VCD and SVCD players
It is possible to play Video Compact Discs (VCDs) and Super VCDs (SVCDs) in Mac® OS X. This FAQ, derived from the corresponding chapter in our book, Troubleshooting Mac OS X, discusses players for these formats and provides related links to additional information.
About VCD and SVCD
VCD and SVCD are video formats that can be burned to inexpensive CD media. VCD is a relatively low-resolution format, roughly equivalent to videotape, whereas SVCD is considered to offer near-DVD quality.
The term VCD is frequently used generically to refer to both VCDs and SVCDs. The original VCD specifications Versions 1, 1.1, and 2 use MPEG-1 encoding. SVCDs employ MPEG-2 encoding.
Additional information about VCD and SVCD formats can be found on the VideoHelp Web site.
Creating VCDs and SVCDs with Mac OS X
You can create VCDs and SVCDs with Mac OS X using Roxio® Toast® or a plethora of open source tools. In addition to the guides and tutorials available on VideoHelp, Matti Haveris SVCD on a Macintosh site offers excellent advice on creating SVCDs and related video formats, with numerous links to tools and related sites. Occasionally, popular Mac-oriented magazines will publish articles on creating VCDs and SVCDs.
Using VCDs and SVCDs with home DVD players
Some home DVD players do not support SVCDs. If you have problems playing VCDs in your home DVD player, the discs may actually be SVCDs. Accordingly, if you are going to burn VCDs for yourself or a friend, its important to know precisely what VCD formats the target home DVD player supports. This information is usually found in the manual for the home DVD player.
VideoHelp also provides a searchable database of reader reports on DVD players compatible with VCD and SVCD formats.
Mac OS X support for VCD and SVCD
Note that DVD Player supports neither VCD nor SVCD formats.
|Mac OS X version
||Support for VCD and SVCD
|Mac OS X 10.7 and later
QuickTime Player (QuickTime X) and QuickTime Player 7 both support VCD playback. For instructions, see the Mac Help document “Playing a video compact disc (VCD).”
Neither QuickTime Player nor QuickTime Player 7 support SVCD playback: Apple recommends using a third-party player.
Prior to Mac OS X 10.7, some claimed that QuickTime Player 7 could play SVCDs with the addition of the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component. Unfortunately, the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component cannot be installed on Mac OS X 10.7 and later as QuickTime Player includes support for some MPEG-2 formats.
|Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.6
||QuickTime® supports the playback of VCDs. Instructions are found in the Mac Help document "Playing a Video Compact Disc (VCD)" corresponding to the version of Mac OS X you are using.
Officially, QuickTime does not support SVCD playback, hence a third-party player is required. Unofficially, we have read reports wherein some claimed to play SCVDs in QuickTime with the QuickTime MPEG2 Playback Component. We have been unable to test this, though it would seem possible given that SVCDs are encoded in the MPEG-2 format.
|Mac OS X 10.3
QuickTime 6.4 and later support the playback of VCDs under Mac OS X 10.3. Instructions are found in the Mac Help document Mac OS X 10.3: Playing Compact Disc (VCD) media.
Officially, QuickTime does not support SVCD playback, hence a third-party player is required. Unofficially, we have read reports wherein some claimed to play SVCDs in QuickTime with the QuickTime MPEG2 Playback Component. We have been unable to test this, though it would seem possible given that SVCDs are encoded in the MPEG-2 format.
|Mac OS X 10.2
||To play VCDs or SVCDs under Mac OS X 10.2, you must use a third-party player: neither QuickTime nor DVD Player support these formats.
The following applications provide VCD and SVCD playback under Mac OS X:
- VLC Media Player is a freeware video player that can play VCDs, DVDs, and a variety media formats, such as AVI- and DivX®-encoded files. VLC is also often referred to by its name, VideoLAN Client. As of the time of this writing, SVCD support in VLC is incomplete.
- MacVCD X is a shareware VCD player for Mac OS X 10.2-10.6. You can download a free trail version which will play the first five minutes of a VCD. If MacVCD X works for you, paying the license fee provides a registration code that will unlock all of the applications features. To play SVCDs, Mac VCD X requires the QuickTime MPEG2 Playback Component.