VCD's can be played on:

CDROM drive
DVD ROM drive
A dedicated VCD player, (largely unavailable outside Asia)
Most dedicated DVD players can also play VCD's
Playstations with a VCD add-on

Video and audio quality is roughly similar to VHS.

VCD has now been superceeded by SVCD, Super Video CD.

A VCD can contain a maximum of 70 minutes of video per disc. The MPEG compression is fixed-rate, like most MP3 audio files. The result is lossy, artifacted video. Still, with a good transfer, a VCD can have better resolution than a standard VHS tape. The audio compression is (I believe) somewhere around 212k/bit (read: compressed but sounds very good). A unit such as a Dazzle USB video capture unit can create proper VCD MPEG files from video source input that can easily be burned to CD-R (playable on PCs and CD-R capable DVD units).

If you live in a city with a Chinatown, look around - you'll eventually find a shop with hundreds of VCD titles on sale for usually five to ten dollars. Surprise yourself and pick up a few. I bought a copy of John Woo's "Bullet to the Head" for eight bucks and haven't regretted it.

To give people an idea of how much VCD tech costs vis-a-vis other tech, for example, DVD: In Manila, I can buy a legal, licensed movie on VCD for about PhP450 (US$9) while a no-brand player (sometimes with a fake "SONY" superglued on the front) goes for around PhP2,500 (US$50).

Pirated VCDs and audio CDs, on the other hand, usually sell for PhP100 or so (US$2), and can be found in most shopping centers, roadside stalls, and even from peddlers who go from office to office.

Due to the low prices, most middle- or lower-class homes able to afford a television are also able to afford a VCD player, as well as a modest VCD library. They have effectively replaced VHS players for most people, and many of the smaller VHS rental shops have started to carry VCDs.

A movie on DVD, on the other hand, goes for over three times as much (PhP1,500, or US$30) as a legal VCD, and thus DVD has gained little acceptance, except from the upper-end video rental shops like Video City and ACA Video.

Prices given as of October 2001.

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