Retro 5″ Black and White TV as a computer monitor – A tale of pointlessness

Retro 5" Black and White TV as a computer monitor - A tale of pointlessness

When my brother’s old 1980s 5″ Black and white TV was recently discovered during a “I wonder what’s under here?” exercise and amazingly seemed to still be working my first thought was, of course, “Nice!! 3rd monitor for my PC” :)

I knew that wouldn’t be exactly simple as the TV only appeared to have a 3.5mm “EXT. ANT” socket.

A 3.5mm EXT.ANT socket

First step was to make sure the TV was actually working, so luckily during a previous game of “I wonder what’s under here?” my brothers old Super Nintendo with a bag of games had turned up.
This luckily has an RF output, so a quick trip to eBay (and a brief wait while it arrived) provided me with a 3.5mm Male Mono Jack to Female Coaxial Adapter
Behold we have proof of life…….

Game of Street Fighter II anyone?

The next step was how to get from Display Port out on my PC to that?

After asking around on twitter and scouring the internet without much success I came across a HDMI to AV CVBS 3RCA Video Converter Adapter 720/1080p USB Cable For TV UK on eBay.
That and a Display Port to HDMI cable…..simple.
That’ll work I naively thought.
(insert pause while adapter arrives)

Of course it won’t you idiot!!! Composite video and RF video are not the same thing at all!
What you need now is a composite to RF modulator………
Damn.
I didn’t wanna spend any more money on what was just a silly experiment and an RF modulator was going to add another £20 -£100 to this silliness.
But wait! what’s that you say 80s vintage websites? VCRs that have composite INs will contain an RF modulator?
Time for round 327 of “I wonder what’s under here?” in cupboards rarely ventured into……….

The magnificent Philips DVP 3055V DVD/VCR Player

Behold the Philips DVP 3055V DVD/VCR Player, complete with front panel composite video in and rear RF out aerial socket!
Everything is in place, we can finally do this…….

Not so fast cowboy……you did find the remote with that VCR machine didn’t you?, because how else are you going to switch to the correct input in the menu to get the composite input?

Fuck!!!!

Frustrated but now riled I went back to the internet in search of a solution, a universal remote control? to change ONE setting…..No. Not playing that game.
There.must.be.a.way.
Turns out there is………thankfully the designers at Philips weren’t idiots and had figured that remotes might get lost, so if you wanna swap the inputs on the VCR without a remote?
Press both of the front panel “channel” buttons together to cycle through available inputs!!!

1980s 5" BW TV connected to a PC as 3rd monitor. Display port to HDMI cable into HDMI to composite video adapter, composite video adapter into old VCR, old VCR RF out into coaxial to 3.5mm mono jack adaptor. Mono jack to TV!!

And finally…..
1980s 5″ BW TV connected to a PC as 3rd monitor – Display port to HDMI cable into HDMI to composite video adapter, composite video adapter into old VCR, old VCR RF out into coaxial to 3.5mm mono jack adaptor. Mono jack to TV!!

Achievement unlocked :)

Ultimately the whole exercise was a little pointless as the resolution of the old TV means nothing is really readable and even my plan to use it as a display for my media player (Media Monkey or Google Music desktop) fails if I can’t make the text big enough to read.

Still how many people do you know who have a retro 80s 5″ Black and White TV as a monitor on their computer?
That’s what I thought……..:)

And yes I know my desk is a cluttered mess.

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