Philips is a great Dutch electrics and electronics manufacturer. They invented revolutionary devices like the audio cassette and the compact disc, which both were and still are huge commercial successes. But Philips is also responsible for immense fiascos.

I'll try to sum up three of them.

The first failure was a commercial one : the V2000 videotape standard. This was the first VCR my father bought back in 1984. Although the video quality was superior to the concurrents, Beta and VHS, it suffered from the fact that it was double sided, making it impossible to record a film longer than 120 minutes without flipping the tape, thus rendering programmed recording pointless. There were also issues with tape fragility, as explained in the V2000 node. I remember it was impossible to rent a V2000 movie. By 1987 we were forced to switch to VHS.

The next commercial failure was the CDi in the beginning of the 1990s, where 'i' stands for interactive. The intertactivity basically meant the user could flip pages on multimedia CD-ROMS. The few titles that were developed sucked seriously. The next year, they introduced a full motion video module, which gave the possibility to view VCDs. A VCD is an ancestor of the DVD, encoded in MPEG 1. Few titles were released, the quality was less than VHS, for twice the price, without the possibility to record. VCD were basically only successful in China.

A third failure was the DCC - Digital Compact Casette. The DCC was released within months of the release of Sony's minidisc (Before or after, doesn't matter) in fall 1992. It was basically a crippled version of the DAT, which was used -- and still is -- in professional environment. They claimed their main advantage on MDs was the fact that is was backwards compatible with analog cassettes, but this is not the case as you couldn't record them. Probably a dual heads solution would have been possible for backward compatibility. The worst drawback on using cassettes instead of discs is that it took ages to reach a particular track. By 1996 DCC was officially abandoned. I was happy : my worst enemy had bought one. With a fraction of the R&D costs, Philips could have promoted DAT and made it cheaper to manufacture.

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