Turn Your Old Tube Television Into A Smart TV
By James Grahame
I'd like you to meet my new bedroom TV.
It's not fancy and it's not a flat screen, but I'm ecstatically pleased to save it from the landfill.
Like millions of tube sets around the world, it was banished into storage almost 10 years ago. I told myself that perhaps it would be useful at some point in the future, when the truth was that I just couldn't bear the thought of recycling a perfectly good 5 year old TV. And so it sat inside an old entertainment unit, patiently gathering dust
It was my Netflix addiction that encouraged me (Okay, us. It's not the sort of thing you can lug around the house by yourself) to drag it up from the dark, moldy depths. For years, I was unable to use it with streaming services -- my Apple TV is too pretentious and upmarket to offer analog output connections, and the idea of watching VHS tapes in the evening seemed a bit too quaint, even for a retro junkie like me.
But then Roku stepped in to save the day. Their little Roku 1 streaming box (which I have) and the brand new $50 Roku Express Plus offer old-fashioned composite video output in addition to a new-fangled HDMI connection.
Now you can stream content to almost any old tube TV made in the last two or three decades. The picture might not be quite as clear as you're used to with a newer TV, but it'll do as a second or third set. Roku even includes cables in the box.
Minutes after my Roku arrived, I cheerfully connected it to the TV and waited for evening like a young child on Christmas Eve. As soon as the sun dipped below the horizon, I eagerly hopped onto the bed and started streaming Stranger Things. Because what could be more appropriate than a sci-fi / monster / conspiracy show set in the early eighties?
The Roku Express Plus sells for $49.99 at Amazon and other major retailers.