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Color encoding used in analog television, by nation in the 20th century.

PAL-M is the analogue TV system used in Brazil since 19 February 1972.[1][2] At that time, Brazil was the first South American country to broadcast in colour. Colour TV broadcast began on 19 February 1972, when the TV networks Globo and Bandeirantes transmitted the Caxias do Sul Grape Festival. Transition from black and white to colour, however, was not complete until 1978.[3][4][5][6][7] Two years later, in 1980, colour broadcast nationwide in Brazil was commonplace.

It is unique among analogue TV systems in that it combines the 525-line 30 frames-per-second System M with the PAL colour encoding system (using very nearly the NTSC colour subcarrier frequency), unlike all other countries which pair PAL with 625-line systems and NTSC with 525-line systems.


NTSC being the "natural" choice for countries with monochrome standard M, the choice of a different colour system poses problems of incompatibility with available hardware and the need to develop new television sets and production hardware. Walter Bruch, inventor of PAL, explains Brazil's choice of PAL over NTSC against these odds by an advertising campaign Telefunken and Philips carried out across South America in 1972, which included colour test broadcasts of popular shows (done with TV Globo) and technical demonstrations with executives of television stations.[8]

Technical specifications[edit]

PAL-M signals are generically identical to North American NTSC signals, except for the encoding of the colour carrier.[9] Both systems are based on the monochrome CCIR System M standard, therefore, PAL-M will display in monochrome with sound on an NTSC set and vice versa.

PAL-M is incompatible with 625-line based versions of PAL, because its frame rate, scan line, colour subcarrier and sound carrier specifications are different. It will therefore usually give a rolling and/or squashed monochrome picture with no sound on a native European PAL television, as do NTSC signals.

Transmission band VHF/UHF
Fields 60
Scan lines 525
Active lines 480
Channel bandwidth 6 MHz
Video bandwidth 4.2 MHz
Vision/Sound carrier spacing 4.5 MHz
Colour Subcarrier 3.575611 MHz
Assumed Receiver
Gamma correction
Color model YUV
Color space Standard Year White point Primaries Display


Red Green Blue
PAL-M BT.470-6[10] 1972 C 0.67 0.33 0.21 0.71 0.14 0.08 2.2

PAL-M systems conversion issues[edit]

PAL-M being a standard unique to one country, the need to convert it to/from other standards often arises.[11][12][13][14]

  • Conversion to/from NTSC is easy, as only the colour carrier needs to be changed. Frame rate and scan lines can remain untouched.
  • Conversion to/from PAL/625 lines/25 frame/s and SECAM/625/25 signals involves changing the frame rates as well as the scan lines. This is achieved using complicated circuitry involving a digital frame store, the same method used for converting between NTSC and the 625/25 standards. The fact that the colour encoding of PAL-M and PAL/625/25 is the same does not help, as the entire signal goes through an A/D-D/A conversion process anyway.

However some special VHS video recorders are available which can allow viewers the flexibility of enjoying PAL-M recordings using a standard PAL (625/50 Hz) colour TV, or even through multi-system TV sets. Video recorders like Panasonic NV-W1E (AG-W1 for the USA), AG-W2, AG-W3, NV-J700AM, Aiwa HV-MX100, HV-MX1U, Samsung SV-4000W and SV-7000W feature a digital TV system conversion circuitry. Some recorders support the other way around, being able to playback standard PAL (625/50 Hz) in 50 Hz-compatible PAL-M TV sets, such as the Panasonic NV-FJ605.

PAL 60[edit]

The PAL colour system (either baseband or with any RF system, with the normal 4.43 MHz subcarrier unlike PAL-M) can also be applied to an NTSC-like 525-line picture to form what is often known as "PAL-60" (sometimes "PAL-60/525," "Pseudo-PAL," or "Quasi-PAL"). This non-standard signal is a method used in European domestic VCRs and DVD players for playback of NTSC material on PAL televisions. It's not identical to PAL-M and incompatible with it, because the colour subcarrier is at a different frequency; it will therefore display in monochrome on PAL-M and NTSC television sets.

Technological obsolescence[edit]

SBTVD and ABERT/SET tests[edit]

The analog PAL-M was scheduled to be supplanted by a digital high-definition system named Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão Digital (SBTVD) by 2015, and finishing in 2018. From 1999 to 2000, the ABERT/SET group in Brazil did system comparison tests of ATSC, DVB-T and ISDB-T under the supervision of the CPqD foundation.

Originally, Brazil including Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay planned to adopt the DVB-T standard. However, the ABERT/SET group selected ISDB-T, after field-tests results showed that it was the most robust system under Brazilian reception conditions. Therefore, SBTVD was replaced by the Brazilian variant of the ISDB standard, ISDB-Tb, which features SBTVD's characteristics into the originally-Japanese digital norm.


  1. ^ "PAL-M". Informatika & Komputer.
  2. ^ Memória Globo. Jornal Nacional - A notícia faz história. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor, p. 51
  3. ^ "Anos 70 - História da Televisão no Brasil". 2010.
  4. ^ "[FNDC] – Os números da TV digital / referências históricas". 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-04-05.
  5. ^ "Meu Primeiro Baile". Teledramaturgia. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14.
  6. ^ "O Bem Amado - Bastidores". Teledramaturgia. Archived from [ the original] on 2010-07-31. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  7. ^ "Estúpido Cupido". Teledramaturgia. Archived from [ the original] on 2010-12-23. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  8. ^ PAL Das Farbfernsehen Archived 2007-12-08 at the Wayback Machine; Walter Bruch/Heide Riedel; Deutsches Rundfunk-Museum 1987
  9. ^ a b Bueno, Osvaldo Ademir (2002). "Sistemas e padrões de vídeo". Archived from the original on 23 November 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Rec. ITU-R BT.470-6 - CONVENTIONAL TELEVISION SYSTEMS (PDF). ITU-R. 1998. p. 16.
  11. ^ "Pólo Industrial de Manaus fabrica mais de 9,5 milhões de televisores em dez meses". 2007.
  12. ^ "Como funciona a Transcodificação (ART505)". 2011.
  14. ^ "Worldwide TV Systems (NTSC, PAL, and SECAM)".

See also[edit]