Sep 182016
 

My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer which my dad bought for Christmas in 1981. With a built-in RF modulator, it plugged into an antenna switch box mounted on the family color TV. That old Magnavox TV is long gone, but I still have that Color Computer.

A “holy grail” that I seek for my collection is one of the Radio Shack color televisions which were featured in advertisements for the Color Computer. There are two that I’m looking for.

The first is the TRS-80 Color Video Receiver, which was offered as an optional accessory for the Color Computer at or near the Color Computer’s introduction. The 1981 TRS-80 Catalog RSC-4 lists it for $399.00 with catalog number 26-3010. I have been told that it’s a rebadged RCA CTC-107 television.

1981 Radio Shack TRS-80 Catalog RSC-4, Page 30

1981 Radio Shack TRS-80 Catalog RSC-4, Page 30

Then around 1982-1983, a new television set began showing up in Color Computer advertisements. A full-page advertisement in the January, 1983 edition of Rainbow Magazine shows the Color Computer with the new Radio Shack TC-130 color television.

Color Computer Ad in January 1983 Rainbow Magazine, Page 19

Color Computer Ad in January 1983 Rainbow Magazine, Page 19

This television also began appearing alongside the Color Computer in TRS-80 Catalogs, though unlike the TRS-80 Color Video Receiver, it wasn’t specifically listed as an accessory in those catalogs. It was just used in ad copy, generally surrounded by smiling children using the Color Computer as their smiling parents watched. The television itself appears in the 1983 general Radio Shack catalog, for $399.95 with catalog number 16-230. I assume that it is also a rebadged television from a major manufacturer, but I don’t know which manufacturer or model.

1983 Radio Shack Catalog, Page 154

1983 Radio Shack Catalog, Page 154

I would be surprised if many of those TRS-80 Color Video Receivers were ever sold, since the Color Computer was designed to plug into the family color television. Still, I’m hopeful that I will someday find one or both of the Radio Shack branded televisions described here, in good cosmetic condition.

The images in this post come from scans of Radio Shack catalogs found at the Radio Shack Catalogs site, and a scan of Rainbow Magazine found at the TRS-80 Color Computer Archive.

  4 Responses to “Wanted: Radio Shack Color TVs for TRS-80 Color Computer”

  1. Any Analog TV will do. The RCA connection simply connected to a 300/75 Ohm TV transformer which, in those days, did not require anything unique. Channel 3/4. The secret to it was the 320 x 480 design for picture. 480×640 640×800 are all valid. JW USAF Retired.

    • Yes, I have several TVs which work with my CoCos, and my family never had one of the Radio Shack TVs branded for use with the CoCo back in the 80s. I’m looking for these specific TVs for their collector interest.

  2. Oh! Radio Shacks contracts were with Motorola. 13″ was the prescribed preference. Zenith also had a 10″ model which came with the RCA connection. About the only people who might have Those still in storage are, used to, advertise them on E-bay. $$$. The Zenith be one connection was for model TI-99 which lost favor after 1985. Chicago sold most of the Motorola ones via Sony. Sorry, I no longer have their working address nor phone number. – JW

  3. Panasonic ones dropped the line after refusing to place the Radio Shack name on their products. They were 17″ and had a nasty ring to them.

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