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Glossary Of Terms

35mm , 16mm, digital-BETA, BETA-SP, and S-VHS
The most used formats in the motion picture and television industries are the 35mm and 16mm or Super-16mm for their high quality.  Digital formats like the D-formats such as D-1, D-2, D-5, D-9 are the highest quality.  Broadcaster and some professionals use DV50 (4%) and Beta-SP (48%). Some professionals use DV and S-VHS or U-matic SP (3/4” format).  The most common format is the VHS for its affordability and acceptable quality in business and personal communications.

NTSC (National Television Standards Committee).   Group formed by Federal Communications Commission to regulate U.S. television broadcasting specifications.
NTSC refers to all video systems conforming to this 525-line 30-frame-per-second signal standard.
PAL (phase alternate line) 625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard, incompatible with NTSC, used in Europe.
SECAM (sequential color and memory) 625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard used in France. Incompatible with NTSC, PAL .
Different countries use different types of broadcast system.
Why did this happen?
In order to work TV receivers require a source of field timing reference signals. These are signals that tell the TV receiver to be ready to receive the next picture in the stream of images. Early set designers decided to use the Mains power supply frequency as this source for two good reasons. The first was that with the older types of power supply, you would get rolling hum bars on the TV picture if the mains supply and power source were not at exactly the same frequency. The second was that the TV studios would have had enormous problems with flicker on their cameras when making programs. There are two Mains power frequencies widely used around the World, 50Hz and 60Hz. This immediately divided the worlds TV systems into two distinct camps, the 25 frames per second camp (50Hz) and the 30 frames per second camp (60Hz).
Later the 60Hz camp made a small adjustment and changed the field rate to 59.94Hz when they added colour to the signals. The issue of field frequency remained sufficiently deep rooted in both TV standards that the vested interest remained long after the original technical justification had gone.
MTS – Used in conjunction with NTSC/525. Consists of two independent carriers each carrying a discrete channel. One channel provides stereo sound by providing left/right channel difference signals relative to transmitted mono audio track. The second carrier carries the Secondary Audio Program (SAP)  which is used for a second language or a descriptive commentary for the blind. Uses a technique based on the dbx noise reduction to improve the frequency response of the audio channel.
FM-FM – dual carrier FM coded discrete stereo transmissions, analogue. Can be used for bi-lingual operation under user selection, but no auto-selection is available                  audio characteristics better than standard mono soundtrack.
NICAM   –  (full name: NICAM 728)  Digital two-channel audio transmissions with sub-code selection of bi-lingual operation. Stereo digital signals with specifications approaching those of Compact Disc are possible. NICAM stands for Near Instantaneously Commanded Audio Multiplex and uses a 14bit sample at a 32KHz sampling rate which produces a data stream of 728Kbits/sec.


CC- (full name: Closed Captioning) Transmitted on line 21 of NTSC/525 transmissions, contains subtitling information only. CC has no support for block graphics or multiple pages, but it can support 8-colours and the use of an italic typeface. Frequently found on pre-recorded VHS cassettes and LDs, also used on broadcast. Also found on PAL/625 pre-recorded VHS cassettes in a modified version.
TELETEXT- An information service of 200-700 “pages” covering a wide rang of topics including TV Schedules, News, Financial Market prices, Comment, Reviews, Concert & Theatre information. Subtitles are typically transmitted on page 888 in the UK, on pages 199/299/399 in Belgium and Holland, on page 150 in Germany and on page 777 in Italy.
There are a number of variant character sets used, but the encoding is identical and all English alphabet characters plus numbers. Any decoder can handle most punctuation. Includes support for 8 colours, and limited block graphics, and selective reveal ling of underlying TV picture. Transmitted on a variable number of lines (specified in header, which contains basic information such as time, date and channel), started on a line 12 and continuing for 7- 8 lines typically. Found on broadcast and some Laser Discs; recording of Teletext signals is marginal on S-VHS, almost impossible on VHS hence the PAL/625 version of CC.
The BBC-designed Teletext system is known in some quarters as World Standard Teletext. There is an enhanced version known as Fastext, which defines four links to additional pages that can be, followed windrow. The U.S.  “CC” is known widely in technical circles as LITO = LINE Twenty-One! Where it lives.

Color and Broadcasting Systems by Country

Country Color Stereo Subtitles
Albania PAL    
Argentina PAL-N    
Armenia PAL    
Australia PAL FM-FM Teletext
Austria PAL FM-FM Teletext
Azores(Portugal) PAL    
Bahamas NTSC    
Bahrain PAL    
Barbados NTSC    
Belgium PAL Nicam Teletext
Bermuda NTSC    
Brazil PAL-M MTS  
Bulgaria SECAM    
Canary Islands PAL    
China PAL    
Colombia NTSC    
Cyprus PAL    
Czechoslovakia SECAM/ PAL    
Denmark PAL Nicam Teletext
Egypt SECAM    
Faeroe Islands PAL    
Finland PAL Nicam Teletext
France SECAM    
Gambia PAL    
Germany PAL FM-FM Teletext
Gibraltar PAL    
Greece SECAM    
Hong Kong PAL Nicam  
Hungary PAL    
Iceland PAL    
India PAL    
Indonesia PAL    
Iran SECAM    
Ireland PAL Nicam Teletext
Israel PAL Nicam Teletext
Italy PAL FM-FM Teletext
Jamaica SECAM    
Japan NTSC Matrix  
Jordan PAL    
Kenya PAL    
Korea NTSC    
Luxembourg PAL   Teletext
Madeira PAL    
Madagascar SECAM    
Malaysia PAL    
Malta PAL    
Mauritius SECAM    
Monaco SECAM/ PAL    
Morocco SECAM    
Netherlands PAL FM-FM Teletext
New Zealand PAL Nicam Teletext
North Korea SECAM    
Norway PAL Nicam  
Pakistan PAL    
Paraguay PAL    
Peru NTSC    
Philippines NTSC    
Poland PAL   Teletext
Portugal PAL Nicam Teletext
Romania PAL    
Russia SECAM/ PAL    
Saudi Arabia SECAM    
Seychelles PAL    
Singapore PAL    
South Africa PAL    
South Korea NTSC    
Spain PAL Nicam Teletext
Sri Lanka PAL    
Sweden PAL Nicam Teletext
Switzerland PAL FM-FM Teletext
Tahiti SECAM    
Taiwan NTSC    
Thailand PAL    
Trinidad NTSC    
Tunisia SECAM    
Turkey PAL   Teletext
United Arab Emirates PAL    
United Kingdom PAL Nicam Teletext
Uruguay PAL MTS  
Venezuela NTSC    
Yugoslavia PAL    
Zimbabwe PAL    


The CD (audio only) and CD-ROM (interactive videos and software) are widely used for their compact features and ability to hold mixed media like text, graphics, sound, and video. CD-ROM can store visual, sound, and computer files, therefore it is used in multimedia productions.  Recently CD-ROM has become widely used for presentations, demos, training, and web sites.
Many corporate projects are now produced on DVD instead of CD-ROM, because DVD provides full-screen digital video, six-channel surround sound and built-in interactivity.  The DVD technology is becoming the delivery media of choice for film, corporate and industrial projects.  DVD plays on set-top players, DVD ROM-equipped PCs and laptops and even hand-held players, so the full quality of your productions is as mobile as your customers.  Five million set-top players and fifty million DVD-equipped PCs were sold in the U.S. in 1999.
The DVD format has evolved to include computer ROM information, web links, high-density DVD-Audio/DVD-Video, and multi-media content.  There are several varieties of DVD format such as DVD5, DVD9, DVD10, DVD18. Which can hold many gigabytes of information.  DVD stores media in layers and sides, so it can be single-sided double or single layer, or double-sided double or single layer.

Multimedia is a medium of expression that employs several formats at once – including text, video, spoken word, sounds, and music.  In most cases, multimedia is interactive.  Interactive multimedia serves lots of purposes, including electronic brochures that introduce a company or product, interactive product catalogs that go beyond brochures and offer shoppers a chance to browse and buy, trade show or retail presentations that offer a chance to explore a product and have questions answered without having to speak to a salesperson and much more.

Interactive video allows the viewer to take control of the presentation and view it in the order he is interested in (randomly) or only the parts he is interested in.  This provides the viewer more incentive to watch your presentation, because it saves him time by allowing him to quickly and effectively get the information that he needs.

What's DVD?

DVD is the cohesion of multimedia and a digital video player, movies and interactivity. By employing the latest advances in digital compression technology, DVD can hold up to 25 times more digital information than a CD-ROM, and DVD can be used to create innovative, cutting-edge video discs, with all sorts of data including directories cuts, photo galleries, interviews with actors... in fact, practically anything today's video producers can imagine.
The new multimedia storage format of choice, DVD can hold hours of audio and video data, such as movies and concerts, for playback in consumer set-top units. But DVD is more than just a high quality video format. DVD can also hold computer data like DVD-ROM games, encyclopedias and stock photo libraries. Even some of today's most popular game consoles have DVD at the very core of their technology. DVD, which once stood for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc, is the next generation of optical disc storage technology. It's essentially a bigger, faster CD that can hold cinema-like video, better than CD audio, and computer data. DVD aims to encompass home entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format, eventually replacing audio CD, videotape, laserdisc, CD-ROM, and perhaps even video game cartridges. DVD has widespread support from all major electronics companies, all major computer hardware companies, and all major movie and music studios. With this unprecedented support, DVD has become the most successful consumer electronics product of all time in less than three years of its introduction. It's important to understand the difference between the physical formats (such as DVD-ROM or DVD-R) and the application formats (such as DVD-Video or
DVD-Audio). DVD-ROM is the base format that holds data. DVD-Video (often simply called DVD) defines how video programs are stored on disc and played in a DVD-Video player or a DVD computer. The difference is similar to that between CD-ROM and Audio CD. DVD-ROM includes recordable variations DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. The application formats include DVD-Video, DVD-Video Recording, DVD-Audio, DVD-Audio Recording, DVD Stream Recording, and SACD). There are also special application formats for game consoles such as Sony PlayStation II.

Why DVD?

Using DVD technology, producers can create a nearly limitless range of interactive titles. Instead of watching a video in linear fashion, as with traditional videotape, DVD users can interact with the content, pausing to catch a glimpse of behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards of movie action, or changing angles to see a subject from a different point of view. In addition a multitude of multi-lingual capabilities, DVD offers producers the chance to create a nearly limitless range of interactive titles. Imagine a documentary where you have an opportunity to, at a moments notice, jump to more in-depth information on a topic that was just mentioned. Or, imagine being able to link straight from an advertiser's video logo to their corporate Web site. In DVD your choices determine the sequence of events as well as the outcome. In DVD, the content is tailored to the viewer!

What are the features of DVD-Video?

Over 2 hours of high-quality digital video (over 8 on a double-sided,
dual-layer disc). Support for widescreen movies on standard or widescreen TVs (4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios). Up to 8 tracks of digital audio (for multiple languages, DVS, etc.), each with as many as 8 channels. Up to 32 subtitle/karaoke tracks.
Automatic "seamless" branching of video for multiple story lines or ratings on one disc. Up to 9 camera angles different viewpoints can be selected during playback. Menus and simple interactive features for games, quizzes, etc. Multilingual identifying text for title name, album name, song name, cast, crew, etc. Instant rewind and fast forward (no "be kind, rewind" stickers and threats on rental discs) Instant search to title, chapter, music track, and timecode. Durable (no wear from playing, only from physical damage). Not susceptible to magnetic fields. Resistant to heat. Compact size (easy to handle, store, and ship; players can be portable; replication is cheaper). Note: Most discs do not contain all features (multiple audio/subtitle tracks, seamless branching, parental control, etc.), as each feature must be specially authored. Some discs may not allow searching or skipping.
Most players support a standard set of features: Language choice (for automatic selection of video scenes, audio tracks, subtitle tracks, and menus). Special effects playback: freeze, step, slow, fast, and scan (no reverse play or reverse step). Parental lock (for denying playback of discs or scenes with objectionable material ).
Programmability (playback of selected sections in a desired sequence).
Random play and repeat play. Digital audio output (PCM stereo and Dolby Digital).
Compatibility with audio CDs. Must be supported by additional content on the disc.
Some players include additional features:
Component (YUV or RGB) video output for higher-quality picture. Progressive-scan component (YUV or RGB) output for highest-quality analog picture. Six-channel analog output from internal audio decoder. Recognition and output of DTS Digital Surround audio tracks. Compatibility with Video CDs. Compatibility with laserdiscs and CDV's.
Ability to play Divx discs. Reverse single frame stepping. RF output (for TVs with no direct video input). Multilingual on-screen display. Digital zoom (2x or 4x enlargement of a section of the picture). This is a player feature, not a DVD disc feature.

What's the quality of DVD-Video?

DVD has the capability to produce near-studio-quality video and
better-than-CD-quality audio. DVD is vastly superior to videotape and generally
better than laserdisc. However, quality depends on many production factors. As compression experience and technology improves we will see
increasing quality, but as production costs decrease we will also see more
shoddily produced discs. A few low-budget DVDs will even use MPEG-1 encoding
(which is no better than VHS) instead of higher-quality MPEG-2.
DVD video is usually encoded from digital studio master tapes to MPEG-2 format.
The encoding process uses lossy compression that removes redundant information
(such as areas of the picture that don't change) and information that's not
readily perceptible by the human eye. The resulting video, especially when it is
complex or changing quickly, may sometimes contain visual flaws, depending on
the processing quality and amount of compression. At average rates of 3.5 Mbps
(million bits/second), compression artifacts may be occasionally noticeable.
Higher data rates can result in higher quality, with almost no perceptible
difference from the master at rates above 6 Mbps. As MPEG compression technology
improves, better quality is being achieved at lower rates.
Video from DVD sometimes contains visible artifacts such as color banding,
blurriness, blockiness, fuzzy dots, shimmering, missing detail, and even effects
such as a face that "floats" behind the rest of the moving picture. It's
important to understand that the term "artifact" refers to anything that was not
originally present in the picture. Artifacts are sometimes caused by poor MPEG
encoding, but artifacts are more often caused by a poorly adjusted TV, bad
cables, electrical interference, sloppy digital noise reduction, improper
picture enhancement, poor film-to-video transfer, film grain, player faults,
disc read errors, etc. Most DVDs exhibit few visible MPEG compression artifacts
on a properly configured system.. If you think otherwise, you are
misinterpreting what you see.
Some early DVD demos were not very good, but this is simply an indication of how
bad DVD can be if not properly processed and correctly reproduced. Many demo
discs were rushed through the encoding process in order to be distributed as
quickly as possible. Contrary to common opinion, and as stupid as it may seem,
these demos were not carefully "tweaked" to show DVD at its best. In-store demos
should be viewed with a grain of salt, since most salespeople are incapable of
properly adjusting a television set.
Most TVs have the sharpness set too high for the clarity of DVD. This
exaggerates high-frequency video and causes distortion, just as the treble
control set too high for a CD causes it to sound harsh. Many DVD players output
video with a black-level setup of 0 IRE (Japanese standard) rather than 7.5 IRE
(US standard). On TVs that are not properly adjusted this can cause some
blotchiness in dark scenes. DVD video has exceptional color fidelity, so muddy
or washed-out colors are almost always a problem in the display (or the original
source), not in the DVD player or disc.
DVD audio quality is superb. DVD includes the option of PCM (pulse code
modulation) digital audio with sampling sizes and rates higher than audio CD.
Alternatively, audio for most movies is stored as discrete, multi-channel
surround sound using Dolby Digital or DTS audio compression similar to the
digital surround sound formats used in theaters. As with video, audio quality
depends on how well the processing and encoding was done. In spite of
compression, Dolby Digital and DTS can be close to or better than CD quality.
The final assessment of DVD quality is in the hands of consumers. Most viewers
consistently rate it better than laserdisc, but no one can guarantee the quality
of DVD, just as no one should dismiss it based on demos or hearsay. In the end
it's a matter of individual perception and the level of quality delivered by the
playback system.

What are the sizes and capacities of DVD?

There are many variations on the DVD theme. There are two physical sizes: 12 cm
(4.7 inches) and 8 cm (3.1 inches), both 1.2 mm thick. These are the same form
factors as CD. A DVD disc can be single-sided or double-sided. Each side can
have one or two layers of data. The amount of video a disc can hold depends on
how much audio accompanies it and how heavily the video and audio are
compressed. The oft-quoted figure of 133 minutes is apocryphal: a DVD with only
one audio track easily holds over 160 minutes, and a single layer can actually
hold up to 9 hours of video and audio if it's compressed to VHS quality.
At a rough average rate of 4.7 Mbps (3.5 Mbps for video, 1.2 Mbps for three
5.1-channel soundtracks), a single-layer DVD can hold a little over two hours. A
two-hour movie with three soundtracks can average 5.2 Mbps. A dual-layer disc
can hold a two-hour movie at an average of 9.5 Mbps (very close to the 10.08
Mbps limit).
A DVD-Video disc containing mostly audio can play for 13 hours (24 hours with
dual layers) using 48/16 PCM (slightly better than CD quality). It can play 160
hours of audio (or a whopping 295 hours with dual layers) using Dolby Digital 64
kbps compression of monophonic audio, which is perfect for audio books.
Capacities of DVD:
For reference, a CD-ROM holds about 650 megabytes, which is 0.64 gigabytes or
0.68 billion bytes. In the list below, SS/DS means single-/double-sided,
SL/DL/ML means single-/dual-/mixed-layer (mixed means single layer on one side,
double layer on the other side), gig means gigabytes (2^30), G means billions of
bytes (10^9).

DVD-5 (12cm, SS/SL): 4.38 gig (4.7 G) of data, over 2 hours of video
DVD-9 (12cm, SS/DL): 7.95 gig (8.5 G), about 4 hours
DVD-10 (12cm, DS/SL): 8.75 gig (9.4 G), about 4.5 hours
DVD-14 (12cm, DS/ML): 12.33 gig (13.24 G), about 6.5 hours
DVD-18 (12cm, DS/DL): 15.90 gig (17 G), over 8 hours
DVD-1 (8cm, SS/SL): 1.36 gig (1.4 G), about half an hour
DVD-2 (8cm, SS/DL): 2.48 gig (2.7 G), about 1.3 hours
DVD-3 (8cm, DS/SL): 2.72 gig (2.9 G), about 1.4 hours
DVD-4 (8cm, DS/DL): 4.95 gig (5.3 G), about 2.5 hours
DVD-R (12cm, SS/SL): 3.68 gig (3.95 G)
DVD-R (12cm, DS/SL): 7.38 gig (7.9 G)
DVD-R (8cm, SS/SL): 1.15 gig (1.23 G)
DVD-R (8cm, DS/SL): 2.29 gig (2.46 G)
DVD-RAM (12cm, SS/SL): 2.40 gig (2.58 G)
DVD-RAM (12cm, DS/SL): 4.80 gig (5.16 G)

What are the video details?

DVD-Video is an application of DVD-ROM. DVD-Video is also an application of
MPEG-2. This means the DVD format defines subsets of these standards to be
applied in practice as DVD-Video. DVD-ROM can contain any desired digital information, but DVD-Video is limited to certain data types designed for
television reproduction. A disc has one track (stream) of MPEG-2 constant bit rate (CBR) or variable bit rate (VBR) compressed digital video. A restricted version of MPEG-2 Main Profile at Main Level (MP@ML) is used. SP@ML is also supported. MPEG-1 CBR and VBR video is also allowed. 525/60 (NTSC, 29.97 interlaced frames/sec) and 625/50 (PAL, 25 interlaced frames/sec) video display systems are expressly supported. Coded frame rates of 24 fps progressive from film, 25 fps interlaced from PAL video, and 29.97 fps interlaced from NTSC video are typical. MPEG-2
A DVD-5 with only one surround stereo audio stream (at 192 kbps) can hold over
55 hours of audio. A DVD-18 can hold over 200 hours.

DVD drive speed Data rate Equivalent CD rate Actual CD speed

1x11.08 Mbps (1.32 MB/s) 9x8x-18x
2x22.16 Mbps (2.64 MB/s) 18x20x-24x
4x44.32 Mbps (5.28 MB/s) 36x24x-32x
5x55.40 Mbps (6.60 MB/s) 45x24x-32x
6x66.48 Mbps (7.93 MB/s) 54x24x-32x
8x88.64 Mbps (10.57 MB/s) 72x32x-40x
10x110.80 Mbps (13.21 MB/s) 90x32x-40x
16x177.28 Mbps (21.13 MB/s) 144x32x-40x

DVD production

DVD production has two basic phases: development and replication. Development is
different for DVD-ROM and DVD-Video, replication is essentially the same for
both. DVD-ROMs can be developed with traditional software development tools such as
Macromedia Director, Asymetrix Toolbook, HyperCard, Quark mTropolis, and C++.
Discs, including DVD-R check discs, can be created with UDF formatting software. DVD-ROMs that take advantage of DVD-Video's MPEG-2 video and
multichannel Dolby Digital or MPEG-2 audio require video and audio encoding
DVD-Video development has three basic parts: encoding, authoring (design,
layout, and testing), and premastering (formatting a disc image). The entire
development process is sometimes referred to as authoring. Development
facilities are provided by many service bureaus.
Replication (including mastering) is usually a separate job done by large plants
that also replicate CDs. DVD replication equipment typically costs
millions of dollars. A variety of machines are used to create a glass master,
create metal stamping masters, stamp substrates in hydraulic molds, apply
reflective layers, bond substrates together, print labels, and insert discs in
packages. Most replication plants provide "one-off" or "check disc" services,
where one to a hundred discs are made for testing before mass duplication.
Unlike DVD-ROM mastering, DVD-Video mastering may include an additional step for
CSS encryption, Macrovision and regionalization.

For projects requiring less than 50 copies, it can be cheaper use DVD-R.
Automated machines can feed DVD-R blanks into a recorder, and even print labels on each disc. This is called duplication, as distinguished from replication. How much does it cost to produce a DVD? Isn't it more expensive than videotape, laserdisc, and CD-ROM?
Videotape, laserdisc, and CD-ROM can't be compared to DVD in a straightforward
manner. There are basically three stages of costs: production, pre-mastering
(authoring, encoding, and formatting), and mastering/replication.

DVD video production costs are not much higher than for VHS and similar video
formats unless the extra features of such as multiple sound tracks, camera
angles, seamless branching, etc. are employed. Authoring and pre-mastering costs are proportionately the most expensive part of DVD. Video and audio must be encoded; menus and control information have to be authored and encoded, it all has to be multiplexed into a single data stream, and finally encoded in low level format. Typical charges for compression are $80/min for video, $20/min for audio, $6/min for subtitles, plus formatting and testing at about $30/min. A ballpark cost for producing a Hollywood-quality
two-hour DVD movie with motion menus, multiple audio tracks, subtitles, trailers, and a few info screens is about $20,000. Alternatively, many facilities charge for time, at rates of around $400/hour. A simple two-hour DVD-Video title with menus and various video clips can cost as low as $3,000

What's Video CD?

Video CD, or VCD, is a digital movie format. It's basically a primitive version of DVD.A Video CD is a kind of CD. It looks the same as a music CD or a CD-ROM, except that instead of music or software, it holds movies, using compressed MPEG-1 video. Its resolution is 352x240 (NTSC) or 352x288 (PAL), which is roughly comparable to VHS. Compared to Video CD, DVD provides much higher resolution (720x480), comparable to laserdisc or even better. DVD movies use MPEG-2 compression, rather than the MPEG-1 compression used by Video CDs. A single VCD disc can only hold about 70 minutes of video, so for a typical movie, you need two discs. You can play VCD's back on a Video CD player connected to a TV, or on a fast PC with a CD-ROM drive. Some DVD players can also play VCD's.

What's Video CD quality like?

Picture quality when using a VCD player is generally comparable to VHS, but I've never seen a VCD that I thought was better quality than VHS, and I've seen several that were quite a bit worse: if the encoding isn't done well, you can see blackness in the image. I only buy VCD's when I can't get them on VHS at a reasonable price.
More specifically, VHS resolution is about 300x360, whereas VCD resolution is 352x240 (NTSC) or 352x288 (PAL).
The quality depends on the content of the picture. If there are many details (like in a street scene) or fast movements the data compression affects the quality. You then have an effect like in JPEGs with higher compression. Generally the quality is beneath that of a LD. The quality of the picture is good enough even if you don't consider the very low price.

Which DVD players can also play Video CDs?

Panasonic, RCA, Samsung, and Sony models play Video CDs. Japanese Pioneer models play Video CDs but American models older than the DVL-909 don't. Toshiba players older than models 2100, 3107, and 3108 don't play Video CDs.

How can I play a Video CD on my PC?

DVD-ROM drive and video decoder, such as the Creative Labs Encore DVD kit: it'll play DVDs as well as NTSC Video CDs, and you can send the output to your TV. Alternatively, if you have a fast PC (at least Pentium 120), a CD-ROM drive, and a good video card, you can use a software-only MPEG decoder.

XingMPEG from Xing Technology.
SoftPEG from CompCore Multimedia, now part of Zoran.
ActiveMovie,free,from Microsoft.

Getting the software running (in either case) can be somewhat tricky. For information about specific video cards and configurations, your best bet is probably to ask on

First off, you need to be running the latest version of Quicktime (2.5) and have Apple's MPEG extension. If you don't have these, they can be downloaded from Apple's website.
For a player, you need to use either Apple's Movie Player (version 2.5.1 - also downloadable from Apple) or one of the shareware players. I suggest 'VCD Player', which is available from the 'Info Mac' website or FTP sites.



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