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  1. Member
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    Apr 2006
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    Hi folks, I've been tasked with finding a DVD player for a family member who lives in Europe (I'm in the U.S.A.) I'm having a hell of a time doing so, since the specs are a bit unique, and I'm not very familiar with chipsets and standalones to begin with. Here's what I need, in a nutshell:
    • For use in France (PAL TVs)
    • Basic DivX capabilities
    • Can record to DVDR and/or DVDRW and/or HDD
    • Can playback NTSC DVDs on a PAL TV (doesn't have to be high quality output)

    I'm hoping someone in PAL-land can lend me a hand and recommend a model, or tell me it's not possible. I would really, really appreciate it!
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  2. Member
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    Pardon my ignorance, but don't they already? The players I have had played both as long as they weren't region encoded.
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  3. Virtually all region 2 DVD players can play both PAL and NTSC. As lowellriggsiam pointed out, region coding is a separate issue. You need a region free player or one where you can change the region code to play DVDs from other regions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_region_code
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  4. so you want a dvd RECORDER ?,, as french is not my strong point (Have enough trouble with canglish), do a web search on yahoo.fr or something, there are probbably countless choices in France.

    Does France still use Secam ? for broadcasting is a potential issue.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  5. Member
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Virtually all region 2 DVD players can play both PAL and NTSC.
    I didn't know that, thanks. I spoke to a friend with a reseller account on a certain website and he recommended these two models:

    Samsung DVD-SH893 / manual
    LG RHT-497H / brochure

    I haven't been able to find what chipsets are in either of them They both support NTSC discs, DivX, and DVDR/RW, according to the manuals/brochures. Even HDD timeshifting. Anyone have an opinion as to which one might be better? They're both the same price, about 160 Eur.
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  6. Most European televisions sold within the last ten years can auto-convert NTSC signal inputs into simulated PAL. Unless your relative is using a very old TV without this feature, pretty much any DVD player will be suitable. There is much less difficulty converting NTSC to PAL than there is converting PAL to NTSC, so Europe has it easier than North America. Any Phillips DVD player will do what you need, as will many many others. All DVD players will play PAL or NTSC, but not all will convert one to the other. In Europe its usually the TV that converts, not the player (the opposite is true in USA/Canada).

    This applies only to DVDs you send them that you recorded yourself, or that are otherwise "region free". To play NTSC Hollywood Region 1-coded discs in Europe requires a DVD player that ignores region codes. Some do this out of the box, others need to be hacked. I would advise your relative in France to ask a bilingual friend or neighbor to recommend a player, its the simplest solution. Everyone in Europe is aware of this issue and knows how to make things work properly. Note "regions" are not the same as PAL or NTSC issues: the region is simply a flag that tells the player whether a commercial Hollywood disc was imported from a another part of the world (they don't want France to be able to play discs sent in from America or vice versa).

    For recording, get a model with HDD option if at all possible. Recording directly to DVD is an annoying task, with many limitations. The drawback of recorders is they generally have much more limited compatibility with DiVX: if this is a big deal, get a cheap player just for DiVX. Also, Recorders cannot convert PAL to NTSC or NTSC to PAL internally: many people buy "multi-region machines expecting this and get disappointed. The recorder can only record/play one system at a time- PAL or NTSC.
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  7. Member
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    Thanks orsetto. I'm not worried about region codes since all of the discs that will be viewed with the unit will be either region 2 or region ALL.

    You're also right about HDD recording, it sounds like a winner. The only thing I'm unsure of is if timeshifting will work properly. The current setup includes a relatively modern LCD TV, a cable TV feed (DVB-C), and a DVB-C decoder box rented from the the cable provider. But the two DVD recorder models I listed above are "DVB-T". So it sounds like the cable provider's decoder box will have to stay... and I guess the new appliance will have to be connected to the TV via SCART? Do you think HDD timeshifting will work in this configuration?
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  8. Banned
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    Philips makes some DVD recorders that should meet your needs. And I hope you are right about these NTSC discs being either region 2 (That means they are from Japan. Are you sure about that?) or all regions as if you are wrong, most LG and Samsung models are EXTREMELY unlikely to be able to be made region free.
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  9. Member
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    France is Region 2.
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  10. Member Alex_ander's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Most European televisions sold within the last ten years can auto-convert NTSC signal inputs into simulated PAL.
    Unlikely there is a reason for such a conversion inside a TV, it's more natural and artifact-free to simply decode PAL or NTSC with a native decoder and switch the display into corresponding scanning standard.
    However, the 2-standard DVD players can output video either in original DVD system, or (selectably) transcode it into preferred one (e.g. for an older PAL/SECAM TV). Not sure all of them can output video both ways (since transcoding is an unnecessary complication). From my experience (I own such a capable player, BBK-993 brought from China), the transcode NTSC/PAL mode doesn't give smooth motion for films with pulldown and even can make worse video/audio synch. So outputting in native (as on DVD) system to a multi-standard TV is absolutely better.
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  11. Banned
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    Originally Posted by kumi
    France is Region 2.
    No kidding. But guess what? France is NOT NTSC. That was my point in questioning the lack of need for region 1 capability.
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  12. Member
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    Ah, gotcha, I misunderstood. It just so happens that she is a big Japanese cinema fan and will be watching a lot of NTSC interlaced R2 discs. Well, actually region-free discs, she makes backups of everything on her computer and stores the retail discs for safekeeping.

    Alex_ander: Thanks, I'm going to find out what kind of television set she owns and see if it's multi-standard (probably not.)
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  13. It should be kept in mind that USA-spec DVD players and DVD recorders are two entirely different animals. There are tons of DVD players that will convert PAL to NTSC or NTSC to PAL depending on what you set their outputs to do. USA-based DVD recorders as a rule do not perform this conversion: whatever goes in is what goes out, whether playing a disc or recording from tuner or line input. (The only exceptions I've seen were some early JVCs: no current higher-end Pioneer, Panasonic or Sony DVD/HDD recorder will convert AFAIK). Some Euro-spec Panasonic and Pioneer DVD/HDD models will do a pseudo NTSC>PAL output conversion but its usually better left to the TV.

    I don't understand the techie insistence here on VH that European TVS "don't convert", or why they question the point or value of a display-based conversion. It depends where you live: in North America, the conversion from PAL to NTSC is always a gigantic pain and never looks or sounds right. In Europe, converting NTSC for PAL display is a simpler process. It was discovered by mfrs quite awhile ago that a full-bore "multistandard" TV was not strictly necessary to play NTSC on a PAL-spec TV: you can just toss in a cheap-ass circuit that creates a bogus "PAL 60" signal the TV can cope with. Is it the ultimate playback quality? No. Do European consumers give a rats ass so long as it lets them easily watch tapes and discs sent from friends in America? Again, no. Different cultures, different expectations, different technical solutions. Thats what I hear from friends in Finland, Holland, London and Italy: 20 years ago they all had to jump thru hoops, 10 years ago all they had to do was buy an ordinary new TV. The shift to LCD panels accelerated this. If they're lying to me, or they're all complete morons, then my apologies for being misinformed (I haven't visited any of them in years).
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  14. hi,

    For many years most UK TV sets have been able to accept either PAL or NTSC and sometimes SECAM inputs through AV sockets, although the tuners are normally PAL only.

    I got my first multi-standard TV back in 1989 when they became affordable, to use with my satellite Recievers...


    Most Region 2 DVD players have several output options,

    1)PAL, which outputs a Pal signal reguardless of whether the Disk is Pal or Ntsc (converting ntsc into pal internally, quality depending on the chipset used)
    2)NTSC, which outputs a Ntsc signal reguardless of whether the Disk is Pal or Ntsc
    3)AUTO, This outputs the signal as written to the original disk, Pal or Ntsc

    and sometimes..

    4)PAL60, this converts Ntsc into a Psedo Pal format that non Ntsc capable Tv's should accept

    If you have a fairly modern multi-standard Tv then the best setting is AUTO as you get no conversion and hence the best quality viewing.

    ie, NTSC is displayed as NTSC and PAL is displayed as PAL.

    but most region 2 players need to be hacked to allow the playback of non region 2 disk, and how easy this hack is depends on the make and model of the player.. although for most cheap imported players these hacks are easily avaliable..

    Although i've gave up using dvd recorders a long time ago, i have owned a couple of UK region 2 dvd recorders in the past that were hackable to region 0 and could output in PAL, NTSC, PAL60, so i guess it may be possible with newer region 2 equipment.

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