>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009
In all the years we've collecting information about CD-i we've come very scarcely across some CD-i playback board for a Windows or Mac pc. I've never met anyone who has some decent experience with these, but according to the flyers you'll find below, it existed. The first one is the Philips CDI/PC 2.0 Board. Philips Media System made a ISA card CD-i emulator so you can play all CD-i titles on a PC. How great would it be if this would work flawless and was widely available? The second card is the i2m pci card; It was a CD-i hardware emulator for the pc. Because its high price (They didn't sell many) they are very rare! I've never seen anyone for sale. There where two versions of the card:- Media Playback allows you to play cd-i titles and movies on your PC. - i2m CD-i Authoring Board enables you to write CD-i software and test it. Click on the images to see a 'readable' version.
The CD-i authoring board is an expansion board that lets developers create CD-i applications directly on their desktop using an authoring package such as MediaMogul. In addition, developers may play back standard CD-i titles (including DigitalVideo, Video-CD and MPEG-1 Real Time Files) from a CD-ROM drive or emulate CD-i applications from a local hard drive or over a network. The preview capabilities also let users display CD-i assets on their PC or Mac in true color, resolution and aspect ratio prior to burning a disk. This integrated solution provides a cost-effective alternative to the 605 professional player and emulator for CD-i authoring, preview and playback. The Authoring Board operates under an entirely different operating system (CD-RTOS) and therefore has Mac or PC drivers talking to CD-RTOS drivers. The Authoring Board features four connectors. One is a main serial port, one shared RGB/composite video, one VGA connector and one stereo audio. When a splitter cable is connected to the serial port, one port can be used for a CD-i pointing device and the other is used for terminal functions. Projects to create an emulator for PCs were unsuccessful. In 1993, Philips had in its public CD-i catalog, a CD-i PC. It was a hardware emulation card (ISA port), this package allows the execution of the CD-i software on a PC 386. Most CD-i titles have been developed on dedicated platforms (CD-i with hard drive) but soon the interest to develop an environment in PC / Mac was interesting. In 1996, the company i2m has introduced a CD-i emulation card for PC / Mac. This card has been sold on the professional market and its price, excluding software, was $ 1,000. Once inserted in the PCI slot, the card enables the implementation of CD-i (including discs containing digital video (VideoCD)) under Windows 95/98. It uses all the resources of the host computer: the discs are read from the CD-ROM drive of your computer (the CD-i compatibility of this player is required, as is the case for the majority of CD-ROM), and may also access the hard drive (this to run an "image" before it is burnt). The application which allows to use the i2m card is called "CD-i Playback".
The software is designed to read disks of the CD-i authoring boards only. You cannot read CD-i style CD-ROMs directly with the software, unless you have a CD-i add-on board. Even if you have a CD reader compatible with the CD-i (Green Book) standard, there are still a number of obstacles in your way. The filesystem used isn't ISO-9660, and CD-i players are based around a 680x0 CPU and have special hardware for video and audio. It depends on what kind of disc it is, and what you mean by "use". PhotoCD and VideoCD discs are CD-ROM/XA "Bridge Format" discs that play on CD-i players as well as dedicated players and computers. These use the ISO-9660 file system, and can be read with commonly available PhotoCD software and MPEG-1 players. DigitalVideo discs from Philips manufactured before June, 1994 are in CD-i format, not VideoCD format, and require additional hardware to be played on a PC. If your CD-ROM drive supports raw 2352-byte sector reads, it's possible to pull tracks off of a Green Book format disc, and extract audio or MPEG video data. This can be done by using the i2m card and software.
Thanks to: Terratron and Planet Numerique