Hi and welcome to CDTV Land. This website is all about Commodore’s interactive multimedia player, the CDTV, that was released in 1991. It will hopefully become a source of valuable information about this obscure, but fascinating piece of Commodore history.
CDTV is a backronym that stands for Commodore Dynamic Total Vision. It was the marriage of CD-ROM and Amiga technology, but also an attempt to bring computers (or rather multimedia) into the living room in the guise of a consumer electronics appliance. It was released in 1991 and unfortunately, due to a multitude of reasons, failed in the marketplace. It was hastily repositioned by Commodore as an Amiga computer in 1992, but by then the writing was already on the wall. Commodore released a new CD-ROM based product in 1993, the CD32, which, although it had some degree of backward compatibility with CDTV, was more or less the final nail in CDTV’s coffin.
Why This Site?
A lot of the content you’ll find online about CDTV seems to focus on expanding and upgrading the system into a fullblown computer or YouTube videos on how much it sucked as a games machine.
What both these categories of content do is focus on one aspect of the CDTV platform respectively: they tend to look at the CDTV player as just a games console or they look at the CDTV player as just a computer. This often, unfairly in my opinion, ignores the original vision of CDTV being a living room appliance that you would hook up to your TV. Yes, it could do games, and yes, you could ultimately expand it into a computer, but the emphasis that was put on CDTV as an educational and informational tool, both for kids and for adults, seems to have been lost over the decades.
Although there is nothing wrong with expanding and upgrading your CDTV or to just play games on it (and there will definitely be content devoted to it), this website will also attempt to focus on the original vision for CDTV and will attempt to give more historical and cultural context where possible.
Additionally, there seems to be a lot of factually incorrect information out there on CDTV, whether that’s technical, historical or otherwise in nature. I hope to clear up a lot of these inaccuracies and will do my best to cite all of my sources whenever I state facts in my articles. I will also attempt to clearly make the distinction between facts and my opinions or theories.
I have also been doing a lot of deep diving into and reverse engineering of the operating system code of CDTV and would like to share that information here too, although I am currently still struggling with how this will mesh with the rest of the content on this site, because it is highly technical in nature. Regardless, it will be a fun ride. If you want to contact me, hit me up on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So welcome to CDTV Land and please enjoy your stay!