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This Raspberry Pi-Powered Black and White Tube TV Plays Modern Movies

Raspberry Pi Tube TV

We’ve all seen countless retro-inspired Raspberry Pi projects throughout the years, like that iPod that streams from Spotify and this ZX Spectrum Raspberry Pi cassette tape. But movie fans will love this old black and white tube TV that plays modern movies with retro vibes.

Kids these days will never understand the struggle of trying to find something to watch on TV. Before we had Netflix, on-demand shows, or even remote controls, people had to physically walk over to the TV and turn the knob until it hopefully displayed something watchable. Ahh, the good ol’ days.

The YouTube channel Pakéquis recently released a neat video showcasing an old, stylish, retro 5-inch tube TV (with a built-in AM/FM radio to boot) that he hacked into playing any movie. And while the demo shows a few old classics, it can play modern movies, too, thanks to a Raspberry Pi. The project is so neat that it got featured on the Raspberry Pi website.

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, this miniature 5-inch TV was something everyone wanted in their bedroom. If you twisted the dial long enough, you might get lucky and catch an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, Duck Tales, or even The Simpsons. That’s between all the channels showing nothing but static fuzz.

This model is a “portable” TV with space for a built-in battery. Once that was removed, the maker could easily put all the Raspberry Pi parts inside without having to rip open the old CRT TV and mess with dangerous components inside.

A Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ makes all the magic happen, along with some movie files and other things. All the movies are on a storage device rather than coming in from the built-in antenna, but the YouTuber still managed to keep the retro style of turning the dial.

Thanks to adding a relay, when you rotate the channel dial, it switches the Pi’s video output to random static for a moment, letting us hear that classic static fuzz noise we all hated growing up. Then, the movie file comes into focus and starts playing.

It’s incredible what some of these Raspberry Pi builders can come up with. This is another perfect example of retro-tech being reborn, kind of.

via Raspberry Pi

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »