Content Page

Introduction 2

1. Video CD specification development 3

1.1 Red Book 3

1.2 Yellow Book 4

1.3 Green Book 5

1.4 White Book 6

2. Version of Video CD 7

2.1 Different version of Video CD 7

2.1.1 Version 1.0 7

2.1.2 Version 1.1 7

2.1.3 Version 2.0 7

2.1.4 CD-i DV 7

2.2 What is the difference between Video CD 1.0 / 1.1 / 2.0 ? 7

2.3 Comparing CD-i DV and Video CD 8

2.4 Laser Disc 8

2.4.1 What is LaserDisc 8

2.4.2 LaserDisc Sizes 8

3. Inside a Video CD 10

3.1 ISO 9660 10

3.2 MPEG-1 10

3.2.1 What is MPEG 10

3.2.2 How does MPEG-I video compression work 11

3.2.3 How does MPEG-I audio compression work 12

3.2.4 Integration of video and audio 13

3.2.5 MPEG parameter definitions of White Book 13

4. Equipment need to play Video CD 14

4.1Video CD players 14

4.2 Computer systems 14

4.3 CD-i player with Digital Video extension 14

5. Benefit of Video CD 15

5.1 Interactive Operation from Versatile Menus 15

5.2 Compact, easy to handle, and highly reliable 15

5.3 Spectacular Still Pictures 15

5.4 High Sound quality equivalent to conventional Audio CDs 15

5.5 Software and hardware Versatility 15

6 Future trends 16

6.1 What is DVD 16

6.2 What is DVD's capacity 16

6.3 Video Standards 16

6.3.1 What is MPEG-2 video 16

6.4 Audio Standards 17

Conclusion 18

Reference 19


Due to the rapid development of the computer technology, computer become faster and faster. Not only the rapid improvement of CPU processing power and speed, the storage media and memory also become more and more economic and large in size. These improvement of computer technology help the development of Multimedia technology. In the using of multimedia system, the user is always asking for large amounts of motion picture. But, large amounts of motion picture always means large amount of storage media and memory, that’s always been the problem because in the past, the memory and storage were always the bottle-neck problem in computing. Thanks to the successful development of Compact Disc(CD) and image compression, the problems of storage media and memory usage can be solved. Video CD is such a product develop in this situation.


Video CD is Matsushita's, Philips's, Sony's and JVC's common standard for storing full-motion video digitally onto a CD disc.


Video CD uses CD-ROM XA format discs, where the video information is stored using MPEG-1 compression technology, allowing 74 minutes of VHS-quality video.

(Esa Wahlroos, 1994


It sounds really good. But what is Video CD? What standard it based on? What is it advantage? What need to play Video CD? What technology is used for Video CD? In this paper we will discuss them one by one.





1. Video CD specification development


Video CD is a member of the CD family. All the CD under the ‘White Book’ specification called Video CD. The ‘White Book’ specification is inherited from various specifications of other member of CD family. They are:


1.1 Red Book

The Red Book describes the physical properties of the compact disc and the encoding of the digital audio data. It comprises the following information:


•Audio specification for 16-bit PCM

•Disc specification, including physical parameters

•Optical stylus and parameters including laser wavelength, numerical aperture, pit sizes and track pitch.

•Deviations and block error rate.

•Modulation system and error correction.

•Control and display system (i.e. subcode channels)

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,


The physical specifications for the 12cm disc, since known as CD, were issued in the now famous Red Book. The CD is made up of a polycarbonate substrate, a thin reflective metallic layer (the mirror-like is aluminum), and a lacquer coating. The encoded data track is a spiral track of about 2.2 microns wide, with the pits making a central band 0.6 microns wide. The encoded track is made up of sectors (sometimes erroneously named blocks).

The International Electrotechnical Commission published the Red Book as their Doc IEC 908. (Leo F. Pozo 1996,


Unlike CD-ROMs, there is NO file structure and NO directories - just continuous PCM audio. There are two forms of error CORRECTION, which makes it a very reliable medium. The total capacity of the CD-DA is 747 Mbytes, or 74 minutes. The specification was published in 1980 by Philips / Sony. (1997,


The ‘Red Book’ can say as the origin of the CD family. All physical specifications of member in CD family are same as ‘Red Book’ specific, including ‘White Book’, the Video CD.



1.2 Yellow Book

The Yellow Book was written in 1984 to describe the extension of CD to store computer data, i.e. CD-ROM. This specification comprises the following content:


•Disc specification which is a copy of part of the Red Book.

•Optical stylus parameters (from Red Book)

•Modulation and error correction (from Red Book)

•Control & display system (from Red Book)

•Digital data structure, which describes the sector structure and the ECC and EDC for a

CD-ROM disc.

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,


Introduced by Sony and Philips, the Yellow Book standard further defines the Red Book by adding two new types of tracks to support CD use with computers. The two tracks defined were CD-ROM Mode 1 (for computer data) and CD-ROM Mode 2 (for compressed audio, video and picture data). Mode 2 is usually further defined as CD-ROM XA (Extended Architecture).


•MODE 1 - three layers of error CORRECTION - 650 Mbyte capacity.

•MODE 2 - two layers of error CORRECTION - 742 Mbyte capacity.



In 1989, the Yellow Book was issued by the ISO as ISO/IEC 10149, Data Interchange on Read-Only 120mm Optical Discs (CD-ROM). (Leo F. Pozo 1996, .htm)


As a separate extension to the Yellow Book, the CD-ROM XA specification comprises the following:


•Disc format including Q channel and sector structure using Mode 2 sectors.

•Data retrieval structure based on ISO 9660 including file interleaving which is not

available for Mode 1 data.

•Audio encoding using ADPCM levels B and C.

•Video image encoding (i.e. stills)

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,

•Introduced MODE 2, FORM 2 which used sub-header sector separator of interleaved

data. - NO optional error correction.

•MODE 2, FORM 2 capacity is 738 Mbytes.


This CD-ROM XA standard, issued by Philips, Microsoft, and Sony, allows both computer data and Adaptive Pulse Code Modulation (ADPCM) data to exist on the same track. Therefore, computer data can be placed on the track as Form 1 data and ADPCM audio/video data can be placed on the track as Form 2 data. Additionally, with the proper interleaving of Form 1 and Form 2 data, the CD can play back audio, video and computer data in near real-time. (1997,


The ‘Yellow Book’ specification specific those CDs can read by a computer system, known as CD-ROM. The logical structure of Video CD which under ‘White Book’ specification is also under the specification of CD-ROM-XA.


1.3 Green Book

The Green Book, written originally in 1987, describes the CD-interactive (CD-i) disc, player and operating system and contains the following information:


•CD-I disc format (track layout, sector structure).

•Data retrieval structure which is based on ISO 9660 with some additions.

•Audio data using ADPCM levels A, B and C (cf CD-ROM XA)

•Real-time video data which describes the disc coding of different types of still images, the

video decoder and visual effects available.

•Program related data, which defines the 68000 processor instruction set, the character

sets to be used and phonetic coding.

•Compact Disc Real Time Operating System, which is the operating system used in every

CD-i player. The Green Book specifies the OS kernel, file managers, drivers and all the

system calls available.

•Base case system which is a specification of the minimum CD-i hardware configuration.

•Full motion extension which defines the functions provided by the MPEG cartridge and

the software calls available for MPEG decoding.

•Defines 30 frames/second full screen video with audio using MPEG-1


The Green Book is the most comprehensive specification of all the coloured books, specifying in detail not just the disc but the coding of data and the architecture of the player hardware and software.

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,


Although it looks like a CD-ROM XA sector, a CD-I sector uses the area (8 bytes) left unused in the Yellow Book CD-ROM sector structure in a different way.

(Leo F. Pozo 1996, .htm)


In ‘Green Book’ specification, the video compression MPEG-1 is introduced. This video compression standard will further use in ‘White Book’ specification. The video specification in ‘Green Book’ can say is the prototype of Video CD.



1.4 White Book

The White Book defines the Video CD specification. First published in 1993. This specification comprises the following content:


•Disc format including use of tracks, Video CD information area, segment play item area,

audio/video tracks and CD-DA tracks.

•Maximum of 99 video/audio tracks. (1997,

•Data Retrieval Structure, compatible with ISO 9660.

•MPEG audio/video track encoding including image sizes allowed, video/audio bit rate,

sector interleaving and examples of MPEG packets.

•Segment play item encoding for video sequences, video stills and CD-DA tracks.

•Play sequence descriptor to allow the playback of preprogrammed sequences.

•User data fields for scan data (enabling fast forward/reverse) and closed captions.

•Examples of play sequences and playback control.

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,


Video CD, designed mainly for the KARAOKE and motion picture markets, combines Full-Motion, Full-Screen video and audio playback off of the CD. This specification was written by Philips in conjunction with the Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC). CD-V implements the ISO MPEG 1 (Motion Pictures Expert Group) standard which can compress video and audio down to 1/50 of their original size or smaller. However, MPEG specific hardware and software is required for compression of data during development, as well as decompression during playback.



The White Book, used the sector structure of CD-ROM-XA to produce a Video-CD ("bridge disc,' or a hybrid CD) that could be played in CD-ROM-XA drives, and CD-I players as well. (Leo F. Pozo 1996, .htm)


All Video CDs are based on this ‘White Book’ specification.






2. Version of Video CD

2.1 Different version of Video CD

The White Book defines the Video CD specification. First published in 1993, there have been several versions:


•ver 1.0: Karaoke CD specification, MPEG-1 data in tracks

•ver 1.1: Video CD: as 1.0 but chapter marks and multi-volume album facilities added

•ver 2.0: Video CD: addition of stills, generic menus, playlists, closed caption text.

(Philips Electronics N.V 1995,


2.1.1 Version 1.0

It is designed mainly for the KARAOKE and motion picture markets. It combines Full- Motion, Full-Screen video and audio playback off of the CD. This version is capable of storing name of songs and Karaoke information.

(Optical Media Pte Ltd 1995,


2.1.2 Version 1.1

This is the latest format used by Philips for CD-i movies. Most of the Philips CDs dated 1994 and later are White Book. Look on the CD itself for the wording "Video CD". You will find that this directory is readable, and there are files with the extension .DAT

(Steve Perlman 1996,


2.1.3 Version 2.0

The world wants to develop interactive content. But, it doesn't want to pay high fees to Philips to develop CD-i Interactive disks, and wants to have wide distribution on PCs. Thus, the new Video CD 2.0 standard was created. It is an extension of Video CD 1.1, and has a readable directory with .DAT files. These CDs should begin to receive widespread distribution by the end of 1996.

(Steve Perlman 1996,


Besides those different versions of Video CD specific on ‘White Book’, there is also one version of CD Video in CD-i based on ‘Green Book’ specification, know as CD-i DV.


2.1.4 CD-i DV

This is the earliest format created by Philips for CD-i movies. Most of the Philips CDs dated 1993 and earlier are Green Book. Look on the CD itself for the wording "Digital Video". You will also find that the directory is unreadable on a PC.

(Steve Perlman 1996,


2.2 What is the difference between Video CD 1.0 / 1.1 / 2.0 ?

Video CD 1.0 was originally released for the making of Karaoke CD. This version is capable of storing song name and Karaoke information. Version 1.1 and 2.0 allows for an increased level of interactivity and handling of still frame images. In version 2.0, a function known as the PBC (playback control) allows for the replay of the Video CD to be programmable and high resolution still frame images to be combined with CD Audio quality sound. This makes presentation for slide shows a breeze.

(Optical Media Pte Ltd 1995,



2.3 Comparing CD-i DV and Video CD

A CD-i DV disc is a single platform format. It must be played on a dedicated CD-i player or on computer hardware that fully emulates the capabilities of a CD-i player. As mentioned earlier, Video CDs can be played on several devices. CD-i allows up to 32 MPEG audio channels, which may be used for multilingual and other applications, and only two audio channels are possible with Video CD. There are also differences in the video frame size and rate between the two formats, but the user of the disc is not aware of these differences. It is possible to add features to a Video CD that can be accessed by a CD-i player, but not by a dedicated Video CD player. For example, a Video CD could contain on-screen graphics, menus, and other features that would increase its interactivity and, thus, its perceived value when played on a CD-i player.

(Andrew Davidson & Lucy Lediaev 1994,


2.4 Laser Disc

Besides Video CD and CD-i DV, there is also another standard to store video information onto compact disc called LaserDisc


2.4.1 What is LaserDisc

Like the CD, the Laserdisc is scanned by a laser beam. In excess of one million shallow pits in the disc per second, are read one by one in the same way as the CD. A Laserdisc-player can play back not only laserdiscs, but also audio CDs. The main difference between laserdisc and other optical discs is that the audio signal on Laserdiscs is recorded digitally, just like CDs, but that the video signal is recorded in an analogue way. Combining digital and analogue information makes efficient use of the available disc space, enabling longer playing times than when all the information is digitized. Analogue video can offer very good image quality, with sharpness and details better than the average videotape reproduction. Due to the analogue video processing, laserdisc still depends on local television standards (for example a PAL disc cannot be read by an NTSC player nor a NTSC disc by a PAL player). However, there are players that can handle more than one system.


2.4.2 LaserDisc Sizes

12 cm Laserdisc single

The small, gold or silver coloured Laserdisc single has a diameter of 12 cm, which is similar in size as the CD. The Laserdisc single can contain 6 minutes of video programming plus accompanying digital sound. Alongside the video information, it has space for 20 minutes of digital audio.


20 cm Laserdisc EP

For longer programs the Laserdisc EP (Extended Play) was invented. An EP laserdisc can be double-sided, has a 20 cm diameter and can contain a maximum of 20 minutes of video plus audio per side, making a total of 40 minutes on a double sided disc. When the disc has two recorded sides, the disc actually consists of two discs glued together, back to back. The Laserdisc-EP is especially suitable for music video clips, cartoons, documentaries and instruction films.


30 cm Laserdisc LP

For complete concerts, films, operas, etc, the 30 cm Laserdisc LP was developed. This disc can contain a maximum of 60 minutes of video plus audio on each side, making a total of 2 hours. Here too, the double-sided disc consists of two discs glued together. The Laserdisc LP is the format used most often.

(Karen Spivey 1997,





Video CD

LaserDisc Single

LaserDisc EP

LaserDisc LP






Video Record

MPEG-1 Video




Audio Record

MPEG-1 Audio




Storage Video time

up to 74 minutes

6 minutes or 20 minutes audio

20 minutes 1 side 40 minutes 2 sides

60 minutes 1 side 40 minutes 2 sides


352 x 240 x 30Hz

567 x 480 x 30Hz

567 x 480 x 30Hz

567 x 480 x 30Hz

Information source:

Chad Fogg 1995,

Karen Spivey 1997,



3. Inside a Video CD

In the ‘White Book’ specification, it mainly specifies the standard of file structure and type of video compression technology using in Video CD. The file structure standard using in Video CD called ‘ISO 9660’. With this standard, many CD-ROM readers in different system can read Video CD. What ‘ISO 9660’ exactly is?


For the video compression, Video CD using a technology called ‘MPEG-1’. With this technology, nearly 74 minutes full motion picture can store in a CD. What is ‘MPEG-1’?


3.1 ISO 9660

The ISO 9660 standard describes the file structure for putting computer files on a compact disc. This structure is platform independent, which allows the files on the disc to be read by a variety of different operating systems running on different computers.


For IBM compatible PCs, a file structure called MS-DOS was used for hard drives and floppy disks; for Apple Macintosh, it was HFS. However, before ISO 9660, CD-ROM standards did not designate a file structure to use, therefore developers had to create their own file structures. This created confusion and problems for both developers and users. To solve this problem, a group of industry leaders drafted a proposal for a CD-ROM file structure which became know as "High Sierra". The name was born from the fact that they met at Del Webb's High Sierra Hotel and Casino in Nevada. Later the standard was adopted, with few enhancements, by the International Standards Organization to become ISO 9660.


It was not MS-DOS or HFS, but a file structure designed for CD-ROM, which means that both platforms could read the files on the disc. With such an open structure, came some restrictions; filenames and directory names MUST meet certain conditions. These conditions are different for the 3 levels of the standard.


ISO 9660 Levels:

Level 1 Uses lowest common operating system denominator. PC filename limits of 8.3, 8 character directory names (NO extensions), only characters A-Z, 0-9 and _ (underscore).


Level 2 Allows up to 30 character filenames.


Level 3 Not commonly used.



3.2 MPEG-1

3.2.1 What is MPEG

MPEG stand for Moving Pictures Experts Group. It is a group of people that meet under ISO (the International Standards Organization) to generate standards for digital video (sequences of images in time) and audio compression. In particular, they define a compressed bit stream, which implicitly defines a decompressor. However, the compression algorithms are up to the individual manufacturers, and that is where proprietary advantage is obtained within the scope of a publicly available international standard. MPEG meets roughly four times a year for roughly a week each time. In between meetings, a great deal of work is done by the members, so it doesn't all happen at the meetings. The work is organized and planned at the meetings.


Up to January 1996, they have completed the "Standard of MPEG phase I, colloquially called MPEG I. This defines a bit stream for compressed video and audio optimized to fit into a bandwidth (data rate) of 1.5 Mbits/s. This rate is special because it is the data rate of (uncompressed) audio CD's and DAT's. The standard is in three parts, video, audio, and systems, where the last part gives the integration of the audio and video streams with the proper timestamping to allow synchronization of the two.

(Mark Adler 1992,


3.2.2 How does MPEG-I video compression work

First off, it starts with a relatively low resolution video sequence (possibly decimated from the original) of about 352 by 240 frames by 30 frames/s (US--different numbers for Europe), but original high (CD) quality audio. The images are in color, but converted to YUV space, and the two chrominance channels (U and V) are decimated further to 176 by 120 pixels. It turns out that you can get away with a lot less resolution in those channels and not notice it, at least in "natural" (not computer generated) images.


The basic scheme is to predict motion from frame to frame in the temporal direction, and then to use DCT's (discrete cosine transforms) to organize the redundancy in the spatial directions. The DCT's are done on 8x8 blocks, and the motion prediction is done in the luminance (Y) channel on 16x16 blocks. In other words, given the 16x16 block in the current frame that you are trying to code, you look for a close match to that block in a previous or future frame (there are backward prediction modes where later frames are sent first to allow interpolating between frames). The DCT coefficients (of either the actual data, or the difference between this block and the close match) are "quantized", which means that you divide them by some value to drop bits off the bottom end. Hopefully, many of the coefficients will then end up being zero. The quantization can change for every "macroblock" (a macroblock is 16x16 of Y and the corresponding 8x8's in both U and V). The results of all of this, which include the DCT coefficients, the motion vectors, and the quantization parameters (and other stuff) is Huffman coded using fixed tables. The DCT coefficients have a special Huffman table that is "two-dimensional" in that one code specifies a run-length of zeros and the non-zero value that ended the run. Also, the motion vectors and the DC DCT components are DPCM (subtracted from the last one) coded.


The scheme is a little more complicated than that. There are three types of coded frames. There are "I" or intra frames. They are simply a frame coded as a still image, not using any past history. You have to start somewhere. Then there are "P" or predicted frames. They are predicted from the most recently reconstructed I or P frame. (I'm describing this from the point of view of the decompressor.) Each macroblock in a P frame can either come with a vector and difference DCT coefficients for a close match in the last I or P, or it can just be "intra" coded (like in the I frames) if there was no good match.


Lastly, there are "B" or bi-directional frames. They are predicted from the closest two I or P frames, one in the past and one in the future. You search for matching blocks in those frames, and try three different things to see which works best. (Now I have the point of view of the compressor, just to confuse you.) You try using the forward vector, the backward vector, and you try averaging the two blocks from the future and past frames, and subtracting that from the block being coded. If none of those work well, you can intra-code the block.


The sequence of decoded frames usually goes like:




Where there are 12 frames from I to I (for US and Japan anyway.) This is based on a random access requirement that you need a starting point at least once every 0.4 seconds or so. The ratio of P's to B's is based on experience.


Of course, for the decoder to work, you have to send that first P before the first two B's, so the compressed data stream ends up looking like:




where those are frame numbers. xx might be nothing (if this is the true starting point), or it might be the B's of frames -2 and -1 if we're in the middle of the stream somewhere.


You have to decode the I, then decode the P, keep both of those in memory, and then decode the two B's. You probably display the I while you're decoding the P, and display the B's as you're decoding them, and then display the P as you're decoding the next P, and so on.

(Mark Adler 1992,


3.2.3 How does MPEG-I audio compression work

Basically they use very carefully developed psychoacoustic models derived from experiments with the best obtainable listeners to pick out pieces of the sound that you can't hear. There are what are called "masking" effects where, for example, a large component at one frequency will prevent you from hearing lower energy parts at nearby frequencies, where the relative energy vs. frequency that is masked is described by some empirical curve. There are similar temporal masking effects, as well as some more complicated interactions where a temporal effect can unmask a frequency, and vice-versa.


The sound is broken up into spectral chunks with a hybrid scheme that combines sine transforms with subband transforms, and the psychoacoustic model written in terms of those chunks. Whatever can be removed or reduced in precision is, and the remainder is sent. It's a little more complicated than that, since the bits have to be allocated across the bands. And, of course, what is sent is entropy coded.

(Mark Adler 1992,


3.2.4 Integration of video and audio

Normally, audio CD data rates are about 1.5 Mbits/s. You can compress the same stereo program down to 256 Kbits/s with no loss in discernable quality. (So they say. For the most part it's true, but every once in a while a weird thing might happen that you'll notice. However the effect is very small, and it takes a listener trained to notice these particular types of effects.) That's about 6:1 compression. So, a CD MPEG I stream would have about 1.25 MBits/s left for video. The number I usually see though is 1.15 MBits/s (maybe you need the rest for the system data stream). You can then calculate the video compression ratio from the numbers here to be about 26:1. If you step back and think about that, it's little short of a miracle. Of course, it's lossy compression, but it can be pretty hard sometimes to see the loss, if you're comparing the SIF original to the SIF decompressed. There is, however, a very noticeable loss if you're coming from CCIR-601 and have to decimate to SIF, but that's another matter. I'm not counting that in the 26:1.


The standard also provides for other bit rates ranging from 32Kbits/s for a single channel, up to 448 Kbits/s for stereo.

(Mark Adler 1992,


3.2.5 MPEG parameter definitions of White Book

Audio coding method: MPEG-1 Layer II

Sampling rate: 44.1 kHz

Coded bit rate: 224 Kbits/sec

Mode: stereo, dual channel, or intensity stereo


Video coding method: MPEG-1

Permitted sample rates:


352 pixels/line x 240 lines/frame x 29.97 frames/sec (NTSC rate)

352 pixels/line x 240 lines/frame x 23.976 frames/sec (NTSC film rate)

352 pixels/line x 288 lines/frame x 25 frame/sec (PAL rate)

Maximum bitrate: 1.1519291 bits/sec

(Chad Fogg 1995,





4. Equipment need to play Video CD

A Video CD disc is a 'CD-i Bridge disc'. That means that it can play on a number of devices but must always contain a CD-i application so that it can be played on any CD-i player. The Bridge format assures multi-platform compatibility. Target platforms for Video CD discs are dedicated Video CD players, computer systems configured to support Video CD, and CD-i players with Digital Video cartridges.


4.1Video CD players

A dedicated Video CD player is designed to play only Video CDs and is not a general purpose multimedia machine. This kind of player might be likened to a VCR for compact discs. The play-back application for Video CD is contained in the player hardware and allows play back of the linear video material on the disc. Several hardware manufacturers will release players later this year.

(Andrew Davidson & Lucy Lediaev 1994,


4.2 Computer systems

A computer system that features a CD-ROM/XA drive, an MPEG-1 decoder, and a host play-back application can also be used to play Video CD discs. The application can be included in the hardware (for instance, on a special board) or as a software application on the compact disc or on the host computer system's hard disk. This platform can provide more functionality than a dedicated Video CD player.

(Andrew Davidson & Lucy Lediaev 1994,


4.3 CD-i player with Digital Video extension

Video CD discs can also be played on any CD-i player that has the Digital Video extension. Philips players currently offer this extension via a plug-in cartridge, but this capability may be built into future CD-i players. Like computer systems, CD-i players can allow the user to have more interactive control of play-back behavior through the use of features like on-screen, graphical tables of contents and supplemental material, such as behind-the-scenes interviews, commentaries, discographies, etc.

(Andrew Davidson & Lucy Lediaev 1994,




5. Benefit of Video CD

5.1 Interactive Operation from Versatile Menus

In addition to fast access, the Playback Control (PBC) function allows you to search for and select programs quickly and easily through handy menu screens incorporated into Video CD software. Enjoy access to an array of interactive software programs that put you in charge of the action. For example, when you using a golf lesson Video CD, you can personally select the points you wish to cover.



5.2 Compact, easy to handle, and highly reliable

The main difference between a Video CD and a normal Audio CD lies in the type of data and standard used. In terms of material, structure and size, Video CDs are identical to Audio CDs, offering the same high durability in a compact size. Since sound and images are digitally recorded and signals are read by non-contact pickup device, sound and picture do not deteriote with constant use.



5.3 Spectacular Still Pictures

Video CD offers playback of still picture images. A standard still picture can be displayed in 352 x 240 pixels, assuring the same picture quality as ordinary moving images. In addition, with Version 2.0, you can also display hi-resolution still pictures in 704 x 480 pixels for even clearer results. One Video CD can hold up to 2000 hi-resolution still pictures, letting you enjoy viewing photo collections and picture books.



5.4 High Sound quality equivalent to conventional Audio CDs

In addition to moving images and still pictures, Video CD offers digital sound quality comparable to Audio CDs. (1996


5.5 Software and hardware Versatility

Video CDs can be played back on special Video CD Players or with the Latest versions of Laser Disc Players, Hi-Fi sets where a Video CD player has been incorporated. Further, they can also be played back on the CD-ROM drive of a PC installed with an MPEG-1 card. (1996



6 Future trends

Although one Video CD can store up to 74 minutes video in 352 x 240 x 30Hz with audio, some people still not satisfy with this. By further development and improvement in storage media, a new product is release in the year end of 1996, called DVD.


6.1 What is DVD

DVD stands for "Digital Versatile Disc". It includes products and software that will be built in conformance with a specification being developed by a consortium of the largest computer, consumer electronics, and entertainment companies. The intention is to create a range of compatible products based on a new generation of the Compact Disc format which provides increased storage capacity and performance, especially for video and multimedia applications.

There are five DVD "Books", labeled A through E pertaining to different applications. They are: Book A, DVD-ROM; Book B, DVD-Video; Book C, DVD-Audio; Book D, DVD-WO (Write Once); and Book E, DVD-E (Erasable or re-writeable).

(Karen Spivey 1997,


The Book B, DVD-Video is what we concern because it also specific the video with audio in DVD


6.2 What is DVD's capacity

The storage capacity of a single sided, single layer, 120 mm (5 inch) DVD is 4.7 gigabytes. This is often equated to 133 minutes of movie play time, assuming 3 audio streams and an arbitrary video quality/bit rate of 3.5 megabits per second. It is made from two .6 mm thick substrates (discs) bonded together to form a disc that is equal in size to a standard CD. If the second substrate is molded with information, the capacity is doubled to 9.4 gigabytes (probably requiring a manual disc flip for full access).

(Karen Spivey 1997,


6.3 Video Standards

The video standards being used include MPEG-1 (ISO/IEC 1117-2) and MPEG-2 (ISO/IEC 13818-2), with quality levels ranging from fixed rate MPEG-1 at 30 fields per second at a resolution 352 x 240; to variable bit rate MPEG-2 at 60 fields per second at a resolution of 720 x 480.

(Karen Spivey 1997,


Thanks to MPEG2 compression, a single-layer, single-sided DVD has enough capacity to hold two hours and 13 minutes of spectacular video on a 4-3/4-inch disc!

(Sony Electronics Inc. 1997,


6.3.1 What is MPEG-2 video

MPEG-2 video conforms to the ISO/IEC 13818 specification for encoded video data and the multiplexed stream containing audio and other information. The emphasis for the DVD movie player is on high quality, 720 x 480 (NTSC), 60 field per second video encoded from 24 frame per second film using variable bit rate encoding that avoids compression artifacts on difficult sequences by using higher bit rates, and reduces bit rates for the easy sequences, typically averaging around a 30% reduction in bandwidth and storage capacity compared to fixed bit rate. The video standard for DVD is actually very flexible and allows for fixed bit rate encoding, MPEG-1 or MPEG-2, and lower resolutions like Video CD resolution of 352 x 240. MPEG-2 video is used in other systems such as satellite broadcast video and interactive video over phone lines, but these implementations do not conform to the DVD video spec, which is a subset.

(Karen Spivey 1997,


6.4 Audio Standards

Audio standards include MPEG-1 (ISO/IEC 1117-3) stereo, MPEG-2 (ISO/IEC 13818-3) 5.1 and 7.1 surround, and Dolby AC-3 5.1 surround and stereo ProLogic. Linear PCM at up to 24 bits per sample and 96 ksps in stereo is also specified. Audio sampling rate for MPEG-2 and AC-3 is defined as 48 ksps, not 44.1 ksps as in MPEG-1.

(Karen Spivey 1997,


As an option to Dolby AC-3 sound, DVD also enables producers to choose 16-bit linear, CD quality stereo sound with Dolby Pro Logic encoding. And to facilitate international distribution of movie discs, DVD makes possible up to eight languages and 32 sets of subtitles.

(Sony Electronics Inc. 1997,





Video CD


Video data rate

1.44 megabits/sec(video, audio)

1 to 10 megabits/sec(video, audio, subtitles)

Video compression



Sound tracks

2 Channel-MPEG

Mandatory (NTSC):

2-channel linear PCM;

2-channel/5.1-channel AC-3.


up to 8 streams of data available


Open caption only

Up to 32 languages 

(Sony Electronics Ins. 1997,




Video CD really gives an impact to the world. After we can store Movies in video tape and LaserDisc, now we also can store movies in CD!


As a user point of view, I really welcome Video CD. It is because the price of Video CD is relatively cheap. In Hong Kong(where I come form) or some other place in Asia, a movie in Video CD format only cost 10 Australia dollars but nearly 30 Australia dollars in video tape format. Also, Video CD is really small in size. It can be an advantage for storage. Playing Video CD is not different. Besides CD-i or Video CD player, we can also play Video CD with computer system. In nowadays computer, PowerPC or Pentium class computer become the main stream computer. With these computers, no special hardware need to add because the CPU inside is powerful to decode MPEG-1 Video compression without any other help. By just using a software player, we can play Video CD on computer system.


With the release of DVD, CD-ROM will disappear someday. But in the specification in DVD, a specification is for DVD-Video. Inside this specification, we can find that there are so many similar things between Video CD and DVD-Video. So I believe that DVD-Video should be the continue of Video CD.



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