I am not sure if you will be able to identify your model here without actually visiting, but you may find the MZTV Museum of Television (in Toronto) (http://www.mztv.com/) of interest. The new site doesn't seem to have a link to pictures of some of the TVs so try the gallery on this old one (http://www.mztv.com/newframe.asp?content=http://www.mztv.com/moses.html).
I got to see an exhbition several years ago during "Doors Open Toronto" and it was fantastic.
You forgot to sign up for your free digital TV converter box. http://www.dtv.gov/
Actually I think you should use it as the head of your robot avatar. Then it could roam the halls with the image from your web cam.
Re the digital TV converter -- you are right, I never signed up for one, but my friend Brian LaGrave stopped by my office earlier this morning on his way to visit a customer and he gave me one unopened in its original box -- I'll report back on ho wit works as soon as I find a moment to try it out (I need to get an antenna first)
Also I LOVE the idea of using it on a Telepresense robot
Max,depending on the strength of the digital signals in your area and the construction of the building you're in, the rabbit ears may work as an antenna for the DTV box. Just use a 300ohm-75ohm balun to connect the ears on the TV to the DTV box, and the one already on the TV to connect to the DTV box output. Hide the DTV box behind the TV, and you have a working TV, pulling in off-air signals with its own rabbit ears!
This should work: Get a Raspberry Pi and run Raspbmc (Raspberry Pi Media Center, www.raspbmc.com). Put RasPi's composite video and stereo audio outputs through an RF Modulator to convert to VHF channel 3 or 4.
Max, @Betajets's suggestion of using an RF modulator is good - you can then feed ANY video output from anything (you can even get PC cards with video outputs) to your TV.
If you can pick up a defunct VHS recorder (another visit to Mock?), they usually have an RF video/sound modulator in them and you can adapt them to PC or DTV Set-top-box outputs - but it will probably involve a bit of getting your hands dirty. And since Australian video standards are different from yours, you won't be able to send it to me to fix :-) though most TVs these days are multi-standard.
You may be able to buy something which has video/audio inputs one end a a VHF feedout the other end, I'm not sure where though....
I found a bunch of RF modulators at amazon.com. Just search for "RF modulator" in "Electronics". I think it's video game consoles that keep them manufactured -- when you replace the family CRT with a nice flat-screen, give the kids the old CRT to use with a video game console.
If you use RasPi, make sure you get one with audio inputs since its composite video doesn't have sound.
Of course the RasPi composite video doesn't include sound. Composite video never does. It was broadcast on another frequency, usually 5.5 or 6 MHz above the video carrier, so any modulator with sound will have two inputs.
If you want an "off-the shelf" solution, you might want to look a set-top streaming box like Roku, WDTV Live, or Boxee. My favorite is the WDTV Live because it will stream just about any video format you can throw at it. In addition to the HDMI output it has composite video and audio that you can plug into an inexpensive modulator which will put it on channel 3 or 4 for your TV.
You might want to have some fun with a "flying spot scanner". I thought that they were just the nuts when I was a teen! It's a natural for analog video. Yea, I'm a little off topic, but I'm easily distracted.
That TV may still be useable depending on where you live.
If you live in an area where standard digital Television does not cover due to terrain or distance then translator stations, which are typically run by private individuals or community groups, are allowed to provide television service by the use of translator stations which are not yet required to use digital modulation.
For instance mountainous regions of the Western US still have some VHF translators broadcasting over the air using NTSC video.
FWIW, I use a DTV to VHF converter box at my house in the mountains with my 15 year old Panasonic 32" tube set. Works fine for the 3 or 4 channels I can get, though, since I am in a fringe area, the reception gets "blocky" at times. This is a lot more annoying than the analog snow I used to have before the conversion to digital.
"I don’t want to spend my days waiting for VHS tapes to rewind (I've spent enough of my life doing that"
I'll take rewinding VHS after my movies over the modern-day unskipable logos/warnings/ads jammed in the beginning of DVDs & BluRays. The optical disc authors have become either obnoxious or lazy (unsure which).
Remember the Commodore VIC20? It had external RF modulator, but most RF modulators do UHF band only.
I remember having this old B/W (1959 model) TV with VHF input only. With the help from some grown-ups, I managed to get my hands on this modulator for VHF range, so I could get my Commodore VIC20 and 64 to run on it, but Im afraid they're all buried now (except for the TV wich is stacked up on some attic).
That was desperate times for a young geek.
There still are some low power stations in analog. Nothing you'd want to watch, probably. We use a converter on our old boob tube and it works fine. Puts out a channel 3 signal. They sell them online, but are a staple of garage sales.
Or, you could put a 7 inch tablet in place of the CRT guts. That would be cool.
I have three analog TV's at three different locations out in the country. I have the digital converter boxes connected to the analog TV's and everything works fine. Because of the distance from the TV stations, I use outside antenna's but if you are close to the TV stations, a set of external rabbit ears, available at most Radio Shacks, will work fine.
As far as connecting other sources to old TV's others have mentioned the RF modulators. They to are still available.
You can have a system that will display anything that you can see on your computer screen. Many portable computers already have the composite video output connector, often it looks similar to the external mouse or keyboard connector, except for having seven pins. Or purchase a scan converter, VGA in and composite video out. Then the "TV modulator" gets the composite video and the audio from the computer earphone connector. Set the modulator to channel 3 or 4 and you are all set. If the rabbit ears on your TV set are connected, connect a similar pair to the modulator and you are good for a few feet of broadcast range. If not, use a piece of cable to connect it to that Balun on the back of your set. Even Radio Shack has sold those modulators, so that is one more potential source.
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