CD-i FAQ 2000 Edition
Section 11. The current CD-i situation
11.1 Is CD-i still being used?
Yes, CD-i is still in use by some companies and museums for their training, point-of-information and point-of-sale needs. This is partly because of the fact that no real substitue for CD-i with the same level of interactivity was developed (see What good alternatives are there for CD-i in the professional field?). Of course these companies had invested in CD-i hardware and production facilities, and the phase-out of CD-i has taken (or is still taking) some time. In the meantime, CD-i does what it is good at: provide high quality, highly interactive video programmes on very economically priced, simple to use units.
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, and will not start up CD-i production anymore in the future.
11.3 Is CD-i still being sold?
No. 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 Can I rent CD-i players?
Professional users willing to rent CD-i players for limited time projects may contact Videotronic for more information on renting CD-i players.
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 on the Net. The Video-CDs from McNo are guaranteed to be according to the official standard, and as such CD-i compatible.
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. Check with your books reseller or the publisher 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 Where can I find CD-i related information on the Internet?
There are a couple of very good websites dedicated to CD-i. At first of course :-) there is the ICDIA website. This site is the home of the CD-i FAQ 2000 Edition you are currently reading. The latest version of this FAQ can always be found at this site. 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, it contains various background articles, software overviews and a lot more. Make sure you visit it when you are searching for CD-i information.
For a more detailed overview of CD-i websites, please refer to the CD-i Web Links section on this site.
11.8 What good alternatives are there for CD-i in the consumer area?
Well, if you want to play video games, you need a game console. If you want to watch movies, you need to buy a VCR or DVD-player. If you want interactive reference titles, you'll probably need a PC. If you want to view your family pictures on a large screen in the living room, you might just need to turn to that goold old slide projector. And if you want to play music, use your CD-player.
As you can see, no real alternative combining all of the features of CD-i has been introduced to date, and certainly not in a standardized manner as with CD-i. The CD-i concept was rather unique and far ahead of its time. Today, most linear video watching (and in the very near future even recording) is vastly moving towards DVD-Video, which provides great image and audio quality (notably surpassing that of CD-i and Video-CD). For video games, there are a few big players, of which Sony with the PlayStation is one of the most important ones. A lot of edutainment and reference titles, as well as very good kid's titles have recently been published on PC CD-ROM (the CD-i Sesamestreet titles produced in 1991 have recently been ported to PC format in The Netherlands and are now promoted as a unique new way of entertaining and teaching children!).
If you want to have a device that does it all, then just leave the CD-i player in your living room (or make sure you get one!). It can always be used as an Audio-CD player, a Photo-CD player or a Video-CD player. And it plays all of your existing CD-i titles as well!
11.9 What good alternatives are there 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 appliations, most notably for training and point-of-sale and point-of-information. CD-i is a cheap device, requiring no special training on how to use it, no setup or difficult installation procedures, and it delivers very acceptible, TV-like video and sound.
Unfortunately, no one-on-one replacement for CD-i exists today. PCs are used now and then, but companies are experiencing difficulaties in getting the machines up, and most importantly: to keep them runnig after the mailfunction of one of the million components in a PC, or after someone has changed some of the settings, of after an incompatibility issue has occured, or...
The trend is vastly moving towards DVD-Video, but this system does not support the interactive features offered by CD-i. Some companies offer professional DVD-Video players with enhanced interactive and storage capabilities.