View Full Version : Magnavox school TV system

07-29-2016, 07:12 PM
In my junior high, each classroom had a 19" Magnavox TV. The band room was the only one that had the remote and it said "Total Remote Control" on it. He sad they were installed in 1991 for watching Channel One which aired on them each morning. I don't recall if they used them for the morning announcements or not, but at the high school we did use them for the TV production class announcements.

At the junior high they were also sometimes left on all day to use as clocks as a computer screensaver with the time bouncing around was broadcast all day.

The interesting thing about these TVs was that they seemed to be centrally controlled. When it was time for the announcements or Channel One, they automatically turned on. The channel buttons and the display and status buttons did not function, you could only change the volume or turn the set on or off. When the announcements were not on, you could change channels, display, etc.

I was wondering if these were regular TV sets or some special type of set. They were also on wall mounts that had a key lock. I do recall some of the newer buildings at the high school had newer Philips Magnavox 19" without key locks, those building being built in the late 90s/early 00s.

I never really saw any sets exactly like these. My neighbor used to have a 25" Magnavox that had a similar cabinet. Most of these TVs were square cabinets with a speaker on the bottom left and square buttons on the right. The newer ones were a little rounded with buttons in the front center. The band director said the squarer ones were brought in from somewhere else and the rounder ones were brand new in 1991.

07-29-2016, 07:54 PM
Sounds like the televisions that are in my school now. They're Magnavox, with a beige-ish plastic cabinet. We hardly use them anymore. (Yay for touch screen "smart" boards that only work half the time) My school was built in 1959-1960, and is pretty original. (My aunt was actually the first class to graduate in 1964!) We get a refresh, technology wise, about every 6-8 years, sometimes longer. The a major one was around 1990-1992, when they bought new TV's for each class room. Some teachers use them, most have them unplugged and in the closet. They seem like decent televisions, I'd probably save one when they decide to throw them out. I looked at the back of the one in our library, and it was a 1991 build date set. I'll take a picture of one when school starts back up, but that's another 3 weeks.

07-29-2016, 11:20 PM
Yep. I know exactly what y'all are talking about. My junior high had the exact same Magnavox sets too. That reminds me - in the library, there was always a mid 70's to early 80's Sylvania that I always wanted, but they wouldn't let me have it because reasons. I think I'll post about this in the Solid State forum. I always wanted to see a picture of one.

07-29-2016, 11:32 PM
I worked for a school system that was an early adopter of Channel One, about 1990-91. They did have a central control unit in the media center of each school with two VCRs, one of which the school could use and the other one recorded and played back Channel One. They also had a composite video and audio input so you could connect a computer for the clock or scrolling announcements or any other video source.

Channel One wired the entire school in every case, which was a smart decision considering how bad some of the instructional TV wiring was in each school. They maintained their stuff too. Every now and then a TV would fall off the wall. One fell on top of two Apple ImageWriters in one of our computer labs and the printers still worked OK afterwards.

The TVs were not off the shelf models and as I recall all the signal came from the coax cable. I think they did put a splitter at the TV so you could use a VCR with it in the classroom. The TVs were very trouble-free, but they weren't very large.

I got my parents a 19" Magnavox as a Christmas present in December, 1988 that was very similar to those Channel One sets and it had the same remote. I remember the first thing I saw on that TV after I took it out of the box was the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie disaster in Scotland, which had just happened. It was always a very dependable TV.

07-30-2016, 02:56 PM
Here is a picture I found of these TV sets. The one on the left seemed less common than on the right.

Ours did have a splitter so some teachers did use them to show videos, and on very rare ocassions we would just watch TV on them (such as right before Christmas break when there were few people in class). They all had basic cable channels. Most teachers that showed a lot of educational videos though had projection TVs that they used instead. And in my senior year of high school one teacher got a new TV for doing PowerPoint presentations on. It was a huge CRT, I think a Vizio brand, we never had an LCD or Plasmas then.

07-31-2016, 11:25 PM
In late-'89, they started installing the 19" Magnavox "channel one" TV's in all the local schools. I believe the deal was that the company that produced "channel one" would provide the equipment and install it, in exchange for the school showing the daily 12 minute program.

The ones we had were in a grey plastic case and had the larger square buttons. I never actually saw the inside of one; but, I know that they were specially designed commercial grade sets. The ones we had only had an AC power cord and a single 75 ohm coax connector. For channel one, they'd send a signal down the cable line to turn on the set and when the program was over, they'd send another signal to turn off the set. There was also a set-up in the library, where a tape could be played to any particular room, at any given time (this set-up pretty much did away with the old big TV's on the roll-around carts). Before the "channel one" sets, they had 23" and 25" TV's on roll-around carts. Some of the TV's were tube-type RCA's that had jack panels on the back. The other TV's were newer 25" Zenith's with a pull-on/volume control and pushbutton keypad with green LED channel display. In Elementary school, most everything was on 3/4" U-Matic format. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, the school finally got some VHS players.

On the channel one sets, I don't recall ever seeing a remote; but, they were probably remote controllable. I think they either said "total control system" or "digital control system" on the control panel (it's been many years and I don't fully remember).

From what I'm told, a lot of those Magnavox "Channel One" TV's are still mounted to the walls; but, they are not used much.

When I was in school, we'd usually use the "channel one" time to talk and cut up; but, we had one English teacher who would unplug the set, if 100% of the class was not paying attention to it. We didn't want to do classwork; so, we learned to pay attention to the TV.

08-01-2016, 10:59 AM
My school system had the very same sets. They seemed to be smaller than 19", though. The tv/VCR carts were Zeniths like RAdioTVnut described. Most were digitally tuned with an old-school volume on/off knob.

Heck, my school district even used classroom record players up to 1999 (when I was in the 2nd grade!). The magnavox channel 1 sets are still around from what I hear, but the 1980s Zeniths were gone by the time
My brother reached high school in 2012.

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