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The Evolution of NTSC Color Bars (video)


(NOTE: The colors may look different on some systems, based on such variables as different web browsers, i.e. Netscape / Firefox / Flock vs. Internet Explorer, or which Flash player, e.g. Version 9 vs. Version 10.)

In view of the upcoming demise of the analogue-based NTSC color TV system which had been in effect since 1954, here are recreations of key major electronic color bar designs, going back to the earliest days of the NTSC color system in 1954 (note how the -I and +Q matrices are initially bunched together before the 100% white bar is placed in-between them), all through the development of EIA RS-189A color bars (with and without PLUGE) and the iconic SMPTE bars (originally classified ECR 1-1978, later renamed EG 1-1990). Also seen towards the end is the new generation of color bars for the digital-based HDTV system which will be the only means of transmission after June 12, 2009.

The tones heard go from the lowest to the highest with each different color bar design: 400 Hz, 440 Hz, 480 Hz, 600 Hz, 750 Hz, 900 Hz and 1 kHz. Volume set at -12 dB.