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Video compact discs (VCDs) are compact discs (CD) similar to audio CDs, except they have video information or files recorded on them rather than only audio. VCD software typically refers to any type of computer program that can be used to read, convert, or burn data onto a CD in order to create or read from a VCD. This software can be fairly simple and may be available as freeware or it may be more complicated professional software. VCD software is typically used by home computer users, as digital versatile discs (DVDs) have become increasingly popular and replaced VCDs for most professional uses.
In the late 1990s, VCDs became fairly popular, since they allowed people to record about an hour of video and audio onto a CD for playback through a computer or DVD player. As DVDs became more popular and the technology required to create a DVD became cheaper, DVDs quickly replaced VCDs in popularity for most users. VCD software still remains, however, as many people still prefer VCDs due to the fact that the media itself is cheaper than DVDs. These programs are typically designed to allow a person to play back video from a VCD and to convert that video to another format or to burn video onto a VCD.
One of the most common types of VCD software is a program that allows a computer user to play the video on a VCD through a computer. While most computer operating systems (OS) feature a built-in media player, these players may not always be able to recognize the codecs used by VCD videos. Users with a media player that cannot recognize these codecs will not be able to properly display the video or accompanying audio on the VCD. VCD software will typically be a different media player program that can recognize the codecs used in VCD recording or will supplement an established player to recognize them.
Some VCD software is designed to allow a user to pull video and audio off of a VCD, referred to as “ripping,” then convert that video into another type of file. This can be done to remove video from an older VCD and prepare it for burning onto a DVD or simply to save the video onto local media. VCD software can also allow a user to burn video and audio onto a VCD. Many programs will allow all of these features, enabling a user to view video on a VCD, rip the video off the disc, and also burn video onto a VCD or DVD as well.