What's it Called?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Wayde_R, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't think of the name of it and I'm trying to look it up on the web.

    There was a set top box that came out in the mid/early 90s, I think it was developed by Phillips. It was a predescesor to WebTV. I believe it played CDs with software media, a sort of set-top PC for people who didn't like computers, or something like that. It was heavily marketed on TV adds for awhile then of course was marginalized by superior technologies (probably the DVD).

    Can anyone enlighten me as to the name of the device I am thinking of... or if there were perhaps a series of such devices. A cool link to somebodies history of set-top-box-hits and misses would be cool if you know of any.

    Funny thing... I'm working on a story about Microsoft and the Xbox. I'm sort of painting the picture of the type of marketspace Msoft was looking to dominate. I believe (and it's no secret) Msoft saw writing on the walls that the future of home computing was going to eventually merge with the STB and they wanted to be there with both feet in the door. It looks like 360 is going to be the coup-de-grace... everything previous STBs wanted to be (including WebTV) but the technology didn't exist. It's really a fascinating story.

    Funny how much effort we humans put into intracate passtimes while sitting on our arses. Meanwhile we don't even have an alternative to burning fossil fuels, cure for cancer, we can't even make a decent space shuttle. But that's for another forum.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I seem to recall something Philips called CDI, or CD Interactive. Is this the failed product you are interested in?

    Chris
     
  3. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Could have been CD Interactive.
     
  4. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    yeah, CDI, CD Interactive, I think that was it. I haven't read a bit on yet though but is it really a failure? I think sometimes we perceive something to be failure because it got replaces, which would make the DVD player a failure too. Not sure though, Philips meant for CDi to take over the world or something, I have no idea.
     
  5. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is a bit I found on it online...


    I found it here

    Interesting museum piece.
     
  6. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I perceive CD-i to be a failure because Philips lost a lot of money on it and it gathered very little software support from third parties. Of course one person's idea of failure can be completely different. The statement that Philips pulled out of the US consumer electronics market (for a while) after the failure might give some support to my conclusion.

    Chris
     
  7. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    CDi was a failure, no doubt about it. The only thing that really came out of it was the MPEG-I digital video disc, the VCD, which was a subset of CDi. They achieved very little market penetration, and for the few who did buy in there was very little software availability. It really didn't do anything anybody wanted to do: a textbook example of a product not to put on the market.
    LaserDisc may have been a marginal product for many years, but compared to CDi it was a resounding success.
     
  8. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I didn't mean to try to argue whether or not it was a failure or sucess.

    I didn't own one, and as a consumer electronics enthusiast in that time period it would have had to trickle down to me or at least someone I knew to be a resounding sucess. But I think the "experiment" was writing on the walls. It lead to other STB/computing/internet efforts like WebTV (not exactly a sucess either) and the games consoles today are so sophistocated that they're basically taking it over. Not to mention Windows Media Center, designed to make the PC into a STB.

    Perhaps it was an idea ahead of its time.
     
  9. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    You forgot to mention the PhotoCD support[​IMG] That was the only reason why I bought it. As the Kodak PhotoCD players cost too much at the time.
     
  10. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Actually VCD is more than alive and well in Asia, especially China, where it is probably the preferred video format. When releasing movie software in China, a VCD version better be available. There are many titles that aren't avilable on domestic DVD, yet are available on VCD.
     
  11. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    I thought VCD was around before CDi, and that the CDi was basically a glorified VCD player? I believed Philips was leveraging the VCD technology in creating their player?

    Also, some commercial VCDs have a CDi extension on the disc, but most do not (at least that I own and have noticed.) This would also make me think that VCD was out before CDi came around. Otherwise it would make more sense for all VCDs to have the CDi extensions.

    VCD is/was a huge format in Asia. From what asian friends have told me, it was more likely that a family had a VCD player/recorder in their home than a VCR. An African neighbor also had shown me his VCD collection one time, he had a few hundred that had been sent to him from his family back home.
     
  12. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    What I meant is to say that, while VCD had commercial success, CDi per se did not. I realise my phrasing was unclear. And yes, VCD is a subset of CDi, I even have a document describing how this works: in fact every VCD is required by the standard to contain a software player for use in CDi machines without a VCD package. "They" in that sentence refers, as it ought, to the last noun before it, in this case "CDi".
    Before CDi/VCD, there was briefly something called "DVI" for "Digital Video Interactive" which employed the original interframe DCT codec which became MPEG-I when DVI became a part of CDi.
     
  13. rob-h

    rob-h Second Unit

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    Phillips manufactured the original webtv's before MS was involved. I think thats what you are thinking of.
     
  14. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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  15. rob-h

    rob-h Second Unit

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    3DO was not phillips.......it was made by 3DO who just recently closed doors. They had trasitioned to a software maker after the failure of the console. I am sure he is talking about the original webtv. Infomercials for it were all over the air at that time.

    http://www.ncns.com/mswebtv.html

    "WebTV Networks is the developer of the WebTV set-top box and WebTV Network(SM) service that delivers the Internet through television, acknowledged by industry analysts and national trade and consumer media as the leader in delivering Internet content through the television. WebTV Networks has licensed its technology to Sony Electronics and Philips Consumer Electronics Co., and their respective set-top boxes are available at consumer electronics stores nationwide, with the WebTV Network online service available concurrently."
     
  16. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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  17. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the info. What I was thinking of but couldn't name was the CDi, not WebTV. I finished my article on Xbox360.

    The point of my article is that the Xbox 360 is more than just a games machine per se. With its integrated media extender VC1, WMVHD support/playback it's exactly that... an interactive TV media box. iTV is the real reason for Microsoft entering into the console games market. Buying WebTV from Philips (it was a colaboration between Philips and Sony) was just a false start but I think it provided valuable lessons.

    It's a shame that 360 won't have the HDMI or (one of either) HDDVD or Blu-Ray. I suppose I understand why not but just the same.

    The PS3 is nowhere near the media player 360 is, yet it'll play back SACD and has an HDMI output.

    It looks like this Xbx Live service is going to eventually become a pre-digested Microsoft presents the Internet as it starts to utilize certain MSN services like music downloads, it's not finished yet but I'm positive that's their intention.
     
  18. rob-h

    rob-h Second Unit

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    I could not disagree with you more. CDI had nothing to do with the entrance into the console market. It was purely a skunkworks operation by a few of the guys that originally worked on the directx project.

    Webtv had nothing to do with it either. Xbox does not even include a browser and MS did not want a keyboard sold with the system to keep it from being compared to the PC.
     
  19. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Stunt Coordinator

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    No, CD-i itself did not lead to anything. I was just speculating that it's an early STB computer and might have caught the attention of those anticipating what the future internet experience would hold.

    But I see WebTV as sort of precursor to the Xbox. True, Xbox includes no browser, but doesn't Windows Media Center? Xbox 360 will include MC Extender by default, Xbox now has it as a "game" you can buy. While they don't include a keyboard in the game console it's intended to integrate nicely with another product that does.

    Are you saying the Xbox360 just a games console? Or that it bears nothing in common with earlier efforts at STB computing?

    360 is intended to be a media console as well as a gaming machine. It'll clearly attract mature gamers with more going on than gaming.

    I think the next logical step is Xbox Live selling products outside of gaming. Music downloads for instance, I believe it's in the works although I can't prove it.

    My point isn't that 360 is a direct descendant of WebTV. But Msoft bought WebTV to ensusre they didn't become irrelevant at the hands of the STB. This isn't just my speculation, I believe it was pretty well established. The Xbox project emenated from the same line of thinking.

    I praise Microsoft for not including a keyboard and turning into another interactive TV box. But it's obvious they had more in mind than just gaming. I actually think in Microsoft's paranoia about the encroaching STBs that never were, they're now driving the interactive TV to new heights.

    I appreciate your objective question of what I'm seeing going on with this industry.

    I completed my thoughts on this topic right here just moments ago.
     

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