Turbo TV-Bring TV into your PC

Sep 27, 2001

The Bottom Line Here is a different type of TV to consider. With Turbo TV you can watch your favorite TV station on a portion of your PC screen. It really works!

The news media regularly bombard us with predications of the merging technologies, TV, computing, digital video, Internet and radio. What can this mean to us ordinary PC users, and will we be able to handle such technical sophistication? TurboTV by iXMICRO, formerly Integrated Micro Solutions is a present day, affordable harbinger of things to come. This wondrous device adds a 125-channel TV tuner and provides a video capture capability to your PC. Now you can watch almost any TV program on a scalable section of your PC monitor without degrading PC performance. For me it means that I can monitor the Stock Market tape from CNBC while working on my spreadsheet. The video capture feature means that you can capture video movies or individual images for use in other programs, additions to E-mail or presentations. Editing capability is readily available making this a tremendously versatile tool.

TurboTV can be installed on any PC or MAC with an open PCI slot. System requirements are modest; a 486 or Pentium with a PCI bus, Windows 95 with DirectX, 16 MB RAM, and a DirectX compatible video card and drivers. The card input is a 75 Ohm /F IEC connector, composite video RCA jack and S-video connector. It can handle NTSC(640x480) and PAL(768x576) video sources. It includes VBI data capture for closed captioning, teletext and intercast data decoding. It is also PCI Plug & Play compatible.

This tool can function as a video capture device a-la Snappy, just make your video camera the input device. Live video may be captured to still image or digital movie format. Now you can video conference with any video conferencing software. Your PC will become a true multimedia tool. You can also monitor and capture surveillance camera feeds.

In the corporate arena, TurboTV can use broadcast or closed circuit video feeds. Home users can now watch TV while surfing the net, playing a game or doing any other PC task. TurboTV is a bus mastering device that delivers a video signal directly to the graphics card through the PCI bus, so the video goes into the frame buffer without involving the CPU, thereby not degrading processing functions. The scalability feature allows you to adjust the size of the TV picture to suit. Now there is a reason to get that big screen monitor.

The on-screen control for the TV looks just like the remote device for ordinary TVís. Just use the mouse instead of your fingertips.

The suggested retail price of $169 makes it a real bargain when compared to a video capture-only device such as a Snappy. The video pictures are crisp and clear and the audio is as good as your sound system. There is a five year warranty with the device. My package came bundled with the Asymetrix Digital Video Producer, digital video editor. Just imagine what you can do with your annual Christmas message if you have a video camera and use the editing features. Corporate users will find this a great addition to their Training Departments. Schools can use this to prepare short video instructionals. The only limitation seems to be your imagination.

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