March 21st 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Mireth has released MacVCD 4.0, the OS X version of its popular VCD player.
Supporting full-screen video playback (which QuickTime doesn't), MacVCD can also play movies as a background app in either OS X or OS 9.
MacVCD supports virtually any type of QuickTime movie, including commercially-produced VideoCDs or MPEG-1 VCDs you burn yourself - or any movie on any hard or removable disc in fact. MacVCD will play QuickTime .movs, rough cuts of footage from Final Cut or Premiere.
In the OS X (and OS 9) version, MacVCD 4.0, any VCD-compliant disc inserted into the optical drive will automatically start playing once loaded. Individual playing preferences can be set by the user.
Controls include toggling full screen on/off, a slider for quickly moving back/forth to different parts of the movie, play/pause and slow-mo/reverse play. The slider and menu bar can also be hidden simply by hitting a key combo. Track selection is also available from the menu bar.
When it's done, MacVCD will eject that VideoCD and also outputs to your TV if you have an RCA or S-video out connector. Speech activation is also built-in, a particularly useful feature for the physically impaired.
MacVCD for OS X is priced at $19.95 and is available for immediate order from Mireth's site. A downloadable demo is also available.
Price: MacVCD X for Mac OS X costs $19.95(US) and can be ordered from Mireth's web site at http://www.mireth.com. Bulk discounts and upgrade pricing are available. MacVCD 4.0 requires OS X v.10.1 and QuickTime 5 or later.
Analysis: No prizes for guessing this's my favorite VCD player. While QuickTime player is free, it uses twice the RAM of MacVCD, opens sluggishly on G3 machines (we're talking OS 9 here) and doesn't do half the VCD stuff MacVCD does. MacVCD is an elegant and mature product which will play MPEG-1 better than QuickTime Player on older machines (low-end G3s and 604es). The OS X version only means it will reach even more users.