Philips CDI

Philips CDI

4th Generation Competitors
Neo Geo CD Megadrive Super NES Neo Geo AES CDTV PC Engine NEC SuperGrafx
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan April 25th 1992 1998
North America 3rd Dec 1991 1998
Europe July 10th 1992 1998

Philips were one of the creators of the CD standard and they decided to make a machine to show off it’s capabilities.  Initially they expected to license the technology to other manufacturers, much like the 3DO company tried later on.

Initial interest was not strong however and Philips ended up releasing several models themselves.  Magnavox did release a variant of the 450, but it was mostly just a rebadged version of Philips own model.

Philips placed the CDI as an educational tool, and didn’t have a strong games library.  Like many companies that tried the same strategy Philips failed.  The initial machines were quite expensive and a relatively limited library that suffered from quality didn’t help.

The platform is renowned for licensing the Zelda and Mario licenses from Nintendo and the games were so bad that it, allegedly, stopped Nintendo from every licensing their IP ever again.

Philips eventually released the cut price 400 series, it was more console like and did away with infra-red controller capability (which wasn’t popular for games anyway).


Processor Motorola 68070 @ 15.5MHz
ROM 256K
Custom Chips SCC66470 or MCD212
Video 32,768 Colours from a palette or 16.8M
Audio 8 x ADPCM Channels
Removable storage  Single Speed CD Drive

CDI 450
CDI 220
CDI 910