Make Christmas Commercial Again with this Tiny TV Ornament

Readers of a certain age will remember a time when the Christmas season in the US officially kicked off after Thanksgiving. That was when advertisers began saturation bombing the communal mind with holiday-themed TV commercials night and day. Broadcast TV no longer holds sway like it did back then, and advertisers now start their onslaught in September, but you can put a little retro-commercialism back to Christmas with this 90s Christmas commercial-playing ornament for your tree.

The idea came to [SeanHodgins] after stumbling upon a collection of Christmas commercials from the 1990s on YouTube. With his content identified, he set about building a tree-worthy display from a Pi Zero W and a TFT LCD display. An audio amp and tiny speaker from an old tablet and a LiPo battery and charger form the guts of [Sean]’s TV, which were stuffed into a 3D-printed TV case, appropriately modeled after the TV from The Simpsons. The small fresnel lens that mimics the curved screens of yore is a nice touch. The software has some neat tricks, such as an HTTP server that accepts the slug of a YouTube video, fetches the MP4, and automatically plays it. We prefer our Christmas tree ornaments a little quieter, so a volume control would have been nice, but aside from that this looks like a ton of fun.

This isn’t [Sean]’s first foray into tricked-out ornaments, of course; readers might recall his IoT cheer-measuring Christmas ornaments from last season.

Thanks to [Kathryn Fortunato] for the tip.

11 thoughts on “Make Christmas Commercial Again with this Tiny TV Ornament

    1. DO IT! I recently picked up a Monoprice Select Mini for $200, it’s money well spent. I’ve already built cases for all my neglected Raspberry Pi boards, a dash mount for one of my ham radio units, a repair job for a plastic part on my wife’s car, and some prototypes for plastic/nylon parts for work.

      As [dave] said, OpenSCAD is free, and you can get a free license for Autocad Fusion 360 (what I’m using) which is easy to learn and can export directly to Cura and other slicers, and produce .stl files for distribution.

      This printer is the most used tool in my collection now.

  1. very funny idea, love it.

    Don’t want one, as I like my trees to be silent, but it is very original. I imagine a tree with tens of these little TV’s in an electronics shop (no sound). Although I’m sure/afraid that these tiny TV sets would require to be bolted tightly to the tree to prevent them from “falling” out.

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