NTSC, named for the National Television System Committee, is the analog television system that is used in most of North America, most of South America (except Argentina, Uruguay, and French Guiana), Burma, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and some Pacific island nations and territories.
The first NTSC standard was developed in 1941 and had no provision for color television. In 1953 a second modified version of the NTSC standard was adopted, which allowed color television broadcasting compatible with the existing stock of black-and-white receivers. NTSC was the first widely adopted broadcast color system. After nearly 70 years of use, the vast majority of over-the-air NTSC transmissions in the United States were replaced with digital ATSC on June 12, 2009 and August 31, 2011 in Canada and most other NTSC markets. Despite the shift to digital broadcasting, standard definition television in these countries continues to follow the NTSC standard in terms of frame rate and number of lines of resolution. In the United States a small number of short-range local and TV relay stations continue to broadcast NTSC, as the FCC allows. NTSC baseband video signals are also still often used in video playback (typically of recordings from existing libraries using existing equipment) and in CCTV and surveillance video systems.
NTSC color encoding is used with the system M television signal, which consists of 29.97 interlaced frames of video per second, or the nearly identical system J in Japan. Each frame consists of a total of 525 scanlines, of which 486 make up the visible raster. The remainder (the vertical blanking interval) are used for synchronization and vertical retrace. This blanking interval was originally designed to simply blank the receiver's CRT to allow for the simple analog circuits and slow vertical retrace of early TV receivers. However, some of these lines now can contain other data such as closed captioning and vertical interval timecode (VITC). In the complete raster (ignoring half-lines), the even-numbered or 'lower" scanlines are drawn in the first field, and the odd-numbered or "upper" are drawn in the second field, to yield a flicker-free image at the field refresh frequency of approximately 59.94 Hertz (actually 60 Hz/1.001). For comparison, 576i systems such as PAL-B/G and SECAM uses 625 lines (576 visible), and so have a higher vertical resolution, but a lower temporal resolution of 25 frames or 50 fields per second.
The NTSC field refresh frequency in the black-and-white system originally exactly matched the nominal 60 Hz frequency of alternating current power used in the United States. Matching the field refresh rate to the power source avoided intermodulation (also called beating), which produces rolling bars on the screen. When color was later added to the system, the refresh frequency was shifted slightly downward to 59.94 Hz to eliminate stationary dot patterns in the difference frequency between the sound and color carriers, as explained below in "Color encoding". Synchronization of the refresh rate to the power incidentally helped kinescope cameras record early live television broadcasts, as it was very simple to synchronize a film camera to capture one frame of video on each film frame by using the alternating current frequency to set the speed of the synchronous AC motor-drive camera. By the time the frame rate changed to 29.97 Hz for color, it was nearly as easy to trigger the camera shutter from the video signal itself.
In what can be considered an opposite of PAL-60, NTSC 4.43 is a pseudo color system that transmits NTSC encoding (525/29.97) with a color subcarrier of 4.43 MHz instead of 3.58 MHz. The resulting output is only viewable by TVs that support the resulting pseudo-system (usually multi-standard TVs). Using a native NTSC TV to decode the signal yields no color, while using a PAL TV to decode the system yields erratic colors (observed to be lacking red and flickering randomly). The format is apparently limited to few early laserdisc players and some game consoles sold in markets where the PAL system is used.