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Restoring a Vintage Color Television Set


receives 1951 CBS Color signal

Early Television On Sunday June 6, 2004, a surviving CBS Columbia Model 12CC2 similar to the picture, the first and only commercial color television receiver sold in 1951, again displayed color pictures using the 1951 CBS Color standard. The actual 12CC2 receiver is pictured on Ed Reitan's Color Television History web site.
An NTSC-to-CBS Color-System converter, developed by Darryl Hock, was used to generate images for presentation on the CBS receiver. Hock's converter translates NTSC color video sources to video using standards in accordance with the 1951 FCC-approved CBS Color Television System. The CBS video was modulated to the RF of a VHF channel and then input to the Model 12CC2's tuner.

The Model 12CC2 is manually switchable to receive either today's 1941 525-line/60 fields per second NTSC monochrome standard or the 405-line/144 fields per second 1951 CBS Color standard.

Hock has delivered three color converters, one each to Messrs. Folsom, McVoy, and Reitan (owners of three original surviving 1951 CBS Color standard reproducers).

It has been a long time! The June 6, 2004 date marked almost 53 years since the Model 12CC2 television receiver last received signals in accordance with the CBS Color system. The Model 12CC2 was preserved starting in 1951 by an engineer associated with the Chicago CBS network affiliate television station that carried the few CBS commercial Colorcasts in 1951. During the late 1970's the set was discovered by Dan Gustafson of Chicago and transferred to historian Ed Reitan. The set was restored by Reitan in 1982 for demonstration at that year's SMPTE Conference in Los Angeles. The receiver has patiently waited and searched for a signal in accordance with the CBS Color standard since the last CBS Colorcast on October 20, 1951.

"E.T. has finally phoned home." In April, 2004, two other sets (Steve McVoy's Gray Research monitor and John Folsom's CBS Labs 7-inch combination receiver) demonstrated the CBS Color System using the Hock Converter at the 2004 Early Television Conference in Columbus, Ohio. A forth surviving original color display, a CBS Slave ("companion") set, is now also undergoing restoration.

Early Television