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UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

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UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Old 03-21-10, 04:44 AM
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UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

I have been doing some research on British TV shows available on DVD.

I'll take a guess that most British TV shows on PAL DVD are shown at the correct speed on PAL systems, since they are filmed on video with the intent of showing them on a PAL display. However, when we get a release of British TV shows on DVD in the U.S., they tend to suffer from NTSC slowdown (running about 4% slower, with a corresponding drop in audio pitch).

The opposite happens when American TV shows are made for PAL DVDs in the U.K. (and elsewhere), and you see a 4% speedup (and an increase in audio pitch).

Since Blu-ray isn't made the same way, I thought the whole speedup/slowdown issue was dead.

However, I just learned that the movie "28 Days Later" on Blu-ray in the U.K. does have a 4% slowdown. The PAL DVD runs at the correct speed, since the movie was filmed at 25fps (which is highly unusual), but the NTSC DVD runs 4% slower. The U.K. Blu-ray (save the arguments against a Blu-ray of "28 Days Later" regarding the video quality) times out at the same length as the American DVD. It appears that, due to Blu-ray being 24fps, they decided to make it run slower, just like a typical PAL->NTSC conversion from U.K. video to a U.S. DVD.

So this got me thinking. Are U.K. Blu-rays of U.K. TV shows running with an NTSC-like slowdown?

Additionally (and my main reason for the research to begin with), are there any NTSC DVDs of British shows that are shown at the correct speed?


Just to be clear, this slowdown would not occur with almost all U.K.-filmed movies. "28 Days Later" was filmed on video, not film, so it's relatively unique.
Old 03-21-10, 05:53 AM
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re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Alright, so 28 Days Later was shot in 25fps, but when it was shown in cinemas, it was converted to 24fps, so what you saw in theaters is in fact the "slowed-down version" So for BD you only have the choice of watching it in the "theatrical" speed....

For British TV shows, do you have any examples of older ones on BD? I would assume that they would convert the 25fps PAL original to 1080i 50hz HD very easily. Then there would be no slow-down.
Old 03-21-10, 11:25 AM
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re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Here's a detailed review on Amazon UK saying that the Blu-ray of "Planet Earth" has NTSC-like slowdown. It says the PAL DVD plays at 50i (equivalent to 25p), which is what the BBC mastered it as, but the Blu-ray plays at 24p.

Checking Amazon UK, I can't find any discrepancies in running times for other shows. I don't actually know of many British TV shows that are available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The British "The Prisoner" Blu-ray and PAL DVD have the same running times (850 minutes), but the American Blu-ray has a runnning time of 884 minutes, and the American NTSC DVD has a running time of 840 minutes. I don't know what data to trust there. There could be a discrepancy due to some alternate episodes being counted in one case and not the other (there are alternates of "Arrival" and "Chimes of Big Ben" that may or may not be present on different releases). However, 884*.96=848, which is very close to 850. Does the American Blu-ray have an NTSC slowdown? Is the listing for the British one correct? Is any of this data trustworthy? That's why I posted here.

Newer shows like Doctor Who and Torchwood don't show any differences. However, as I said, this is all data from Amazon UK's listings. I don't necessarily trust that. For example, Amazon UK lists the running times for the Planet Earth Blu-ray at 550 minutes, and the PAL DVD at 660 minutes, so they're either counting different things or there is an error in the listing(s).

It would be great if any of the members here could confirm if things are running at different speeds than expected.

I think it's a shame that "28 Days Later" and "Planet Earth" and maybe other releases, as well, are suffering from speed changes. And I don't think the people in PAL regions are aware it's happening.

Yes, you can say that if they're not aware of it, then why should they care, and it's "only 4%," but I am not the only one in the world who notices these speed changes. I can hear the pitch difference in voices and music, and I can see things seeming to move too quickly or too slowly. Granted, with the aforementioned two releases, I would not notice a difference, but in the case of a regular TV show, I have and I bet I would again.
Old 03-21-10, 05:42 PM
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re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

not sure what Bleak House was originally shot as but the blu ray plays at 1080i/50hz.

If its one of the 25fps shows, then the blu rya should be fine.
Old 03-21-10, 06:41 PM
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re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

off topic to a degree, but could you play blu rays from the US on a UK blu player?
Old 03-21-10, 08:11 PM
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re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Originally Posted by DVDMagic
off topic to a degree, but could you play blu rays from the US on a UK blu player?
You can't play Region A locked discs on UK players, unless you have a region free player
Old 07-20-10, 11:14 AM
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Re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Originally Posted by Cheato
I have been doing some research on British TV shows available on DVD.

I'll take a guess that most British TV shows on PAL DVD are shown at the correct speed on PAL systems, since they are filmed on video with the intent of showing them on a PAL display. However, when we get a release of British TV shows on DVD in the U.S., they tend to suffer from NTSC slowdown (running about 4% slower, with a corresponding drop in audio pitch).

The opposite happens when American TV shows are made for PAL DVDs in the U.K. (and elsewhere), and you see a 4% speedup (and an increase in audio pitch).
Apparently, you didn't do enough research. If a show is produced on videotape (like the majority of British TV shows are/were), you do not get any sort of "NTSC slowdown". Slowdown/Speed-up only applies to material that has come from a film master, not tape! The only way you'd get a NTSC slowdown is if there was a British show shot on film at 25fps (i.e. intended for British TV transmission) that was telecined for its NTSC release.

Most NTSC releases of PAL material are simply standards-converted from a digital tape source anyway, so unless they mastered the NTSC release of said 25fps on-film production directly from the film elements, you still wouldn't get slowdown.

So, Blackadder, Doctor Who, Monty Python's Flying Circus, etc. are playing at their correct speed when you watch the NTSC versions.


Additionally (and my main reason for the research to begin with), are there any NTSC DVDs of British shows that are shown at the correct speed?
As I said, pretty much all of them are.
Old 07-20-10, 11:18 AM
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Re: UK TV show Blu-rays suffer from NTSC-like slowdown?

Originally Posted by Cheato
The British "The Prisoner" Blu-ray and PAL DVD have the same running times (850 minutes), but the American Blu-ray has a runnning time of 884 minutes, and the American NTSC DVD has a running time of 840 minutes. I don't know what data to trust there. There could be a discrepancy due to some alternate episodes being counted in one case and not the other (there are alternates of "Arrival" and "Chimes of Big Ben" that may or may not be present on different releases). However, 884*.96=848, which is very close to 850. Does the American Blu-ray have an NTSC slowdown? Is the listing for the British one correct? Is any of this data trustworthy? That's why I posted here.
The Prisioner, like all of the ITC filmed series of the '60s and '70s, were shot on 24fps 35mm film so they'd be compatible worldwide, so this mean that all the old NTSC releases on VHS and DVD played at the correct speed. It was the PAL releases that were wrong ("PAL speedup").

As for the BluRays, both the UK and US versions are identical: they're mastered at the film's original 24fps speed, so the sound is pitched correctly in both regions.

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