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NTSC - This is the American standard for television displays which has been around as long as TVs. Engineers say the acronym stands for "Not The Same Color" as the standard did not do a good job of assuring color fidelity. The acronym really means "National Television Standards Committee".
The resolution is 640 vertical lines by 480 horizontal lines, yielding a 4 x 3 aspect ratio for the picture.
All consumer grade video cameras used this standard through 1998.
720p- We are combining the 720p and 1080p High Definition standards together, as they both have the same aspect ratio. Video cameras able to record to these standards entered the market in 1999. The 720p cameras have a resolution of 1280 x 720 lines per inch. The 1080p cameras have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 lines per inch. The "p" stands for "progressive mode". There are also 720i and 1080i standards. The "i" stands for "interlaced". Progressive and interlaced determined how CRT tube TVs painted the picture, and don't mean anything to the digital world.
How to tell which you have- If you are like me, you're looking at a tape, the camera is long gone, and you have no clue what standard it's recorded in. Here's how we figure it out:
If the tape is on a 8mm cassette:
If it is a VHS or VHS-c it is NTSC
The question we get most often is what if you have 1020p, and record it as NTSC? It still works, but you loose quite a bit of quality, and it gets smashed into the 4 by 3 aspect ratio from its original 16 by 9. This puts black bars on either side of the video (remember the "letterbox"?). No big deal, but when this happens we'll call you to make sure that's what you want.
If you have NTSC, and have it digitized at 1020p, no worries! The file size will be a little bigger but it will digitize and display just fine. .
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