Commodore CDTV

Commodore CDTV

4th Generation Competitors
PC Engine Megadrive Super NES Neo Geo AES Neo Geo CD Philips CDI NEC SuperGrafx
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan NA  NA  NA
North America Mar 1991 1993
Europe Mar 1991 1993

Commodore’s second attempt at taking the living room.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that this was based on the Amiga 500, a machine well known for it’s games, they did not position this as a console.  Instead the CDTV was advertised as an educational system.

The CDTV was also incredibly expensive, especially when compared to other consoles at the time.  The CD Rom drive was a very early model and, as well as being slow, needed a caddy to play discs.

The price meant that potential buyers would buy Nintendo or Sega instead and because of poor sales there was little support from developers.  This was especially galling considering how easy it was to port software from the A500.

The CDTV had extensive upgrade options available.  As well as all the bits needed to make it into a fully fledged Amiga (Keyboard, Mouse and Floppy Drive) there were several memory upgrade options and even upgrades for video.  By default the CDTV outputs to RGB or Composite, but there were options that added RF / RCA and Scart.

It was even possible to add genlock options, meaning the CDTV could be used for one of the Amiga’s strengths, video editing.

At the end it was too expensive and was aimed at a market that had already failed with the Philips CDI.  Considering how powerful the Amiga hardware was this was a poor result by Commodore.

All of these errors were fixed in the CDTVs successor, the CD32.

Specs

Processor Motorola 68000 @ 7.16 MHz / 7.06 MHz
RAM 1MB (Upgradable)
ROM 256k Kickstart 256k CDTV
Custom Chips OCS, ECS Chipsets
Video 12 bit 16, 32, 64, 4096 Colours depending on graphics mode
Audio 2 x 8 bit Stereo PCM Channels
Removable storage  Single Speed CD Rom

Commodore CDTV
CDTV Keyboard
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