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VCD | Video CD


Compact Disc Digital Video (VCD)
Media Type Optical Disc
Encoding MPEG-1 video + audio
Capacity Up to 800 MB
Read mechanism 780 nm wavelength semiconductor laser
Standard White Book
Developed by Sony, Philips, Matsushita, JVC
Usage audio and video storage
Extended to SVCD

Before the advent of DVD and Blu-ray, the Video CD (abbreviated as VCD, and also known as View CD, Compact Disc digital video) became the first format for distributing films on standard 120 mm optical discs. The format is a standard digital format for storing video on a Compact Disc. VCDs are playable in dedicated VCD players, most DVD-Video players, personal computers, and some video game consoles.
The VCD standard was created in 1993[1][2] by Sony, Philips, Matsushita, and JVC and is referred to as the White Book standard. Though supplanted by the two aforementioned formats, VCDs are still popular, particularly in the low cost market.


Technical specifications

  • Container
  • In a VCD, the audio and video streams are multiplexed in an MPEG program stream (MPEG-PS) container.

  • Video
  • Video specifications
    Codec: MPEG-1
    Resolution: NTSC: 352x240; PAL/SECAM: 352x288
    Aspect Ratio: NTSC: 4:3; PAL/SECAM: 4:3
    Framerate: NTSC: 29.97 or 23.976 frames per second; PAL/SECAM: 25 frames per second
    Bitrate: 1,150 kilobits per second
    Rate Control: constant bitrate

    Although many DVD video players support playback of VCDs, VCD video is only compatible with the DVD-Video standard if encoded at 29.97 frames per second or 25 frames per second.

  • Audio
  • Audio specifications
    Codec: MPEG-1 Audio Layer II
    Frequency: 44,100 hertz (44.1 kHz)
    Output: Dual channel or stereo
    Bitrate: 224 kilobits per second
    Bitrate: 1,150 kilobits per second
    Rate Control: Constant bitrate

    As with most CD-based formats, VCD audio is incompatible with the DVD-Video standard due to a difference in frequency; DVDs require 48 kHz, whereas VCDs use 44.1 kHz.

  • Advantages of compression
  • By compressing both the video and audio streams, a VCD is able to hold 74 minutes of picture and sound information, nearly the same duration as a standard 79 minute audio CD. The MPEG-1 compression used records mostly the differences between successive video frames, rather than write out each frame individually. Similarly, the audio frequency range is limited to those sounds most clearly heard by the human ear.

  • Other information
  • Video CDs are authored using the Mode 2/XA format, allowing roughly 800 megabytes of VCD data to be stored on one 80 minute CD (versus 700 megabytes when using Mode 1). This, combined with the net bitrate of VCD video and audio, means that almost exactly 80 minutes of VCD content can be stored on an 80 minute CD, 74 minutes of VCD content on a 74 minute CD, and so on. This was done in part to ensure compatibility with existing CD drive technology, specifically the earliest "1x" speed CD drives.
    The VCD standard also features the option of DVD-quality still images/slide shows with audio, at resolutions of 704x480 (NTSC) or 704x576 (PAL/SECAM). Version 2.0 also adds the playback control (PBC), featuring a simple menu like DVD-video.
    352x240 and 352x288 (or SIF) resolution was chosen because it is half the vertical, and half the horizontal resolution of NTSC and PAL video, respectively. This is approximately half the resolution of an analog VHS tape which is ~330 horizontal and 480 vertical (NTSC) or 330x576 (PAL)

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