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Operator: Plus
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Dome Wars
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Quick Start Guide
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Wooden Puzzle
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Screenshot 1
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Key Reference
OS X VCD Tutorial
Mandarin Tutor
SV Racer
OS X VCD Tutorial
Wooden Puzzle


A free VCD player for the Macintosh

copiervcd Download version 2.0b1 of FreeVCD with version 1.0b1 of VCD Copier (140k)
Requires OS 9 or above with CarbonLib

vcd Download version 1.1 of FreeVCD (19k)
vcd Download version 1.0.3 of FreeVCD (18k)

FreeVCD Information:

FreeVCD uses Apple's QuickTime to play VCD's on your Mac.

FreeVCD is distributed under what I have decided to call "Community-ware". Under this model of distribution, FreeVCD is free for general consumption. However, if there are features you would like to see added to FreeVCD, a single user can negotiate a cost with me to add that feature to the program. This feature will then be available free to all users of the program. Thus, the whole community will benefit from the goodwill of a single user.

OS X Notes

The following bug has been fixed in 10.2.3.

FreeVCD is a Carbonized application designed to run under both OS X and OS 9 (with CarbonLib). Unfortunately, OS X does not currently handle VCD's properly. No official word from Apple about when this will be supported, but a bug report has been filed.

So, while FreeVCD runs on OS X, it cannot read VCD's natively. There are 2 solutions to this problem. (1) Create a "MPEGAV" directory at the base level of your hard drive, and use VCD Copy X to copy the files there. (2) Create a HFS+ CD and burn the files in a "MPEGAV" directory onto that CD.


The purpose of this application is to play VCD's on your computer as if it was a TV. I want to watch/listen to VCD's, not be bothered with an interface. You can open VCD files with Quicktime's Movie player, so I suggest using that if you need a completely different feature set.

 Now, how to use the player:

This basic usage will work for many users, but I have provided many other features accessible by key-combinations.

Why I am doing this/how it works:

No offense intented to the authors of any other players, but when I first got VCD's I wanted to play entire CD's without having to select each song to play (via Apple's video player). But, the players I saw were a bit expensive (ie not free), and I knew the code for playing the VCD was fairly simple. So, I pulled existing source code from several applications that I had already written, and used them to make this player. Given the time and effort it took, I cannot justify charging $$ for something that was so simple to write.

The Cost Thing...

So, if the program is free, what is this cost thing? Well, I have been using VCD's to study Chinese. Although it is possible to get VCD's in the US, it can be inconvienent, and my knowledge of pop stars which perform in Mandarin is limited. Thus, it is my hope that some people will send me VCD's, and the world will benefit by my updating the program with additional features. (I am aware that VCD's are much more popular in Asia than in the US. While I like CD's in Mandarin, any VCD is better than no VCD.)

In addition, if there is a VCD that doesn't work will with FreeVCD, you can buy that VCD and send it to me, and I will do my best to make it work with the FreeVCD player. If you are interesting in getting new features, you need to e-mail me at nathanst@cs.ucla.edu.

Contact Info/Bugs/etc

While I have done my best to make this program run smoothly, it is possible that you might have trouble on your computer. (I don't have access to many computer for testing.) If you have difficulty with this program, please e-mail me at nathanst@cs.ucla.edu. Since my address is not very stable (ie I have been moving often), you should e-mail me to get my address for sending any contributions, etc.

Some users have had trouble with Toast Titanium extensions interfering with some VCD's. If you have Toast, and you are having trouble playing a VCD, try rebooting with a base set of extensions. If this doesn't help, verify that the QuickTime Movie Player can open the files in the MPEGAV directory of the VCD. If Movie Player can't open the files, FreeVCD/VCD Copy won't be able to either.

If you are having trouble opening the screen shots, try using PhotoShop, PhotoShop LE, or GraphicConverter to open the images.

Last notes...

While FreeVCD is free to download and use, it is still ©2000-2002, Nathan Sturtevant. Permission is granted to distribute this program in its original form with all documentation. Please inform me if you will be offering this program on a CD or a web page. Download and use this program at your own discression. This program has no warranty, and by using this program, you agree not to hold me liable for any damages or losses you may suffer due to use of this program. Please do not send me illegally copied VCD's in exchange for additional features.


MovieMac.com - This site has lots of info about watching movies on the Mac, and has info about a fix for some VCD's that won't play.

Version History

1.0.0 8-14-99 Initial Release
1.0.1 8-19-99 Fixed incorrect mapping of F10 and F12. Added additional error handling.
1.0.2 (never released) Changed to use keyboard events instead of just polling the keyboard.
1.0.3 2-20-00 Added status bar, volume, and quality adjustments. Preferences now saved across tracks. (But not yet written to disk.)
1.1 11-26-00 Added multiple-monitor support. Page Up/Down now adjusts playback speed by musical half-steps instead of by factors of 2. Added ability to adjust playback window size.
2.0b1 2-16-02 Added OS X support. Defaulted 1..9 to 10%-90% into current movie. Added ability to take screen shots. Added control/command arrow movement in the movie. Added VCD Copy utility.

© NS Software, All rights reserved.
This software is provided without warranty implied or otherwise.
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