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Early Television Museum

World's Smallest Trinitron

We received this email from James from MIddletown, NY. If anyone has any information to add about this, please contact us:

In 1978-1982 or so, every so often I would visit a friend in MA, a 3 or 4 hour drive from NY. ust outside of Waltham MA I would stop at a Deli/Convenience/Drug store for a soda. On display.. near the table I drank my soda at.. was "WORLD's SMALLEST TRINITRON COLOR TELEVISION", 10 to 14 inches long, 4 or so inches square. Somewhat shoebox sized, with the screen on one end. All surfaces rounded except for the flat end with the CRT. A garish red or yellow. (Assorted colors). Electronic tuning was a green bar at the bottom of the screen with channel numbers printed below the screen. Three bands for the 2 to 7, 8 to 13 and UHF channels. A 3 position switch selected the band. A battery compartment held 8 C batteries and an AC Adaptor was included. A small stand or legs were included. $250 or so 1980ish dollars. I couldn't justify purchasing it at the time. Now here is the TinFoil Hat/Conspiracy part..Not on eBay, Not on Google, Not on Sony's 'The History of the Trinitron' page.

Marshall Wozniak, a collector of mini-TV sets, replied:

A photo would be good, but from the description, sounds like the Sony KV 4000 except the cabinet was never in garish colors, just brushed aluminum.


Introduced to the U.S. in April, 1980, the smallest Trinitron color CRT, 3.7 inches and the smallest portable color television in the world. That would change in 1982 with the introduction of the Panasonic CT 3311 and later in 1984 with the incredible Panasonic CT 101A more about that later.

Very beautiful design and craftsmanship, brushed aluminum champagne gold case, beveled glass screen, automatic search tuning, electronic one-button band selector, illuminated channel scale on smoked glass filter, on screen tuning indicator bars. The picture tube can be tilted to three vertical positions for easy viewing angle. Four way power supply, AC, car battery, rechargeable battery or nine D-cell batteries. High quality sound from built in speaker. Very compact design, 4 3/4 w 4 3/4 h 11 3/8 inches d. Weighs 6 lb. 10 oz. Look at the great design, recess for the antenna so the antenna won’t protrude from cabinet. My photo did not do justice to this exquisite Television. You can learn more at the Sony global website under Sony Design. This TV is one of my favorites and still resides on my desk, fully functional. I purchased this set new, September, 1980.

This would be the smallest color CRT made by Sony. Eight years later, Sony would introduce the first of a series of color TFT ( Thin Film Transistor ) display devices and televisions.

"The Sony KV 4000 is shown in the collapsed position inside it’s travel case. Under the television, there is a secondary zippered pocket for the optional rechargeable BP-36 battery. The mono pole antenna could be extended from inside the case and all controls and inputs were accessible. A shoulder strap completed the package."

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James replied:

Yes, all my searches come up KV-4000. That isn't it. Maybe it used the same tube? (Had to be if smallest Trinitron). The one I saw was plastic, all surfaces contoured except for the flat end with the tube, no hinge for tilting, it had a stand or legs or something. It had a green channel indicating bar on the screen which lined up with numerals printed below the screen (This of course predated digital tuning). Could it have been made for foreign markets? Could it possibly been counterfeit? I don't see how a company could make any money re-housing portable TVs. There were 5 of them in boxes on the shelf.


The only other set that comes close to the description is this. It's is not a Trinitron and the case is plastic with rounded corners and came in black, white and pink. Like the Sony KV 4000, this set also has a green bar that lights up on the screen to show the channel position. The 3.7 inch Trinitron was available in three different models, none of which were colored plastic. Perhaps someone took a  Trinitron and made a custom cabinet.