Amiga CD32: The Full Motion Video (FMV) Module

Hi everyone,

Did you know that there is an add-on for the Amiga CD32 that allows you to watch movies in the Video CD (VCD) format?

This upgrade is called the Full Motion Video (FMV) Module and was released by Commodore in 1994. It allows you to play CD-i Digital Video and Video CD’s (MPEG 1).

Isn’t that cool? ๐Ÿ™‚

As far as I know, the Video CD format never caught on like the VHS and the DVD. Even though it was an OK format that had a lot of advantages over tapes, most people stuck with their VHS-tapes until the DVD entered the arena. Still, there’s a lot of different movies available on the Internet.

As you may know, Commodore went bust in 1994, and the production of FMV units was halted along with everything else. The upgrade is therefore a bit tricky to find, but it shows up occasionally on sites like AmiBay and e-Bay. Due to its rarity it is quite expensive.

Now, what does this card look like? I found the picture below at the excellent Amiga History Guide website. Have a look!

The FMV module for the Amiga CD32 (taken from http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/commodore/cd32fmv.jpg)
The FMV module for the Amiga CD32 (taken from http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/commodore/cd32fmv.jpg)

Looks nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did also search for videos of the FMV in action, but couldn’t find many. Here’s one of the videos I found, which was made by a guy on YouTube calling himself Smilesunder:

The video doesn’t show much of the movie though, but enough to see that it is working.

I’d love to own one of these precious cards, but they’re a bit expensive, so I’m holding back at the moment. Anyone out there that owns one? If yes, how did you get hold of it and do you use it? ๐Ÿ™‚ What’s the video quality like? Hope to hear from you concerning this. Thanks.

Thanks for reading! Have a good one! ๐Ÿ™‚

17 comments

  1. I don’t own the FMV unit, but I saw one in action at an Amiga show back in 1996/97. The demo unit was placed next to a CDi for comparison. The playback on the CD32 seemed slightly smoother and less blocky. However, the difference may have been caused by different displays. The FMV unit is impressive when you take into account the limited H/W of the CD32. It would have been neat to see it used in more games. However, I think it’s a curioso nowdays with the advent of DVD/Blu-Ray. There’s little reason to track down VideoCDs or create your own MPG1 videos and I’m not entirely convinced that that VCDs will ever take on the cult status of LaserDisc.

    BTW, I’m the author of Amiga History Guide and wanted to thank you for referencing the site. It is much appreciated.

    Gareth

    • Hi there Gareth,

      Thank you for your comment and for visiting my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As Coder said, your website is simply great. Have read a lot of interesting stuff there. It is also a valuable reference when writing articles about the Amiga. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing all the stuff with us.

  2. I remember reading about it back in the day. Video CD was used a lot in Asia. When I asked the shop keeper about VHS cassettes he thought I lost it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I even bought Pink Floyd – Pulse on Video CD for my wife.

    BTW: Gareth, I love your site. Cannot get enough of reading those wonderful stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I have an Amiga CD32 with the FMV module and a Philips CD-i with the FMV module. The Movies looks much better on an CD-i than an CD32. When you play VCD-Movies on the CD-i you have a menu where you can choose chapter etc and the subtitles for the Movie works. Then when you play a VCD-Movie on an CD32 it has no menu, no subtitels and the Picture is more blocky.

    • Hi Roine! Thanks for the information concerning the Amiga CD32 versus the CD-i. Must say that the lack of subtitles sounds like a big drawback, which goes for the menus as well. I did not know the CD32 with the FMV lacked those features.

  4. Hello =)
    I had the Amiga CD32 with FMV-module. I bought it at the same time as i bought the CD32. I still have the movies . It’s called CDi and it works great. I remember how impressed I was with the quality of the film. I payed about 1000$ for the Amiga CD32 with the FMV-module in Norway. If i remember correct I payed about 390$ just for the FMV-module upgrade back in the day.

  5. Hi ๐Ÿ™‚ I got one recently, and the video is ok compared to at least the unofficial PSX VCD player cart I had.
    An interesting curiosity, if you play the CD32 commercial from the Demo CD version 2,
    and have the FMV installed, you get full screen MPEG, but without it, you get CDXL playing in a small screen about 1/4 of the size. It took me a long time to get one (eBay), and I got ripped off on a dud one first.
    The FMV only seems to support Video CD version 1, which would explain some of the post above.
    I have a few Video CDs, but itโ€™s mainly a collector thing for me. Something I always wanted back in the day.

  6. Hi there. Seeing this has reminded me that I have a CD32 with FMV expansion in the spare bedroom somewhere. I bought them brand new back in the day. Think I still have the demo disc and some games too as well as some movies. What do you think it is worth? I’ve never seen the FMV expansion on Ebay so don’t have a clue what its worth.

    • Hi there Jason and thanks for commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚ That is a great find and it is worth quite a bit. I’ve seen the go for between ยฃ200 to ยฃ300 in working condition in the past. It’s pretty rare and should sell if you put it up on eBay. ๐Ÿ™‚

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