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Section 11. The current CD-i situation
11.1 Is CD-i still being used?
CD-i is still in use by some companies and museums for their training, point-of-information and point-of-sale needs. This might be because of a multitude of reasons, such as the fact that the original assets that were used to create the CD-i title are not longer available, or that the institute does not own the intellectual property rights on the material, hence making it hard or impossible to convert the CD-i title to more modern formats.
11.2 Are CD-i players still being manufactured?
Most of the critical components used in CD-i players (such as its audio and video circuitry) reached end-of-live status and are no longer produced by its corresponding semiconductor manufacturers. Hence, CD-i players can no longer be produced, especially not in low quantities. Philips produced its latest high volume batch of CD-i players in June 1999 in its factory in Hasselt Belgium, and will not start up CD-i production anymore in the future.
11.3 Is CD-i still being sold?
No, new CD-i hardware is not being produced anymore. It's best to search online auction sites like E-bay, or ask for second hand equipment in any of the various discussion boards and news groups available on the net.
11.4 Where can I find used CD-i players and titles?
It's best to search online auction sites like E-bay, or ask for second hand equipment in any of the various discussion boards and news groups available on the net.
11.5 Where can I buy CD-i titles?
It's best to search online auction sites like E-bay, or ask for second hand software in any of the various discussion boards and news groups available on the net.
Please note that there are dozens of companies out their (in the real world as well as on the web) that sell Video-CD discs that can also be played on a CD-i player. Although CD-i compatibility is a key requirement for Video-CD titles, some discs (particularly illegal Asian titles) lack the CD-i application and cannot be played (refer to I have a Video-CD. Why won't it play on my CD-i? for more information). Always check before you buy a Video-CD disc online.
11.6 What books have been published about CD-i?
A number books have been published in the past couple of years covering CD-i's technical features and the ways it can be used. This list is by no means complete. Most have not been in print for quite some time, so check online auction sites to see if you can get hold of a copy.
Kluwer, Second Edition 1988
Microware Systems Corp., 1991
Philips Interactive Media Systems, 1992
Philips Interactive Media Centre, Second Edition 1995
11.7 What are the best online resources about CD-i?
There are a couple of very good websites dedicated to CD-i. For a detailed overview of other CD-i websites, please refer to the CD-i Web Links section on this site.
Our site, ICDIA, has been a premier resource for all things CD-i, with active maintenance for over 20 years. This site is the home of the CD-i FAQ 2020 you are currently reading. Furthermore, it provides you with complete overviews of all CD-i players and accessories ever produced, it offers CD-i related software downloads for use on PCs as well as on CD-i authoring systems, and it contains various background articles. Furthermore, it contains the listings of the 1,500+ discs counting ICDIA CD-i Software Archive that is on public display in the Home Computer Museum in Helmond, the Netherlands.
11.8 What alternatives emerged for CD-i in the consumer area?
Although several TV settop boxes and gaming consoles are available today that combine some of the features offered by CD-i (such as gaming and picture viewing), none of them are being marketed as deliberately multi-purpose devices as was the case with CD-i. Furthermore, none of these devices are based on a standardized format available to mutliple companies and with products in different (integrated) product variations. The CD-i concept was rather unique in this regard.
Make sure to hold on to your CD-i player, since no hardware products will be natively able to play CD-i titles.
11.9 What alternatives emerged for CD-i in the professional field?
CD-i became very popular in the professional area. It was widely used in a wide variety of applications, most notably for training and point-of-sale and point-of-information. CD-i was an economical device, requiring no special training on how to use it, no setup or difficult installation procedures, and it delivered TV-like video and sound. It was especially attractive in terms of costs, capabilities, audiovisual quality and reliability compared to PC-based solution at the time. We have around 400 professional CD-i titels in our ICDIA CD-i Software Archive.
After the demise of CD-i and the end of the production of CD-i players, some expected DVD-Video to become the natural successor format in the professional field. However, stand-alone DVD-Video players never replaced CD-i setups at a large scale. This was partly due to the lack of interactive features of the same level as CD-i, but also because of the rising trend to move towards web-based technologies. Many training, educational and company reference solutions moved online, and the same happened to kiosk-applications like point-of-sale and point-of-information terminals.
11.10 What is CD-i's legacy?
CD-i pioneered a lot of ideas that were new at the time, including the notion of "interactive multimedia", the idea of combining text, images, high quality video and audio and offering these in an integrated and interactive manner to a user. Before CD-i, this could only be achieved with institutional and expensive multi-device setups, that were not feasable for consumer applications.
Quite a few of the novel concepts that were implemented in CD-i hardware and software, later became very popular with other technologies. Most notably this includes the idea of having visual interactive (chapter) menus on a video disc, which was later adopted in DVD-Video.
Many technologies that were developed for CD-i were later used in other applications. By far the most promiment of those is MPEG video compression, which was initiated by Philips to allow for video storage within the capacity and bandwidth constrains of a CD. It became the basis for all digital video applications we use today, including broadcast and internet streaming.