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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO -- CDi 

 

It all looked so promising, everything from video games to movies on a shiny 5-inch disc, then the rumours started...

 

What are you? Good question. Part of my problem was the lack of a clear identity. Everyone was happy with CD bit but the Ďií word  -- interactive --  didnít mean much to most people when I was launched back in 1992.          

 

So what exactly does interactive mean? Philips, who dreamt up the idea were never too clear. Basically it meant playing video games, but the plan was to launch loads of entertainment and information titles, where the user had to choose things to do and look at, using on-screen displays and menus.

 

You were a fancy games console? Yes, and some of them were really rather good, with computer generated graphics superimposed over live action clips and scenery, but that was only part of what I could do. CD-i players could also display snaps recorded on Photo CD discs -- fat lot of good that was though. Photo CD flopped even faster than me. Then, by using a simple plug-in cartridge, CD-i decks could replay Video CDs. Some hope...

 

What went wrong? The FMV (full motion video) cartridges took longer to develop than expected, they were expensive, the supply of Video CDs was limited and early recordings looked pretty ropy. To make matters worse rival video games systems from Sega and Nintendo began to take off, and the multimedia PC revolution had just started, with the first stirrings of the internet and the World Wide Web. Then, in 1994 rumours of high-capacity digital video disc systems, that could also store huge amounts of computer data began to surface. I was under attack from all sides and but for some loyal fans, and good old never-say-die Philips, I would have quietly slipped away... 

 

Itís not over yet then? One way or another itís the end of the line for me, though you can still find decks and discs if you hunt around. Might be worth a punt, you never know, I could become a collectorís items...

 

---end---

” R. Maybury 1997 0307

 

 

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