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I picked up this TV and thought it may be fun to use it with a Raspberry Pi.

https://www.cnet.com/products/spectra-52-bw-5-crt-tv/

However, I soon realized the only way to get a video signal to the TV is via VHF or UHF signals. The only inputs to the TV are an antenna and a headphone jack.

I did find information for the Pi TV Hat:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-tv-hat/

However, it doesn't look like it can broadcast UHF or VHF. I tried some Google searching but can't find much info for RPi and UHF or VHF.

I do realize there are laws governing broadcasting UHF/VHF but I'm only planning to do very short range transmission, like from across a room so about 15 feet or 5 meters max.

Does anyone have information on a good direction I can take with this project or is this simply a futile cause?

I do understand the resolution of the TV is low. I don't care about that. I just want the effect of displaying video on this small TV.

  • that sounds like too much work and expense to get a small low resolution monochrome display – jsotola Jul 23 at 2:40
  • I don't care about the resolution. Its more about the effect. I just to display videos on the TV. I understand the resolution is going to be low. – Justin Jul 23 at 13:15
  • @Justin, I realize the specs page doesn't talk about it, but I have never seen an NTSC TV that didn't have an antenna hookup (75ohm coax and/or 300ohm screw terminals). Are either of those connections on the rear of the unit? If not, this is going to be much tougher. – BowlOfRed Jul 23 at 23:55
  • @BowlOfRed I did some research and realized I misunderstood the antenna jack a bit. I think I could use these two to convert the HDMI signal to RF and then use the adapter to connect to the 1/8 inch jack at the back of the TV. What do you think? HDMI to RF amazon.com/gp/product/B07DHM23VQ/… RF to 18 inch jack amazon.com/Pigtail-Extension-SO-239-Monitor-Antenna/dp/… – Justin Jul 31 at 14:27
  • Do you have any photo of the jack or documentation? I would not expect an "antenna jack" on a NTSC TV receiver. That doesn't sound right to me. – BowlOfRed Jul 31 at 15:16
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I think the most simple way is to use the Pi's composite video output and a "Composite to RF modulator" sometimes referred to as "RCA RF modulator" since the composite A/V is using a RCA connector. These devices are independent of the Pi and could be used with any composite source. One would reasonably assume those devices will comply with all relevant regulations on broadcasting. (I will not recommend a specific product but you'll find a few online starting at about $10.)

Note that the Pi 3 has a composite video out that is routed to the sleeve of the 3.5 mm Audio/Video jack, see my answer here. There is no need to use an additional HDMI to RCA converter.

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I got it to work! In the end, it was simpler than I thought. Basically, through a series of cables and adapters, you can simply convert the HDMI output to an RF signal then send it directly into the TV's antenna jack. Then you adjust the frequency and you have a display!

The quality isn't the best and the color is only black and white but it does look really cool.

Here is a link with some photos:

https://www.makerinchief.com/crtv-display-for-raspberry-pi

  • Of course an adapter from the format you have to the format you need is the solution. – RalfFriedl Oct 10 at 5:30

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