How to Play a Video CD on Your Computer

This short article will teach you how to play a Video CD (VCD) on your computer. If you do not know what a Video CD is, chances are that this guide will be useless to you. The target audience of this guide is the person who is only familiar with playing VCDs in a standalone VCD or DVD player, but not a computer. Lets proceed, shall we?

There are two options for playing VCDs on your computer. One is to use Windows Media Player, which is installed on most Windows systems. First, insert the VCD into your CD or DVD-ROM drive. Then, navigate to the MPEGAV directory on the CD. One way to do this is to click on Start, then Run, and in the Run box type X:\MPEGAV, where X is the letter of your CD or DVD-ROM drive. Here, you will see one or more files with a MUSIC***.DAT or AVSEQ***.DAT naming convention, where the asterisks represent a series of numbers, usually beginning with 01 or 001. These are the video files. Unless you have another application that uses DAT files, there should be no programs associated with them. If this is the case, double-click on one of them, and when Windows asks you what program you want to use to open them, choose Windows Media Player (or mplayer2.exe), and check the box that asks if you want to always use mplayer2.exe to open DAT files. In Windows XP, you will have to locate the file yourself. The location of the file is C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe. Once you have selected mplayer2.exe, click OK and the video should now play.


Click on Start, then Run.


Type X:\MPEGAV. (My CDROM drive is F:)


Double-click on the AVSEQ01.DAT file.


Specify Windows Media Player as the default player and click OK.


Enjoy the show!

The second method for playing a VCD is deceptively simple. If you have a DVD drive on your computer, then you probably already have DVD player software (such as WinDVD or PowerDVD) on your computer as well. Start up this software, insert your VCD, and the VCD should play automatically. Note that you can also install said software on your computer even if you do not have a DVD drive, and use it to play VCDs.

Well, there you have it, a super short guide on playing VCDs on your computer. Please email me if you have any questions. Enjoy the show!




5 thoughts on “How to Play a Video CD on Your Computer”

  1. One problem — and question:

    Attempting to play a VCD on either Windows Media Player or VLC results in an “echo” effect, one channel with slight delay, so one cannot hear what is being said. (At the same time, there is no problem with music, or even vocals in songs.)

    Experimenting on a DVD player which will also play VCDs (not all do) finds it does the same — unless one chooses (if the DVD player has this option) either Left or Right channel. With only one channel the “echo” effect is eliminated.

    The question is: How to configure Windows Media Player (or VLC) to combine both left and right channels, or play in mono.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      First off, thanks for the comment and my apologies for the delayed reply. I just pulled out an old karaoke VCD to try in Windows Media Player 12 (Windows 7) and found that WMP now has a menu for selecting the left or right channel. The option is hidden in WMP’s menu bar: press Alt to show the menu, then choose Play, then Audio and language tracks. From inside this menu you can then select the desired audio track.

      I’m not familiar with VLC and normally prefer to use MPC-HC, which also contains a way to play individual channels, though it’s a little more convoluted than WMP. In MPC-HC, while the VCD is playing, press the letter O to open the Internal Audio Switcher, then select Enable custom channel mapping and set the speaker configuration for 2 channels. I’ve found that checking the same column (either 1 or 2) for both Front Left and Front Right results in both speakers playing the same channel.

      I’ve attached a couple of screenshots for your reference. Hope this information helps, and thanks again for visiting!

      Regards,
      Jonathan Young

      Screenshot 1: WMP Options
      Screenshot 2: MPC-HC Options

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