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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
VCD

VCD (Video CD also referred to as View CD or Compact Disc Digital Video) is an optical home media format and the first format which distributed motion pictures on the standard 120mm optical discs. Introduced at the start of the 1990s by Philips, it was a further development of the music Compact Disc (CD), also developed by Philips, whose compression technology served as the basis for the new format. Compared to later 120mm optical storage formats like the DVD and Blu-ray Disc, storage capacity was limited, resulting in features that were typically spread over two discs with picture quality comparable to VHS.

Early releases were on the VCD variant, the CD-i disc, which was only playable on Philips' own CD-i player, before a industry standard was agreed upon in 1993. Philips had made a grave error in marketing their players in that a cartridge had to be separately purchased before a CD-i movie were playable, which was a contributing factor to the commercial failure of the product.

The CD-i player proved to be a commercial failure and the VCD format did not gain any ground in North America and Europe for several reasons, apart for the one already mentioned, chief amongst them the advent of the qualitative superior DVD format (ironically co-developed by Philips), introduced hard on the heels of the VCD. Ultimately, Philips released around 125 titles in the aforementioned markets, before they threw in their lot with DVD in the latter half of the 1990s.

VCD was however a commercial success in regions where average per capita income was substantially lower than in the developed world, such as Latin America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, mainland China and South East Asia (published under Deltamac), due to the relatively low cost of both players and discs, explaining why the majority of DVD players are still capable of playing the format. In recent years, as of 2011, VCD is starting to loose market-share to DVD in these areas, due to the fall of DVD prices.

Release chronology

One of the studios Philips obtained licenses from was Paramount Pictures and, starting in 1994, began to release the Star Trek films in the new format in Europe and North America. The first release was Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which for the US, UK and Germany was pressed on the CD-i disc variant, whereas the rest of Europe received the proper VCD variant, as was the second release, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In the end, before the format was abandoned 7 titles were released in America and Europe. While no longer a viable format in these markets, Star Trek titles continued to be released on VCD in those regions where the format is still in use.

Date Country Product released
1994
Unknown US
Europe
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1995
Unknown US
Europe
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Star Trek Generations
2001
21 April China Star Trek: Insurrection
17 May China Star Trek: First Contact
30 July China Star Trek Generations
10 August China Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
22 August China Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
27 November China Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
27 December China Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Unknown Malaysia The Star Trek Collection
2002
24 May China Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Unknown Malaysia Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
2003
Unknown Malaysia Star Trek: Insurrection
2004
26 April China Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
5 May China Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact re-released
3 June China Star Trek Nemesis
2009
29 October China Star Trek
Unknown India
Malaysia
Thailand
Turkey
Star Trek

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