The PAL region is a television publication territory that covers most of Europe and Africa, alongside parts of Asia, South America and Oceania. It is so named because of the PAL (Phase Alternating Line) television standard traditionally used in some of those regions, as opposed to the NTSC standard traditionally used in Japan and most of North America.

Television system by country, prior to digital switchover. Countries using the PAL system are shown in blue.

Recently, as most countries have stopped using PAL, in regards to video games, the term "PAL region" means the list of regions it covered in the past.


Below countries and territories use or once used the PAL system. Many of these have converted or are converting PAL to DVB-T (most countries), DVB-T2 (most countries), DTMB (China, Hong Kong and Macau) or ISDB (Sri Lanka, Maldives, Botswana and part of South America).

PAL B, D, G, H, K or IEdit


  •   Brazil[1] (H264 video over ISDB-T, at 480i@60 Hz (SD) or 1080i@60 Hz (HD), simulcast with digital format in ISDB-Tb, also called SBTVD), an update to ISDB-T, started in December 2007. PAL broadcasting in its final stages of abandonment, the complete shut-down is scheduled to 2023.


  •   Argentina[1] (H264 video over ISDB-T, at 480i/576i@50/60 Hz (SD) or 1080i@50/60 Hz (HD), simulcast with digital format in ISDB-Tb, also called SBTVD), an update to ISDB-T, started in August 28, 2008. PAL broadcasting in its final stages of abandonment, the complete shut-down is scheduled to 2023.
  •   Paraguay[1] (Simulcast in ISDB-T)
  •   Uruguay[1] (Simulcast in ISDB-T)

Countries and territories that have ceased using PALEdit

The following countries no longer use PAL for terrestrial broadcasts, and are in process of converting from PAL (cable) to DVB-T or ISDB-T.

Country Switched to Switchover completed
  Albania DVB-T2 2019-10-011 October 2019
  Andorra DVB-T 2007-09-2525 September 2007
  Australia DVB-T 2013-12-1010 December 2013
  Austria DVB-T and DVB-T2 2010-06-077 June 2011
  Azerbaijan DVB-T 2015-06-1717 June 2015
  Belgium DVB-T 2010-03-011 March 2010
  Brunei DVB-T 2015-01-011 January 2015
  Bulgaria DVB-T 2013-09-3030 September 2013
  Cambodia DVB-T2 2015-01-011 January 2015
  Croatia DVB-T 2010-10-2020 October 2010
  Cyprus DVB-T 2011-07-011 July 2011
  Czech Republic DVB-T 2012-06-3030 June 2012
  Denmark DVB-T and DVB-T2 2009-11-011 November 2009
  Estonia DVB-T 2010-07-011 July 2010
  Faroe Islands DVB-T 2002–12 December 2002
  Finland DVB-T and DVB-T2 2007-09-011 September 2007
  Georgia DVB-T 2015-07-011 July 2015
  Germany DVB-T and DVB-T2 2009-06-044 June 2009
  Ghana DVB-T2 2015-06June 2015
  Greece DVB-T 2015-02-056 February 2015
  Gibraltar DVB-T 2012-12-3131 December 2012
  Guernsey DVB-T 2010-11-1717 November 2010
  Hong Kong DTMB 2020-12-011 December 2020
  Hungary DVB-T and DVB-T2 2013-10-3131 October 2013
  Iceland DVB-T and DVB-T2 2015-02-022 February 2015
  India DVB-T 2015-02-3131 March 2015
  Iran DVB-T 2014-12-1919 December 2014
  Ireland DVB-T 2012-10-2424 October 2012
  Isle of Man DVB-T 2012-10-2424 October 2012
  Israel DVB-T and DVB-T2 2011-06-1313 June 2011
  Italy DVB-T 2012-07-044 July 2012
  Jersey DVB-T 2010-11-1717 November 2010
  Kenya DVB-T 2015-03March 2015
  Latvia DVB-T 2010-06-011 June 2010
  Lithuania DVB-T 2012-10-2929 October 2012
  Luxembourg DVB-T 2006-09-011 September 2006
  North Macedonia DVB-T 2013-05-3131 May 2013
  Malta DVB-T 2011-10-3131 October 2011
  Monaco DVB-T 2011-05-2424 May 2011
  Montenegro DVB-T 2015-06-1717 June 2015
  Namibia DVB-T 2014-09-1313 September 2014
  Netherlands DVB-T 2006-12-1414 December 2006
  New Zealand DVB-T 2013-12-011 December 2013
  Norway DVB-T 2009-12December 2009 [3]
  Poland DVB-T 2013-07-2323 July 2013
  Portugal DVB-T 2012-04-2626 April 2012
  Qatar DVB-T and DVB-T2 2012-02-1313 February 2012
  Romania DVB-T2 2016-12-3131 December 2016
  Rwanda DVB-T 2014-03March 2014
  San Marino DVB-T 2010-12-022 December 2010
  Saudi Arabia DVB-T and DVB-T2 2012-02-1313 February 2012
  Serbia DVB-T2 2015-06-077 June 2015
  Singapore DVB-T2 2019-01-022 January 2019
  Slovakia DVB-T 2012-12-3131 December 2012
  Slovenia DVB-T 2010-12-011 December 2010
  South Africa DVB-T 20152015[4] (as of 2018, PAL terrestrial still operational)
  Spain DVB-T and DVB-T2 2010-04-033 April 2010
  Sweden DVB-T and DVB-T2 2007-10-2929 October 2007
   Switzerland DVB-T 2007-11-2626 November 2007
  Tanzania DVB-T 2014-07July 2014
  Thailand DVB-T2 2020-0926 March 2020
  Ukraine DVB-T and DVB-T2 2016-12-3131 December 2016
  United Arab Emirates DVB-T and DVB-T2 2012-02-1313 February 2012
  United Kingdom DVB-T (SD) and DVB-T2 (HD) 2012-10-2424 October 2012
  Zambia DVB-T2 2014-12-3131 December 2014
  Argentina ISDB-T 20232023
  Brazil ISDB-T 20232023

60 Hz operationEdit

During the mid-1990s, the practice of modifying consoles such as the Super NES and Mega Drive to allow 60 Hz operation became somewhat common among PAL gamers, due to the rise in NTSC/60 Hz capable PAL TVs and the relatively simple nature of the modifications. Beginning with the Amiga CD32, which introduced more powerful hardware, developers had the ability to output at full PAL resolution without borders or stretching, although games still typically ran slower and all ran at 50 Hz. Beginning with the Dreamcast and continuing through the sixth generation of consoles, developers began including PAL60 modes in their games. Games that run at PAL60 are produced with the same colour encoding system as 50 Hz PAL signals, but with the NTSC resolution and field rate of 60 Hz, providing an identical gaming experience to their NTSC counterparts, however some games, such as Tekken 4 and Tekken 5, will actually use the NTSC color mode when in 60 Hz mode; these games will appear in black and white on PAL-only televisions. Brazil's PAL-M always operates in 60 Hz.

Criticism of PAL region video gamesEdit

Games ported to PAL have historically been known for having game speed and frame rates inferior to their NTSC counterparts. Since the NTSC standard is 60 fields/30 frames per second but PAL is 50 fields/25 frames per second, games were typically[dubious ] slowed by approximately 16.7% in order to avoid timing problems or unfeasible code changes. Full motion video rendered and encoded at 30 frames per second by the Japanese/US (NTSC) developers was often down-sampled to 25 frames per second or considered to be 50 frames per second video for PAL release—usually by means of 3:2 pull-down, resulting in motion judder. In addition to this, PAL's increased resolution was not utilised during conversion, creating a pseudo letterbox effect with borders top and bottom, which looks similar to a 14:9 letterbox, and leaving the graphics with a slightly squashed look due to an incorrect aspect ratio caused by the borders. This was especially prevalent during the 8-bit and 16-bit generations when 2D graphics were used almost exclusively. The gameplay of many games with an emphasis on speed, such as the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, suffered in their PAL incarnations.

Despite the possibility and popularity of 60 Hz PAL games, many high-profile games, particularly for the PlayStation 2 console, were released in 50 Hz-only versions. Square Enix have long been criticised by PAL gamers for their poor PAL conversions. Final Fantasy X, for example, runs in 50 Hz mode only, meaning it runs 16.7% slower than the NTSC release and features top and bottom borders; while this practice was common in previous generations, it was considered inexcusable by contemporary consumers at the time of release.[5] In contrast, the Dreamcast was the first system to feature PAL60, and the overwhelming majority of PAL games offered 50 and 60 Hz modes with no slow speeds. The PAL GameCube also offered 60 Hz on almost every title released. The Xbox featured a system-wide PAL60 option in the Dashboard, with almost every game supporting PAL60. Seventh generation PAL consoles Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii also feature system-wide 60 Hz support.[citation needed]

As of the eighth generation, consoles such as the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch have all games solely in 60 Hz, with 50 Hz only being used for video playback and, in the Wii U's case, backwards compatibility with Wii and Virtual Console games.[citation needed]

However, this problem does not occur in Brazil's PAL-M since it is mostly based on the NTSC standard (with its frame rate operating at nearly 30 frames per second) but not on the encoding of the color carrier which is similar to that of PAL.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc Michael Hegarty; Anne Phelan; Lisa Kilbride (1 January 1998). Classrooms for Distance Teaching and Learning: A Blueprint. Leuven University Press. pp. 260–. ISBN 978-90-6186-867-5.
  2. ^ a b "PAL / NTSC / SECAM countries list". Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  3. ^ "TV og radio".
  4. ^ "Switching Off Analogue TV Will Lock Out Many In Africa".
  5. ^ "GamesRadar+".