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White Book Video CD standard
technical specification

White Book Video CD (VCD, View CD, Compact Disc digital video) is a standard digital format for storing video on a Compact Disc. VCDs are playable in dedicated VCD players, nearly all personal computers, most modern DVD-Video players, and some video game consoles.

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The VCD standard was created in 1993 by Sony, Philips, Matsushita, and JVC and is referred to as the White Book standard.


Codec: MPEG-1
NTSC: 352x240
PAL/SECAM: 352x288
Aspect Ratio:
NTSC: 107:80 (0.3% difference from 4:3)
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

Overall picture quality is intended to be comparable to VHS video, though visual artifacts may be noticeable in some cases. Poorly compressed video in VCD tends to be of lower quality than VHS video, but exhibiting block artifacts rather than analog noise.

352 horizontal pixels was chosen because it approximates the resolution of an analog broadcast video signal, assuming a 5 MHz bandwidth. Any more than this would be wasted in the RF modulator, which was the usual means of video input for domestic television receivers at the time.

VCD video is mostly compatible with the DVD-Video standard, except for any video encoded at 23.976 frames per second. DVD-Video requires all MPEG-1 video to be encoded at either 25 or 29.97 frames per second.


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

Video CDs are authored (or "burned") 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) 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 to 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.

See Also

Red Book Audio CD Standard
Yellow Book CD Standard
White CD Standard
Blue Book Enhanced CD, CD+G and CD-Plus
Orange Book CD Standard CD-r CD-RW
CD DVD Bluray Manufacturer CD DVD Bluray pressing