Panasonic Model TR-1010P Handheld Television (1981)


The Panasonic model TR-1010P "Travelvision" TV has one of the world's smallest picture tubes. The entire set measures only 6.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches and the screen is about one inch square. Introduced in 1981, the Travelvision was one of the earliest handheld TVs.

Here's the Panasonic from the side, showing its carrying strap and folding stand. The removable magnifying hood makes the picture more watchable.

The TR-1010P tunes VHF and UHF stations and has brightness and contrast controls on the side. On the back is a jack for a six-volt AC adapter.

Like most handhelds, this one does not accept an external antenna or video input. Who would want to plug a video player into a television this size? The Travelvision, as the name suggests, is designed for close up and personal use—catching a ballgame on the run, carrying a TV on a hiking trip, or watching TV on your tummy and listening with earbuds while your bedmate snoozes.

These photos show the Panasonic with and without the magnifier. A quarter is included to give you an idea of the CRT's size. (The screen looks blueish in these photos, but is black and white in actual viewing.)


The Panasonic's bright picture is very watchable in normal light. For these pics, I had to turn the brightness and contrast all of the way down, to avoid washing out the photos completely.

The interior is packed tightly, as you can imagine, using layered circuit boards and ultraminiature components. The battery pack is a nice feature. You can pop it out and replace the batteries with less fumbling than some handheld sets require.

Here is the Travelvision alongside my Sony Watchman. They're about the same height and depth, but the Travelvision is wider and heavier. Judging by the number of used TVs floating around, the Watchman seems to have been the more popular model. Although they look similar, the Watchman was introduced six years later, in 1987.

Now that analog TV broadcasts are history, you might think that a TV like this is useless. Without an external input, what can you watch? Well, if you have a home TV transmitter like the one in our house, you can watch just about anything. The final photo shows my Travelvision and Watchman at a "TV party" that demonstrates our home broadcasting system.

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