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SVCD stands for Super Video CD (called also SuperVCD or Chaoji VCD). It is a CD standard developed in 1998 by Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers, the Chinese government and the VCD consortium (Sony, Philips, Matsushita and JVC).

SVCD stats:

Resolution : PAL - 480x576 ; NTSC - 480x480
(compate to AVI and VCD at 352x240; XVCD {2500kbit/s} is 720x480, XSVCD {2720kbit/s
} is 720x480 max @ 29.97fps)
Bitrate : 650 MB stores up to 94 minutes
Quality : VIDEO - Similar to SVHS ; AUDIO - CD quality (44kHz, stereo)
Encoding time : Encoding 50 minutes of video takes 3+ hours on a PIII-650

DivX ;-) or DivX4 = AVI = MPEG-4 (MPEG-4 is a good choice for copying DVDs to your computer. You can keep a copy of the DVD for viewing on the PC, or record it to CD-ROM. Note that this format can not be played in DVD players; only computers. DivX is based on Microsoft's version of MPEG-4.)
Note: DivX is a codec. MPEG-2 is a codec.

SVCD is a successor for extremely popular video format called VideoCD (VCD) which was based on MPEG-1 video encoding.
SVCD itself contains MPEG-2 video stream and MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 audio stream (MPEG-1 stereo audio layer II, MPEG-2 stereo audio layer II or MPEG-2 Multi-Channel 5.1 surround audio).
It's video bitrate is normally higher than VideoCD's -- clear difference to VideoCD is the fact that SVCD doesn't specify a certain bitrate for video. Unspecified video bitrate also causes a situation where one SVCD disc can contain various amount of video -- normally one SVCD disc contains 35-40 minutes of video, but by reducing the bitrate, one CD can hold up to 74 minutes of video (which is the same amount that a VCD disc contains).

SVCD can also contain multiple audio streams (just like a DVD-Video can), subtitles, still images, multi-level hierarchical menus, chapters (for indexing), hyperlinks and playlists.

Just like VCDs (and audio CDs), SVCDs require a specific way how they are burned on the CD -- just sticking all the required files into CD structure doesn't make disc a SVCD compatible. Most of the new CD burning applications support SVCD already, so authoring your own SVCDs should be relatively easy.

SVCD's resolution is 2x higher than VCD's; in PAL (European TV standard) the resolution is 480x576 and in NTSC (American TV standard) it is 480x480. Framerates are 25fps and 29.97fps, just like in any other video format. SVCD's quality is somewhere between VideoCD and DVD-Video. Most of the DVD players can play SVCD discs which makes is perfect format for backing up your DVD movies and a very good alternative for DivX ;-) format.

SVCD has also gained popularity among movie studios -- in Far East distribution, of course -- and most of the studios already release their movies in SVCD format in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc..

What are XVCD / XSVCD?
A: They are unoffical formats eXtended VCD and eXtended SVCD, some DVD players allow you to use the power of the built in DVD decoder chip to play higher resolution and bit rate video than standard VCD / SVCD. See VCD Help - Player Compatibility for more details on what DVD players will play what.


Will my DVD player / PC play XVCD / XSVCD?
A: See VCD Help - Player Compatibility for DVD player compatibility.
As for PCs; you should have no problems playing XVCD. You will need to point to the .dat file unless you have a PC VCD player installed; you may need a DVD player installed to play XSVCD as they are encoded in MPEG 2 (the same as DVD).


Why do DVD players not state they play XVCD / XSVCD?
A: They are not official formats.


Why does my player play SVCD but not show SVCD as a supported format when SVCD is an offical format?
A: SVCD was developed for use in China around the time of DVD introduction, China is they only place you will find original SVCD discs therefore manufacturers rarely state SVCD compatibility for players marketed outside this region, some even disable SVCD playback outside the region.

Mpeg Standard Mpeg 2 Mpeg 2
Video Bitrate 2600 kbit/sec Bitrates and frame sizes are not fixed, but dependant on the desired playback machine. Some DVD players will play xSVCD to varying standards.
Audio Bitrate 32-384 kbit/sec 32-384 kbit/sec
Total Bitrate (max) 2748 kbit/sec (max) Bitrates and frame sizes are not fixed, but dependant on the desired playback machine. Some DVD players will play xSVCD to varying standards
Audio Sampling Freq. 44.1 kHz 44.1 kHz
Video Frame Size PAL 480x576 @ 25 fps 720x576 max @ 25fps (max)
Video Frame Size NTSC 480x480 @ 29.97 fps 720x480 max @ 29.97fps (max)
Format Extras Menus, Chapters, Still Pictures Menus, Chapters, Still Pictures, Subtitles, Multiple Audio Tracks

source: the glossary