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P > PHILIPS  > CD-i 210   

CD-i 210

The CD-i 210 was a stripped down version of the CD-i 220, lacking the chique opening door in front of the tray. Also, its FTD-display was slightly less sophisticated. Several versions of the CD-i 210 have been produced, each with minor differences (shell version, digital video cartridge compatibility model, CD loading mechanism version, etc). But the CD-i 210 is nowadays certainly the most common CD-i system found worldwide.

The CD-i 210 is thus part of the big CD-i family. 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.

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 know 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 basic CD-i specification allows a CD-i player to display full screen animations in 128 colors over a 16.7 million color background, or play partial screen moving video in a lower framerate in 16.7 million colors, both with accompanying sound. However, these capabilities are extended when a Digital Video cartridge is placed in the player. In this case, the player is able to display full-screen, full moving 30 fps video in 16.7 million colors according to the MPEG-1 standard. Although Digital Video is not a part of CD-i's basic specification, it is generally considered to be a "must-have" extension to a CD-i player since it adds an enormous audiovisual performance boost to the system.

A Base Case CD-i player should be able to decode standard PCM audio as specified for CD-Audio, as well as a dedicated audio coding scheme called ADPCM, or Adaptive Delta Pulse Code Modulation. A CD-i player equiped with a Digital Video cartridge is also able to decode MPEG-1 layer I and II audio.

CD-i can display both main planes in either normal, double or high resolution, which are 384x280, 768x280 and 768x560 respectively. CD-i highest resolution (768x560), used for QHY images, is the highest resolution that can be made visible on a normal TV set, so CD-i takes TV-technology to its edges.

Note that there are no system performance differences between the various players. Although there are various models of CD-i players, every CD-i disc will perform exactly the same in terms of system speed or audio and video quality on every CD-i system.


Info compiled from the excellent CD-i FAQ 2000 Edition. If you want to know more about CD-i, go there !

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


I won''t argue that the games were complete and utter crap (they were), having been there myself. However I will say the CD-i platform was utter nirvana if you worked for a company that subscribed to Muzak or AEI Music on disc and you were an easy-listening junkie, as home CD-i was descended from a platform (CD-BGM) meant for just that. And it remained 100$ compatible with it. Usually 37800 Hz ADPCM (type "B") audio, mono or stereo. That was an advantage (although a very minor one) it had over the other CD-based video game platforms of the day.

Don''t forget, the original Playstation used a disk format that was essentially CD-i with an ISO9660 TOC.

Thursday 23rd October 2014
Wolverine Bates

Dr. Raptorheimer was wrong. This system was never gonna be the CD add-on for the SNES. It was first worked on in the mid-1980s and never really intended to be a game console, until the final few years of its life span, at which point is had become utterly outdated for games (talk about bad timing!). Notable games on the system included the acclaimed "Burn: Cycle", the hilarious (intentionally or not) "Hotel Mario" and of course a version of the infamous "Dragon''s Lair"

Wednesday 29th December 2010

I bought one from a person that works at the same place as my dad. Crazy system (with games that often seem to use still-photos and FMV as graphics), but I like it.

Saturday 4th December 2010


NAME  CD-i 210
ORIGIN  Netherlands
YEAR  1991 ?
BUILT IN SOFTWARE / GAMES  CD-RTOS (Compact Disc Real-Time Operating System, based on OS/9 OS)
CONTROLLERS  Thumbpad remote control handset
CPU  Philips-build 68070
CO-PROCESSOR  MCD212 (211, 214) Video Decoder and System Control unit (VDSC) by Motorola
MCD221 CD interface and Audio processor by Motorola
RAM  1 MB + 8 KB (NV-RAM)
ROM  at least 512 KB (for CD-RTOS)
GRAPHIC MODES  384 x 280, 768 x 280 and 768 x 560
COLORS  CD-i can display full screen animations in 128 colors over a 16.7 million color background
SOUND  PCM and ADPCM decoding capabilities (+MPEG-1 layer I and II with optional Digital Video Cartridge))
I/O PORTS  Power in, Digital video cartridge expansion slot, Serial connector, Audio stereo output, Video output, SCART video connector
MEDIA  Single speed CD drive
NUMBER OF GAMES  At least 132 games released + many other titles and movies in VCD format
POWER SUPPLY  Internal power supply

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