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Turn your laptop into an HDTV

AutumnWave's HD tuner plugs right into your USB port

If you can't decide what kind of HDTV set to buy--or whether you even want one--here's a way to experiment without shelling out thousands of bucks to find out.

OnAir GT

Start-up AutumnWave makes a tuner that can plug into a laptop's USB port and pick up high-definition broadcast signals, effectively turning a computer into an HDTV. All you need besides the device, which is about twice the size of an iPod, are the right kind of monitor and AutumnWave's software to make it work.

A reporter tried it out and said he would buy it even though reception was spotty or choppy in some places. One reason might be the price: At $179, the OnAir GT is a relatively inexpensive backup TV to have around, especially for the occasional airport delay or camping trip, he pointed out.

Given the extended delays resulting from today's state of airport security, it might be a worthy investment just to help maintain one's sanity. To see a video of the OnAir GT in action, click here.

(Photos: Greg Sandoval/CNET