Retro TV Breathes New Life With A Raspberry Pi

There’s just something so satisfying about industrial design from the years past. [Kenneth] found an old “portable” tube TV and decided to give it a little upgrade so he could keep it around the house.

It was a black and white Singer TV, with a whopping 6″ tube display. Using his trusty screwdriver set he took the whole thing apart, keeping only the frame and outer casing. Inside he jammed a 5″ LCD display, a Raspberry Pi and a power supply — with some room to spare. He also replaced the speakers with some upgraded baby woofers and an audio amp for the Pi.

The end result is a pretty snazzy little device capable of playing movies, games, or hypothetically, even as an all-in-one computer — but who actually uses a Raspberry Pi as their daily driver? Especially one with only a 5″ display…

But it’s a cutie, and sits nicely on the coffee table. For a larger retro TV rework, we’re quite partial to this conversion of a Philco TV (a sub-brand of Phillips) with a flat panel LCD.

[via r/Raspberry_Pi]

33 thoughts on “Retro TV Breathes New Life With A Raspberry Pi

  1. The big bummer here is that he didn’t find a color tube that would fit. It’s also disappointing that at the least he couldn’t do a better job making it less obvious that it is an LCD, if only using an LCD larger than the existing window. Ah well.

    1. One of these days someone will get a cabinet/LCD combo where the edges of the LCD wont be visible and where the visible portion of the display will be digitally mapped with a distortion filter that mimics the round corners and the edge curvature distortion of the original picture tube…

      Alternately, a correctly ground and masked lens will achieve all of those ends with zero gpu load…

      I’m not picky, I’d pay good money for either.

      1. HLSL on MAME (arcade emulator) supports this. It very convincingly simulates the shadow mask, pixel bleed, bloom, HF noise, chroma bleed and all the other “problems” with CRTs.

    2. Given that it wouldn’t be likely the tv filled the glass part of the screen anyway with the original tubes, he could probably just add some black borders to hide the LCD screen edges, much like a photo frame. Only concern would be temperature, since you’d need to make sure it didn’t get hot enough to cause issue with whatever does the masking

    3. I would not like to use a tube – heavy and power hungry. But a 6″ or 7″ LCD would have been nice, just the biggest one which fits inside the case. If not available I would have at least painted the frame of the window black on the inside, just to hide the frame and FFC of the LCD.

  2. Not everyone has the time or space to restore old electronics, so gutting and reutilizing the cabinet is what works best for them. I do hope that those who do remove the “innards” keep them intact and available for restorers.
    But some just aren’t worth the effort to save.

  3. The featured picture is not flattering, with the silver LCD edges and other internal bits showing in the unused area. In some others it looks like a black picture mat was added, which looks much better.

  4. You know they still make 4:3 monitors in that size. If you are going to destroy an antique tube for a glorified case mod at least do the minimum amount of work to where it actually looks right as a case mod.

  5. Always overscan just like they did with all TVs made for broadcast TV. Never let anything else show but the picture!
    AC-DC tube sets from this period suck.
    But you can add hot tubes, decomposing PVC, and old wax caps for that…smell. Be sure and add a 20 second “warm up” time on the power up sequence.

  6. This project was built for fun and to see so many folks being so negative in the comments is a bit much.
    This type of talk is what will discourage people from sharing what they’ve done and that’s sad.
    Great project my friend. I will keep my eyes out for an old tv to try this on myself.

    1. Welcome to the internet where everyone is a critic… critic of the articles, critic of the project, critic of the comments, and critic of anything else that is either related or unrelated in that specific blog. Those who can’t do, comment (not necessarily applying that particular stereotype to anyone on HAD, but the internet in general).

    1. Maybe you should check Wikipedia. Literally the first two sentences confirm the HAD article is right.

      “Philco, (founded as Helios Electric Company, renamed Philadelphia Storage Battery Company) was a pioneer in battery, radio, and television production. In North America, it is a brand owned by Philips.”

    2. Philco is now a sub-brand of Phillips, purchased because Phillips had to use other names in the US (Norelco for one) after Philco sued.
      But, that’s all modern history, Philco was certainly an independent company for many, many years.

  7. add an SDR to it and get the drivers to decode ATSC, making it a real TV!!

    Like it. While restoring old sets is something I enjoy, I also like keeping the kitschy cases around to the sets that don’t lend themselves to easy repair. The spousal unit stops me when I see the Craigslist ads with old console TVs….Otherwise we’d be surrounded.

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