SVCD - Super Video CD

Video - MPEG-2, 480x480 resolution, interlaced lines, at 23.97 or 29.97 frames per sec
Audio - MPEG-1 layer II, stereo, 44.1 KHz sample rate, from 32 to 384 Kbps

Format
VCD
SVCD
 
DVD
HDDVD
HDTV
(WMVHD)
AVI
DivX
XviD
WMV
MOV
Quick-
Time
RM
Real-
Media
AVI
DV
Resolution
NTSC/PAL
352x240
352x288
480x480
480x576
 
720x480≤
720x576≤
1920x1080≤
1280x720≤
640x480≤ 640x480≤ 320x240≤ 720x480
720x576
Video
Compression
MPEG1
MPEG2
MPEG2, MPEG1
MPEG2
(WMV-
MPEG4)
MPEG4
Sorenson, Cinepak, MPEG4 ...
RM
DV
Video bitrate
1150kbps
~2000kbps
~5000kbps
~20Mbps
(~8Mbps)
~1000kbps
~1000kbps
~350kbps
25Mbps
Audio
Compression
MP1
MP1
MP1, MP2, AC3, DTS, PCM MP1, MP2, AC3, DTS, PCM MP3, WMA, OGG, AAC, AC3 QDesign Music, MP3 ... RM DV
Audio bitrate
224kbps
~224kbps
~448kbps
~448kbps
~128kbps
~128kbps
~64kbps
~1500kbps
Size/min
10
MB/min
10-20
MB/min
30-70
MB/min
~150MB/min
(~60MB/min)
 
4-10
MB/min
4-20
MB/min
2-5
MB/min
216MB/min
Min/74min CD
74min
35-60min
10-20min ~4min
(~10min)
60-180min 30-180
min
120-300
min
3min
Hours/DVD
N/A
N/A
1-2hrs
(2-5hrs™)
~30min
(~1hrs)
7-18hrs 3-18hrs 14-35hrs 20min
Hours/
DualLayerDVD
N/A
N/A
2-4hrs
(5-9hrs™)
~55min
(~2hrs)
13-30hrs 6-30hrs 25-65hrs 37min
DVD Player Compatibility
Great Good Excellent None Few None None None
Computer CPU Usage
Low High Very High Super high Very High High Low High
Quality
Good Great* Excellent* Superb* Great* Great* Decent* Excellent

kbps = thousand bits per second
Mbps = million bits per second
≤ approximately resolution, it can be higher or lower
~ approximately bitrate, it can be higher or lower
™ DVD with lower video quality, similiar to VCD/SVCD video quality
* the video quality depends on the bitrate and the video resolution, higher bitrate and higher resolution generally means better video quality but bigger file size

*** also see VideoHelp SVCD  SVCD FAQ   Super Video CD Standard Overview   Order the SVCD Standard IEC-62107 

*** to create SVCD Mpeg files, convert using Ultra Splitter, Cucu, or any other SVCD capable utility

*** to create the SVCD file structure and burn an SVCD, convert and burn the SVCD  using CucuSoft

*** to burn an SVCD where you have the SVCD structure already on your hard drive, just use Nero !!!

*** to play an SVCD on your PC, use Power DVD  -  to play on your home system, use your DVD player (most will play SVCD's) - check here for compability list .  If your DVD Player does not support SVCD you can try this VCD header trick, it requires no reconverting which mean that you do not lose any quality.

***  Buy original SVCD Movies direct at VCDGallery.com
 

SVCD Folder/File Structure - the root has no files (just sub-folders)

NOTE:  you can tell if a disc is VCD or SVCD. VCD has a .dat file in the MPEGAV folder, and SVCD has a .mpg file there

NOTE:  the simplest SVCD would have the following 4 subfolders: 

Folder Files Explanation
SVCD INFO.VCD Album and disc identification
  ENTRIES.VCD Entry point list for up to 500 entries
  SEARCH.DAT List of I-frame addresses
  TRACKS.SVD  
  PSD.VCD Optional Play Sequence Descriptor
  LOT.VCD Optional List ID Offset file
MPEG2 or MPEGAV* AVSEQnn.MPG MPEG2 files, max 99 tracks, the main movie, trailers, extras, menus
CDDA AUDIOnn.DAT Optional CD Audio files
SEGMENT ITEMnnn.DAT Segment play items, max 999 segments, still menus or still pictures
KARAOKE KARINFO.xxx Optional Karaoke information files
EXT PSD_X.VCD Optional extended version of PSD,VCD
  LOT_X.VCD Optional extended version of LOT.VCD
  SCANDATA.DAT List of I-frame addresses
  CAPTnn.DAT Optional Closed Caption data
CDI (undefined) CD-i program and data files

* the name "MPEG2" is the standard folder name, but some SVCD's use "MPAGAV" instead.  Nero will accept and burn one with MPEGAV folder but you must go to the "Compatibility" section and select that

The Super Video CD (SVCD) standard upgrades the Video-CD (VCD) format. It allows better video and audio quality, including extensions for surround sound, multi-channel audio and provisioning for PC playback. It's based on variable bit rate (VBR) MPEG-2 coding for more efficient use of optical disc capacity.

  1. Super-VCD standard
  2. Super-VCD players
  3. XSVCD format

1. Super-VCD standard

The Super Video-CD is based on the CD-ROM XA disc format. All tracks are data tracks, the first track is a special DATA track with data retrieval information and interactive playback MPEG sequences. The MPEG-2 streams are recorded in the following tracks and are intended to be played sequentially starting from track #2. A movie could have different coded parts: INTRO, COPYRIGHT, FILM, CREDITS; each stored on a separate track. The film itself can be stored on one track with the possibility to be subdivided into chapters within the one track. The layout will be handle by an SVCD Authoring software like I-Author.

The DATA track ( #1 ) uses Mode 2, Form 1 data sectors ( 2,048 bytes ) and MPEG files use Mode 2, Form 2 MPEG sectors ( 2,324 bytes ). 

The Super Video-CD 1.0 features ( IEC 62107 standard ) are given in the table below: 
 
 
Features Super Video CD 1.0
Video
bit rate
resolution NTSC
resolution PAL 
MPEG-2
variable up to 2.6 Mbps
480x480 interlaced, 29.97Hz
480x576 interlaced, 25Hz
Still picture (photo)
resolution NTSC
resolution PAL
MPEG-2 ( I Frame )
480x480, 704x480
480x576, 704x576
Audio
sampling
bit rate
audio channels
surround sound
MPEG-1 layer II
44.1 KHz
from 32 to 384 Kbps
up to 2 stereo or 4 mono
MPEG-2 ( 5+1 ) extension
Overlay graphics and text
sub-channels
coding 
overlay video plane
<=4
4 color CLUT ( 2bits/pixel )
 

The Program Stream contains two audio streams, usually for two separate languages. Audio streams are MPEG-1 audio formats, given in the table below:
 
 
MPEG-1 (ISO 11172-3) audio formats
Layer layer II only
Bit Rate may vary from frame to frame
single channel mode
dual channel mode
stereo mode
32 to 192 Kbps
64 to 384 Kbps
64 to 384 Kbps 
Sampling frequency 44.1 KHz
 

The video MPEG-2 streams are defined by the constraints of Main Profile at Mail Level ( MP@ML ):
 
 
MPEG-2 video MP@ML profile
B-frames YES
Chroma format 4:2:0
Scalabilty NONE
Intra DC precision 8, 9, 10 bits
Buffer size 1,835,008 bits
Luminance sample rate 10,368,000
Horizontal vector range -512..+511.5
Vertical vector range (frame pictures) 128..+127.5
 

The interlaced nature of the video signal is preserved. This results in smoother-looking motion for video footage that was originally shot with a field-based video camera.

The typical running time of an SVCD disc (with full resolution and quality) is about 35-45 minutes, although it can be extended to over 70 minutes by compromising image and sound quality. 

For PC playback, the format allows storing applications or setup files in the EXT directory. The main root can even contain autorun enabling files.

An SVCD detailed technical explanation is available from Philips licensing page and a copy is also available from our documentation at sl00811.zip (86.5KB) in Acrobat PDF format. Jukka Aho has published a very good Super Video CD Overview.

If SVCD resolution is only 480◊480 or 480◊576, doesn't the picture look all too tall and squished on my TV?

No. When encoding (or preparing video for encoding), the material will look squished, but at playback time, the player will strech it horizontally to fill the whole 4:3 screen.

Note that even the 720◊(480|576) (as used on DVD or MiniDV / Digital8 tapes) or 704◊(480|576) aren't exactly 4:3. This is also true for VCD's 352◊(240|288). Unlike computers, most digital video storage formats do not use square pixels.

Authoring SVCD

 How to author a basic SVCD

- How to author a SVCD with VCDEasy
How to author a basic SVCD with no menuas using VCDEasy...by Baldrick

 How to author a complex SVCD

- How to make a VCD/SVCD with CD Audio (CDDA)
The VCD and the SVCD standard allows CD Audio(CDDA). A VCD/SVCD with CD Audio will work on all ...by Baldrick

- doom9 TSCV Guide
TSCV is a pretty complete VCD and SVCD authoring solution for VCDimager. It supports chapters, ...by Doom9

- How to create a VCD or SVCD menu and chapters with TSCV
How to create a VCD or SVCD menu and chapters with TSCV...by Sefy

- How to create a VCD or SVCD chapters with VCDEasy
How to create a VCD or SVCD chapters with VCDEasy...by Sefy

- Simple Menu using VCDEasy Guide 1.1 by Sullen
This guide is for creating a very basic menu with VCDEasy. When finished the menu will work ver...by Sullen

 

2. Super-VCD players

SVCD can be played on PC platforms with a CD-ROM (or DVD-ROM) drive and appropriate software like WinDVD and STHSVCD (also named STHSDVD sometimes). 

In general, people want to play Super-VCD on a TV-set with a standalone DVD player. Most DVD players sold in Asia can read SVCD but in America and in Europe only a few players are SVCD compliant.

Because some identical DVD player platforms are used all over the world, one can sometimes upgrade it's firmware and hack the player to make it read SVCD. One example is given at Leon's Lab for the Philips DVD-950 shipped in Europe.

3. XSVCD format

You may see or hear about an extension of the SVCD format called XSVCD. Because SVCD uses the MPEG-2 decoder of the PC, or the standalone DVD player, XSVCD tries to get the maximum from the decoder: For example, the Philips DVD-950 (with firmware 7.12) can play XSVCD at 720x576 and 2.9Mbps .