Not entirely true. There was a time when some dubs and subs were PAL-synced for ROTJ, but that time was short-lived and the transition was painful.
In that case, what I (obviously) meant was that they were never routinely synced to the PAL GOUT – the overall point remains unchanged. The PAL GOUT was never used as a standard in the way that the NTSC GOUT is/was. A painful transition sounds as if it is something that ought not to be repeated.
It’s not necessarily true that lossy audio tracks could not be conformed to a new standard that includes more frames, especially when those frames occur at reel transitions. One could simply split the ac3 track at the appropriate position and insert a silent ac3 frame before rejoining. Now, this would not be a perfect solution, as Dolby digital uses an audio frame rate of 31.25 fps, while the film runs at 23.976 FPS.
The result for a single missing frame is that the audio is off by roughly 0.232 frames, rather than a whole frame. This would arguably be a “good enough” compromise for many of the tracks. This would work especially well in the case of Star Wars as that bit of silent audio would not be noticeable for the affected reel transition. However, it is admittedly more problematic for the two missing frames in ROTJ, as those do not occur at a reel transition.
That’s all true, but the potential for confusion is considerable. At present, people can swap audio and subtitles from release to release without worrying about sync issues – for a fan community dispersed around the globe, that’s a major achievement in terms of standardization. Even commercial discs occasionally have sync issues.
Imagine the problems that might be caused if we adopt a new standard. Is someone going to go through and re-sync every foreign language dub? You’re competent to make this sort of adjustment, but not everyone is. Inevitably, someone will mess up. And there will be endless questions about whether or not the adjustment has been made for a given track or whether a certain project follows the old standard or the new. All this for a frame or two? It’s not worth it.