Analogue TV Acronyms

What does NTSC, SECAM and PAL mean? These acronyms often pop up when setting up an analogue TV or burning a DVD video.

Basically, they are different technologies used for producing a colour picture on TV. Every country uses a version of one of these systems to broadcast colour TV. The TV must be capable of receiving the same system as is being broadcast. Modern TVs are capable of receiving most systems.


NTSC is an acronym for National Television System Committee.  It was developed in the USA and released in 1954. It is used in Japan, North America and parts of South America. A “hue” control is required to set the colour correctly. Some people therefore say the acronym means Never Twice the Same Colour.

SECAMAnalogue TV acronyms

SECAM is an acronym for Sequential Couleur avec Mémoire or Système en Couleur à Mémoire. It was developed in France and first broadcast in 1967. There are various versions of SECAM known as SECAM B or SECAM K etc. It is used in France, Eastern Europe and parts of Africa. SECAM is also known as Something Essentially Contrary to the American Method.


PAL is an acronym for Phase Alternating Line. It was developed in Germany and first broadcast there and the UK  in 1967. There are various versions of PAL known as PAL G or PAL B etc. It is used in UK, Europe, Asia and Pacific Regions as well as parts of Africa and Southern America. Depending on where you live, it is also known as Perfect At Last, or Picture Always Lousy.

I like to know what technical acronyms mean as it can help in understanding the technologies involved. Let me know in the comments section below of other technical acronyms that are interesting or ones you would like to know more about.


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