When DVDs first arrived, they seemed no less than wonder to users. Users were happy; they could watch movies, record data, share data, and backup important data. But with the advent of new storage technologies, DVDs didn’t remain mainstream technology. However, people still have DVDs that they want to watch and they require DVD players for that. 

So, what is all the fuss about multi format DVD recorders? 

Well, for the sake of answering, a multi-format DVD recorder allows you to play multiple formats of DVDs such as NTSC and PAL. But to understand what exactly is a multi format DVD recorder and why you should purchase one, you need to go a little back in time to understand different encoding formats. 


NTSC is a video encoding format developed by the National Television System Committee. Hence, it is named after its developers. It is a standard analogue television colour system which came into use in 1954 when Americans were switching to colour screens from black and white screens. It was a standard video encoding format for broadcasting over-the-air signals as well as displaying DVD video in North America until the advent of digital ATSC format. Currently, ATSC format is in use for broadcasting however for DVDs NTSC format is still used.

NTSC format has a frame rate of 30 frames per second and standard resolution of 720 x 480. The system is used only in the NTSC regions such as the United States, Canada and Japan. In Europe and most of the world, the PAL system is used which is explained next.            


During the same time in Germany, scientists were working on a system that could overcome the shortcomings of the NTSC system such as colour distortion, signal instability under poor weather conditions, and colour accuracy. Hence, they came out with a Phase Alternating Line or PAL system. 

PAL is a standard analogue television colour system developed for European broadcasters and a standard video encoding format for DVDs in Europe. It has a standard frame rate of 25 frames per second and resolution of 720 x 576. It is adopted worldwide because of better performance.         


It is another analogue colour television system developed by French scientists during the same time as an alternative to the PAL system. It was adopted mainly in France and some other countries. But, most of the countries used either PAL or NTSC systems. SECAM stands for Séquentiel couleur à mémoire (“sequential colour with memory” in French).

So, these are the three major analogue colour television standards. Now let’s understand what a multi-format DVD player or recorder is.  


What is a multi-format DVD recorder?

DVDs are usually encoded in two formats: PAL and NTSC. DVDs encoded in PAL format can be played on DVD players that can decode the PAL signals. Similarly, DVDs encoded in NTSC format can be played on DVD players that can decode NTSC signals. If your DVD player supports only one format, it cannot play the DVD in the other format. That’s where multi format DVD recorders come into the role.      

A multi-format DVD recorder allows you to play and record multiple formats of DVDs. It means you can play both NTSC and PAL encoded DVDs on one DVD player. 

In America, DVDs are encoded in NTSC format, and in Europe, DVDs are encoded in PAL format. With the help of a multi-format DVD player & recorder, you can play DVDs from anywhere in the world. That’s why it is called a region-free DVD recorder.           

What should you purchase a multi-format DVD recorder?

There are many reasons to purchase a multi-format DVD recorder. Here are some of the key reasons: 

Player + Recorder

The first and very obvious reason to purchase a multi-format recorder is that it acts both as a player and a recorder. You can re-record data from your CDs and DVDs. And if your model of DVD recorder also supports VHS tapes, you can play and record them on DVD as well.

Value for money 

If you are looking for something that can allow you to play VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs on a single device, then multi-format DVD recorders offer you best value for money. It allows you to play multiple formats and record them on DVDs. However, if you are not planning to invest much, you can buy a standalone multi-format DVD recorder as well that would cost you under $100.

Access to a USB drive   

Most multi format DVD recorders allow you to access data from an external USB drive. You can connect your USB drive to the DVD recorder and watch movies or play audio on your HD TV screen in HD. You can also extract data from your CD or DVD and save on a hard disk with the help of a DVD recorder.

So these are the few basic things about multi format DVD recorders. If you are looking for one such multi format DVD recorder that can do everything for you, you can find one at a reliable online store like Electrovid.