CD-i is short for Compact Disc Interactive. It is an interactive
multimedia system combining moving and still video, audio and program
content on a compact disc, which can be played back in a dedicated
CD-i player. A CD-i player is a stand-alone device, consiting of a CPU,
memory and an integrated operating system. It operates on its own and it
can be connected to a standard TV-set for displaying pictures and sound,
and optionally to a stereo-system. All system interactivity is generated
by positioning a cursor using an X/Y pointing device (such as a remote
control with a pointing device, a mouse or a game controller),
and clicking options using one of the two provided action buttons.
CD-i was jointly developed by Philips Electronics NV and Sony
Corporation in the mid 80s. Together, both companies defined CD-i's basic
specifications in what is known as the Green Book. They decided to use the
well-tested OS-9 operating system from Microware Systems Corporation,
which was designed for embedded, real-time applications. Microware was
also heavily involved in the CD-i design process. Eventually, Philips
took the biggest part in the development process, being responsible for
at least 90% of CD-i's development.
The above is mostly taken from the CD-i FAQ 2000 Edition on the ICDIA website, where much more information can be found.
The CD-i system, while initially appearing promising, was ultimately
not commercially successful and sales and marketing were subsequently
discontinued. The last batch of CD-i players was manufactured in
June 1999. CD-i players and many titles can still be found in the
various online auction sites, there are now even some new CD-i titles
being developed. It is hoped that the availability of
will breathe new life into what was the first truly consumer-oriented
interactive multimedia platform.