A couple of months ago I spotted a funny looking TV at an obscure thrift store in Helsinki. It was old for sure and it seemed to be a high-end TV of its time. I haggled the price stating that it had little value in its current state and got a good price. I started researching it at home and found that it was a Swedish AGA Mobil 4346, designed by Bengt-Johan Gullberg or possibly Stig Lindberg in 1963.
It was a beauty untouched but I had a different plan for it. The shell was in perfect condition but the TV didn’t work. I tried plugging it in but nothing happened. Either way the old tube screen would have to go if I were to use it to watch TV.
I started by opening up the back cover to look at what was inside and boy was I surprised. I was expecting a fairly simple setup with a couple of wires, a board, tubes and some relays but there was so much more.
I just went full in unscrewing all of the connected plates and connectors, cutting cables and using brute force when needed. While digging I felt bad that I was destroying this piece of craftsmanship and I was amazed at the work which must have gone into making something as intricate as this. There were countless analogue solutions connecting the numerous buttons on top and it took a solid two hours to get everything out.
Then I went out shopping for some new gadgets to fill it with. The old TV was 18 inches with a 4:3 aspect ratio but the new one would be 16:9 so I would need to fill the rest of the space around it somehow – more on that later. I also wanted the TV to be mobile since it does have wheels. That meant that I needed to find something that allowed me to watch TV without having to think about finding a TV outlet or use an antenna. I looked into Boxee, Roku and some other streaming video hardware but since I’m in Finland, I settled for an Apple TV box. I also found an inexpensive 18,5″ LED TV which had HDMI and a external sound plug. With the Apple box I could stream everything anywhere to the TV from our wifi network and also access Netflix.
The only problem was that the TV was too wide to fit the box and I would have to start carving. I cut out about 5 mm of the wood on each side and after lots of trial and error I finally got it squeezed in. I then super glued the buttons back on the old shell on since they had fallen off while taking it apart.
Above is the setup with the TV, Apple TV box and a new speaker. I can control the Apple box through the old speaker hole and it’s not visible on the front. The TV speakers do sound very muted though and the speaker adds a bit of extra oomph. The cable situation will be taken care of later on.
I made a new front cover to fill the gap between the shell and the new TV. The TV has brass clips that can hold a glass plate in place but I made the new cover out of a thick but soft plastic sheet covered with a black adhesive cover . I might make it out of metal or glass at a later point but this will do for now.
Milo can now watch as much Cars on his new TV as he wants.