Updated 25/11/2012Home » Video Glossary » VCD


VCD logoVideo CD (VCD) was 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.

Container Specifications

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

VCD video specifications

  • Codec: MPEG-1
  • Resolution: 352x240 (NTSC), 352x288 (PAL/SECAM)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3
  • Framerate:  29.97 / 23.976 fps (NTSC), 25 fps (PAL/SECAM)
  • 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.

VCD 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
  • 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.