The Philips CD-i (Compact Disc Interactive) is an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by the Dutch electronics manufacturer Royal Philips Electronics N.V. This category of device was created to provide more functionality than an audio CD player or game console, but at a lower price than a personal computer with a CD-ROM drive at the time. The cost savings were due to the lack of a floppy drive, keyboard, mouse, monitor (a standard television is used), and less operating system software.
In addition to games, educational and multimedia reference titles were produced, such as interactive encyclopedias, museum tours, etc., which were popular before public Internet access was widespread. Competitors included the Tandy VIS and Commodore CDTV.
CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard used by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was developed by Philips and Sony. Work on the CD-i began in 1984 and it was first publicly announced in 1986. The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around US$700, was capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, Photo CDs and Video CDs (VCDs), though the latter required an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1decoding.
The CD-i was a commercial failure, selling only 1 million units across all manufactures in 7 years, and losing Philips $1 billion.
The CD-i player is also one of the earliest gaming systems to implement internet features, including subscriptions, web browsing, downloading, e-mail, and online play. This was facilitated by the use of an additional hardware modem that Philips released in 1996 for $150.