How-To: Pirate TV

How-To: Pirate TV


Jon Cohrs writes:

Tired of the blocky, JPEG-like resolution of digital television? Do you long for the days of RF modulation and regulated-yet-unregulated content? Do you simply have the desire to toss your converter box out the window and make use of those rabbit ear antennae that are just lying around? If so, then you might be interested in becoming a savior of analog television! This Instructable will show you how to create your own fully-fledged low-power analog television channel, with any video source(including your computer) as a source of content.

We created one that went live the minute analog tv went dead. We’re still the only analog station in NYC, but please join us in making more!!

6 thoughts on “How-To: Pirate TV

  1. mightyohm says:

    You do know that pirate cat radio in San Francisco was just fined $10k by the FCC, right?

    You need to be very careful about encouraging any kind of pirate radio transmission, TV or radio. Even if the spectrum is “unused”, that doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs by anyone with an amplifier and an antenna.

    Check the FCC rules before transmitting.

  2. alandove says:

    Mightyohm is right – the FCC has a notoriously poor sense of humor about “pirate” broadcasting. I just read through the Instructable, and while the author tries to spin the FCC’s recent “whitespace” rules for the old analog TV spectrum, his/her legal advice isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on. That spectrum belongs to Verizon, Google, and emergency service agencies now. Transmitting anything on it – particularly something as big and identifiable as a TV signal – is going to get the radio cops on your doorstep very fast.

    Oh, and the $10k they just slapped the SF guys with is a pretty light fine by FCC standards. Not a good agency to mess with.

  3. Christian Berger says:

    I mean seriously the instructions aren’t really very well.
    First of all you need to make sure you have a pair of free channels because those cheap transmitters will also use the channel just below yours.

    The cheapest way to get a decent quality transmitter is to use a good quality modulator and amplifiers for cable TV distribution.

    It might also be wise to get a video mixer. Either a cheap analog one where you need to genlock all devices together, or a more expensive digital one which has built-in TBCs so you can use random sources.

    If the mixer won’t work, replace all electrolythic capacitors.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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