Experiences with VCD for DVD players

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OK. Need your personal experiences please. I am working on a project for a customer and getting ready to make some decisions. PROBLEM: the customer has asked me to supply the work (a video history of their company) on a single mini CD which plays in DVD players. I have too much video data to provide DVD, SVCD or even VCD standard format. The customer isn't willing to shell the extra $$ for a DVD anyway.

SOLUTIONS: I could easily reduce the audio and video bitrate down however I don't know if this will work on most DVD players. In other words, standard for NTSC VCDs is

24 Bits, 352 x 240, 29.97 fps (Video CD-NTSC) Video data rate: 1150 kbps Audio data rate: 224 kbps MPEG audio layer 2, 44.1 KHz, Stereo

The only way I can make this file (and the other stuff) fit onto the CD is by reducing the data rate to 650 and the audio DR to 112.

QUESTION: From your personal experiences.... what is the lowest you can drop these and still be able to watch on stand alone dvd players? I realize that it probably depends on the DVD player itself. I'm just looking for experiences (say from trying to rip a full length DVD onto a single VCD.

Any help would be great!

-- jeromy patriquin (jeromy.patriquin@verizon.net), January 09, 2004


First of all, it is IMPOSSIBLE to make a VCD that all DVD players will play. A few don't support the format at all, others will demand that you use commercial media, not CD-R or CD-RW discs (you will need to arrange with a CD pressing plant for to use commercial media) and you may have NTSC or PAL incompatibilities where some DVD players will only play one format and not the other. NTSC gives you your best chance of success. It is estimated that 95% of the world's DVD players can play a NTSC disc. A large number of US DVD players don't support PAL at all. I would make a wild guess that perhaps 33% of the world's DVD players won't play a PAL disc. Assuming a DVD player will support VCD, the lower bit rate shouldn't be a problem in terms of playing it, but I will warn you that once you drop VCD bit rates, especially to the video bit rate of 650, what you get is going to be REALLY ugly and probably unwatchable. The quality will be terrible. I'm sorry, but your customer is asking for something that no one can deliver. I suggest 2 reasonable alternatives. 1) Make two VCDs, not one, at normal VCD bit rates, get it pressed on commercial media, and hope for the best. 2) Edit the video down. Explain to the customer that he can't get what he wants on one disc and have it be watchable, so he's going to have to edit the video down to an acceptible length. By miniCD, do you mean those 3" small CDs? Try to talk the customer into going for one regular sized CD, which might give you enough space to put everything on one disc. Finally, you should be aware that if you drop the video or audio bit rates at all below the standards, you have made a non-standard VCD. While it probably will play and the audio should be OK at the bit rate you propose, it does violate VCD standards and anything that rigidly enforces the standards may refuse to play such a disc.

-- Root (root@yahoo.moc), January 12, 2004.

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