Sony IVO-V11 CD-i

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CD-i is a platform which is mainly associated with Philips. However, it was intended to be a multimedia platform for which different companies could develop software and hardware.

In 1985, talks started between Philips, Sony and Matsushita to set up a joint multimedia platform that would follow up the Sony intelligent Discman. In 1986, the standard CD-i was largely established by Philips in the so-called “Green Book”, in the same way as the audio CD standard was established in the “Red Book”. However, Matsushita and Sony disagreed with Philips and both left the CD-i project. So Philips launched the platform alone in 1991. Signs of Sony’s involvement in the CD-i project are however still visible in Sony’s portable CD-i players.

Two versions of this player were made; the IVO-V10 and the IVO-V11. The V10, which was introduced in 1992, was also called “Intelligent Discman”, the first version of the V11 had the same name written on its clamshell. The last version of the V11, introduced in 1993, was simply called ‘Portable CD-i viewer’.


The IVO V10 and V11 used a Motorola MC68HC000 CPU. This is a Motorola 68000 compatible processor. It differs slightly from the MC68340 used in the Philips CD-i 370. Furthermore, it was equipped with 2 mb RAM and a rechargeable battery pack as a power source. Also a mouse was supplied in the box. It is the only CD-i mouse Sony. The mouse buttons are numbered, should you ever forget wat is left and right.

V10 vs V11

The IVO-V10 and V11 were Sony’s only portable CD-i players with a screen. They were nearly identical, with the difference that with the V11, Sony solved some compatibility issues, and the V11 was compatible with the standard for CD-i pointing devices.

Both players could not be upgraded with Digital Video functionality (DVC). So most modern CD-i software and games would not work. This was not remarkable because when the first IVO-V11 came out in 1992, DVC was not yet common on CD-i players. Later portable CD-i handhelds such as the Philips CD-i 360 and 370 were, however, equipped with the Digital Video Cart. This matched better with the professional CD-i market because ever more CD-i software relied on the DVC.

From left to right: Philips CD-i 370, Sony IVO-V11 and Philips CD-i 360

Gameplay of Solar Crusade on 370. with Digital Video

First Sony portable PlayStation?

The above two photos show an exceptional variant of the V11. This is a version specially made for Sony executives to view the progress of the development of PlayStation bios-software. It is not possible to actually play PlayStation games on this prototype. Nevertheless, it’s a special unit that with a little fantasy can be regarded as the first portable PlayStation handheld and thus the predecessor of the PSP and Vita. A nice detail is that an early concept of the first PlayStation Logo is printed on the clamshell and under the screen of the handheld.


The Sony IVO-V11 has a clamshell design. The housing is made of a sturdy type of silver-colored plastic, where strangely enough, only the bottom is made of metal. The whole makes a solid impression that suits the professional market. There are many options on the handheld to adjust settings. With three sliders on the right side of the handheld, the brightness, color and hue can be adjusted. On the same side there is also a controller port, a line in and out slider and an AV port. There is also a slider to open the clamshell.

On the left side of the V-11, you find a headphone jack and buttons to adjust the volume of the speakers. On the front there are buttons for play, pause and fast-forward and a power-on button. When you open the clamshell you will find a large control pad, action buttons, a button to open the CD-i top loader and a separate button to turn the LCD screen on and off separately. This last button allows, if you’ve connected the V-11 to a TV, to deactivate the handheld’s screen itself. Very handy!


The Sony IVO-V11 is a very rare device, just like other portable CD-i players. Especially in working order. Probably because the professional market for the device was limited, and it was introduced late in CD-i’s life cycle. Furthermore, almost all units suffer from bad capacitors. It is rarely listed on eBay or other auction sites.

Fun fact: Mario on a Sony handheld

The IVO V-11 is the first and only Sony ‘gaming’ handheld that can play a Mario game; since CD-i game Hotel Mario does not require the DVC.

TypeProfessional portable player
Year of introduction1992
Games released190+
RarityVery rare
Screen resolution479 x 234 pixels
DisplayLCD TN
Connections-Headphone jack
-8-pin mini DIN
Dimensions139x 63 x 193
Weight1,2 kg
Playback-CD-i DV
-Video CD
-Photo CD

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