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Screengrab via Dr. Moddnstine/YouTube

This TV from 1978 can stream anything thanks to a Chromecast and some modding

The whole internet to watch and nothing is on.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Apr 5, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 11:55 pm CDT

Get those old television sets out of storage and dust them off, because they once again have a purpose. An inventive YouTuber has figured out a way to bring the vintage devices up to speed.

YouTuber Dr. Moddnstine took a 1978 General Electric portable TV and somehow made it compatible with Google‘s Chromecast streaming device. Using a series of adapters, he turned the vintage TV into the perfect screen for streaming content while maintaining a retro feel.

This kind of thing has been done before, but not in quite as tidy a manner as in this case.

Dr. Moddnstine opted not to gut the TV set because it was still fully functional, and retrofitting it with more modern parts like an LCD display would remove much of the set’s nostalgia value. It’s difficult to maintain the old-school look with new parts. 

Still, the set is stuffed full of the additional wires and adapters required to make it work.

The first piece needed for the project was a 300-ohm twin lead to 75-ohm VHF adapter, which essentially taps into the VHF connections that would typically be used for antennas.

The connection from that adapter runs to a radio-frequency modulator, which converts the video and stereo audio from any A/V component into a coaxial cable output, as well as adding a composite video and audio input.

Those inputs then connect to an HDMI-to-A/V-composite adapter, which converts the HDMI source—the Chromecast—to an analog composite video display, which the TV can read.

While the TV still has dials to adjust the channel and volume, the controls have been surrendered to the paired smartphone or laptop that runs the Chromecast. 

Even the TV’s power switch is obsolete in Dr. Moddnstine’s build. He made it possible for the set to turn itself on and off using a modified motion sensor from an outdoor lighting unit configured to respond to sound rather than movement. Once streaming stops, the timer takes five minutes before automatically shutting down the television.

The whole project seems fairly simple, and the parts are cheap enough that just about anyone could talk themselves into trying it. But be warned: doing so without the proper knowledge is a good way to get yourself electrocuted.

Dr. Moddnstine has uploaded a full walkthrough of the build, with additional details on the parts he used and how it all fits together. With some time and the proper precautions, you could soon be watching that build video on your own modified vintage TV set.

H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Apr 5, 2016, 3:17 pm CDT