Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Realistic Pocketvision 3 Portable LCD Television

A pocket-sized TV used to cost a lot more than pocket change.

When Sony broke the size barrier with their diminutive Watchman TV, lots of other companies were also working on ways to line people's pockets with televisions (think how absurd that last sentence would have sounded just a few years before...). The mini TV's were expensive, and mostly black and white in those early days, relying on a clever reconfiguration of CRT technology.

The Pocketvision 3 is from 1985. Originally offered by Citizen, it was rebranded with the "Realistic" moniker and sold in Radio Shack stores. The Pocketvision 3 is quite slim & compact. It's actually smaller than a lot of today's LCD pocket TV's, though it doesn't deliver any of those crucial Roy G. Biv's. That's right. You're looking at a black and white LCD pocket TV.

If you're stranded on a desert island, you can use the mirror to signal for more batteries. The compact television boasts 10 hours of viewing time from four AAA batteries. How? There's no power-hungry backlight. The television swings open, the LCD in the lid (following the same form factor as Nintendo's old "Game & Watch" LCD video games). Natural light acts as the illuminator for the display, but people on the night shift could get an optional snap-on backlight at their local Radio Shack. 

The reversed image is reflected off of a mirror inside (a concept shared by some of the earliest TV's). An interesting byproduct of the design is that the unit can rest on a tabletop with no stand, the mirror offering a comfortable viewing angle for the picture.

  Like the other portable televisions featured in our Retro Thing TV episode, this set still works, but isn't long for this DTV world. Here in the USA there's no analog TV signal for this little unit's tuner to pick Don't look so blue, Perry Mason, you'll win the case!up anymore (except for good ol' low power channel 23 here in Chicago). It does have a video input, though it doesn't seem to support sound. Since it's only black & white, that might diminish the usefulness as well (thought this would potentially make the ideal video assist for my modded Pixelvision video camera!).


Retro Thing TV: portable TVs get left behind
Westinghouse portable TV mystery
Convergence IX: Panasonic pop-up TV


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