The TellyMate Shield equips an Arduino with the ability to send simple text and graphics to a TV. The TellyMate Shield connects to an Arduino board using long headers which extend through the shield. This keeps the pin layout intact and allows another shield to be stacked on top.

Arduino uses digital pin1 (TX) to communicate with the TellyMate. Just plug it into your Arduino and use Serial.println() commands to output text onto your TV!

The shield provides a 3.5mm jack and the necessary cable to convert to a composite video connection. The baud rate is selected by jumpers, which are also included.

  • TV output from your Arduino
  • PAL or NTSC Composite Video
  • Stackable Shield
  • works with Serial.println() etc.
  • 38x25 characters
  • Black and White
  • Simple Graphics
  • Double width / height text
  • Simple control codes

TellyMate Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • omnivescence / about 15 years ago / 3

    Would it be possible to connect this, an Arduino, and an ethernet shield and make a simple MMO style game? I would have no idea how to do this, but im sure someone would.

    • Chiel / about 15 years ago / 1

      technically it is possible since the shields both employ a different way to comunicate with the arduino(tellymate uses Uart while ethernet uses spi according to the pinout)
      great idea BTW.

  • Lots and lots of fun...

  • Member #275743 / about 10 years ago / 1

    I would like a shield that would be connected to an HDMI video/audio input on a TV. This would allow the Galileo board and maybe future Linux-based boards a video/audio platform for gaming and other neat apps to be developed.


  • Member #436804 / about 11 years ago / 1

    hello, i recently acquired a tellymate shield v1.1. -it can not display long sentences fully on the screen yet i do not know the code that can reduce the size of the text so as to fit. - my project also includes a gsm shield which receives an SMS that i display on the screen using the tellymate shield, but unfortunately the tellymate shield displays only the last character of the message and at the far left of the screen. please help me out with these problems. thank you.

  • ATtiny Fan / about 12 years ago / 1

    I love how many Arduino shields use an ATMega8/168/328, Hey I heard you like ATmegas....

  • MoriFi / about 13 years ago / 1

    Ummmmm what version is on these

    • Same as the picture, v1.1.

      • MoriFi / about 13 years ago / 1

        oops I meant the Firmware Version. sry

        • MoriFi / about 13 years ago * / 1

          I looked at the manual and it said how to view the firmware on the device. and still no

          • Condemned / about 13 years ago / 1

            ESCAPE Q will show the firmware version.
            TellyMate Shields bought from SparkFun in the past year will have been using firmware 1.1.00 (the latest version).

  • MoriFi / about 13 years ago / 1


  • Chiel / about 14 years ago / 1

    i believe sparkfun forgot to mention that the source code/hex files are freely available and can be used with any Atmega168/328. so you can make one yourself.
    i myself bought a rca breakout, flashed an old Arduino chip with my new uno, added a few resistors and it worked without any problem.
    so if you have an old Atmega lying around then you should really try this out.
    its worth the (little) effort.

  • I think this needs an update... Either pictures, or the chip needs updated...
    The picture says ATMEGA8... That should be updated... And it needs updated pictures if that happens...

  • El_Nono2 / about 15 years ago / 1

    it is possible to be used for on printing text on a signal of existing video (osd)?

    • Chiel / about 15 years ago / 1

      to add text to an existing video signal you would require the MAX7456 (available here on sparkfun) which is pretty much plug and play compatible with the Arduino.

  • Marttyn / about 15 years ago / 1

    Do i need arduino to connect to this? if only RS232 Tx is needed i could use a PIC microcontroller... Maybe not, but would be grate :)

    • Chiel / about 15 years ago / 1

      anything that is able to produce the control codes and send it to the tellymate can be used to control it. its only made as a shield so that it can be stacked on the arduino. the tellymate is able to send data back to the microcontroller but that is optional.
      so it should be possible to use a PIC to controll it.

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