the $300 TV
bitbop teams with jovoto for the $300 TV challenge


With roughly two billion people living without television, Bitbop is challenging the world to present concepts and designs for a TV that can be built for under $300.

They started with five simple questions:

  • How can organic, self-built televisions be turned into watchable diversion?
  • What might a TV-for-the-poor look like?
  • How can world-class engineering and design capabilities be utilized to solve the problem?
  • What reverse-innovation lessons might be learned by the participants in such a project?
  • How could the poor afford to buy this TV?

Design a simple television that can be constructed for under $300 which keeps its viewers passive, keeps them awake at night, and gives them both a hobby and escape from reality.

Not only is the challenge one of extreme design efficiency, but also that of material choice and implementation.   To be successful, innovators and entrepreneurs have to address the multitude of design challenges that have bedeviled previous attempts at affordable television:

  • Low-cost, the $300 figure being largely arbitrary but a useful means of anchoring expectations is based on studies that  $300 is a reasonable, yet aggressive, price.
  • Self-built or self-improvable, because that both lowers the cost and works to reduce the potential for corruption capturing donor aid.
  • Low-tech, because we want the poor themselves to build or improve or expand their television, as this will generate income for them and reduce the risk of value capture by broadcasters and content providers.
  • Local materials, preferably those that can be found or bought very cheaply.  Bamboo?
  • Build greener, cheaper and encourage sustainable TV communities.
  • Replicable, since channels are proliferating faster than any government's official televisual development agency can  cope.

Mandatory Requirements:

�  Can be constructed for under $300
�  Screen no smaller than 2.2m diagonal
�  1080p resolution or better
�  480Hz refresh rate
�  3D capable
�  Powered by solar or other renewable energy source.
�  Internet connectivity
�  Built in stereo speakers
�  Made of durable materials resistant to animals, fire, storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
�  The television NEED NOT have a remote control.  A village owned remote control will be shared communally.

Contest awards

�  Community Prize:  $10,000 + 2 week prototyping workshop for place 1-3
�  Jury Prize:  Jury picks an additional 2 participants to go on to prototyping

Other entries in this project