Philips Consumer Electronics launches Compact Disk Interactive system on US market Knoxville, Tennessee-based Philips Consumer Electronics Co has announced the US launch of the CDI910 Compact Disk Interactive system for the consumer. Corresponding to the launch, scheduled for October, American Interactive Media – a joint venture company set up by Philips NV and Philips’ PolyGram […]
Philips Consumer Electronics launches Compact Disk Interactive system on US market
Knoxville, Tennessee-based Philips Consumer Electronics Co has announced the US launch of the CDI910 Compact Disk Interactive system for the consumer. Corresponding to the launch, scheduled for October, American Interactive Media – a joint venture company set up by Philips NV and Philips’ PolyGram subsidiary will ship around 50 CD-I software titles. The consumer CD-I player, to be badged under the Magnavox name in the US, which will play audio compact disks, Eastman Kodak Co’s future Photo-CDs and CD+Graphics disks as well as the new optical-audio disks, can be connected to any television and stereo system. CD-I players are based on a technology jointly developed by Philips NV and Sony Corp. They use a multimedia controller containing the audio, video and text decoder circuits and memories needed to play CD-I disks. This is built around an M68070 microprocessor which controls the player and runs the interactive program. CD-I processes information from a 5 650Mb optical disk which enables up to 250,000 typed pages of text, over 7,000 photographic-quality images, 72 minutes of full-screen full motion animation, 19 hours of speech, video capabilities for more than 16m colour variations and four planes of visual effects. There are four types of sound qualities used – compact disk digital audio, high fidelity, mid-fidelity and speech. It can handle multi-lingual commentary on up to 16 parallel speech level audio tracks. The remote-controlled compact disk player will come bundled with two software titles for $1,400 in the US. Consumers will have the choice of four categories of CD-I software titles – children’s, special interest, music and games. Initial software disks will range from $20 to $60. The first availble titles will include ABC Sports Golf: Palm Springs Open – an elaborate golf game; Treasures of the Smithsonian – a museum exploration package; A Visit to Sesame Street; and Time-Life Photography. These titles are to be joined by CD-I software based on the video-game characters of home entertainment giant Nintendo Co Ltd, as the result of a deal between the Japanese company and American Interactive Media. The Japanese launch will co-incide with the US launch, but Europe will have to wait until next year until it can sample the extravagant delights of this up-market home entertainment system. To co-incide with the US launch, however, a special CD-I package is being made available to professional golf clubs in Europe. The bundled package is designed for the international golf community, with disks including British Golf Museum, Palm Springs Open, an optical teach-yourself Rules of Golf disk, and two bonus family-oriented disks – a jukebox disk and a children’s title. Philips sees golf as a good medium to promote CD-I to many potential users – the company will be demonstrating CD-I at 50 golf clubs in Europe – including 20 locations in South East England – over the next year. These promotional CD-I packages, which include one of the Philips professional CD-I players, which were launched last year (CI No 1,557) and the five software titles, cost UKP1,000 plus tax.
as it forms Philips Interactive Media Europe publishing company
And, at the Second Multimedia Conference on Interactive Compact Disk technology in central London last week, Philips Electronics announced the establishment of Philips Interactive Media Europe, a new company designed to strengthen the European consumer publishing efforts in CD-I. This follows a decision to bring out the first CD-I titles early next year, before the European consumer launch. Next to American Interactive Media – the Philips-Polygram joint venture – the new London-based company will focus on the European markets. Gary Hare, from Sausalito, California-based Fathom Pictures Inc, a CD-I consumer applications development company, will head the new operation. Subsidiaries of the European company are to be set up in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Benelux and Germany, to accommodate the language and cul
tural differences. Philips Interactive Media Europe will also work via these subsidiaries with local publishers and designers to stimulate the production of CD-I titles in different languages. And Philips Consumer Electronics Co is to establish a new holding company in the field of electronic publishing, to be called Philips Electronics Media. All CD-I software interests, including the new Philips Interactive Media Europe group, will be placed under the new umbrella company. The aim of the new holding company, which will be headed by Gordon Stulberg – also chairman of American Interactive Media, will be the co-ordination of Philips’ worldwide CD-I software efforts.
European publishers, software developers form body to promote CD-I
In addition to Philips’ own effort, a group of European publishers and software developers, production houses, television companies and electronics manufacturers have agreed to set up a consortium to support and promote CD-I. Its objectives will be to encourage title production in Europe, to exchange technical and market information and to raise the awareness of CD-I among potential home and business users. The consortium will produce a regular bulletin, a series of seminars on technical and software development issues, and will introduce an award for creativity and innovation in CD-I title design. In addition, it will assist on legislative and copyright issues and liaise with the European Commission. Maxwell Communications Corp, Central Independent Television, Carlton Communications, International CD-I, the new Philips Interactive Media Europe and PolyGram International were among those represented at the consortium’s first meeting last week in London. Membership to the consortium, which is supported and advised by Philips, Sony and Matsushita, will be open to anyone involved in the business of CD-I.
Philips signs C-Cube for compression
Philips Electronics’ Interactive Media Systems division has signed an agreement with compression technology specialist C-Cube Microsystems Inc to develop real-time compression chips, necessary to develop CD-I titles with full motion video applications. This deal follows a similar alliance signed between Philips and Motorola last month, towards co-operation on system chips for use in CD-I.