Modifications for Philips CD-i Players

This is an attempt to collect all known and available modifications for Philips CD-i players in a single article. Consider it a work in progress – I will add new information from time to time. Please give feedback if you find an error or want to add something to this article.

Due to the plethora of different models, versions and revisions of CD-i players that have been sold under the Philips / Magnavox or entirely different brands (OEM), it is virtually impossible to create one big list that contains every player. I chose a different approach with three lists: Available modifications, mainboards and video encoders.

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Philips CDI470 PAL/NTSC Modification

50/60 Hz modifications are quite simple hacks that have been figured out for almost all Philips CD-i player types with SCART connector. But what about all the CD-i players that do not have an RGB output, either because of reduced cost or because they have been sold outside of Europe? Technically, they can still be modified, but the foreign mode is pretty useless and results in a black and white picture or no picture at all.

The reason is easily explained: All Philips CD-i players have a main system clock at either 30,0000 MHz (PAL) or 30,2098 MHz (NTSC) and additional clock generators for some components. All newer players (Mono III and up) have a Brooktree video encoder and generate the colour subcarrier frequencies (PAL 4,4336 MHz and NTSC 3,5795 MHz) from the system clock. The older players with a Sony video encoder use one or two additional crystals and some more components for this task.

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Philips CD-i Timekeeper Clock Calibration

If your CD-i player’s clock is way off, then you can try to make use of the Timekeeper clock calibration tool of the low-level test. Be aware that it needs an accurate frequency counter and won’t help if your Timekeeper suffers from an empty battery.

Here are some NVRAM chips. All of them operate within the accuracy of ± 1,53 minutes per month at 25 °C.
8 KB – ST MK48T08B and M48T08 Timerkeeper.
8 KB – Dallas/Maxim DS1643 NV Timekeeping RAM.
32 KB – Dallas/Maxim DS1216C SmartWatch RAM (with Mitsubishi M5M5256DP SRAM).

Philips CD-i 8 and 32 KB NVRAM
Philips CD-i 8 and 32 KB NVRAM
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