Ah, the early 90s. 4 terrestrial channels were what we made do with and if you were lucky, your parents paid for cable TV so you could get Sky One, Nickelodeon, The Box, great times. Some of us may not have even been lucky enough to get the 4 terrestrial channels though. Maybe those same people didn’t even own a TV! They owned a Sega Game Gear and had no other way of watching good ol’ Blue Peter. Bring on the TV Tuner for all the family to huddle round and watch!
The TV Tuner was a funny little device that was way ahead of it’s time. This was never going to be possible on a Nintendo Game Boy, so it was an opportunity for Sega to try and build their customer base with a bit of innovation. Who doesn’t want to watch a bit of Knightmare on their video game console while their parents settled down for a bit of Brookside?? Maybe antiques are more your thing:
The experience wouldn’t last long unfortunately. The battery life of the Game Gear is infamously very short, and as a result you’d be better off hooking the system up to an AC supply. Also, due to a difference in TV standards, the Tuner would operate slightly different in various regions and you needed to ensure you had the correct one for your Game Gear. Japan had a totally different TV Tuner altogether.
Of course, these days with the analogue format now out of commission, it’s impossible to watch TV as it was intended to be on the Sega Game Gear. Still, you could always stream your Xbox 360 to it like this chap:
A device that was extremely unique in a market that wasn’t necessarily screaming out for it at the time, it didn’t sell as well as it could when Sega released it at an incredibly high price. Retailing at £74.99 on its release in the UK, this was a tricky one to justify forking out the cash for, especially when paired with the constant need to replace the batteries due to the Game Gear’s power destroying capabilities. Which is a shame really as no-one picked up on this whole TV streaming thing again until the PS3 and 360 came along a decade later. They certainly weren’t charging close to a hundred quid for it either thankfully. Today, it’s a novelty item which collectors are happy to see in their collections, though it would be cool to see Grand Theft Auto 5 playing through its screen!
Catch me playing with my thin antenna @auto2112