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Chapter 13. DVDs, VCDs, and Beyond > VCDs: Video Compact Discs

VCDs: Video Compact Discs

For some, even though their prices are dropping, the cost of DVD-R remains too high. That’s why VCDs—Video Compact Discs—have a small underground following in the United States and some popularity in Europe. They are also common in Asia and the Middle East. VCDs are compact discs that hold an MPEG-1 movie file and can play back on a computer or DVD player. A VCD can hold about seventy minutes of a movie, so it would take two VCDs to hold a feature-length film. Much like Beta videotape and the earlier mentioned Laserdisc, there are hardcore VCD enthusiasts keeping this medium alive. VCDs are easy to make, using a simple CD-R drive in combination with the right software. They offer yet another alternative—a totally digital alternative—to the analog videotape option.

If you have never heard of VCDs before and DVDs are a superior format, why are we even discussing it? Because they can be created using a CD-R drive (see Figure 13.2), VCDs are an inexpensive and easy-to-burn alternative to DVDs. You can buy a spindle of fifty CD-R discs for the same price as a five-pack of DVD-Rs. And with the format’s wider acceptance in other countries, they come in handy when you want to send a CD overseas without having to worry about the NTSC-PAL conversion issue.


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