Acceptable Video Format For Digital Signage

Content format for Digital signage


National Television System Committee (NTSC) and Phase Alternation Line (PAL) are worldwide video formats. NTSC is typically used in the United States and Canada, PAL is typically used elsewhere. PAL has a higher spatial resolution (more lines per image) and NTSC has a higher temporal resolution (more image samples per second). With an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, 4 x 3 PAL has a standard resolution of 720 x 576 pixels, and 4 x 3 NTSC has a standard resolution of 720 x 480 pixels. For widescreen applications, 16 x 9 Enhanced PAL has a resolution of 538 x 576 pixels, and 16 x 9 Enhanced NTSC has a resolution of 538 x 480.

Video Compression Formats

Windows Media Video (WMV)

Windows Media Video is a compressed video file format for several proprietary codecs developed by Microsoft. The original codec, known as WMV, was originally designed for Internet streaming applications. The other codecs, such as WMV Screen and WMV Image, cater to specialized content.


The MPEG (the Motion Picture Experts Group) smallercommittee of the International Standards Organization (ISO) is in charge of the development of standards for coded representation of digital audio and video. MPEG is a set of defined standards for compressing analog sources into digital formats that can be easily stored and distributed. Following is a brief summary of each of the MPEG formats:


  • MPEG 1, originally known as simply “MPEG,” is the oldest implemented standard for video compression. The MPEG 1 standard allows for greater compression and a smaller file size than MPEG 2 but lacks the quality of the content that is achieved by using MPEG 2. The format size is 352 x 240 for NTSC and 352 x 288 for PAL. It has a maximum bit rate (the speed at which bits of data passes between locations in a network or within a device) of 1.5 Mbps.
  • MPEG 2 is the video compression format used for DVD and cable television set-top boxes today. It is well established within the industry and has become the most popular format for the distribution of full-frame video over IP. If used to compress high-definition (HD) content, the MPEG 2 standard results in an output of two to four times higher than its common encoding rate. MPEG 2 is usually encoded between 2 and 6 Mbps.
  • MPEG 4 was jointly developed by the ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union - Telecommunications Standardization Sector) and the MPEG as a very-low-bandwidth Internet video distribution format. Be45 cause it has no restrictions on resolution or bit rate, MPEG 4/H.264 can be used to display video in full screen mode or be sized to fit within a section on the screen. As such, this is the format of choice for digital signage. It has a very efficient compression algorithm and can significantly reduce file sizes, allowing for distribution of longer video clips across the network with less network burden.


    The Flash video format is a proprietary file format originally developed by Macromedia (now Adobe). One of the advantages that Flash offers over traditional video formats is that it supports the Action Script programming language, allowing for a Flash video to be embedded in an HTML page and played back with a browser plug-in rather than requiring an external application to play the file.