The first thing one notices when opening the box with the Aver TV Box is
that it looks cool. It's a rather sleek package that fits in well with
today's computer designs. There is a vertical stand made of clear red plastic,
much cooler than the PS2 stand. Already, AverMedia sets itself apart. Somebody
in the design department deserves a raise.
Connecting the device to your PC is another matter. The
device does not come with all of the cables necessary to connect to a
lot of computers (most notably laptops). This isn't a big problem, but
does affect the initial enjoyment of the product. You'll also want to
make sure you have a couple of AAA batteries as well. There are batteries
in the box, but they will wear out quickly.
Most of the functions are handled with the remote, which
is about the size of a standard television remote, but with a lot more
functionality. If you lose the remote (that's what the batteries are
for) you have effectively lost the whole box. If your desk looks anything
like mine, you should attach an alarm system on the remote to prevent
loss. Without it, the Aver TV Box just won't do much.
What it will do is pretty darn cool. Essentially, this will
turn your computer into a television, complete with hookups for devices
that you would plug into your TV, such as VCRs or game consoles. The
box even has S-Video inputs, so the picture quality of videogames is
increased. This is where the selling points of the Aver TV Box come in.
The picture quality of videogames is increased (depending on your monitor)
and the device acts as a television tuner (even providing inputs for
cable). If this isn't cool, then you obviously haven't been paying attention.
This provides a quick fix for those who want to really look at the details
of the cars in Project Gotham Racing or marvel at how much Rogue Leader
looks like cutting room floor material.
There are also connections for external speakers, which,
if you have a decent setup, could provide you with one kick ass home
theater. Sure, the picture may not be as big as some, but if you have
a decent monitor, then everything is gravy afterwards.
There is a bit of noise coming from the box, which may not
be so good for those trying to be quiet and considerate to their roommates
(even with headphones). It's a low hum that will take a bit of getting
used to, but it becomes background noise after a while.
To go into all of the functionality of the features that
the television portion of this product has would be pointless. This is
due to the fact that this packs in so much that it can't really be covered.
You can change the color of the border for the picture in picture (yes,
there is PIP here), this is the level of detail we are talking about
with the features. There are almost too many of them. Brightness, contrast,
adding/deleting channels, sleep, the list goes on. This small box packs
in features that aren't included in many televisions.
The Aver TV Box is fairly easy to use, once you get the
hang of the menus, and don't lose the remote. Television picture quality
will depend on reception in your area, but you should see a definite
improvement in the picture quality of your videogames. There is no software
required for the Aver TV Box to work. If space, or resources is at a
premium, this could very well be a solution. The $159.99 price may stop
many people from purchasing the utility, but those who do take the plunge
will be nothing but satisfied.
Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Could watch Buffy, and work at the same time. How cool is that?