A while back I made this working miniature television using an old media player I had. It can play any video files but playing old TV programs gives it the look and feel of an antique television.
The original turned out great but the media player I used was discontinued long ago so it was very difficult to replicate the project. So I redesigned the project with an inexpensive media player that is currently available and made a few improvements. This version adds an amplifier for improved sound and has a sliding grille to give easy access to the controls. It's pretty cool on its own but makes a perfect accessory for that high-tech Barbie house.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Step 2: Wire the Amp and Speakers
On my first version of the miniature television, I just wired a pair of headphone speakers directly to the headphone jack of the media player. This worked but the sound was weak. It kind of fit the scale of the television, but on this version I wanted to be sure you could hear the sound loud and clear. These little 3 watt amplifiers are super cheap, small, easy to wire, and give plenty of sound.
To disassemble the media player first remove the screw from the back. Then slide the metal case towards the top and lift up. Remove the screws holding the circuit board in and lift out the screen and circuit board.
We need to get power to the amplifier. Solder positive (red) and negative (black) wires to the media player's power switch as shown in the picture. The other ends are soldered to the "5V + -" terminals on the amplifier. Do not wire directly to the battery terminals in the media player or your amplifier will always be drawing power and quickly ruin the battery.
Now we need to wire the audio. Solder three wires to the headphone jack on the media player as shown in the picture. Solder the other ends of the wires to the left, right, and ground terminals on the amplifier.
Finally, solder the speaker wires to the speaker terminals on the amplifier. Any small speakers should work. I used a pair of 28 mm speakers out of some old headphones.
When you are done, cut a small slit into the metal case to route the wires through. You can use a rotary tool or hacksaw. Screw the circuit board back in place and replace the back cover. Use a piece of foam tape to attach the amplifier to the back of the media player. Power on the media player and play a video. The sound should be nice and loud now.
Step 3: Print and Assemble
The files for the case can be found on Thingiverse. Download and print the files as per the instructions. If you do not have a 3D printer, you can order the parts from Shapeways.
To simulate the plate glass over old TV screens, cut a piece of plastic from some clamshell packaging and glue it to the front of the bezel. This step is optional but adds a little bit of realism.
- Use hot glue to glue your speakers over the holes in the case.
- Glue the base onto the case making sure the back is flush with case and sides are evenly spaced.
- Glue a piece of paper to the back of the grille to simulate speaker cloth and hide the controls of the media player.
- Place the media player in the case.
- Snap the bezel into the case over the media player.
- Glue the front on the case making sure not to get glue on the grille. Check that the grille slides freely.
- Glue the knobs onto the right side.
Step 4: Add Media
Time to add some video files. You can use any videos you want but I like to find old TV shows on the Internet Archive. This Classic TV collection has a lot to choose from. Pick a few videos and download them to your computer.
The biggest drawback to this media player is it only plays AMV video files. Chances are, nothing you download will be in the AMV format; you will need to convert it. SUPER is one of the only video converters I have found that will convert to AMV. Download and install the software.
It looks intimidating but is easy to use. Just select the options as shown in the picture, drag your video into the file window, and press "Encode". The files will convert and be saved as AMV files. Plug the media player into a USB port on your computer and paste the files onto the device memory. Your video should now play on the media player.
Step 5: Charge and Play
Plug the TV into a USB charger or your computer to charge the battery. Now sit back and watch a "little" television.