the film industry, it is also referred to as a TK, because TC is already used to designate timecode. Motion picture film scanners are similar to telecines.

Enhanced-definition television, or extended-definition television (EDTV) is a Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) marketing shorthand term for certain digital television (DTV) formats and devices. Specifically, this term defines formats that deliver a picture superior to that of standard-definition television (SDTV) but not as detailed as high-definition television (HDTV).

The refresh rate is the number of times per second that a raster-based display device displays a new image. This is independent from frame rate, which describes how many images are stored or generated every second by the device driving the display.

In video technology, 24p refers to a video format that operates at 24 frames per second frame rate with progressive scanning. Originally, 24p was used in the non-linear editing of film-originated material. Today, 24p formats are being increasingly used for aesthetic reasons in image acquisition, delivering film-like motion characteristics. Some vendors advertise 24p products as a cheaper alternative to film acquisition.

Deinterlacing is the process of converting interlaced video into a non-interlaced or progressive form. Interlaced video signals are commonly found in analog television, digital television (HDTV) when in the 1080i format, some DVD titles, and a smaller number of Blu-ray discs.

480p is the shorthand name for a family of video display resolutions. The p stands for progressive scan, i.e. non-interlaced. The 480 denotes a vertical resolution of 480 pixels, usually with a horizontal resolution of 640 pixels and 4:3 aspect ratio or a horizontal resolution of 854 or less pixels for an approximate 16:9 aspect ratio. Since a pixel count must be a whole number, in Wide VGA displays it is generally rounded up to 854 to ensure inclusion of the entire image. The frames are displayed progressively as opposed to interlaced. 480p was used for many early plasma televisions. Standard definition has always been a 4:3 aspect ratio with a pixel resolution of 720 × 480 at 60Hz for NTSC regions, and 720 or 768 × 576 for PAL regions. However, standard definition defines a 15.7Khz horizontal scanrate, which means that interlacing has to be used for those resolution modes. The lowercase letter "p" in 480p stands for progressive, so the two must not be confused.

720p Video resolution

720p is a progressive HDTV signal format with 720 horizontal lines/1280 columns and an aspect ratio (AR) of 16:9, normally known as widescreen HDTV (1.78:1). All major HDTV broadcasting standards include a 720p format, which has a resolution of 1280×720; however, there are other formats, including HDV Playback and AVCHD for camcorders, that use 720p images with the standard HDTV resolution. The frame rate is standards-dependent, and for conventional broadcasting appears in 50 progressive frames per second in former PAL/SECAM countries, and 59.94 frames per second in former NTSC countries.

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 odd lines, then the even lines of each frame are drawn alternately, so that only half the number of actual image frames are used to produce video. A related display resolution is 1080p, which also has 1080 lines of resolution; the "p" refers to progressive scan, which indicates that the lines of resolution for each frame are "drawn" on the screen in sequence.

Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.

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.

High-definition video is video of higher resolution and quality than standard-definition. While there is no standardized meaning for high-definition, generally any video image with considerably more than 480 vertical scan lines or 576 vertical lines (Europe) is considered high-definition. 480 scan lines is generally the minimum even though the majority of systems greatly exceed that. Images of standard resolution captured at rates faster than normal, by a high-speed camera may be considered high-definition in some contexts. Some television series shot on high-definition video are made to look as if they have been shot on film, a technique which is often known as filmizing.

Low-definition television (LDTV) refers to TV systems that have a lower screen resolution than standard-definition TV systems. The term is usually used in reference to digital TV, in particular when broadcasting at the same resolution as low-definition analog TV systems. Mobile DTV systems usually transmit in low definition, as do all slow-scan TV systems.

Pixel aspect ratio

Pixel aspect ratio is a mathematical ratio that describes how the width of a pixel in a digital image compares to the height of that pixel.

Television standards conversion is the process of changing a television transmission or recording from one television system to another. The most common is from NTSC to PAL or the other way around. This is done so television programs in one nation may be viewed in a nation with a different standard. The video is fed through a video standards converter, which makes a copy in a different video system.

Super Video CD Video CD-based optical disc format

Super Video CD is a digital format for storing video on standard compact discs. SVCD was intended as a successor to Video CD and an alternative to DVD-Video, and falls somewhere between both in terms of technical capability and picture quality.


  1. 1 2 http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/576i.cfm%7C
  2. https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/bt/R-REC-BT.601-7-201103-I!!PDF-E.pdf
  3. The 625-line television standard was introduced in the early 1950s. After tracing a frame on a CRT, the electron beam has to be moved from the bottom right to the top left of the screen ready for the next frame. The beam is blanked, no information is transmitted for the duration of 49 lines, and circuitry relatively slow by modern standards executes the retrace.
  4. Demtschyna, Michael (2 November 1999). "PAL speedup". www.michaeldvd.com.au. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  5. DVDLard www.dvdlard.co.uk
  6. Demtschyna, Michael (7 July 2000). "PAL vs. NTSC". www.michaeldvd.com.au. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  7. Williams, Paul (28 January 2001). "DVD review Frequency (2000) - R4 vs R1". www.michaeldvd.com.au. Retrieved 30 November 2014.