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This review is for the stand-alone (not PC Card) version. This is a nice little doo-dad that allows you to hook up your PC to your analog TV. I have a 36" Panasonic SF tube. The connection is via S Video cable.


* Unit looks and feels very small & light. Kinda chintzy.


* Right out of the box, it didn't want to power up - I thought it was DOA. I had to unplug and replug the power supply into the surge protector maybe 5 times, then it kicked on and has not shown the problem again. There is no power (on/off) button, so it is basically always on - I wonder if this will lead to premature power supply failure?


* Out of the box settings on the TView Gold performed poorly (barely legible) on text. I was ready to box it back up as I bought it to surf the net - I couldn't read any text. After 1+ hours of settings fiddling, I found a "reset" function in a sub menu (menus can be accessed with supplied remote or by using buttons on unit). After the reset, it was like I had found a magic button - text was clear - I could read with no extra effort or eye strain. This was a big hooray moment.


* The best this unit can offer (in terms of performance quality) is SVGA (800x600) processing from the source PC. It specs and is able to handle higher resolutions. But, anything higher than SVGA and you just can't make out the letters. This, plus a larger Windows font setting (I'm using 150%) is necessary for my set up. I sit ~8ft away.


* It offers both horizontal & vertical size and location controls. It has five "sharpness" settings, one of which is 'text'. I see ZERO difference when toggling between these modes.


* I got it from Buy.com. Good prices and *fast* shipping.


Am I happy? You bet. I spent $150 so that I can surf the net on my living room TV and it works just fine thank you.


Rich B.
 

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Similar technology is built into the Matrox G400/500 line of dual head video cards. The GeForce MX and the Radeon VE dual head cards also support TV output. There are some advantages to allowing the video card driver to produce the TV output. The primary one are that there is no need for an external box, no extra video noise from the AD/DA steps, and the video driver can do some neat things like follow the cursor around in a 640x480 virtual screen. DVD playback from the PC through a svideo output is also possible and produces pretty good results with the Matrox Dual head DVD-Max setting enabled.


These cards also can scan convert higher resolutions into TV resolutions, but just as you've found it can be hard to read the resulting text.


Of course, since these features are built into the card, having an external scan converter is useful if you upgrade video cards often.
 
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