CD-Video (CDV) was a hybrid of the LaserDisc (i.e. analogue video) and Compact Disc Digital Audio formats. It was created by Philips (who were also responsible for the original Compact Disc) and released circa 1987.

The 12cm (CD-sized) variant (CDV-5) could hold 5 minutes of video and 20 minutes of audio. Due to the limited capacity of such small discs, 20 and 30cm versions were also made1.

In order to differentiate them from ordinary CDs, CD-Videos were gold-coloured; however, the audio portion could be played back on a standard CD player.

The format did not meet with success in Europe2 or the US, having died out there by 1990. It lasted until 1992 in Japan.

It should be noted that CD-Video is quite different from the VideoCD format, despite the confusing similarity of their names. VideoCD is based entirely on digital technology (more specifically, it is a CD-ROM containing MPEG1-encoded video). CD-Video, on the other hand, has an entirely analogue video portion that is extremely unlikely to be readable in any current CD-ROM drive3.

1I haven't yet been able to verify to my satisfaction that the 20 and 30cm versions were "proper" CD-Videos, as there was apparently an attempt at one stage to label all LaserDiscs with digital audio as "CD-Video".
2Someone must have been pushing it, though. I remember seeing the discs on sale at John Menzies (a Scottish W H Smith-style chain, now out of the retail business) and the players being sold through Littlewoods-type home shopping catalogues- neither of which were noted for selling esoteric audio-visual paraphernalia.
3I strongly doubt that it would be possible to copy such a disc using any non-professional equipment currently in existence.

Bilbiography and Further Reading:-

  • "What the Heck is a CD-Video?":
  • The LaserDisc FAQ:
  • DVD News Archive:
  • Another LaserDisc FAQ:

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