Using TVs On Stage

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Connecting an old TV to a laptop to show images or video

Older CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV sets from the 1960s-1980s don’t have an external video input (e.g. SCART or composite video (usually coloured yellow)). A converter is required to give you an RF (coaxial aerial cable) output from a VGA input. The laptop would need to be set at lowest possible resolution / image size, and it may be that a modern laptop can’t go low enough quality to work, so you may need an old laptop too.
A slightly more modern CRT TV with a SCART input or a composite video input would be slightly easier, but you’d still need a converter box to take the VGA input and convert it to a video signal. Again, you’d need to reduce the laptop resolution.

The simplest option is to use a more modern LCD screen inside an old TV ‘shell’. 
You should not remove the old TV components yourself – the glass screen assembly is obviously dangerous, and can ‘explode’ when smashed. The electronic components are also hazardous to dispose of, and some components may still hold lethal electric charges, especially if the TV has been powered on recently. Seek advice from a TV repair shop or other expert. 

Using a TV with its’ back to the audience

If the audience doesn’t see the images on the TV screen, you can just use the ‘shell’ of an old TV set (from a recycling depot or TV repair shop). If you want the cast on stage to appear to be watching the TV, you can use a few birdies or similar small lanterns using a random flicker effect to produce light on their faces, and moving shadows behind them. The birdies can be gelled with pastel reds/blues/greens to create great shadows.
The notes about removing the TV components in the previous section still apply, of course.