Adventures in NTSC

Published Saturday, August 10 2013

While I was in Seattle last weekend I popped into a few thrift shops looking for vintage electronics goodies to pull apart. I found this little 5“ television from 1984, for a whopping $2.50:


I know it looks like it’s color, but it’s actually black and white—I connected a Commodore 64 through a horribly kludged together RF demodulator just to test it out, since we don’t have analog television broadcasting any more.

What I’d like to do first is open it up and add a composite video input, so maybe I can drive it with a Raspberry Pi or something. It has no video input other than antenna right now. I’ve never really hacked video equipment before, so it’ll be fun new territory for me. Don Lancaster’s classic book “TV Typewriter Cookbook” (PDF, 13.5MB) has a treasure trove of information about how to interface with an analog television, so it’s going to be my bible for TV experiments.

I do need to get my hands on a service manual for the TV. I found a place that sells them online (for $17, almost 7 times what I paid for the TV itself!), so maybe I’ll just have to do that.