Thin films of (CdSe)90(In2O3)10, (CdSe)90(SnO2)10 and (CdSe)90(ZnO)10 have been grown on glass substrates by the electron beam evaporation technique. It has been found that undoped and Sn or In doped CdSe films have two direct transitions corresponding to the energy gaps Eg and Eg + due to spin–orbit splitting of the valence band. The electrical resistivity for n-doped CdSe thin films as a function of light exposure time has been studied. The influence of doping on the structural, optical and electrical characteristics of In doped CdSe films has been investigated in detail. The lattice parameters, grain size and dislocation were determined from x-ray diffraction patterns. The optical transmittance and band gap of these films were determined using a double beam spectrophotometer. The DC conductivity of the films was measured in vacuum using a two-probe technique.