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1991 - The Amiga CDTV

Technical Specifications:
Motorola MC68000 at 7.16MHz
512Kb / 1Mb ChipRAM
OCS / ECS Chipsets
OS 1.3
CDROM drive
InfraRed remote control
external 3.5" floppy
4 channel stereo sound
Serial, Parallel, RGB, Mouse
and Joystick ports,
plus MIDI in/out.

Click on image for enlarged picture

The CDTV was introduced in April 1991 under the headline "TALK TO YOUR TELEVISION" and was marketed as the world's first CDTV interactive multimedia player. Designed to blend in with the audio and video products of the day, it was finished in black and tried to look nothing like a computer until one checked the mass of ports and connectors on the back.

Inside, it basically consisted of a standard OCS Amiga, not unlike the Amiga 500 of the day, but with a few extra bits including the CDROM drive and the infrared remote controller. Although the photo above also shows a keyboard, mouse and floppy disk drive, these were optional extras that didn't arrive until much later. The CDTV was designed to be used with a conventional television set rather than a dedicated monitor (although RGB connectors were provided on the back), and in addition to interactive games based on earlier Amiga based offerings, the CD could also be used for playing music CDs including those encoded with an accompanying digital score (CD+MIDI) and those with graphics and lyrics (CD+G).

Despite all these attributes the CDTV was not a good seller, partly due to poor marketing by Commodore (sound familiar ?), and partly due to a lack of good software on CD. By the time the promised software did appear, the competition had caught up somewhat with slightly better offerings. Incidentally due to copyright issues about the acronym "CD" for Compact Disc, a name owned by Philips, the acronym "CDTV" was registered by Commodore as "Commodore Dynamic Total Vision" to avoid having to pay royalties to Philips for use of the name.

Copyright 2005 Amiga Auckland Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 25, 2005.