Miniature Television Collection

Published on 20 January 2023 at 13:19
A collection of miniature televisions



Another one of my electronic rather than mechanical marvel collections - this time it's miniature tv's. This particular fetish started way back maybe 30 years ago when my Wife had to have a  hospital stay following an operation. Hospitals are pretty boring places so I thought a portable tv would be a good idea. Sadly the hospital would not allow anything that had to be plugged in to the mains so my options were limited. A visit to Curry's provided the answer though in a tiny little tv that would run off batteries. It was obvious the 4 aa cells would not last long so I built a couple of 4ah nicad battery packs - they were the best technology available at the time and would run the power hungry beast for a good 12 hours. I built two so I could charge one at home and then swap it over with the depleted one, it all worked splendidly.

Me being me, I became rather fascinated and wanted to know more, one thing led to another and the collection was started. I think I am right in saying that Sir Clive Sinclair was the first person to really make the mini tv a success although his first attempt was a failure due to cost. His first sets used a miniature cathode ray tube - a scaled down version of the sort that used to be in tv's before lcd and plasma took over. The very first unit - the microvision - used a 2 inch screen made by Telefunken - I don't know if he was the only one to use it but I have never found another tv from that era with a screen of that size. These sets are extremely rare, they were incredibly expensive and so out of most people's affordability.

The next unit was much more successful - the MTV1, you still see them for sale but pristine, boxed ones are few and far between. They were pretty decent, they gave a good picture, picked up signals quite well and were more affordable than the earlier attempt.

next came the ftv1 - the last of the cathode ray tube based devices - the advent of much cheaper and better lcd items consigned the crt units to history. The lcd ones also heralded the arrival of colour, albeit not in the earliest iterations.



Sinclair seemed to drop out at this point and the Japanese manufacturers seemed to fill the void enthusiastically with Casio and Citizen leading the charge. They produced some decent little units, not brilliant to start with but they got better and better as time went by. By the mid 1980's prices were well down and performance was improving, they became very popular indeed. By the mid 90's I seem to recall prices were sub 100 of yer finest English pounds all sets were colour and battery life had improved a lot.

Sadly when the UK went all digital and switched off analogue broadcasts these all became totally useless and their value fell - most of my collection have been under a tenner - some of them just a couple of pounds. My boxed Sinclair ones were a lot more than that but they are particularly collectable and of broad interest to enthusiasts. You can still use them if you have an old vcr or dvd player with an analogue output. Mine still get used every now and again when I have nothing better to do.


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