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**********CD-I FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS v2.0.1**********
QUESTIONS ANSWERED IN THIS DOCUMENT
1. What is CD-i?
2. What CD-i discs are available and where can I purchase them?
3. What CD-i players are available?
4. Where can I buy a consumer CD-i player?
5. What are the differences among all of these CD-ROM based platforms?
6. What are CD-ROM/XA bridge discs?
7. I have a computer with a CD-ROM/XA drive. Can I play CD-i discs on
8. How do I make discs for CD-i?
9. What is an authoring system?
10. Should I use an authoring system or should I have a software
engineer write a custom program?
11 If I decide to use an authoring system, how do I know what hardware
and software I'll need?
12. Can I use a Macintosh or PC based authoring tool to create CD-i
13. I am involved in CD-ROM and I would like to make CD-i software. How
can I port my PC, Macintosh, CDTV, or VIS title to CD-i?
14. What is an emulator?
15. What support does Philips provide for the development of CD-i
titles for home entertainment ?
16. What support does Philips provide for professional or educational
17. Is CD-i proprietary? Do I need a license to produce CD-i discs?
18. What are the Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, and White Books?
19. How do I get a copy of the Green Book (CD-i Full Functional
20. What are CD+Graphics discs?
21. What are Photo CD discs?
22. What are multi-session discs?
23. What are Karaoke CD discs?
24. What are Video CD discs?
25. Organizations that provide CD-i information, products and services
26. Related documents for prospective CD-i developers
1. WHAT IS CD-I?
CD-i is an entertainment and information system that plays digital data
stored on a compact disc. The CD-i player connects to a television set or to
a color monitor. You may also connect a CD-i player to your stereo system for
higher quality audio. CD-i discs are used in the home, in education, and in
CD-i is the first multimedia technology aimed at a mass audience. CD-i allows
the multimedia designer to blend different media-in the form of visual,
audio, graphic, and computer data-into a single experience for the user. CD-i
allows the user to interact with the information on the disc and to guide the
presentation in a meaningful way. CD-i lends itself to informational titles,
games, encyclopedias, educational material, and many business applications.
With the addition of a special hardware module, CD-i players can now play
feature films and other video material.
Besides CD-i discs, CD-i player can play Compact Disc-Digital Audio (CD-DA),
CD+Graphics (CD+G), Photo CD, and, with a Digital Video cartridge, Karaoke
CD and Video CD discs. A CD-i player is a self-contained computer system with
specific video, audio and control hardware and software, and an optical disc
CD-i technology was developed jointly by N.V. Philips of the Netherlands and
Sony Corporation in Japan. The primary goal of the two companies was to
develop a worldwide standard so that CD-i discs would run on all CD-i players
anywhere in the world. To that end, they published the 'CD-i Full Functional
Specification,' which is more commonly known as the 'Green Book.' Any changes
or extensions to the CD-i standard must be approved by both Philips and Sony
before they become an official part of the specification.
2. WHAT CD-I DISCS ARE AVAILABLE AND WHERE CAN I PURCHASE THEM?
Philips has an extensive catalog of home entertainment titles. In the United
States, you may call a toll-free number 1-800-845-7301 for a catalog and for
referral to a retail location where you may purchase discs. CD-i discs are
also available via mail order; call the toll-free number 1-800-824-2567. CD-i
software (discs) is also being stocked at a limited number of 'record' stores
that sell audio tapes, compact disc audio titles, videotapes, etc. Rental of
CD-i discs is also being tested in a limited number of markets. Samples of
professional titles are available through Philips Interactive Media Systems.
3. WHAT CD-I PLAYERS ARE AVAILABLE ?
There are three classes of CD-i players: consumer, professional and
development. Consumer players are players for home use and are sold through
retail outlets. Professional players have specific features, such as
connectivity, floppy disk drive, or portability, and are more expensive than
the consumer player. Development players have features that enable title
development, such as debugging tools and the ability to connect to an
The CD-i 220 player, which is designed for consumers, is available at major
home electronics outlets around the world. Professional and development
players are sold by Philips Interactive Media Systems and their VARs. Philips
currently markets several CD-i player models. The CD-i 605 is designed for
professional applications and for software development. It contains a floppy
disk drive and can connect to a keyboard and other computer peripherals. It
can alsobe connected to an emulator and has software testing and debugging
features. The CD-i 360 player is a portable player that is sold in the
professional market and is not currently available to home consumers. It is
particularly useful for point of sale presentations, such as those used by
pharmaceutical companies to provide product information to physicians,
because it can be carried by the sales representative.
Companies besides Philips-for example, Sony, Samsung, Goldstar, Matsushita,
Sanyo, and Kyocera-also manufacture various CD-i players.
4. WHERE CAN I BUY A CONSUMER CD-I PLAYER?
Consumer CD-i players and discs are available at major home electronics
outlets around the world. In the U.S., you may call a toll-free number,
1-800-845-7301, for referral to the nearest retail store that sells CD-i
players and discs. Rentals of CD-i players are also being tried in a limited
number of test markets.
5. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES AMONG ALL OF THESE CD-ROM BASED PLATFORMS?
CD-i, VIS, 3DO, CDTV, CD-ROM, MMCD, Macintosh CD-ROM, MPC, Sega CD, TTI,
FM-TOWNS/Marty are some of the many different platforms for delivering CD-ROM
based entertainment and information applications.
All of the aforementioned platforms (and others not mentioned here) usually
utilize the same kinds of components: specific audio, video, and user input
hardware; a computer system; and a CD-ROM drive. However, the components all
have different characteristics and features and are, therefore, generally
incompatible. If you have a title for any of those systems, it will not work
on any of the other platforms unless special steps have been taken by the
developer of the title to ensure compatibility with more than one platform.
All of the above-mentioned systems play CD-DA discs. Some play CD+G discs,
and some play CD-ROM/XA bridge discs like PhotoCD.
This current world-wide incompatibility presents big challenges for both
users and developers, but it is a fact of life until the dust settles around
the prevailing format(s).
6. WHAT ARE CD-ROM/XA BRIDGE DISCS?
CD-ROM/XA bridge discs are discs that can be played on a personal computer
with sufficient hardware and software, on dedicated players, and on CD-i
players. CD-ROM/XA bridge discs contain audio-visual data and adhere to the
CD-ROM/XA standard. Therefore, they can be read by any computer with a
CD-ROM/XA drive. The computer needs a special program to play the audio
visual data from the disc. In addition to the audio-visual content, CD-ROM/XA
brdige discs contain a CD-i application program that allows you to play the
content on a CD-i player. It is also possible to have players dedicated to
playing a specific type of CD-ROM/XA bridge disc.
The most well-known example of CD-ROM/XA bridge discs are Photo CD discs.
Photo CD discs contain graphic images in a specified structure and a CD-i
program. These discs can be played on a Photo-CD player, a CD-i player, and
on a computer using a separate Photo CD access program.
7. I HAVE A COMPUTER WITH A CD-ROM/XA DRIVE. CAN I PLAY CD-I DISCS ON IT?
Some manufacturers claim their CD-ROM/XA drives are 'CD-i compatible.' They
probably mean that the drives can read CD-i compatible data. That does not
mean that a computer attached to their CD-ROM/XA drive can run CD-i programs.
The CD-i standard includes specifications for audio, video and computer
hardware. In contrast to a CD-ROM drive, a CD-i player contains a complete
computer system that runs its own operating system. For a system to be CD-i
compatible, it needs to have a Motorola 68000 family central processing unit,
special audio and video hardware, and a special operating system called
CD-RTOS. A CD-ROM/XA drive connected to a PC or a Macintosh does not meet the
CD-i specification and, thus, cannot play CD-i discs.
8. HOW DO I MAKE DISCS FOR CD-I?
The creation of CD-i discs involves the development of audio and video assets
and an interactive program. CD-i uses a real-time operating system called
CD-RTOS (Compact Disc Real-Time Operating System). CD-RTOS is a specialized
operating system designed specifically for CD-i and is based on the OS-9
real-time, multi-tasking operating system.
CD-i titles can be developed through the use of an authoring system, such as
MediaMogul from OptImage, or may involve custom software engineering, using
C or 68000 assembly language programming. As a rule, if the title design is
complex or if the design requires a great deal of interactivity, custom
software engineering is required. The software engineering effort can be
reduced through the use of software development tools and specialized
software libraries, such as the Balboa Run-Time System.
9. WHAT IS AN AUTHORING SYSTEM?
An authoring system is a specialized system that allows a producer or
designer to design and assemble the elements of a multimedia presentation
without any software engineering. OptImage's MediaMogul and Script System's
ABCD-I are examples of authoring systems used for CD-i. Often, authoring
systems allow you to custom engineer add-on modules or to buy add-on modules
that provide additional functionality.
There are a several authoring systems for CD-i on the market. The
capabilities and ease of use of these systems may vary widely. If you have
questions about the suitability of an authoring system for your title design,
ask the vendor for references to other CD-i developers who have produced
similar types of titles with the system in question.
10. SHOULD I USE AN AUTHORING SYSTEM OR SHOULD I HAVE A SOFTWARE
ENGINEER WRITE A CUSTOM PROGRAM?
Authoring systems can reduce development time and effort and make CD-i
technology accessible to those who do not have software engineering skills.
The design of a title produced with an authoring system is typically
constrained to a fairly low level of interactivity and complexity. The
creativity of the interactive designer can make these constraints less
apparent to the user.
If, however, you wish to produce a title that is more interactive or complex,
such as an action game, custom software engineering becomes a necessity.
Typically, titles designed for the consumer marketplace require this type of
complexity and are much more expensive to produce because of the custom
software engineering required to complete them. Custom engineering is done
by writing C or 68000 assembly language programs that directly interface with
CD-RTOS, the operating system for CD-i, or that make use of the Balboa
Run-Time System libraries (available from OptImage).
On the other hand, many applications for presentations, point of sale,
marketing, and training may lend themselves very well to use of an authoring
system. If a sound and slideshow with some branching is adequate for a
design, then an authoring system will probably serve well. Authoring systems
are becoming increasingly sophisticated and their developer's continue to
enhance them to add functionality. For example, MediaMogul now allows the use
of Digital Video segments as assets for a CD-i title and also allows the use
of plug-in modules to expand its functionality. Nonetheless, no authoring
system currently on the market allows the title designer to approach the
complexity of design that can be attained with the services of a skilled CD-i
11. IF I DECIDE TO USE AN AUTHORING SYSTEM, HOW DO I KNOW WHAT HARDWARE
AND SOFTWARE I'LL NEED?
The supplier for your authoring system typically can provide a complete
solution, including hardware and software. Basically, your authoring system
will either run on a CD-i 605 (development) player or on a personal computer.
You will need to prepare your audio and video assets on a high end personal
computer and convert them there to CD-i format. First you will need personal
computer programs and hardware for the capture or creation of images and
programs for the editing of audio and images. Some examples of these 'off-the
shelf' programs for the Macintosh are Adobe Photoshop, Studio 32, Macromind
Director, and DigiDesign Sound Tools II. You will also need tools to convert
your assets to CD-i format; these are called audio and image conversion
In addition you'll need cables and networking software to let you connect
your player to the personal computer and you will need an emulator so that
you can test your work in progress.
12. CAN I USE A MACINTOSH OR PC BASED AUTHORING TOOL TO CREATE CD-I
Commonly used Macintosh and PC based authoring tools such as Macromedia
Director or Authorware or Toolbook cannot be used to create CD-i titles. As
yet, there is no easy way to convert the output of those tools into a CD-i
format disc image.
These personal computer platforms and the CD-i platform differ too much for
good cross-platform authoring. When authoring on a PC or a Macintosh, you
make use of special features of the personal computer, such as fast video
updates, fine image resolution, and fast hard-disk access. On the other hand,
when developing for CD-i, you want to make use of the unique features of
CD-i, such as DYUV images, two planes, real-time audio play, video effects,
Digital MPEG Video etc., which are not available when you are using PC or
13. I AM INVOLVED IN CD-ROM AND I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE CD-I SOFTWARE. HOW
CAN I PORT MY PC, MACINTOSH, CDTV, OR VIS TITLE TO CD-I?
It is not trivial to port a CD-ROM title to CD-i. However, through the use
of careful design and production techniques, it can be done with a lot less
effort than starting from scratch.
In our experience title development is about 25 to 50% platform specific and
50 to 75% platform independent. In case of authoring, the actual process of
scripting and assembling the presentation is platform specific. In the case
of custom C programming, the software design and implementation is largely
platform specific. On the other hand, the specific title design, the source
audio and video assets, and the integration system can be platform
Our porting guidelines in a nutshell are:
- Keep all your source assets in their high quality, original form (for
example, in the form of 24-bit RGB images and 44 KHz PCM audio) .
- Make sure the encoding pathways for all your assets are automated, or at
least well documented.
- Separate your code into platform-specific and general parts, if possible.
- Verify that the design specification will translate successfully to CD-i.
This can be done by prototyping or 'proof of concept' engineering.
- Then, reimplement your title using the design, which has been modified, if
necessary, for CD-i, any reusable code, and the original audio and video
14. WHAT IS AN EMULATOR?
CD-i programs are developed to run off of a compact disc on an optical disc
drive. You cannot properly play back and test your programs from the hard
disk of the computer you are using to develop the programs for your CD-i
application. The data delivery system and CD interface, the data rate, and
the (slow) access time of the CD drive need to be taken into account. Thus,
it is necessary to 'emulate' play of the application from optical disc. An
emulator is an intelligent computer-peripheral device with a high-capacity
hard disk. During CD-i development, a disc image is built onto the hard disk
of the emulator and the disc image can be 'played' as if it were on an
optical disc. The emulator removes the need to burn new CD-i discs at various
stages of development process to use for functional testing, and can, thus,
save a lot of time and money.
15. WHAT SUPPORT DOES PHILIPS PROVIDE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CD-I TITLES
FOR HOME ENTERTAINMENT ?
Philips Media co-funds a limited number of titles and acts as a distributor
for selected titles from independent CD-i developers.
Philips Media reviews proposals from prospective co-producers. To prepare a
proposal, describe the subject matter for the title in two or three
sentences. Because Philips cannot guarantee confidentiality in the handling
of your proposal in the early stage of the proposal process, we advise you
not to send a detailed outline or discussion of your ideas. But, do provide
detailed information on your company (brochures, company background, etc.),
its personnel (resumes or biographies), and facilities. Because Philips
receives a large number of proposals, a response will take at least three
weeks. Upon approval of your proposal for further consideration, a next step
would be a business plan and a mutual confidentiality agreement.
Distribution for Independent Producers
As part of Philips Media's publishing activity, independent producers are
encouraged to seek distribution agreements for their CD-i titles. Philips
establishes and maintains distribution channels worldwide. The procedure for
obtaining a distribution agreement with Philips is outlined in a document
titled 'Guidelines for Distribution License Agreements,' which is available
upon request from the International Product Management and Distribution
office, Philips Media Electronic Publishing.
16. WHAT SUPPORT DOES PHILIPS PROVIDE FOR PROFESSIONAL OR EDUCATIONAL
Philips Media Systems is responsible for sales and support of CD-i
development systems and players for use in the professional marketplace. This
group can assist developers in designing and putting together hardware
systems and can direct developers to suppliers of development software and
Suppliers of development systems typically offer complete CD-i development
systems that include the hardware and software required for the type of
application desired. The often provide training and technical support, as
17. IS CD-I PROPRIETARY? DO I NEED A LICENSE TO PRODUCE CD-I DISCS?
Content developers for CD-i do not need a license. Manufacturers of CD-i
players and CD-i discs do need a patent license from Philips. A content
developer may obtain the same information package that is received by
licensees for a fee of $5000. If they wish only to obtain the 'CD-i Full
Functional Specification' (Green Book), they may sign a non-disclosure
agreement and pay a fee of US $200.
18. WHAT ARE THE RED, YELLOW, GREEN, ORANGE, AND WHITE BOOKS?
Philips and Sony jointly developed compact disc technology and they co-own
the patents. The two companies have written and now maintain a set of
specifications for the encoding and formatting of digital data on compact
discs. Each specification is referred to by a color designation and the cover
of the specification is that color. These specifications detail the accepted
industry foundation for interplatform compatibility. A description of each
of the color coded specifications follows:
- Red Book
This is the specification for Compact Disc-Digital Audio. All audio CDs
adhere to specification in the Red Book, and are, thus, assured to play on
any CD audio player in the world.
- Yellow Book
This specification defines the computer-based CD-ROM standard. The standard
specifies the sector format on disc. There are two sector formats: Mode 1,
CD-ROM , 2048 byte sectors, and Mode 2, CD-ROM/XA, 2324 byte sectors. Mode
2 sectors also contain end-of-record markers, interrupt triggers, data type
specifications, etc. Other standards, such as ISO 9660 and Apple HFS, which
may be used in combination with the Yellow Book standard, define the
directory and file structures.
- Green Book
This specification builds on the Red Book and the Yellow Book and is the
specification for Compact Disc-Interactive (CD-i).
- Orange Book
This specification covers writable CDs, including CD Recordable (CD-R),
magneto-optical cartridge systems and single- and multi-session recording.
- White Book
This specification covers the Video CD format.
These specifications are available from Bert Gall, Philips Consumer
Electronics in The Netherlands.
19. HOW DO I GET A COPY OF THE GREEN BOOK (CD-I FULL FUNCTIONAL
The Green Book is available from both Philips and Sony. The Green Book can
be obtained from Bert Gall, Philips Consumer Electronics in The Netherlands.
The various regional CD-i associations, such as CD-i Association of North
America and CD-i Association of Europe, have also made special arrangements
for their members to obtain this specification. (Note that the Red, Yellow,
Orange, and White Book are available from the same source.)
20. WHAT ARE CD+GRAPHICS DISCS?
CD+G is a format that allows a music producer to add still graphics to a
CD-DA disc. This format has been used to a limited degree; it has been most
common in the Japanese marketplace.
21. WHAT ARE PHOTO CD DISCS?
Photo CD discs are a special type of CD-ROM/XA bridge discs that allow you
to put 35 mm photographic images on disc for play back on a dedicated Photo
CD player or on a CD-i player. Photo CD allows you to display your personal
photographs on your television set. The Photo CD disc contains a special CD-i
application program that allows your pictures to be played back on a CD-i
player. Photo CD discs can be multi-session discs. This means that after you
have had pictures from your first roll of film 'burned' into the disc, you
can have the photo processor add pictures in additional disc burning sessions
until the disc is full.
Photo CD has also added an interesting source of high quality photographic
images for developers of CD-i. It is possible to read images from a Photo CD
disc via a CD-ROM XA drive and, using Photo CD access software and image
conversion utilities, to use the images as source assets for a CD-i disc.
22. WHAT ARE MULTI-SESSION DISCS?
An optical disc is typically made in one session. The data on a
single-session disc cannot be changed, and data can not be added to the disc.
However, the Orange Book specifies a special format for recordable CDs:
multi-session discs. This format allows you to use one disc for one or more
additional recording sessions. After the initial data is burned into the
disc, it is possible to add data during future sessions until the disc is
full. Since you cannot change information on a recordable disc, a new session
should contain a table of contents comprised of the old and the new
information on the disc. The system that reads a multi-session disc needs to
take this into account. It should not look for just any table of contents or
directory of a CD-ROM disc; it should look for the last table of contents or
directory. Because of this issue, many older CD-ROM drives cannot read
23. WHAT ARE KARAOKE CD DISCS?
Karaoke CD discs are a special kind of CD ROM/XA bridge disc that allow you
to play Karaoke discs on a dedicated Karaoke CD player or on a CD-i player
equipped with a Digital Video cartridge. The Karaoke CD standard was
developed jointly Philips and JVC. It features the ability to play
full-screen, full-motion video and CD-quality audio using the MPEG-1
compression standard. Note that CD-i players with an added Digital Video
cartridge can play Karaoke CD discs; CD-i discs do not play on a Karaoke CD
24. WHAT ARE VIDEO CD DISCS?
Video CD discs are a special kind of CD-ROM/XA bridge disc that allow you to
play feature films and music videos on a dedicated Video CD player or on a
CD-i player equipped with a Digital Video cartridge. A computer equipped with
the appropriate hardware and software could also play Video CD discs. The
Video CD standard is supported by Philips, JVC, Sony, and Matsushita. It is
based on the Karaoke-CD standard and, thus, features the ability to play
full-screen, full-motion video with CD-quality audio, using the MPEG-1
25. ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE CD-I INFORMATION, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
CD-i Association of North America
11111Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Contact: Laura Foti Cohen
Phone: +1 310 444 6613
Fax: +1 310 479 5937
European CD-i Association
188 Tottenham Court Road
London W1P 9LE
Contact: Julian Lynn-Evans
Business to Business Interactive Compact Disc User Group
PO Box 3421
WestPort, CT 06881
Contact: Bruce Meek
Phone: +1 203 221 9045
Contact: Paul Holmes
Phone: +1 216 349 1116
Authoring and Development Systems--Worldwide
OptImage Interactive Services Company, L.P.
1501 50th Street, Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50265-0252
Phone: +1 515 225 7000
Toll-free-U.S.: 1 800 234 5484
Fax: +1 515 222-2080
All OptImage representatives may be reached at the numbers above.
Western Region: John Washburn
Eastern Region: Craig Zimmerman
Central: Pam Wilber
Southeast: John Brown
International Interactive Media SA (I2M)
2229 Routes des Cretes
Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne 06560
Phone: +33 92 94 21 30
FAX +33 92 96 21 32
Script Systems Inc.
115 Metropolitan Drive
PO Box 601
Liverpool, NY 13082
Phone: +1 315 451 1622
FAX: +1 315 451 8503
You may also contact Philips Media Systems for information on development
Philips Media Systems
Philips Media Systems
1 Philips Drive
Knoxville, TN 37914
General: Bernie Mitchell
Phone: +1 615 521 3232
West Coast: John Hill
Phone: +1 408 248 8893
Central: Jerry Huffman
Phone: +1 317 841 0224
Southern: Linda Olsen
Phone: +1 404 952 0064
East Coast: John Elicker
Phone: +1 908 827 8648
Philips Interactive Media Asia Pacific
c/o Philips Hong Kong Ltd., Consumer Service
Site 7, Ground Floor, Whampoa Garden
Contact: Chris Hofland
Phone: +852 773 5332
Fax: +852 334 5482
Philips Australia Centre
3 Figtree Drive
Homebush NSW 2140
Contact: Gordon Lee
Phone: +61 2 7428311
Fax: +61 2 7644060
Philips Media Systems
P.O. Box 80002
5600 JB Eindhoven
Contact: Cees van Versendaal
Phone: +31 40 736228
Fax: +31 40 735871
The 'Green Book' and Other Optical Disc Specifications
Philips Consumer Electronics
Coordination Office Optical & Magnetic Media Systems
P.O. BOX 80002
5600 JB EINDHOVEN
Home Entertainment Title Development
Philips Interactive Media
11111 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Children's Label Group
Sarina Simon, President
Games Labels Group
David McElhatten President
Home Entertainment and Special Interest Labels Group
Ann Kronen, President
Education Labels Group
Bernard Luskin, President
European/Country Labels Group
Jean-Pierre Isbouts, President
FMV/Digital Video Group
Graham Williams, President
26. RELATED DOCUMENTS FOR PROSPECTIVE CD-I DEVELOPERS
CD-i Development Environments
CD-i Technical Summary
You may request the publications listed above from:
Philips Interactive Media
11050 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: +1 310 444 6158 or +1 310 444 6159
Fax: +1 310 477 4953
* DISCLAIMER: This document is made to the best of the knowledge of the *
* authors, but inevitably there may be errors or omissions. Philips and *
* the authors accept no liability for the information presented herein. *
For comments, additions, and corrections, or if you have other questions,
Philips Interactive Media
11050 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Fax: +1 310 477 4953
Contact: Lucy Lediaev
E-Mail: Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Lex van Sonderen
E-Mail: Internet: email@example.com