Space is always of a concern - hey if you can have everything fitting in one box then why would you want two, right? That seems to be the idea from AverMedia and its TVBox9 a device that is a basically a TV in a small box that you connect to you LCD or CRT monitor.
The beauty of the unit is that you don’t actually need the PC, you simply plug in the monitor and away you go. Of course the likelihood is that you’re going to have a PC involved somewhere and so knowing this, AverMedia have made sure that this can be used with a PC in the loop. And that’s really all you have to do to include the PC, connect it back into the loop.
The size of two DVD boxes on top of each other, the unit is fairly small and inconspicuous. At the back there are ports for VGA In and VGA Out as well as audio in to connect to a PC, a speaker out to connect to external speakers and of course the antenna in jack. The Antenna In supports standard coaxial cabling rather than satellite or cable.
The front offers Phono In, A/V In and S-Video In giving plenty of options for connecting a PlayStation or Xbox. However once connected, the box does become a mess of cables and it would have been nice see the design of the unit account for this. Either all the input sockets could have moved to the rear or Avermedia might have somehow provided casing to accommodate them. While the sides provide the inputs and outputs it also offers some limited control like switching sources.
Once everything is connected you are presented with a number of features - mainly the ability to turn your computers monitor into a television.
If you are planning for this device to act an aside to the computer display, the unit supports monitors up to a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels (the common desktop standard) and users can display both the source from the TVBox9 and their computer at the same time using the picture and picture mode.
For the serious television watch there is also a multiple channel preview viewer allowing to stream all the television channels tuned in onto one screen, here you can either choose to watch them all like some television studios video wall or simply select the one you are after.
For an out of the box solution this works very well. Of course it relies on you having a TV aerial socket next to you PC, but aside from that everything worked perfected. What's even better about this unit is that it's self-contained. Those scared about taking apart there machine, installing software and other such nasty's need not worry as there is no installing or dismantling of your PC to worry about. One for the space strapped who can't live without a television and computer.