Gameboy Advance TV Tuner
Fresh out of Asia is one of the first devices that lets you watch
TV on the GBA.
The Game Boy Advance and its LCD screen is an open invitation for
ambitious companies to create devices that allow players to watch
television on the system. Having the ability to watch television
on a handheld game system is definitely not a new thing; both Sega's
Game Gear portable and NEC's TurboExpress units offered tuner adapters
for about a hundred dollars each. Since these peripherals weren't
exactly hot sellers, though, both Sega and NEC only produced a limited
number of them...in fact, when Sega modified the Game Gear hardware
for future systems (a common practice to reduce manufacturing costs),
the TV tuner was incompatible.
Which makes it obvious to see why Nintendo hasn't exactly leapt
at the opportunity to create an adapter for its Game Boy Advance
system. But at least it opens the gates for third-party manufacturers
to pounce on the niche market.
The simplistically-named GBA TV Tuner (AKA Pelican GBA TV Tuner)
has been available from your favorite
import house for months now. It's an Asian-built unit that's
available in two versions: NTSC and PAL. Both versions will accept
any composite signal from a VCR, camcorder, or video game system,
but the specific versions will only be able to pick up aerial signals
in their territory. In other words, you won't pick up local US channels
through the antenna with a PAL version.
US peripheral distributor EasyBuy2000 has picked up this unit for North American distribution.
One of the biggest issues with the TV Tuner is, well,
its size.Tuner is as big as the GameBoy Advance itself, doubling
the size when it's plugged into the GBA system. It requires its
own set of four AA batteries in order to work, and it requires a
GBA game to be plugged into the slot in order to work (it steals
the boot sequence from the "official" GBA games so it
can load its software into memory). You can opt for a 4.5v AC adapter
to supply the power (it is included in the package)
If you don't have a decent signal in your area, all
you're going to get is snow...until you use the D-pad to change
stations, maneuvering the antenna in the proper direction to strenthen
the image. You can also switch over to the Monitor In setting, where
you'll be able to plug in any video device that utilizes RCA plugs.
We, of course, had to test the unit with the GameCube and Super
GBA TV Tuner in action
The display doesn't skip any frames...the animation and refresh
is just as smooth as if you were playing it on your television.
For the contrast and brightness you have the ability to change the
settings by holding down the start button and fiddling with the
up/down and A/B combinations in order to get the most optimal picture.
Of course, I had to check out what movies looked like, so I popped
in a couple DVDs into a player. Again, the refresh rate is fantastic...the
picture near perfect but as you know you for GBA you need the best
I did try playing my Afterburner-enhanced
Game Boy Advance with the TV Tuner, and the picture was definitely
nice, the Afterburner's tendency to turn the picture a bit light
blue did make the image more washed out than when the GBA was under
The device is just cool - it's nice to be able to say that you
can watch television on your Game Boy Advance. Also ability to save
99 channels in the tuners memory is great. Only thing parents should
be worried about is that kits will be able to plug in the cable
and watch the late night movies when the should be sleeping...
iLater on I will make some more pictures to show you how crisp the
picture looks on the GBA LCD screen in good lighting. Well if you
watch CNN than reading the small news hotlines at the bottom of
the screen is no problem. Same with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"
or "Jeopardy" question text. I was actually surprised
the reception was so good! And the price is great
Online stores selling GBA Accessories: