Electricity and Television in the USA

Electricity and Television in the USA


Most countries have a 220V electricity system. However, the United States has a 110V electricity system. Electricity was invented in the U.S., and the first practical use of electricity was the light bulb. If the voltages were high, the light bulb would burn out quickly, as the technology was still in its infancy. Therefore, voltages were kept lower and have remained so to this day.

The U.S. uses AC 110 volts and 60 Hz electricity. An electric plug usually has two flat pins set parallel to each other. Many times, one pin is larger than the other so it’s not mistakenly plugged in the wrong way. Many plugs also have a third pin for grounding. 

Voltage converters for electric conversion are available in stores like Radio Shack or Fry’s

Many high-end electronics items like computers and camcorders work on both 110V/60Hz and 220V/60Hz voltages. Therefore, you don’t have to buy the voltage converter when traveling abroad. However, you still need to buy the pin shape converter, which is much cheaper. 

Without voltage conversion, foreign appliances generally don’t work in the U.S., and vice versa. 

Many Indian stores keep electrical appliances or electronic items that are suitable for use in India, in case someone wants to take them home for their relatives.


There are three main television standards in the world: NTSC in the U.S., Japan, and few other countries; PAL is used throughout most of the world; and SECAM is used in countries like France, and Brazil.

NTSC – National Television System Committee
PAL – Phase Alternative Line
SECAM – Sequential Couleur Avec Mamoire or Sequential Color with Memory 

PAL and NTSC are incompatible with one another. Therefore, a movie recorded in India will not play in the U.S. Many Indian stores have a NTSC to PAL and vice versa conversion facility available for video cassettes. Many people find it useful to have their important cassettes converted.

The picture quality is generally better in PAL than in NTSC. 

VCDs and MP3 disks play in DVD players but not in CD players.

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