Planet Sinclair


x The Machines
x Machines: 1980s
x C5
x FM Wristwatch Radio
x Interfaces One and Two
x "Loki"
x Microdrive
x PC200
x QL
x RAMpacks
x Timex Sinclairs
O TV80 (Pocket TV)
x ZX80
x ZX81
x ZX Printer
x ZX Spectrum /
128 / +2 / +3
x Z88

Last updated
7 Jan 1998

The TV80 (Pocket TV)


The TV80 pocket television was the fruit of an obsession which Clive Sinclair had held for more than 20 years. As early as 1963, near the very start of his career as an inventor of electronics, he had sought to create a handheld television set. His earlier attempts resulted in the Microvision (1966 - launched but never actually sold) and TV1A/B/C/D (1976-78 - four models for the US, UK and continental European markets).

The spectacularly successful Sinclair computers had been produced with the primary objective of raising capital for other, "innovative" projects such as the pocket TV and C5. With the money rolling in from Spectrum sales, Sinclair was now able to realise his dream of producing a slimline flat-screen pocket TV which (unlike his earlier attempts) did not use a conventional, power-hungry cathode-ray tube. Instead, the electron beam creating the TV80's picture was produced by a specially designed CRT set in the side rather than the back of the television, being deflected through a right angle by a strong electric field to hit the phosphor screen.

The TV80 - the name refers to the 80 selling price - was, however, not a great success and did not recoup the 4m Sinclair had invested in its development. It was difficult and expensive to produce, and had an extremely narrow viewing angle. Only about 15,000 were sold. And obsolescence was already on the horizon: New Scientist warned prophetically that the TV80's ingenious technology would be short-lived, in view of the liquid crystal display technology being developed by Casio and other Japanese electronics firms. Today, every pocket TV uses LCDs and the cathode ray tube itself - largely unchanged since its invention at the start of this century - is poised on the edge of imminent obsolesence.

  The TV80 arrives
  Now you can watch a little TV anywhere
Sinclair advert
*   The Pocket TV
(Sinclair and the Sunrise Technology, chapter x)
*   Search for second-hand Sinclair TV80s
(Loot magazine)