or Compact Disc Interactive
is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V.
CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc
standard utilized by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book
, which was co-developed by Philips
in 1986 (not to be confused with MMCD, the pre-DVD
format also co-developed by Philips and Sony). The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around USD
$700, is capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs
(CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, and Video CDs
(VCDs), though the latter requires an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1
Early software releases in the CD-i format focused heavily on educational, music, and self-improvement titles, with only a handful of video games
, many of them adaptations of board games such as "Connect Four". Later attempts to develop a foothold in the games market were rendered irrelevant by the arrival of cheaper and more powerful consoles
, such as the Nintendo 64
and Sony PlayStation
. CD-i is noted for the release of several spinoffs of popular Nintendo
video games featuring characters typically seen only on Nintendo consoles, although those games were not developed by Nintendo. Hotel Mario
was a puzzle game that featured Super Mario Bros.
characters. Mario Takes America
/Mario's Wacky Worlds
was an unfinished game which involved Mario, Luigi and Yoshi touring the United States. Some prototype versions of the game have made it into the market.
CD-i also released several CD-i versions of popular TV game shows, including versions of Jeopardy! (hosted by Alex Trebek), Wheel of Fortune (hosted by Pat Sajak & Vanna White), Name That Tune (hosted by Bob Goen), and two versions of The Joker's Wild (One for adults hosted by Wink Martindale and one for kids hosted by Marc Summers.) All CD-i games in North America had Charlie O'Donnell as announcer (with the exception of Name That Tune). The Netherlands also released its version of Lingo on the CD-i in 1994.
CD-i has a series of learning games ('edutainment') targeted at children from infancy to adolescence. Those intended for a younger audience included Busy Town, The Berenstain Bears, and various others which usually had vivid cartoon-like settings accompanied by music and logic puzzles. One of the most remarkable games released on this platform is a game combining Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Although extensively marketed by Philips, notably via infomercial, consumer interest in CD-i titles remained low. By 1994, sales of CD-i systems had begun to slow, and in 1998 the product line was dropped. Todd Rundgren (under the pseudonym TR-i) released an interactive music CD in 1993 entitled No World Order, that utilized the CD-I format. The user can tailor various qualities such as mood, tempo and composition on the endless CD track.
With the home market exhausted, Philips tried with some success to position the technology as a solution for kiosk applications and industrial multimedia. The console still maintains a cult following on the Internet. In addition, three Legend of Zelda games were released: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure. Nintendo and Philips had established an agreement to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (after Nintendo and Sony scrapped a previous deal on an earlier add-on for the SNES, which would eventually result in the creation of the PlayStation), and Philips was contractually allowed to continue using Nintendo characters after the deal fell through.
In addition to consumer models, professional and development players were sold by Philips Interactive Media Systems and their VARs
. Philips marketed several CD-i player models.
- The CD-i player 200 series, which includeds the 205, 210, and 220 models. Models in the 200 series are designed for general consumption, and were available at major home electronics outlets around the world. The Philips CD-i 910 is the American version of the CD-i 205, the most basic model in the series.
- The CD-i player 300 series, which includes the 310, 350, 360, and 370 models. The 300 series consists of portable players designed for the professional market and not available to home consumers. A popular use was multimedia sales presentations such as those used by pharmaceutical companies to provide product information to physicians, as the devices could be easily transported by sales representatives.
- The CD-i player 400 series, which includes the 450, 470, 490 models. The 400 models are slimmed-down units aimed at console and educational markets. The CD-i 450 player, for instance, is a budget model designed to compete with game consoles. In this version an infrared remote controller is not standard but optional.
- The CD-i player 600 series, which includes the 601, 602, 604, 605, 615, 660, and 670 models. The 600 series is designed for professional applications and software development. Units in this line generally include support for floppy disk drives, keyboards and other computer peripherals. Some models can also be connected to an emulator and have software testing and debugging features.
There also exist a number of hard-to-categorize models, such as the FW380i, an integrated mini-stereo and CD-i player; the 21TCDi30, a television with a built-in CD-i device; and the CD-i 180/181/182 modular system, the first CD-i system produced.
It is unclear whether the total number of CD-i units sold exceeded the number of different models designed and manufactured.
Besides Philips, several other manufacturers produced CD-i players, including Magnavox
/ LG Electronics
, Digital Video Systems, Memorex
, Highscreen, and Bang & Olufsen
, who produced a television with a built-in CD-i device.
TeleCD-i and CD-MATICS
Dutch grocery chain Albert Heijn
and mail-order giant Neckermann Shopping
were early adopters and introduced award-winning TeleCD-i applications for their home-shopping and home-delivery services. CDMATICS also developed the special Philips TeleCD-i Assistant
and a set of software tools helping the worldwide multimedia industry to develop and implement TeleCD-i. TeleCD-i was the world's first networked multimedia application at the time of its introduction. In 1996, Philips acquired source code rights from CDMATICS.Recognizing the growing need among marketers for networked multimedia, Philips partnered in 1992 with Amsterdam based CDMATICS
to develop TeleCD-i (also TeleCD). In this concept the CD-i player is connected to a network (PSTN
, Internet or other) enabling data-communication and rich media presentation.
- Resolution: 384×280 to 768×560
- Colors: 16.7 million w/ 32,768 on screen
- MPEG 1 Cartridge Plug-In for VideoCD and Digital Video
- 1.5 MB of Main RAM
- Single Speed CD-ROM Drive
- Weight With DV Cart 1.460 kg, Without DV 1.210 kg
- ADPCM Eight Channel Sound
- 16-bit stereo sound
- CD-i Mouse
- Roller Controller
- CD-i Trackball
- I/O Port Splitter
- Touchpad Controller (see Gravis PC GamePad)
- Gamepad Controller
- IR Wireless Controller
- S-Video Cable
Interactive Kiosk (primary market)
High-end A/V (secondary market)
(multi-purpose audio/video systems)
Videogame (secondary market)