RCA AU-097Y Portable TV (1975)

Haven’t done an “old electronics” post in awhile.

I’m a sucker for old TVs. Considering they’re generally bulky and tend to take up a lot of room, this is perhaps not always a good thing. But, I can’t help it, I love vintage TVs, in all their UHF-VHF-knobs-vertical hold-black & white-retracting antenna-glory. It’s actually a facet of my chosen hobby that goes back even further than my hunting of old videotapes. I’ve had an affection for old TVs since probably before I was 10 years old. Even if I’m not quite “gotta have this one NOW!” as I once was, I still tend to flip-out, figuratively speaking, when I come across a particularly cool set. And boy, is the subject of this post cool

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It’s an RCA portable TV, manufactured in October, 1975! Model #AU-097Y. It’s all about the looks with this one, and man, the only word to describe this thing is groovy. Believe me, I don’t use the word “groovy” lightly, either. Everything about the design of this one screams “1975.” Apparently, these were produced in a number of colors (a quick online search reveals red and yellow models), but the white casing of this one, to me, is perfect. I can just imagine this sitting in someone’s shag-carpeted apartment, the viewer patiently waiting for M*A*S*H to come on.

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The set is in exceptionally good shape. Don’t let that ‘line’ across the screen seen in the pics way up above fool you, it appears to be nothing more than a scuff that would probably come off with a good cleaning. Aside from a few minor marks that you’d expect from a TV set that will be 38 years old in October, this thing is really in much better shape than I would have ever thought.

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It works! Of course, I can’t pick up any channels, but it seems to run without a hitch. And look at that, the appropriate jacks; you could even hook up the Pong system of your choice!

I found this TV at a garage sale about 2 summers ago. I was able to buy both it and a much newer handheld TV for, I think, $10 total. The handheld TV was more of a “just for the helluva it” buy, but this 1975 set I was going home with no matter what. I may not be able to watch actual TV on it, not without a hassle at least, but this set is so cool that it commands attention just by being on display.

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