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December 1987

The quest for home video
Compact Disc-Interactive
[Source: Terra Media Archives]

Another chicken-and-egg problem
Ever hopeful, despite repeated delays, that the Compact Disc-Interactive (CD-i) format would become a global interactive medium, Philips published a manual for software designers. Recognising the 'chicken'-and-egg' hardware/software conundrum that had bedevilled the video disc, Philips International's D C Geest (Senior Managing Director and Chairman, Corporate Group—Home Interactive Systems) wrote in the foreword:
'But the establishment of a specification, and the building of CD-i players is only one part of the picture. The other essential element is the software—the range of CD-i discs that will join the players to form the basis of a new publishing industry. It is the purpose of this book to help those interested in participating in this new industry to understand the possibilities and techniques of CD-i, as well as to appreciate the basics of CD-i disc design.'

The scale of the problem is indicated by the book's editor, J M Preston, in the preface to the second edition (March 1988):
'This book ...  cannot be used as a vademecum while designing a CD-i disc. At the time of writing there is an insufficient body of experience to enable such a guide to be written—only two CD-i discs have been displayed to Licensees, one by Sony in June 1987 and one by Philips in December 1987. ... The long term success of CD-i is going to be determined by the foresight of the publisher and the ingenuity of the designer; so the more experience can be shared at this stage, the greater the effort that can go into original design work.' 

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