Pre­serv­ing your an­cient videos

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

I have re­cently switched to an Ap­ple lap­top from be­ing a Win­dows user. I have a large col­lec­tion of VCD videos and can­not find an app that will play them. Ed Mur­ray For the ben­e­fit of any­one un­der the age of 35, the Video CD for­mat was an early suc­ces­sor to VHS tape. It stored up to 74 min­utes of dig­i­tal video on a CD, at a res­o­lu­tion of 352x288 at 25 frames per sec­ond. This is ac­tu­ally worse than VHS, al­though it doesn’t de­grade over time the way that VHS tape does. VCDs ba­si­cally went ex­tinct as soon as CD-R was in­vented and any­one could make per­fect copies of their VHS tapes.

You could still play VCDs in OS X un­der Moun­tain Lion by di­rectly open­ing the .dat file on the disc in Quick­Time Player. But this only works with a di­rectly con­nected op­ti­cal drive, you won’t be able to use OS X’s Re­mote Disc fea­ture to stream the video from an­other com­puter’s drive. You might con­sider con­vert­ing your VCDs to a DVD‑Video be­cause you can fit around six VCDs on a sin­gle-layer DVD-R.

How­ever, even DVD-R is on its way out and it might be sim­pler to copy the video files off the disc onto a hard disk that you can backup eas­ily. Then, you should be able to play the video files on your Mac us­ing VLC Me­dia Player (free, vide­olan.org).

Once th­ese shiny discs were the fu­ture of dig­i­tal video. Then flash mem­ory got cheaper and we all moved to mem­ory sticks.

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