1980's Sharp Wedge-Shaped Television Mystery
Last week when I was interviewed on the Mediageek radio show, I mentioned that Retro Thing is fortunate to have a great and involved readership. One of my favorite things about all of you out there, true believers, is when we solve a retro mystery together. Every once in a while I come across some retro item that leaves me stymied, like the large wooden gear mystery or the Somnus sleep inducement device conundrum. No matter how obscure, our readers have the answer. So sharpen your wits – here's the next puzzler!
This Sharp TV is the 26LV96, it also says “Visual Integration System” in a couple places on the cabinet, as well as above a large multi conductor socket. The screen is probably 25” and has a glass panel that can pop off the font. There's also a composite video in and loop out (to share the same signal among several TV's), a 3” wide on/off button (easy to find in the dark?), and no audio nor tuner. Peering into the secret compartment on top there are controls for adjusting picture and even a push-button degauss. These are all unusual details to be sure – but look at the shape!
The TV is an unorthodox wedge shape – the screen leans back at an angle. There isn't any bracket or stand missing to hold the TV upright – it's meant to have a slanted display. It is also really, really heavy. The sides are enameled wood, so it's classy and techy looking (a lot like today's laptops and LCD TV's that come in that glossy piano ebony finish that's designed primarily to show off fingerprints). The label on the back says the TV was built in 1986, but I don't remember TV's looking this cool back then.
Since there's no tuner or audio, I have a feeling that this might be a monitor intended as part of a store display rather than a TV a consumer could buy. I doubt it would have been part of a video wall since the CRT doesn't go to the front edges. The custom connector in back makes me think that perhaps a series of these monitors could be connected as part of some big display system. Perhaps this model sat on a stage while others stood on trusses or some other elaborate staging? I like it, and it's going to be the new home of Atari gaming in my house. Any ideas out there what this Visual Integration System monitor might have been for?