22. October 2021

Reviving a relic: how an ancient CRT can still be a useful TV


If your family is struggling to share the flat display screen within the lounge room, it’s not exhausting to provide an outdated tv a new lease of life to maintain individuals entertained whereas we’re all caught at house.

The nice digital TV switchover noticed most elderly analogue CRT televisions find yourself on the character strip, however some are too valuable to half with. Recently, I’ve helped reader Avi revive a traditional 1975 Rank Arena, one among Australia’s first color televisions constructed proper right here in Penrith, again when issues had been made to final. It’s the FJ Holden of televisions.

Avi’s Rank Arena is still going strong 50 years later, it just needs a way to receive signals from modern devices.

Avi’s Rank Arena is still going sturdy 50 years later, it simply wants a option to obtain indicators from trendy gadgets.

Still in pristine situation, the tv belonged to Avi’s grandparents David and Helen. Holocaust survivors who migrated to Australia with their lives in a suitcase, they labored exhausting and by no means took their few luxuries with no consideration.

“Today we are quick to upgrade and throw things away, but their generation knew hardship and learned to appreciate things,” Avi stated.

“My grandfather is no longer with us, but the stories he told really gave you a sense of perspective. I wanted to see this great classic television live on as a testament to that spirit of cherishing what you have in life, and not letting things go to waste.”


While the tv is still going sturdy after nearly 50 years, discovering one thing to look at presents a problem. If you’re seeking to restore an outdated analogue tv throughout lockdown, don’t assume you can plug in any outdated set-top field, disc participant, streaming field or video games console.

You gained’t discover HDMI video inputs on the again of this tv. Nor RCA inputs for connecting element or composite video cables. You’re caught with a single aerial socket, however it doesn’t appear a lot use when Australia pulled the plug on analogue tv broadcasts years in the past.

The trick is to transform trendy digital content material into an analogue sign which the tv can show,a nd that wasn’t too troublesome again within the days when most televisions had a video cassette recorder sitting on high of them.

VCRs contained an “RF modulator” which turned the image coming from tape into an analogue tv sign; plug your VCR into your tv’s aerial socket, change to Channel 3, and you would watch a tape. When the primary DVD gamers arrived, you plugged them into the again of your VCR and used it because the intermediary to get the image from the DVD onto the display screen.

If your outdated VCR ended up within the tip, all shouldn’t be misplaced. You can purchase a standalone RF modulator set-top field. Just plug it into the aerial socket in your outdated tv, then plug a digital set-top field or different participant into the RF modulator.


Avi acquired this far along with his grandparents’ outdated Rank Arena, however still couldn’t get a clear image. After a few assessments, we discovered it’s too outdated to speak to some trendy RF modulators.

Australia’s early tv broadcasts had been on channels 0 to 12, which is the Very High Frequency band between 30 and 300 MHz. Later we added Ultra High Frequency broadcasts, resembling SBS on channel 28.

This tv is so outdated that it solely receives VHF, however the RF modulator Avi purchased places out a UHF sign, which the tv can’t see. Even Avi’s outdated VHS/DVD combo outputs UHF.

Avi is now the proud proprietor of a new RF modulator which helps VHF channels, and so can convert trendy video indicators to one thing the outdated TV can see. His grandparents’ traditional Rank Arena has entered the fashionable age, and Avi will cherish it for years to come back.

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