boot live CD to blank screen
It fails before selecting language?
Load CD to black screen, push enter once to select English, F4 to select "alternative start-up and installation modes." F1 should get text mode help.
Load CD to black screen, push enter once to select English, down arrow once to select "Check CD for defects", enter again to do CD check in text mode. If text mode CD text can't do text, you need more help than I have.
Transition from 8.1 to 9.04 has had several upgrades to black screens, so you should be able to find more answers.