Relive The Glory Days Of Cable TV With This Retro Weather Feed

This may surprise younger readers, but there was once a time when the reality programming on The Weather Channel was simply, you know, weather. It used to be no more than a ten-minute wait to “Local on the Eights”, with simple text crawls of local conditions and forecasts that looked like they were taken straight from the National Weather Service feed. Those were the days, and sadly they seem to be gone forever.

Or perhaps not, if this retro weather channel feed has anything to say about it. It’s the product of [probnot] and consists of a simple Python program that runs on a Raspberry Pi. Being from Winnipeg, [probnot] is tapping into Environment Canada for local weather data, but it should be easy enough to modify to use your local weather provider’s API. The screen is full of retro goodness, from the simple color scheme to the blocky white text; the digital clock and local news crawl at the bottom complete the old school experience. It doesn’t appear that the code supports the period-correct smooth jazz saxophone, but that too should be a simple modification.

All jibing aside, this would be a welcome addition to the morning routine. And for the full retro ride, why not consider putting it in an old TV case?

[via r/raspberry_pi]

43 thoughts on “Relive The Glory Days Of Cable TV With This Retro Weather Feed

    1. “This creates the old-school looking weather channel that was common on Winnipeg cable TV into the 1990s.”

      The distinction between a weather channel and The Weather Channel seems to have gotten lost. We had these on cable as well – now if it would just cycle through to the radar feed (which was unavailable on dial-up at the time)…

        1. the background music of the “Local on the 8’s” segments from that time is something I, weirdly, miss.

          “And now your local forecast, accurate and dependable, from The Weather Channel.” *soft jazz*

        2. When they stopped showing weather in that manner, I stopped using the Weather Channel completely. It became the “Jim Cantory Channel” at that point which was worthless.

  1. Actually this seems a lot better than the current “Weather Channel” solution. Simple text, the info you need, and not a lot of extra. Add commute info and it would be close to perfect.
    Of late I have been feeling nostalgic about things like local TV and radio stations that where part of the community vs here is another infomercial.

  2. The “Glory” of cable tv?

    Channel List:

    -Timeshifted Crap
    -HD Crap
    -HD Timeshifted Crap
    -Sports Crap – blacked out
    -Timeshifted Sports Crap – blacked out
    -HD Sports Crap – blacked out
    -Timeshifted HD Sports Crap – blacked out
    -The one channel you want to watch, but not timeshifted, and not in HD
    -Shopping Crap
    -HD Shopping Crap
    -Religious Crap
    -Foreign Language Crap

    1. Here in Australia Foxtel (controlled by Mr Murdoch unfortunately) is the monopoly cable/pay TV provider. And for what the cheapest Foxtel package costs per month, I could get all 4 of the biggest streaming providers in Australia (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus AND Stan) and have a lot more good content to watch than what you would get in that basic Foxtel package.

    1. This just decided my next Raspberry Pi project. A dedicated display for weather information and smooth jazz.
      Better yet, I’ll get an RF modulator and tap into my apartment’s vestigial coax cables to broadcast Retro Weather Channel to every room!

  3. Before that, local cable companies had a set of analog thermometer, barometer, clock, etc., (typically 4 or 5 dials) and had a black and white camera with a slow motorized pan sweep on it that would slowly scan the dials.

  4. The cable company in Ocean Shores has advertisements that appear a screen at a time, with the time complete with
    seconds, and if I remember right, I think it had the temperature. The top was in blue with white text that said COAST COMMUNICATIONS in blocky ASCII netters, then most of the screen would be red or green depending on what was
    being advertised. Then at the bottom you had the time and date, and I think the temperature but not sure.

  5. I miss the old National Weather Service emergency alerts where everything was in all caps and some computer voice guy from THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OXNARD would yell at you about how it might rain (here in california if it rains more than 0.25″ in a 24hr period it is a major emergency and most drivers crash their car)

  6. I still get this. My local cable company, Kraus Cable, Manhattan, IL, generates the “Community Channel” off of an Atari 400 using the composite video output over driving the video with its characteristic buzz. It’s the 80’s every day!

    1. Used to get this on Telecable in Bloomington, Il. … until Xfinity bought the system. Miss those days but don’t miss Illinois (The Land A Sinkin’ ) since I moved to southwestern Missouri.

      1. You may not know it,but Telecable started The Weather Channel. Was there for the launch. Only Telecable owned systems got the first night.We had a launch party in Bloomington. Unfortunately there were many owners between Telecable and Xfinity!!

        1. I worked at TeleCable of Overland Park when the Weather Channel debuted. Our advertising director thought up the idea of selling ads on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. I designed a text like system to give advertisers a way to make sure it’s message would complete two or three runs while the local weather appeared on the screen.

  7. An almost complete digression…

    It appears on some satellite listing sites that “The Weather Channel” is an unencrypted FTA feed on one or several satellites. So can you just grab any old receiver and dish and pull that in or what? Anyone doing it?

  8. Just setup a microbit based weather station and online in underground. Not sound my next project but weather is so far fun. All those F, feet, … sigh. Thought we are in the metric world.

  9. This looks very similar to the local info and classified ad channel that some of us have watched in the 80’s and 90’s.
    From what I’ve found, it was a Commodore Amiga running the whole shebang. Has anyone seen a way to run an Amiga on a pi or Arduino?

  10. I like this concept. I took the code and modifying it to run on the 7″ display for the RPI and use XML from NOAA for the weather data. Beautiful Soup scraper to get community news. As BeagleBoy said, maybe some Craig’s List classifieds? Who knows.

    I have some other ideas to really enhance the “Channel 3 Cable TV” experience.

  11. Totally relaxing till the tornado or storm warning comes up. BWAAAA! BWAAAA! BWAAAA! Or “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system” Of course you weren’t in the room when they said that part.

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