SCART + more things

11 minutes estimated reading time


I had used SCART for a long time. The large parallel port plugs and stiff coaxial cables that looked as if they were limbs that had fallen of a cyberpunk twisted oak, were just part of the living room. Even if you hadn’t looked behind the TV cabinet, you maybe seen them as part of the flight cased TV and laser disc combo back when karaoke first took off as an activity in your local pub. Or the connection between a pub’s TV for Sky Sports and the set-top box held up high on the pub wall for punters to enjoy the game with their drink.

That was up until their replacement by HDMI cables, TOSLINK and ethernet cables in my home TV set-up over the past ten years. SCART was actually the name of the French radio and television makers association who developed the standard back in the mid-1970s. SCART came along as TVs were becoming more reliable and one started to see the decline of the TV rental market.

My parents first TV that they bought in the UK was a HMV-branded set with glowing vacuum tubes in the back despite a relatively modern looking TV case with push buttons similar to this one. SCART came along just a few years later.

A lot of the SCART features assumed that consumers would move to larger TVs with better displays and sound that would come to dominate the living room of European homes. And they were right, though through much of the 1980s many homes still had a 13″ colour portable TV.

SCART became compulsory for televisions sold in France from 1980 onwards. The standard was sufficiently robust and scalable for it to be used in transmitting 1080p high definition video as HDMI came to prominence. France eventually revoked their compulsory adoption of SCART in 2015.

Things that we take as standard on HDMI like using the VCR, set-top box or disc player to turn on the TV, were also standard on SCART from the late 1970s. You could daisy chain equipment together, which was important for people who were early adopters of satellite receivers, cable TV boxes and laser disc players.

SCART came at a time when globalisation moved the gravity of consumer electronics further east. First to Japan, then Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and eventually China. Brands like Philips, Grundig, Nokia, Nordmende, Thomson and Ferguson were swept to the side by likes of Sony, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Sharp, LG and Samsung.

The SCART socket and plug were clever designs. You could only put them in the right way around and for something with 21 pins in they were not only robust but easy to plug and plug out again. Though once you had a SCART connection set up, you left it well alone.


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Consumer behaviour

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The FT on how life is getting increasingly difficult for the creator economy


Amazon newsroom: Hyundai and Amazon Partner to Deliver Innovative Customer Experiences and Cloud Transformation


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Microsoft’s Copilot AI Rises From the Ashes of Bob and Clippy

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How does Stable Diffusion work?


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How Micro-AUVs Are Revolutionizing Ocean Exploration – EE Times


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