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Old 23 January 2020, 21:51   #1
d4rk3lf
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Why CDTV failed?

I don't get it.

It offers so much new and cool stuff, back in the day.
Apart from listening CD music, you could do ton's of other stuff + add a keyboard, mouse, and a floppy, and you got A500 with thousands of games library.

I am unsure would it be possible to play movies on few CD's in HAM6 mode? How much space would you need for 120 minutes in ham6? It would be amazing. I guess, some short documentaries could be done.

Encyclopedias... they were so popular with arrival of CD Rom on PC, and with CDTV it could been so much sooner.

I am not sure why games like this wouldn't work on CDTV
(especially that second shooter level)
[ Show youtube player ]
It's a crappy game - yes, but it was more of a technology reveal.
Or some adventures with recorded cinematic like Phantasmagoria.

Was it too expensive?

All above stuff is unclear to me, and on top of all mentioned capabilities, I really like the look of it. It looks really cool to me, especially for the 90's furniture, and styles of the living rooms.
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Old 23 January 2020, 21:55   #2
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
I don't get it.

It offers so much new and cool stuff, back in the day.
Apart from listening CD music, you could do ton's of other stuff + add a keyboard, mouse, and a floppy, and you got A500 with thousands of games library.

I am unsure would it be possible to play movies on few CD's in HAM6 mode? How much space would you need for 120 minutes in ham6? It would be amazing. I guess, some short documentaries could be done.

Encyclopedias... they were so popular with arrival of CD Rom on PC, and with CDTV it could been so much sooner.

I am not sure why games like this wouldn't work on CDTV
[ Show youtube player ]
It's a crappy game - yes, but it was more of a technology reveal.
Or some adventures with recorded cinematic like Phantasmagoria.

Was it too expensive?

All above stuff is unclear to me, and on top of all mentioned capabilities, I really like the look of it. It looks really cool to me, especially for the 90's furniture, and styles of the living rooms.
It was too expensive, and Commodore didn't have a clue how to market it.

For instance, they kept the name "Amiga" out of the marketing, it was simply known as the Commodore CDTV.

Commodore also didn't want too many games for it because they wanted it to be taken more seriously, so many developers simply didn't bother.

It was also in the infancy of CD based machines that were supposed to be multimedia capable of doing all manner of things, turns out, the market wasn't ready for them, and every single CD system like the CDTV failed.
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Old 23 January 2020, 22:14   #3
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One thing I never quite understood about the CDTV was that it seemed split between being a home theater/hifi device and a home computer (IR remote vs using mouse+keyboard). Was it usable at all with just the remote?
I just don't see anyone hooking up along with their VCR, amplifier, EQ, etc. and then actually having a keyboard and mouse plugged in.
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Old 23 January 2020, 22:29   #4
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One thing I never quite understood about the CDTV was that it seemed split between being a home theater/hifi device and a home computer (IR remote vs using mouse+keyboard). Was it usable at all with just the remote?
I just don't see anyone hooking up along with their VCR, amplifier, EQ, etc. and then actually having a keyboard and mouse plugged in.
Thats the thing, the CDTV was developed because someone thought it was a good idea, and sometimes those good ideas find a market and succeed.

The CDTV was a good idea, but there wasn't a market that wanted it nor needed it.

Best analogy I can come up with is it was a good idea ahead of its time.

Take the Nissan Prairie people carrier in the early 80's, it failed, it was a great idea but people were unsure they would need something like that.

15 years later with stuff like the Vauxhall/Opel Zafira, everyone is saying "what a great idea".......... right product, wrong time.
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Old 23 January 2020, 22:34   #5
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I actually got to use a "real" CDTV back in the mid - late 90s.

My stepfather's friend; the same person we purchased our A500 (512KB Chip & 512KB Slow RAM) off, bought one.

Yeah, it looked quite cool etc... but in reality there wasn't much more to it than a standard A500; besides what's already been mentioned e.g. encyclopedias.
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Old 23 January 2020, 22:48   #6
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Once a CD booted it had less than 1mb if anything it needed more Ram.

Should of had Kickstart 2.x that came out the same year?

lack of relevant software like CD32 i.e FMV games.

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Old 23 January 2020, 22:56   #7
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Thanks for clarifications guys.

Back in the days, I don't remember even hearing about it, and now, all these years later, it seems to me that it was a really cool idea. After all, Amiga is all about multimedia, so this was a logical step, I guess.
Pity, it wasn't more popular, and developers decided to create a ton's of Encyclopedia's, games and movies on it.... it would be an absolute hit.

Ah Commodore... and their marketing ... such another waste of great potential
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Old 23 January 2020, 23:13   #8
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It was way more expensive than an A500. And while it basically was an A500 with a CD drive attached, it couldn't run any existing Amiga software unless you bought keyboard, mouse and disk drive separately - but with the cost of all those peripherals, you ended up at twice the price of the A500, IIRC.

There simply was not enough CD based software to justify that added cost. And if you already had an audio CD collection, you already owned a CD player - so that was not much of a reason to buy either.

IIRC, the CDTV shipped for $1000 initially. The only competitor - the Philips CD-i - shipped for $700 - but that was also a failure.

Plus, as somebody already mentioned: As usual, Commodore had no idea how to market it.

Last edited by Korodny; 25 January 2020 at 02:34.
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Old 23 January 2020, 23:24   #9
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CDTV is a nice system, I still enjoy the two I have.
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Old 24 January 2020, 00:28   #10
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Originally Posted by Korodny View Post
It was way more expensive than an A500. And while it basically was an A500 with a CD drive attached, it couldn't run any existing Amiga software unless you bought keyboard, mouse and disk drive separately - but with the cost of all those peripherals, you ended up at twice the price of the A500, IIRC.

IIRC, the CDTV shipped for $1000 initially. The only competitor - the Philips CD-i - shipped for $700 less, but that was also a failure.

Plus, as somebody already mentioned: As usual, Commodore had no idea how to market it.
It was more expensive than the A500 because of the CD drive and more expensive casing and parts tbf. When they released the Multimedia Pack in 1992 for £599 it worked out cheaper than buying a A500 for £350 + £350 for the A570 CD drive.

Btw the CDTV and CD-i both launched at $999 in the US, in the UK CDTV was £599 and CD-i £699, was never more expensive than the CD-i.
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Old 24 January 2020, 00:49   #11
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The CDTV is an absolute killer looking system, really is a very nice looking machine.
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Old 24 January 2020, 00:52   #12
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People at the time didn't want an A500 with a cd rom any more than they wanted a megadrive with a cd rom.
It turns out what they really wanted was a playstation.
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Old 24 January 2020, 00:53   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
The CDTV is an absolute killer looking system, really is a very nice looking machine.
Totally agree Sir Galahad; I was blown away when I first saw it

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Originally Posted by rare_j View Post
It turns out what they really wanted was a playstation.
True, I remember when I first saw Resident Evil

...that was definitely the end for anything else that I had in my house at the time:
  • Amiga 500 (512KB Chip & 512KB Slow RAM)
  • Sega Mega Drive [15 or so games]
  • Super Nintendo [20 or so games]
  • Nintendo 64 [10 or so games]

Last edited by DamienD; 24 January 2020 at 00:59.
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Old 24 January 2020, 01:25   #14
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Anyone tried burning some videos/movies and playing it on CDTV?
I see that CDTV had some special video format (CDXL), and I am wondering how it compares to ham 6 (quality vs size).

I am reading also on various topic that it is hardly upgrade-able, especially Accelerators for A500... but wondering how hard would it be to attach CF as Hard Disk.
Anyone tried Turbo CD upgrade?

When I have time, i'll try converting some videos, and will try playing it on my A500... I saw on youtube people done it before...
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Old 24 January 2020, 01:31   #15
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Anyone tried burning some videos/movies and playing it on CDTV?
I see that CDTV had some special video format (CDXL), and I am wondering how it compares to ham 6 (quality vs size).

I am reading also on various topic that it is hardly upgrade-able, especially Accelerators for A500... but wondering how hard would it be to attach CF as Hard Disk.
Anyone tried Turbo CD upgrade?

When I have time, i'll try converting some videos, and will try playing it on my A500... I saw on youtube people done it before...
Its actually very upgradeable today with some specific hardware made for it, but back in the day there wasn't a great deal you could do.

Gutted really as i'd love the CDTV to be sat under the PS4 and use that for game testing, but A600 is the way forward
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Old 24 January 2020, 04:54   #16
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When they released the Multimedia Pack in 1992 for £599 it worked out cheaper than buying a A500 for £350 + £350 for the A570 CD drive.
Yeah, but at that time, Commodore was already desperately trying to get rid of its CDTV stock, since it was a massive commercial failure.

And I don't think Amiga CDs were common in 1992? The way I remember it, CDs only became popular - mostly as PD collections initially, i.e. Frozen Fish, then Aminet - after Commodore was gone. I probably would have taken the A500/600 in 1992

Quote:
Btw the CDTV and CD-i both launched at $999 in the US, in the UK CDTV was £599 and CD-i £699, was never more expensive than the CD-i.
My source is Bagnall's "The Final Years", according to which the announced US launch price for the CD-i was $700, while the CDTV launched at $1000 - and since it cost Commodore nearly $490 to make, they were expecting to loose money with each unit sold at that price point.

The high price is the reason they immediately started the CDTV-CR ("Cost Reduced") project, even before the CDTV's actual full scale launch.

The UK launch price is given as £699, the CD-1500 expansion kit (mouse, keyboard, disk drive) shipped for £200.
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Old 24 January 2020, 10:57   #17
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I got an A570 for my A500 instead. Turns out that Amiga+CD is pretty much a match made in heaven (Forget encyclopedias and interactive movies... All those PD and later Aminet CD-ROMs were awesome), as long as you have the keyboard and mouse.

IMHO the CDTV was a nice system. But is was marred by a high launch price, bad software selection and a bad control system. Just like the CDI, the CDTV's remote was just not that good and failed at one of the potential killer apps (games). They ought to have supplied at least the option for a more gaming oriented controller and embraced the gaming part of the Amiga legacy. It may have worked better that way.
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People at the time didn't want an A500 with a cd rom any more than they wanted a megadrive with a cd rom.
It turns out what they really wanted was a playstation.
Yes, I'd have loved a Playstation in 1991 as well
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Old 24 January 2020, 11:14   #18
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People at the time didn't want an A500 with a cd rom any more than they wanted a megadrive with a cd rom.
It turns out what they really wanted was a playstation.
Yeah i remember wanting a Playstation in 1992

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Yeah, but at that time, Commodore was already desperately trying to get rid of its CDTV stock, since it was a massive commercial failure.
Not in early 1992 when they u-turned and rebranded as the Amiga CDTV, they were still pushing it, after Xmas 1992 then yeah they knew the writing was on the wall.

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And I don't think Amiga CDs were common in 1992? The way I remember it, CDs only became popular - mostly as PD collections initially, i.e. Frozen Fish, then Aminet - after Commodore was gone. I probably would have taken the A500/600 in 1992
They weren’t that common in 1992 no, but after Commodore was gone as you say in 1994 they were all over the place. The collection discs were the best value so i guess thats why they became the most popular.

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My source is Bagnall's "The Final Years", according to which the announced US launch price for the CD-i was $700, while the CDTV launched at $1000 - and since it cost Commodore nearly $490 to make, they were expecting to loose money with each unit sold at that price point.
Sorry but he is wrong with that the US CD-i launch price, do a bit of searching online through old newspapers/mags will show the launch price of $999, plus Philips released a press release a year later stating a price drop from that launch price ‘Effective August 17, 1992, Philips reduce price of CD-i from $999 to $699’
The net is full of sites with misinformation, wikipedia being one of them, one site even states the CD-i 450 player came out in 1991 for $699! The fact it came out in 1994 for $399 shows you they did no research at all!

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The high price is the reason they immediately started the CDTV-CR ("Cost Reduced") project, even before the CDTV's actual full scale launch.
Most companies look at cost reduction of the same machine often before they have launched the first model.

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Originally Posted by Korodny View Post
The UK launch price is given as £699, the CD-1500 expansion kit (mouse, keyboard, disk drive) shipped for £200.
Again he is wrong on the price, the UK launch price was £599, you can check plenty of UK adverts at time of launch which show the price.
https://archive.org/details/cdtv_20191230/page/n3
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Old 24 January 2020, 12:00   #19
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Yeah i remember wanting a Playstation in 1992
... Really?

Quote:
Sorry but he is wrong with that the US CD-i launch price, do a bit of searching online through old newspapers/mags will show the launch price of $999, plus Philips released a press release a year later stating a price drop from that launch price ‘Effective August 17, 1992, Philips reduce price of CD-i from $999 to $699’
Have you got a link to that press release? Are you talking about the same dollars? There are magazine articles from the time that say it was launched for $799 and reduced to $599 after a year, but an official source for that press release would be helpful. Perhaps some confusion could be down to various different models with different specifications and prices?

Quote:
The net is full of sites with misinformation, wikipedia being one of them, one site even states the CD-i 450 player came out in 1991 for $699! The fact it came out in 1994 for $399 shows you they did no research at all!
The good thing about Wikipedia is that you can just go and fix it - if you have evidence to back up your changes, of course. The article you're talking about for the CD-i 450 might simply have been an awkward bit of language - it's easy to write something that can be interpreted in several ways.

Quote:
Most companies look at cost reduction of the same machine often before they have launched the first model.
Not to the extent to which the CDTV was redesigned - it was effectively a completely new machine.

Quote:
Again he is wrong on the price, the UK launch price was £599, you can check plenty of UK adverts at time of launch which show the price.
Without the dates on those advertisements it's hard to say whether they do reflect the launch price or not. Perhaps a link to the complete original magazine, rather than your own compilation, would be more suitable.
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Old 24 January 2020, 12:45   #20
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It was too expensive, and Commodore didn't have a clue how to market it.

I've been reading "Volks Computer" which is a book about the history of Commodore, unfortunately it's only in german, but I can only recommend it.


At the time the CDTV came, it seems that Commodore already was on the way downhill, and got mostly sucked dry by financial sharks, without regards to their product and apparently they had no longer a visionary or somebody with an idea what Commodore should be.
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