In The Box
After cracking open the box we are left with the TV device, a working base, a remote control with batteries, a VGA cable, speaker cable, coaxial adapter, power supply and user manual. Overall, we don't see much out of the ordinary, but we do have everything at hand to tackle the task of watching some television on the monitor.
Starting with the unit attached to the base, we see a simple design that won't look out of place in any setting. The white color should match well with any color scheme or you can just tuck it out of the way. Let's separate this thing and take a closer look at the functionality.
This is the heart of the newest VideoMate device. It contains the brains, chipsets and conversion electronics to make everything show up on the monitor. With the ability to handle both NTSC and PAL outputs, this device will work anywhere in the world, even when you are traveling. This already makes the V600 a step above most other contenders on the market since they generally only work well with one type of signal.
Compro has also greatly enhanced the resolution that the display will work at. Usually you can consider yourself fortunate if you can get a device to display at 1024 resolution, but this latest little gem can handle display outputs of up to 1680x1050! Of course this is a widescreen format, so those without this luxury item can still get a display output of 1600x1200. Very impressive indeed!
Like most similar products being sold, the V600 also puts out a stereo sound output and allows you to attach your other video devices to the tuner box so that you can play home movies (or whatever) from a VCR, home entertainment DVD player, or even a digital video camera.
The front side of the main unit is pretty sparse, but there really doesn't need to be a lot located here since the remote will handle most tasks for you (we'll get to that in a bit). The long bar of plastic you see lights to a gentle blue color when the device is powered up to let you know at a glance that it is active and ready for use. Otherwise it only glows a very subtle amber color to let you know that the unit is not on, but that power is being fed to it.
Flipping the main unit over shows us the business end of the device. This is where you hook up your computer to get everything running properly. Like many similar tuner boxes we have tested in the past, this external unit works as a pass-through between the PC and the speakers and monitor. This means that you plug the monitor and speakers into the tuner box, then use the included VGA and speaker cables to attach the unit to your system. Then simply connect a coaxial cable that comes from your cable/satellite service and attach the power cord to finish the setup. It really is that simple.
The circle you see in the side panel of the unit acts as a menu guide if you don't happen to have the remote handy. This allows you to make adjustments to resolution, refresh rates, color balances, basically anything that resides in the menu of the tuner box.
Moving down to the base adds the ability to connect nearly any type of input device that would let you display some sort of video content onto a television screen. The cup you see above is where the main unit connects to the base. It is basically just a VGA port, but allows all input data to be transferred to the main unit, then to your monitor.
One side of the base allows access to standard A/V input ports and allows two channel (stereo) sound and video by means of an RCA jack or by using an S-Video cable. Very simple and most of us have probably connected this type of device numerous times, so no explanation is necessary.
For those with newer video devices that take advantage of high definition, you are not left out in the dark. The other side of the base allows access to the 3-color inputs used by this newer type of video player. It is good to see that the folks at Compro are looking at current technologies and making their product compatible with them.
Finally, we have the remote control. While this may seem nothing but a luxury, the remote gives you the ability to take full advantage of the features of the V600. The number pad toward the bottom acts like any standard television remote and lets you punch in the desired channel. Moving up gives you a couple of buttons that allow you to adjust the channel up and down or volume up and down. So far there doesn't seem to be too much out of the ordinary.
As we go a bit higher on the remote things start to change up a bit. The big blue button acts as a mouse in the menu screens. The buttons above that allow you to set the tuner box to go into a sleep mode (set amount of time then it turns off automatically), move into a PIP mode, channel surf, go into the menu, adjust screen resolution and even set up some channels as your personal favorites.
Toward the top you can switch between TV and PC, change display modes and change the source of your desired video input. As you can see, there are a huge number of features present in the Compro V600.