Everything about VCD


Video CD, Compact Disc Digital Video or VCD according to Abbreviationfinder.org, is a standard format for storing Video on a Compact Disc. Video CDs can be played on suitable players, personal computers, and many DVD players.

The VCD standard was created in 1993 by a consortium of Japanese electronics companies, and is known as the White Paper standard.

Burning MPG files to CD

When you have an MPG or MPEG file (either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2, in files with the extension MPG, MPEG, M1V, M1P, M2V, M2P, etc.) you should find out if its characteristics make it compatible or not. with our desktop DVD and, if so, you will be interested to know how it has to be recorded so that the player recognizes it.

Today many DVDs read almost all types of formats, but still many only read DVDs and some types of MPG. The main types of MPG formats will be analyzed to distinguish them and to record them correctly.

Available space on CD

The recording format of this type of disc is in mode 2, therefore it will be possible to record as many MB as fit on a CD in mode 2. In the case of adding several MPG files (of course there is no limitation to a single file), you must be fulfilled for the sum of MPG sizes.

For the VCD format, and only for this format in which each minute of video occupies about 10 MB, normally it is said that as many minutes of video enter as minutes have the CD. For example, a video of 80 minutes would occupy a little less than 800 MB, therefore it fits on an 80-minute CD (with a capacity of 798 MB).

Find out the type of MPG

The main types of MPG files that can be found are: VCD, CVCD, XVCD, KVCD, SVCD, CVD or DVD. There may be some other, but ultimately it is usually variations of one of these basic types.

They can also be from the PAL area (Europe) or the NTSC area (America), whose characteristics are somewhat different and that we will also take into account when recording.

To begin with, the first thing is to find out the characteristics of the MPG, for this we are going to use for example the TMPGEnc program. It brings a utility called MPEG Tools that will give the characteristics of MPG files (it does not work with AVI or OGM). To access it, open the TMPGEnc, cancel the wizard if it exits, and go to the File -> MPEG Tools -> De-Multiplex menu.

In this menu what you have to do is simple. Click on Browse and load the movie file. Then we will get the data we are looking for in the lower box. The following image serves as an example. TMPGEnc

The TMPGEnc indicates that the video is MPEG-1, with a resolution of 352×288 pixels, a framerate of 25 fps and a video bitrate of 1150 Kbps; the audio is MPEG-1 Layer-2 (MP2) at a frequency of 44100 Hz and a bitrate of 192 Kbps.

With this data, the “catalog” of MPG files is entered, and the data provided by the TMPGEnc is compared. With this table, the exact format of the video is determined.

Reading with the players

You have to find out if the DVD supports that kind of MPG or not. The most reliable thing is to do a practical test, recording it on a CD-RW (if the player reads them), but you can also look in the manual or search the Internet on pages like [1]

However, there are formats that manufacturers do not recognize (CVCD, KVCD, XVCD) and that you can only find out if they work by testing (or doing a complete internet search).

There are also players that use any type of format, including invented formats (non-standard resolutions, mixes of formats…), but in general you cannot know what a player is going to read until we test it. And of course it is necessary to know if it supports CD-R or CD-RW (depending on the type of CD that is going to be used), since otherwise it will surely not read it.

Technical specifications

The screen resolution of a VCD is 352×240 pixels for the NTSC format or 352×288 pixels for the PAL format, about a quarter of normal televisionresolution.

The Video and Audio of a VCD format encoded in MPEG-1; video is stored at a rate of 1,150 kilobits per second, audio at 224 kbit / s. In general, the quality is comparable to that of the VHS format, although the effects of compression may be noticeable in some cases.

Since the joint bit rate (1374 kbit / s) is similar to the bit rate of a normal audio CD, the length of video that can be stored is similar to that of an audio CD: a standard 74 minute CD it can store approximately 74 minutes of video in VCD format.

An improved standard, Super Video CD (SVCD), uses MPEG-2 compression and a variable compression rate for higher quality recording.


Although it was never imposed in the United States or Europe, commercial VCDs were very popular in Asia due to the low price of the players, their high tolerance to humidity (a serious problem with VHS and the like) and the lower cost of the player. medium.

In fact, the lower cost caused a boom in ” piracy ” in those areas, which would explain why the industry never tried to impose them in Europeand the US. The advent of low-priced recordable CDs and players has led to a rapid increase in their acceptance, as most DVD players support the VCD format.

While the latter is true with commercial CDs, not all DVD players can read a CD-R, so “homemade” VCDs created with home CD recorders may not be playable by some players. This incompatibility is a serious problem that prevents users from distributing their homemade VCDs.

The VCD is gradually being replaced by the DVD, which offers most of the advantages of the VCD but with much higher quality in picture and sound, due to its greater storage capacity. However, the VCD still has a few points in its favor:

  • Unlike DVDs, VCDs do not have a region code, which means that they can be played on any (compatible) machine in the world.
  • They are still cheaper than DVDs.

Improved versions of Video CD

The CVCD system is a non-standard variant of Video CD that allows a variable Bitrate (VBR) to be used to encode a movie, making it possible to compress an hour and a half of Video on an 80-minute CD-R. This allows the use of this format for backups, home recordings, etc.

Likewise, there are other unconventional VCD formats such as the so-called KVCD that uses a variable bitrate but with a more optimized compression algorithm (ipb) with which movies of up to 120 minutes are obtained with quality superior to the standard VCD, even with higher resolutions.. For example, a resolution of 352×576 in PAL format or 320×480 in NTSC.

China also exists in a format called CVD (C hina V ideo D isc) used for broadcasting of TV and movie sales. The format is MPEG-2 with variable bitrate, with four possible audio tracks and with a resolution of 352×576 and audio from 64 to 384 Kbps. This system is used in China because it is one of the few countries in the world that did not want to pay for the DVD license, and promoted a new format that would meet its needs.

However, it is being displaced by other more efficient MPEG-4 compression systems, such as Xvid or DivX, which in less space allow better image and sound quality. The MPEG-4 will in theory be the codec that will be used for the new DVD format, High definition DVD (HD DVD) or the Blu-ray from Sony better known as H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC.

Other similar formats

  • CVD
  • SVCD
  • XVCD
  • DVCD

The DVCD or DOUBLE VCD is designed to get the best performance out of a CD. It is a non-standard CD burned beyond its native capacity to include up to 100 minutes of video. This format is very popular in China (although it can rarely be found outside of this country).

However, some CD-ROM drives and players have trouble reading these discs, mostly because the gap is out of specification and the servo laser is unable to read those tracks.}

The DVCD logo can easily be confused with the DVD logo. The letter “C” appears narrower than the rest, but the disk drawing is missing below the letters.