Compact Disc-Interactive

An obsolete storage format combining audio, text, and graphics.

The Compact Disc-Interactive is a format that was mostly developed and marketed by the Dutch company Philips. The format was created as an extension of CDDA and CD-ROM. It was specified in the Green Book, co-developed by Philips and Sony, and meant to combine audio, text, and graphics. The two companies initially expected to impact the education/training, point of sale, and home entertainment industries. However, CD-i is mostly remembered for its video games. Support for the format ended around 1998.

CD-i media physically have the same dimensions as CD, but with up to 744 MiB of digital data storage, including up to 72 minutes of full-motion video. CD-i players were usually standalone boxes that connect to a standard television; some less common setups included integrated CD-i television sets and expansion modules for personal computers. Most players were created by Philips; the format was licensed by Philips and Microware for use by other manufacturers, notably Sony who released professional CD-i players under the "Intelligent Discman" brand. Unlike CD-ROM drives, CD-i players are complete computer systems centered around dedicated Motorola 68000-based microprocessors and its own operating system called CD-RTOS, which is an acronym for "Compact Disc – Real-Time Operating System".

Media released on the format included video games and "edutainment" and multimedia reference titles, such as interactive encyclopedias and museum tours – which were popular before public Internet access was widespread – as well as business software. Philips's CD-i system also implemented Internet features, including subscriptions, web browsing, downloading, e-mail, and online play. Philips's aim with its players was to introduce interactive multimedia content for the general public by combining features of a CD player and games console, but at a lower price than a personal computer with a CD-ROM drive.

Authoring kits for the format were released first in 1988, and the first player aimed at consumers, Philips's CDI 910/205, at the end of 1991, initially priced around US$1,000 (equivalent to $1,877 in 2019), and capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, Photo CDs and Video CDs (VCDs), though the latter required an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding. Initially marketed to consumers as "home entertainment systems", and in later years as a "gaming platform", CD-i did not manage to find enough success in the market, and was mostly abandoned by Philips in 1996. The format continued to be supported for licensees for a few more years after.

Compact Disc-Interactive
  • CD-i
  • Compact Disc Interactive (CD-i) multimedia project on
  • Audiovisual Device--The Next Wave in Home Electronics? on
  • Philips CDi Manuals on
  • Compact Disc-Interactive: A Designer's Overview  on
  • Interactive Videodisc and Compact Disc-Interactive for Ophthalmic Basic Science and Continuing Medical Education on
Adapted from content published on
  • Image By Philips -, Public Domain — from
Last modified on June 8, 2021, 1:59 am is a service provided by Codecide, a company located in Chicago, IL USA.