So as a good number of us are into Auto Revivals.
I thought I would share a small project I undertook these last couple of days. Of course I don't do the wonderful step-by-step images that our colleagues do. But I brought back to life a 20 year old Rear projection HDTV!
Cost: A total of about $70
Difficulty: Minimal. If I can do it, anyone can.
I had a 20 year old rear projection TV that sat unused in the basement "Kid Cave" of our vacation home. After getting it to work with the Xbox 360 (early version) my kids outgrew it and it was mothballed. The room and TV really sat unused for years. After my wife did some real wheeling and dealing and scored a nice comfy sectional, we dumped the old furniture. It really brought the room back to life. As we had more families would visit with us and our son's friends fight over the one remaining TV
I thought it might be time to finally turn on the back burner and revive the old girl.
What I didn't want to do was:
1. Buy a new TV (probably not a bad idea, they are cheap and more capable) but still a larger investment than what I wanted.
2. Move the old big Mama out. And try and figure out how to keep it out of a land fill. Because it isn't broken and still works.
3. Rent another cable box for a TV that barely gets watched. No wish to pay another $10 a month and still possibly wrestle with HDMI conversion issues.
So I opted for a streaming box....hoping that my wireless would have enough punch to make it to that room and cut the cable. (Yay!! it did)
I went with Roku. Why? My old box was discontinued by Roku (strike one) but they had a program to replace it for really cheap .
The Roku express max output was 1080P which is more than what I need for my set.
BUT.....I would now opt for Firestick from Amazon, because the Roku express remote is a bit clunky (its IR and no voice control... strike two) and I can't use it to control the TV volume.
Firestick has a voice remote and it will control the volume on your TV.
But your milage and preferences for what they offer may vary.
First: Know your TV's capabilities. This is a bit important for the components you need. My 20 year old Toshiba RPTV was golden in its heyday.
It had 480P and 1080i capabilities!!!....(Yawn these days). But the 1080i was pretty darn good. It also has blacks that are better than the vast majority of sets sold these days. It never suffered any jaggies that can be seen on a lot of sets these days too. It has a line doubler as well, but you can see the scan lines if you sit real close, but no one really sits that stupid close.
So you may ask: Roku, Firestick etc have HDMI outputs, this old set has component inputs for HDTV how do you deal with that?
Why did I pick this box? (there are several choices) this is important because it is and HDMI to Component converter AND scaler. Why is this important. Some converters are not able to change the output from the original. I needed something to convert the HDMI and downscale to 1080i. My TV could not handle 1080p. So this little baby (not my first choice, but was going to be available in time for my trip to the house) ....Works great by the way. Was able to convert the HDMI 1080P input into 480i 480P 750p etc etc. to the desired 1080i I needed.
Remember some of these converters will NOT SCALE and just take the HDMI input and put out the same. If your TV can handle 1080P this would not be an issue.
So I hook up the Roku Express to the converter box and the box to the Component input on the TV (after wrestling with it to get to the connections). I got really lucky because I had a box of component cables (Monster cables BTW) to connect everything up. Believe it or not, some of the old high end RCA connectors/cables are getting hard to find.
After hitting the resolution button quite a few times on the converter box...it Worked! Yahoo! I have the Roku menu on the screen, the sound works...but....
The TV looked washed out and like...well crap. After working every setting I could it still looked crappy. Depression set it. I was kicking myself for thinking the old girl would perform as well as I remembered.
This TV had never been serviced since I bought it 20 years ago. You cannot easily find an ISF certified technician to really work on these units that are now on the verge of extinction. So I went to the internet for help and found a few youtube tips and several websites that said maybe it would be a good idea to open her up, clean up the insides and clean off the CRT lenses. After getting conflicting recommendations on whether to use cleaning solutions or not, I decided to once again unplug it, and wrestle her out of my cabinet (my back is not happy) and remove the fiberboard back.. Despite my fear of a hot capacitor discharging and killing me.
The back removed: The CRT lenses were not reachable!!! But I did vacuum out the cobwebs and dust present in the electronics section. Amid my cursing the gods, I did see however, a way to remove the front screen and open up the cabinet to get to the CRT lenses and mirror. Once the front screen was off, I used a dry cloth to wipe just a little dust off the lenses, the inside of the cabinet and left the mirror alone (because it looked pristine..and for once I left well enough alone).
The back and front were replaced. No electrical death incurred. The TV once again wrestled back into position and with the help of a little duct tape, (I know..but I had limited cable lengths) the Roku and the converter box were secured,
TV on. Picture looks great. TV revived and no more distress with TV issues. A little more space remains in the landfill.
Just in case anyone thinks that old TV may be worthless. It can be saved.