What is this, a television for ants? Basically yes! The TinyTV 2, a Kickstarter project from the company that brought us an even smaller Game Boy, is one of the smallest and cutest video players I’ve ever seen. While it doesn’t have a set of rabbit ears to harness the airwaves, the one-inch 216x135-pixel television is authentic in practically every other way — dials to adjust “channel” and volume, a working speaker and power button, even an infrared receiver for a tiny optional remote control (via Technabob).
There’s a two-hour lithium-ion battery so you can take it on the go and a USB-C port for charging and data. It’s all powered by a Raspberry Pi RP2040 computer. And — get this — it emulates the experience of “changing channels” by remembering your timestamp in each of the video files you preload on its included 8GB micro SD card, so it can seem like you’re surfing live television.
And because that’s clearly not small enough, the company’s offering a TinyTV Mini as well, which shrinks down the idea into a volume of just one cubic inch. It’s got a 0.6-inch OLED screen (instead of IPS) at just 64 x 64 pixels and a single hour of battery life.
A note on crowdfunding:
Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.
The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.
Both are currently available to back at Kickstarter for $50 each, and both come with an app that’ll shrink your favorite video files down to the appropriate resolutions.
Tested’s Norman Chan has a great video showing off the original Tiny TV alongside both of the new versions, and you can see how much clearer the TinyTV 2 looks and sounds.
Assuming the Kickstarter campaign doesn’t run into any wrinkles — the Thumby seems to have gone well, shipping over 10,000 units and now freely on sale — this could be an easier way to live the tiny TV dream than rolling your own mini Simpsons CRT. I just funded it myself; I think it’ll be a great home for anime music videos.
Here are a couple more pictures of the TinyTV Mini:
Tiny Circuits’ earlier Game Boy-for-ants inspired another project we recently featured on The Verge, by the way: these working Lego computer bricks with actual computers and screens within.