Thanks to smartphones, we take it for granted these days that we can watch high-resolution videos from the palm of our hand anywhere in the world. But picture your first television set in your head. It was probably big, bulky, and weighed too much for you to even lift as a child. Starting in the ‘80s, dads could purchase portable CRT television sets to watch at their kids’ ballet recitals. In the ‘90s, slimmer LCD versions started to hit the market. This kit lets you build an itty bitty television set — complete with remote control — that fits in the palm of your hand, but that still looks like a classic living room CRT.
The TinyTV Kit was developed by TinyCircuits, which is a company that specializes in designing fun little electronics kits. Like their other kits, TinyTV is mostly just a novelty, but it’s a fun one. After assembly, you’ll have working television set that fits in the palm of your hand, along with an itty bitty remote control to operate it. It doesn’t have any kind of receiver to pick up actual DTV broadcasts, but you can load it up with your own videos. You’ll be able to use the included remote to flip through those videos like TV channels.
The television set is built around the TinyCircuits TinyScreen+. That is a small 0.96” 96x64 pixel OLED display with an attached Microchip SAM D21 32-bit microcontroller and a few buttons. The other board inside of the TV contains an SD card reader and the audio output. Power comes from a LiPo battery, and the remote is powered by a coin cell battery. A free tool called TSVconverter can be used to convert MP4 videos files into a format that is suitable for the microcontroller. All of the electronics are stored within a 3D-printed enclosure that is styled to look like a retro CRT TV. It comes in plain white, so you can paint it yourself. The kit costs $74.95, which is a bit expensive for a novelty device, but is fair when you consider how much tech is crammed into the miniature TV.