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!

Update May 10, 2016 – 1:06 AM

(Kind of crazy to be updating this article after nearly 12 years, but believe it or not this is one of the more popular pages on this site. Luckily, it’s now much easier to play a video CD on your computer than it was back in 2002.)

It would seem that Windows 7, 8, 10, and possibly Vista now support video CDs out of the box. The first time inserting a VCD, the OS will prompt you to choose how you want VCDs to be handled. Select Play Video CD (Windows Media Player) and that’s it! If no prompt comes up, then go to Autoplay settings in Control Panel (you can simply type autoplay into the Start menu) and make the proper selection under CDs->Video CD. Once Windows Media Player starts playing the VCD, use the right-click menu to select the proper audio track, if necessary. Below are some screenshots which should help. As always, leave a comment below if further help is needed, and enjoy the show!

Windows 8 VCD Prompt
When a VCD is first inserted in Windows 8.1 (upper right)
Windows 10 VCD Prompt
When a VCD is first inserted in Windows 10 (lower right)
Windows Autoplay Settings
Windows Autoplay Settings – shared by Windows 7, 8, and 10 (with possible slight differences)
Windows Media Player VCD Audio Settings
Select an individual channel if the VCD is dual-language

Site Update 8-11-02

Sometimes I forget that some of the computer knowledge I take for granted is unknown to someone else. This occurred when someone asked me how to play a VCD on their computer. Therefore, from now on, I will be posting on this site the answers to these random questions that people ask me. Here then, is the answer to the question of how to play a VCD on your computer.

Site Update 8-8-02

Added the welcome message above, and updated the guide on unattended installation of Windows 2000 Server to include information on Windows 2000/XP Professional.

Welcome to Jonathan Young’s Computer Site. I created this site as a means for me to reinforce what I have learned about computers. By using a hands-on approach and then recording the results, I can learn things better than just reading about them in a book. At the same time, I wanted to be able to help others, and possibly receive feedback, which is why this site is posted online and not just on my own computer. Feel free to browse through my articles and guides, and contact me if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions. This is not a professional site nor is it meant to be one. However, I do hope that you can find whatever you are looking for on this site. Thank you for visiting, and have fun!

My Ordeal with Best Buy


September 18, 2010 – Converted My Ordeal with Best Buy editorial from the original JYCS. Unlike the American Cellular piece, this piece is still current. I still do not shop at Best Buy unless I absolutely have no choice (such as emergencies at work when I need a computer part). And, as I wrote in the article, Best Buy continues to make big bucks (see BBY).

For a family, the process of purchasing a new television is usually filled with excitement and joy. When my mother finally decided it was time to purchase a new set, I was naturally elated and quickly did the necessary research on buying a new television. Having narrowed the choice down to the Sony Wega, we proceeded to search for the retailer with the lowest price. On a trip to Best Buy #187, located in San Francisco, we discovered that the prices on their televisions were much lower than that of the competition. Thus, we decided to make our purchase from them. It was a decision that we would soon regret.

We made the purchase on April 17th, 2002. Our choice was a 32-inch FD Trinitron Wega TV, with 10% off the already low purchase price and a delivery date of April 19th. Finally, the day arrived and we were thoroughly impressed with the quality of the picture tube. Alas, one of the component video RCA jacks had a problem. Strangely enough, it was either too small or had something stuck inside; the component cable would not plug into it. We tried several different cables, to no avail. The other two component video jacks worked perfectly. So, we thought, it must have been a lemon, and we drove back to Best Buy to make an exchange on April 30th. The exchange went smoothly, with the exception of the expected delivery date of the replacement TV being May 23rd, meaning that we would be stuck with a defective TV for almost a month. Obviously, we did not like that idea, so we elected to cancel the sale. If they were going to make us wait a month, then we would rather buy from a different store for a higher price. Unfortunately, the return process did not go as smoothly as the exchange.

Initially, we thought that the return procedure went very well. We explained the situation to the customer service associate, and she promptly gave us the refund we were looking for. Having been spoiled by the ease of obtaining refunds these days, we failed to verify that the amount refunded was equal to the original price paid. Not until we had gotten back into the car did we realize that the refunded price was $75.92 less than the original purchase price. Curious, we went back to the store to inquire into the reason for the difference. The clerk informed us that the price difference was equivalent to two times the price for delivery, plus tax. The second delivery charge was for the pickup of the defective TV. How ridiculous! Best Buy was telling us that we bought a defective TV, we could not get a replacement in a timely manner, and as a penalty for being unsatisfied at that, a charge of $75.92 was levied towards us. We felt that we had paid $75.92 for nothing (which was true). We felt that after all we had been through, Best Buy could at least absorb the $75.92. The associate informed us that the only way to avoid being charged was to select another TV to replace the defective one so that in the end, only one delivery charge would have been made. Therefore, we reluctantly selected another Wega, this time a 36-inch version of the exact same model.

Interestingly enough, the delivery date of the new 36-inch would only be a few days away, on May 3rd. There was also a promotion going on at the time: a free leather recliner valued at $199.99 was included with our television set. The recliner was immediately available, so we took it home feeling a little bit better thinking that we would finally have a new TV. We were happy about the free recliner as well. Finally, we received our second TV from Best Buy. Not surprisingly, this TV was defective as well! Even on the brightest setting, the picture was extremely dark and dull. This was not a characteristic of that particular Sony Wega TV. Obviously, a viewer’s perception of brightness is highly subjective, but in this case, there was clearly something wrong with the TV. So, it was a trip to Best Buy again.

Now, the date is May 6th, 2002. We once again went back to Best Buy. At this point, we had logged over four hours in the store just over this one television purchase disgrace. We logged three additional hours there that day. At first, we were willing to make another exchange, but again, they told us that they would not have any stock until June. We found it extremely suspicious that stock was magically available for new purchases, but not for exchanges. Of course, we did not want to be stuck with a dark tube television for a month, so we demanded that we receive all our money back. That took a significant amount of time because as mentioned before, Best Buy’s policy is that delivery charges are non-refundable, even if the product turns out to be defective. We were finally able to convince one of the associates that it makes no sense for a customer to pay $75.92 for a whole lot of wasted time and nothing else. That is truly not a good way to do business. The associate told us that we would have to wait for the MOD (manager of the day) and then see if she could approve a full refund. We waited over an hour for a MOD to show up. The people waiting in line behind us could tell you, there was a severe shortage of workers at Best Buy that day. When the MOD finally showed up, we of course had to explain the whole situation again. At that point we had already lost our patience, and just wanted the whole thing to be over with. The MOD took our receipts, disappeared into her office, and then came out and said that we would not be getting a full refund. We would still be charged $75.92. Though we were infuriated, we decided we had wasted enough time and effort trying to get through to these people. We just wanted our money back for the TV. As a consolation, the customer service associate said that we could keep the recliner. So, we agreed to have their deliverymen pick up the TV on May 8th. Even though we got to keep the chair, we left Best Buy feeling that we had been wronged. We must have had a sense of what would be coming.

After the deliverymen picked up the television, we called Best Buy to confirm that they had received the set and refunded our account. They confirmed that they had received the TV, but they did not refund our account because we still had the chair. At this point, all we could say was “wow.” We did not even want to dispute it anymore. We arranged to have the chair picked up, although the representative did not say when it would be picked up. Two months later, today in fact, I brought the chair back to Best Buy and finally received a refund for the television set, but not the delivery charges. I spent another hour there. This ordeal began on April 17th, and finally ended on July 31st. And what we got out of it was a lesson that cost us $75.92.

In conclusion, I want to say that this is the worst experience my family or I have had with any retailer or business period. Nothing comes close to this. A word to describe this entire ordeal would be robbery. We gave a big company like Best Buy $75.92 for nothing but a whole lot of trouble and frustration. I believe that if Best Buy practiced smart business, it would have refunded such a small amount to us so that we would buy there again. As you may have noticed, I am a computer buff and computer buffs buy lots of new hardware and technology. As a result of this disgrace, I will not buy from them again. They may have cost themselves thousands of dollars, which will now go to other, better, retailers. I will spread around the word that Best Buy is a horrible store. DO NOT SHOP AT BEST BUY. Their prices may be low, but sometimes, you really do get what you pay for. Having said all this, they probably do not care about such a small customer as myself. They probably do not care about anyone other than themselves. Just take a look at this link (9-18-10 edit: link to “Hypothermia” is now dead) to see whom else Best Buy has exploited recently. But, I have a feeling that none of it matters, because they are still expanding and they will continue to make money. However, they will no longer make any of my money.