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Terminology

 

"IT says 'Video', but I've only got a DVD player" - a customer studying a poster advertising "Curious South Cheshire". 

 

AS people are sometimes confused by the various terms used in connection with videos, here is - I hope - a useful guide. I am assuming these are the terms that everyone uses.

 

Video. A video project or production, such as a documentary or drama.

 

DVD. Those 12cm discs have been "burned" with the video production and are played in a DVD player.

   Machines playing both DVDs and video tape cassettes are referred to as "combi" or combination players.

   The letters DVD used to stand for Digital Video Disc, but with a wider use for the discs, they were renamed, Digital Versatile Disc.  

 

VHS tapes/cassettes. (VHS stands for Video Home Service and is a video cassette format patented by the firm JVC). This is usually what people think of when they say "video"; hence the confusion.

  The tapes are being phased out and I haven't seen any in what might be termed "the usual outlets" for a long time. But you do get the occasional outlet which still caters for tape users. Try a web search.

  Video tapes are used in video cassette recorders (VCRs) for recording television programmes for later viewing. And I used to have a (large) camcorder which used them. 

PAL (Phase Alternating Line). The television standard used in the UK among other countries, including Australia and West Germany. Although it appears to be moving, the television picture is actually made up of still pictures flashed on to the screen at a rate of 25 a second. Each is slightly different than the previous one, giving the illusion of movement. A "gun" fires the television picture at the back of the television screen in a total of 625 lines for one picture. But it "draws" lines 1, 3, 5, etc, going downwards, followed by lines 625, 623, 621, etc, coming upwards again, ready to "draw" the next picture.  

 

NTSC (National Television System Committee). The television standard used in the United States of America, Canada, Japan, etc. The picture is formed by 525 lines and 29.7 still pictures a second. PAL videos produced in this country have to be converted to NTSC versions to be sold for showing in other countries.

 

SECAM - or, strictly, SeCAM (Sequential Couleur Avec Memorie - Sequential Colour With Memory). The television standard used in France, Russia, etc, which like PAL, uses 625 lines. PAL videos produced in this country have to be converted to SECAM versions to be sold for showing in other countries.

 

 

[To see a full list of countries and the television standard they use, visit

www.high-techproductions.com/pal.htm.]