The Philips CD-i 370 was the third and last portable Philips CDi player. It was introduced in 1996.
Although the Philips branded and introduced several CD-i handhelds, none of these CD-i handhelds were actually made by Philips. The Philips 310 (without screen), the 350 and the 360 were built by Marantz, a subsidiary of Philips. The more sophisticated Philips CD-i 370 was developed and built by Korean based company Goldstar (a brand we know today as LG). The CD-i 370 was a Philips re-branded version of the GPI-1200M that, like most of the Goldstar units, used the portable CD-i board (Motorola 68341). Goldstars GDI-700M and DVS VE-200 also belonged to this family of CD-i devices.
In addition to Philips and Goldstar, there was another company that marketed CD-i handhelds. Sony introduced its IVO series CD-i players (V10 and V11). These players clearly deviated in appearance and hardware from the GPI-1200 and 370.
Specifications and appearance
The CD-i 370 was the most advanced Philips CD-i model ever made. It is a lot smaller than other CD-i consoles, including it’s CD-i handheld predecessors: the 350 and 360. Only the Sony IVO V10 and V11 were sleeker and more portable, but lacked a built-in Digital Video Cartridge (DVR), which prevented the more sophisticated CD-i games and movies from being played. A planned Sony V12, that would have a built-in DVR, was canceled prematurely.
The CD-i 370 was powered by an MC68341 processor which operated on 15 MHz. This was an upgraded version of the MC68070 which powered the CD-i 350 and 360. The 370 also had a better GPU and twice as many RAM (2mb vs 1mb) compared to the 350 and 360. Unlike the 350 and 360, which needed an external Docking Unit, the CD-i 370 had a build in digital video cartridge (DVC).
Furthermore the 370 had a (for its time) high quality full colour LCD panel.
Appearance and use cases
The CD-i 370 is gray and has a clamshell LCD screen. Due to the DVC and its enhanced portability the 370 was more portable than its predecessor’s. Some even argue that it is also a handheld gaming device and yes, it could play CD-i games, just like its predecessors 350 and 360. However, the 350 was only portable in the sense that it was smaller and more compact than regular CD-i systems and had a built-in screen, but it was far from a handy device. It’s thicker and heavier in real life than it looks in the pictures and it also came with a huge power brick.
All portable CD-i players were intended for the professional market. In its advertisements for the 370, Philips therefore did not focus on the everyday consumer, but instead the businessman that wanted a portable device to display his business presentations. With this specific use case in mind the device could easily be hooked up to TV’s and projectors via the Video and S-Video output.
The preference for the professional marked was also made apparent by the fact that the device was expensive and came in a sturdy business case. Due to its weight this suitcase was not an unnecessary luxury. Furthermore the 370 was not sold in your everyday electronics store, but had to be specifically ordered.
The Philips CD-i 370 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. Prices on eBay range from 600-1500 dollar and even for that amount of money almost all advertised 370’s have laser issues or screen problems.
|Type||Professional portable player|
|Year of introduction||1996|
|Lifespan||1988-1998 (CD-i total)|
|CPU||MC68341 (15 MHz)|
|Display||5,6 inch LCD TFT colour (15.6 million colours)|
-Iput ports (2)
-Audio outputs (2)
-8-pin mini DIN
-S-Video (US) or AV-cable (EU)