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Time-line history about Philips CD-i

>> Thursday, July 26, 2007

We started the wonderful history of CD-i a few months back but due to the load of work the next episodes are still on the to-do list. They will be published however as soon as time permits, and meanwhile a short time-line about Philips CD-i you can read below, which is the short version of what to expect from our next history episodes. However, this list is extended with the recent developments in CD-i, like the release of CD-i Emulator and Frog Feast. To be continued!

Philips and Sony began independently to work on another derivative of CD which would combine audio, text and graphics.

The two companies joined forces to develop a draft standard at the beginning of 1985, and later that year Matsushita joined in to work on the development of integrated circuits.

The first public announcement of the new product - Compact Disc-Interactive - was made at the first industry conference convened in March 1986 to promote CD-ROM in the United States. A provisional standard (the ‘Green Book’) was issued in May.

A full functional specification of the system was issued in March 1987. CD-i discs and prototypes were demonstrated to licensees in June 1987.

The first working samples of players were distributed to developers in Autumn 1988.

Philips introduced a range of hardware options and developers’ tools to encourage small software houses to enter the industry. A package was released, aimed at users who wanted to evaluate CD-i, both through playing back existing software, and/or use the supplied software to emulate a CD-i disc. The package, launched in February 1990 in the United States, and from mid-1990 in Europe, comprised the 180 player/controller/interfaces together with a monitor, a 100 Mbyte hard disc, and basic authoring software which allowed the user to put together graphics, text and audio using a sequence editor. The price also included limited studio services for processing images and audio, as well as one place on two training courses for designers and programmers. For users who were already experienced at software development on PC systems, one of the erstwhile ‘taboo’ products — the PC Bridge — enabled video, audio and text files to be created within the PC operating system MS-DOS, and then converted to CD-i format.

The 16-bit CD-ROM based system was not promoted as a gaming platform. In advertising, Phillips highlighted the multimedia applications that the CD-i would be able to perform. Dutch electronics giant Philips, begins to introduce its Compact Disc Interactive (CD-i) technology to industrial users before marketing it as an entertainment system for consumers. It is based on CD-ROM ('Read Only Memory') technology which stores and reads information in the same way as a compact disc. CD-i systems can play audio discs and films as well as numerous other publications from computer games to illustrated encyclopaedias.

Philips sold various professional CD-i players next to the standard consumer models. Both types of players comply fully to the CD-i standard as defined in the Green Book and were based on the same CPU and audio and video ICs, but the professional players usually offered some extra features. There were professional players with an integrated floppy disk drive, parallel ports to connect a printer or ZIP-drive, SCSI-ports, Ethernet network connections or with up to 5 MB of extra RAM. Some players had a feature that enabled the users to customise the start-up screen of the player shell. Several professional players were especially made for CD-i development studios since they included input ports to connect an emulator to simulate the playback of a CD-i disc from an external hard disk for testing purposes.

Although there were various models of CD-i players, every CD-i disc performed exactly the same in terms of system speed or audio and video quality on every CD-i system. The Green Book extensively specifies how and at what speed the audio and video data should be read from the disc and parsed trough the appropriate decoding ICs. Even if a faster CPU was used in a CD-i player (which is allowed by the Green Book, but never implemented in any CD-i player) system performance would only rise slightly because the real-time retrieval of audio and video from a disc is not influenced by the processor.

By 1994, with low sales, Philips decided to alter its approach to advertising the CD-i. It was finally marketed as videogame platform. The console was redesigned to more resemble a standard gaming system. The price was lowered to $299 and a pack-in game named Burn:Cycle was included.

Philips' decision had been made too late. By this time there was heavy anticipation centered on the upcoming release of the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation systems. Sales for the revamped CD-i were poor. In the summer of 1995, Philips began to release versions of CD-i software for play on the Sega Saturn and PC. Also in the summer of 1995, Philips announced plans to release a modem add-on for the CD-I, though there was no set date.

In the summer of 1996, Philips announced that they would be discontinuing the CD-i system. Reportedly, Philips had lost close to one billion dollars on the console since its introduction to the US.

In early fall 1996; Philips did eventually release an Internet terminal designed for use with television sets. It retailed for $329.

With a last strong breath a couple of great games were released on CD-i including the highly anticipated Atlantis: The Last Resort. This was the first and only realtime first person shooter on CD-i, created by Philips Research. However, the decision was already made to stop the media activities; Philips Media was sold to Infogrames. The dutch Philips Media publishing continued as Softmachine. They released The Lost Ride in 1998.

Infogrames released the last small bits of CD-i titles: Solar Crusade and the french version of The Smurfs (teleportaschroumpfs)

Oldergames released four prototype games on CD-i: Jack Sprite, The Crimson Ghost, Plunderball, Go and Space Ranger.

cdifan released the first working CD-i Emulator.

Rastersoft released the first homebrew project on CD-i: Frog Feast.


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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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