Ask Make: is where readers ask questions and we do our best to provide clear and concise answers.
Twitter users @threefourteen, @klaatu, @dcwilson303, @digitalcaffeine, and others all had the same thing on their minds this week and asked “What do we do with all the TVs flooding thrift stores because of the DTV conversion?”
Well, after taking a break to re-watch one of my favorite video art pieces, Media Burn by Ant Farm (above), we’ve come up with some advice. First off, you can keep your TV in use with a digital receiver, for which you can even make your own antenna. Failing that, you can still watch DVDs on your old set, making them perfect for the movie den, or for donating to your local schools (call and ask if they want them first). Whatever you do, don’t throw it in the trash, that old box can contain lots of lead. Recycle it. Now on to repurposing:
Make some art:
- get a cheap video camera, make a video loop, and experiment with interference patterns
- stack, pile, and create towers of video ala Nam Jun Paik (RIP; pictured above top)
- use the TVs as period props for films and plays
- make that video installation you’ve always wanted to
- lower its resolution for some pleasing ambiance
- burn in some subliminal messages
Take the thing apart:
- watch out for the large high-voltage capacitors that can remain charged inside!
- teach your kids how cathode ray tubes work
- create a video highlighting the “little city” (above)
- scavenge it for parts
- make a cat bed or fish tank
- create a shrine to your favorite cancelled show
Reuse the parts:
- convert the old case into a bar
- try out the YBOX, an internet appliance for your TV (pictured above)
- don’t forget your Arduino TV!
- try your hand at circuit bending (be extra careful and read up before opening it!)
Have some TV ideas? post them in the comments!