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NZ’s oldest working telly goes digital

A 53 year-old television set from the West Coast has been named as New Zealand’s oldest working television. The 1958 kitset TV was converted to digital on Friday 3 June and the original owner of the TV, 92-year-old Elva Reynolds of Hokitika, was announced as the winner of the competition.

The DIY TV set that won the competition was assembled by the late Winston Reynolds, the former mayor of Hokitika, in 1958, the same year Sir Edmund Hillary reached the South Pole and the 111 emergency number was introduced to New Zealand.

Assembled with parts from Australia, the TV was one of the first sets on the West Coast and even received a signal from across the Tasman before television transmission finally arrived on the Coast in 1972. The set was eventually donated to Hokitika Museum in the 1970s.

The TV was converted to digital with a Freeview set-top box, along with a commonplace RF modulator, available from most electronics shops. Here's how we made New Zealand's oldest television set go digital:

  • 1. We connected the aerial wires on the television to a Balun connection.
  • 2. We connected an RF (radio frequency cable) to the Balun connection, and plugged it into an RF modulator.
  • 3. We connected the RF modulator to a set top box which was connected to a UHF aerial, and switched it on.
  • 4. We tuned the television to receive a VHF signal coming out of the RF modulator.
  • 5. We sat back and watched digital pictures on the 1958 black and white television.

Updated on 23rd July 2015