video formats

My major is Computer Science but I am working on a project that involves much about video signals. I have verly little knowledge about the video signal standards and formats. I need a clear explanation of how NTSC/PAL/SECAM the broadcast standards are related to the video standards/formats such as composite,component and s-video. Some articles refer to NTSC/PAL/SECAM as video formats and some refer to composite, component and s-video as video formats. Iam confused with these basics. And I also need to know if CMOS, TTL, Firewire are also video formats. If not, how are they related to video signals. Please someone make me understand these minute details. Thanks in advance

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Composite video would refer to a complete NTSC/PAL/SECAM video signal, including all colour and sync information which can be carried on a single wire.

Component video would refer to separate red, green, and blue (or perhaps other divisions), and perhaps a separate sync signal, all carried on separate wires.

CMOS and TTL are technologies used to produce digital integrated circuits. Firewire is a digital communications bus. It may be used to carry digital data that represents a video signal.

Peter Bennett VE7CEI 
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Peter Bennett

This just highlights the fact that the term "format" is much-used (and abused) to mean a whole LOT of different things in the video industry. To some, "format" (esp. when talking about "digital" video) means the same thing as what is also called "pixel format" or "addressability" (and which is often ALSO mislabelled as "resolution"); to others, it's that plus the specifics of the timing, or both of THOSE plus a specific color encoding technique. And so forth and so on.

Technically, "NTSC," "PAL," and "SECAM" refer to color encoding methods, although these are also often used interchangeably with the raster-scan standards most commonly used with each - i.e., "NTSC" for the 525-line, 60 Hz field rate scanning standard ("525/60"), and "PAL" or "SECAM" for 625/50. "Composite" and "component" have more to do with how the various parts of the video signal (specifically, luminance and chrominance) are carried on the physical interface, and "CMOS," "TTL" and "FireWire" are definitely various classes/types of electrical interface ("CMOS" and "TTL" are actually generic names for digital logic "families," which is a whole 'nother problem). "S-Video" is, at a minimum, a specific connector standard, although it's also often (mis-)used to refer to an interface with separate luminance (Y) and chrominance (C) connections.

To really give you a complete answer would require a lot more space than is available here; I will (at the risk of being accused of spamming) point you to my book on the subject, "Display Interfaces: Fundamentals & Standards," published by J. Wiley and Sons and available from Amazon (among others), and possibly in your local engineering library. Just so this doesn't appear to be QUITE as blatant a case of self-promotion, there's also a very excellent text which covers quite a range of TV standards, specifically, in great detail: "Digital Television Fundamentals," by Robin & Poulin, and published by McGraw-Hill. (Despite the name, it also contains quite a bit of information on the original analog broadcast systems.

Bob M.

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Bob Myers

Thankyou Mr. Bob Mayers for the information provided. It did help clear out the confusion. I will refer to the mentioned textbooks for more detail.

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