Is it still worth buying a VCD player now? : LUSENET : Video CD : One Thread

I am now staying in South East Asia (SEA) where VCD is very very popular, and have been tempted to buy a VCD player so that I can enjoy the latest movie titles much earlier than I could with LD. Before I do that, I would really like some opinions from you whether it is worth buying the piece.

1. Is this VCD thing here to stay?

2. What about the advance of SVCD (Super VCD) in China? I hear this will soon spread to SEA. Would it be better to wait for a combo SVCD / VCD player assuming that the price differential won't be that great as they are in China?

3. And what about the latest DVD / VCD player? I'm not much into DVD due to the minimal availability of DVD titles. But for future upgrade path, is it worth forking the money now and buy the DVD to simply play VCD? Or will I be better off just buying the VCD player and get the DVD player as and when the DVD finally achieve critical mass?

4. If I were to simply buy a VCD player, is there any difference in playback quality between the single and multi CD players. Is there any good and reliable brand to recommend? Sony is now all made in China while Panasonic was one that I can find still made in Japan.

I know these are many questions. If you have opinions in some of them, don't have to be all, please provide them anyway. I am sure with the collective knowledge from others, we'll get the complete opinion on the subject.

Thanks & regards,

Jung Zen

-- Jung Zen (, June 15, 1999


Forget a VCD Player. You will have to get a DVD/VCD player now. If you opt to stay in the past, Single tray and multi tray VCD players play the same but video is dependent on manufacturer. Sony Multi- Discs VCD only player look great but Philips Single Tray DVD/VCd looks excellent. By contrast Sony Multi-Disc DVD/VCD player looks excellent as well. It is all in hardware functionality. VCD is great for those who want a low cost economical path for movies. However, Warner Bros. and Columiba Tri-Star will stop allowing movies to be distributed in this format sometime in late 1999 and Early 2000. Plus with the news that 20th Century Fox will own the MGM/UA libary after late 1999, DVD will be the ultimate home video standard(UA's US office prefers to release the both new and old James Bond movies on DVD with loads of bonus material versus VCDs which basically can not have it unless a third or fourth or even a fifth disc is included). DVD has already achieved critical mass, now that 20th Century Fox , Paramount, and Dreamworks(the last Movie Studios to join the DVD Forum)will release more movies in the coming months. Disney has inked a deal to allow Warner Bros. to release its classic cartoons on DVD internationally(Europe and Asia). Also Disney USA has begun releasing its own cartoons on DVD, starting with the feature packed A Bug's Life, with Tarzan following suit. Paramount and 20th Century Fox will bring the boat(Titanic) home both in the US, Europe, and Asia on DVD in September. Dreamworks along with Paramount will bring Private Ryan home on DVD with lots of bonus material, a 16x9 enhanced widescreen, and hi-def transfer. So the short answer for you, you can still buy VCDs for older movies that have yet to be on DVD, or will never be on DVD, but for futures sake: BUY A DVD/VCD PLAYER. It will save you money in the long run plus you can enjoy the newest movies with better picture and sound, plus have bonus material to check out.

-- The Lone Ranger (, June 15, 1999.


Since you stated that you live in SE Asia, studio released movies would mean squat to you. With VCDs you can get any movie, documentary etc. etc. anytime, anywhere, with REGARDLESS of whether the studio were to release the movie or not, and in most instances before the movie is even released in theatres.

So it really boils down to your needs, if you want to watch an infinite variety of movies go for VCD and maybe SVCD. But if you want to be bound by all the red tape and schedules dictated by high handed movie studios, by all means go for DVD.

As for DVD/VCD combos, beware, many such players are not able to read pirated, non-industry standard VCDs, so if your ball is really VCDs go for the dedicated VCD players.

I do not think that DVDs would really take off in SEA by a long shot, due to difficulties, cost in piracy and the way bootlegs are made. As it is really no sense to put a camcorder shot movie on a high quality medium such as DVD.

Hope this info helps

Chia Jia Bengs

-- Chia Jia Bengs (, June 15, 1999.

1. In North America, I don't think VCDs have much of a future, except for making your own movies (e.g. home movies). DVDs are readily available, the quality is much better, and they're pretty cheap ($30, which isn't that much for North Americans). Official VHS tapes are even cheaper -- they're coming down to $10 or less.

In SE Asia, there's a huge installed base. And it sounds like the pirates are very well organized -- they seem to be killing the Hong Kong movie industry. (Who wants to see a movie in the theater when you can get an illegal copy on VCD for $2?)

If the movie industry manages to switch over to releasing movies on either SVCD or DVD, they may be able to split the market into a legal segment and an illegal segment -- people would have a choice of buying either official, high-quality SVCDs or DVDs released within a few weeks of the movie, or illegal, lower-quality VCDs. I don't know if that'd be enough to keep the HK movie industry on their feet, but that's probably what they'll be trying to do.

So I predict that VCDs will continue to be around for a long time in SE Asia, but they'll probably be mostly illegal. Places like Singapore or China will probably stage periodic crackdowns on the pirates and the gangs behind them.

2, 3. It's hard to say whether SVCD or DVD is going to win out in SE Asia. In North America, the answer's easier: I think DVD's succeeded. I retired my Video CD player and bought a Creative Labs Encore/Dxr2 DVD kit a couple months ago.

While it's still unclear what's going to happen, my advice would be to wait.

-- Russil Wvong (, June 17, 1999.

I think you should buy a DVD player that also plays VCDs.

-- (, June 17, 1999.

VCD sucks!

DVD rules!

There are over 5000 movies all ready available on DVD, add to that another 1500 pornos. The picture and sound quality of DVD is outstanding. Most DVDs movies include many extra features such as scenes that were cut from the film, and audio commentaries by the director and cast. VCD is for trailer-trash! VCD is a dying format and laserdisc is already dead. Get real all of you VCD supporters - DVD is the future - high definition television will be the standard in America in a few short years, 2006 to be exact - and you'll want to have your movies on a format that will represent the movies in a good light, not in VHS/VCD crap!

-- otter (, June 21, 1999.

Yes, VCD video quality sucks compared to DVD, but until recordable DVD technology is available to consumers at CD-R technology prices, VCD is still the coolest way to archive video to disc. Great for home video especially.


-- Kevin (, July 18, 1999.

My advise is go straigth out and buy yourself a cheap China made VCD player with Karaoke functions. For an insignificant outlay today, you can have heaps of fun and enjoyment watching movies from around the world, singing unlimited number of songs, making and copying CD-Rs (music CDs and VCDs) on your computer for your player. When and if DVDs ever make VCDs obselete, you have already got your money's worth many times over. My friend has a DVD/VCD player (costs an arm and a leg). He owns heaps of VCDs but only one DVD disc (that is all he can afford to buy). He also cannot play CD-Rs from his friends. If DVDs do become universal, their prices will come tumbling down. Then you can get in on the cheap. However, if money is not your problem, then buy the most expensive DVD/VCD player that can also play CD-Rs. Hence, you will still have access to all the goodies that I've mentioned above.

-- Tomo (, July 18, 1999.

It all depends on price. If a cheap vcd player will suit you for now thats all that matters. but on the other hand if you feel dvd is going to take off there in the near future than that is the better choice.

2nd. for all you people with no understanding and more money than brains. dvd is not perfect it is a lower sound quality and not as perfect as laser disc, simply because it is compressed just like extended long play on vhs the more info you cram into a smaller area the less perfect it becomes. that will never change its the laws of physics.. remember smaller isn't always better. and those of you who beleive dvd is cheap and great get a life it costs less to produce a dvd than a vhs tape and you are willing to pay three times more.. that's smart.. vcd isn't the best but for a movie you'll only put on every couple of years i'd rather pay the 60% less it costs over dvd antime...

-- tigger (, January 29, 2001.

Don't listen to the person who said LD sound quality is better than DVD. The person doesn't know what he/she is talking about. Besides, we're supposed to be talking about VCD players, not, DVD to LD comparisons. FYI :It's not the size of the disc that matters. Just because LDs are bigger in size doesn't mean it's data is less compressed. In fact, the same data compression is used for all Dolby Digital or DTS sounds. THink about it. We now have MP3 players that records music on memory cards / units. It's not how BIG the card is, it's how much memory capacity it can hold. I hope you get my point. About VCD: Of course the sound and picture quality is a lot worse than DVDs, but, 1) if you don't have a receiver w/ dolby digital or DTS decoders, DVD sound is same coming out just from your tv set. 2) picture quality is better on DVD but what price you have to pay for the discs for good quality video!! Just get a VCD player if you're just someone who simply want to watch a lot of films (in SE asia, not US).

-- helper (, February 05, 2001.


-- KOI0 (, April 11, 2001.

A compact size VCD player with all the whistles and bells plus MP3 capabilities sells for less than US$50 in Malaysia. All my friends come back with 1 or 2 latest design VCD units and tonnes of VCD titles each, everytime time they make a visit to Malaysia or Singapore. They also own one or more DVD players because you can buy one made in China that plays everything for less than US$150. At today's prices, there is no need to compare, buy as many units as your buget can afford.

-- tomo (, April 12, 2001.

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