The FW380i is a CD-i mini hi-fi system from the Dutch electronics company Philips. It is not only a very rare device, but also special because it is a mini HIFI system and a video game console in one. This is possible because the FW380i has a fully functional built-in CD-i player instead of just a regular CD-player.
Philips offered various implementations of the CD-i. The first iterations were more like traditional video recorders of the 90s such as the CD-i 205 and the more common CD-i 210 and CD-i 220. Later, portable models were also introduced, like the CD-i 350, 360 and 370. At the end of the CD-i’s life cycle, Philips altered the form factor of its consoles and introduced the CD-i 450. This system looked more like a traditional game console and that was intentional, because of all the CD-i software, the games sold by far the best.
Since the CD-i however wasn’t primarily a gaming console, but more like a hybrid Video/Edutainment/Gaming system, made Philips integrate CD-i players in various of its other products. This was reinforced by the fact that Philips made a broad portfolio of consumer electronics, and could therefore easily cross-fertilize between its products. It was also an attempt to give the CD-i standard more momentum.
In the case of the CD-i TV (21TCDI30) and this hi-fi set (FW380i) Philips used already available products from its line up and upgraded them with a CD-i player. For example, Philips also offered the stand-alone version of the stereo hi-fi set around 1995 and the FW380i was an upgraded version now including the CD-i player. An addition Digital Video Cartridge was installed for 300 guilders more.
The FW380i uses the same CD-i player as the common and popular 220. This player, and especially its laser (CDM 12.4 VAM) is notorious for the wear and tear that occurs over time and results in the CDs and CD-i’s not playing properly, or not playing at all. In working condition, it can play all Video/Audio/Photo CDs, CD-i movies and CD-i games because the FW380i is also supplied with a Digital Video Cartridge. The FW380i has only one controller port. Therefore, it is not possible to play multiplayer games without a splitter.
Although the FW380i has a CD-i player, it is primarily a full-fledged mini hi-fi system. The device therefore has an AM/FM radio tuner, two cassette desks and various options to adjust the settings for different music types and bass.
Like many HIFI sets, the FW380i came with an AM/FM antenna to use to listen to radio stations. A mini-system remote control, an RF modular, a Euro connector, antenna cable and the important Digital Video Cartridge were also bundled. The player’s IR eye was however not suitable for IR CD-i pointing devices, so a wired controller was supplied with the system. Optionally, an infrared receiver (22ER9057) could be attached to use the various, but awfully designed, CD-i remotes.
Out of all the Philips CD-i players around, these integrated players are normally the most uncommon. It is a rare system that is hard to find outside the Netherlands and Belgium, and is therefore sought after by collectors. The fact that the system came out in 1995, close before Philips ceased to support the CD-i standard, gives the impression that they wanted to ship some unused CD-i drives and that therefore not many units were produced. This statement is, however, contradicted by the fact that Philips was planning to introduce a newer version of the system. This FW390i, would be nearly identical to the FW380i, but would support a disc changer for 5 CD-i discs. It, however, did never see the light of day.
|CDI mini hifi system
|Year of introduction
-fl. 1799,- (DVC)
|240mm x 310mm x 300mm
|200m x 310mm x 240mm
|Philips SCC68070 15,5 Mhz.
-Video output (CVBS)
-8 pin mini-DIN (controller)