#umwconsole Now with 2 Channels!

I spent most of the spring writing about UMW’s Living Room Console exhibit, a re-creation of a 1985 living room in a tucked away corner of the brand spanking new Information and Technology Convergence Center at UMW.  I spent the latter part of this afternoon listening to Blondie‘s Parallel Lines on vinyl while playing Video Pinball on the 2600. Living the dream.

One of the things we’ve been working on is programming and broadcasting TV from 1985 literally over the airwaves for umwconsole. Michael Branson Smith showed us the way when he came to campus as a visiting artist in April, and Zach Whalen has been building on his work since. As I wrote about briefly already, Zach has been working on a TV scheduling program for the Raspberry Pi that automatically synchs the time of day when turned on, and starts playing the appropriate shows and pulling from a pool of commercials for a specific channel at a given time. It’s pretty awesome. The Raspberry Pi contains at least 24 hours of shows and commercials for a specific channel, say channel 7, that is then broadcast through an analog transmitter that the TV(s) in the living room can pickup via antenna.

Zach recently received the TV transmitter he ordered 2 months ago from Hilly, which means he could finally test out if two different TV channels could be broadcast at once without too much interference.

As you can see from the Vine above  video above, it worked. We have channels 7 and 9 running of two completely independent Raspberry Pi setups that are being picked up off two different analog broadcasters on two channels. The discerning amongst you might have recognized The Prisoner marathon on channel 7 in honor of Prisoner106 🙂 What’s cool is that we could potentially have even more channels broadcasting to the TV, which could means ABC, CBS, NBC, a local independent channel, and PBS. Five channels broadcasting at once in the 80s living room? Now that would be sick.

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2 Responses to #umwconsole Now with 2 Channels!

  1. Eric Likness says:

    Growing up a few miles west of Fredericksburg (Culpeper actually), I think it’s cool you’re picking the Washington DC. channel numbers. So I’m guessing Channel 7 is assigned ABC, Channel 9 is CBS and Channel 4 for NBC? ;^) PBS = 26 and for independents in 1985 you would have either Channel 5 or Channel 20. I vote for 5 as that became Fox and hosted such future stars as Maury Povich AND Charlie Rose back inna day.

    • Reverend says:


      Good to get that feedback from a local. And awesome to learn about the channels, I think Zach was working from a 1985 circular from the Freelance Star. So let me ask you this, what were the independent stations? I want to actually see if i can find some of their stuff. Also, did you mostly get DC or Richmond programming in Culpeper? Would that be true for Freddy as well? Would lvoe any and all tips, and thanks a million for the comment. Channel 26 is PBS, interesting. For some of the 70s TVs that might be hard 🙂

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