ViewSonic has unveiled at PC Expo/TechXNY here this week two external devices that are designed to turn virtually any computer CRT or LCD monitor into a television set with just a few simple connections.
Both the NextVison 6 and NextVision 5 high definition video processors have RGB computer pass-through, which enables users to watch TV (including HDTV and DVD movies) with or without a PC, according to ViewSonic representatives. Both packages include a built-in 181-channel TV tuner and can be hooked up to a standard TV antenna or cable television line, DVD player, VCR, video camcorder, or high-resolution game console. Both also have S-video and composite video inputs.
The NextVision 6, which is capable of transforming displays that support up to 1280-by-1024 resolution, will have an estimated street price of US$199. The NextVision 5 works with monitors that have resolutions up to 1024 by 768. That model carries an estimated street price of $149.
The boxes, which were announced in May, are being demonstrated this week at PC Expo/TechXNY. Both are expected to ship in July. PC World expects to test the devices within the next few weeks.
Unlike typical PC TV tuner cards, which are internal and require installation into an AGP or PCI slot, the two ViewSonic boxes do not require use of a computer or any additional software drivers. The practical result is that one could connect a box to a relatively inexpensive LCD monitor placed in a bedroom or other area for viewing television without a PC nearby.
Both products will ship with a remote control and include stereo audio pass through, an on-screen control menu, and a sleep function mode.
The higher-end model, the NextVision 6, also supports both full-screen viewing and picture-in-picture capabilities. This enables users to watch video or TV content while working simultaneously on PC applications. Users can create up to nine picture windows on the screen for viewing multiple TV channels at the same time.