Game Gear TV Tuner
From Sega Retro
The TV Tuner, known as the TV Auto Tuner (ＴＶオートチューナーパック) in Japan, is a Sega Game Gear accessory which allows users to watch analogue television on the system's built-in screen.
Sega were keen to advertise the TV Tuner shortly after the system's launch for two distinct reasons, firstly because handheld televisions were still a relatively new invention and a dedicated system was still quite pricy in the early 90s, and secondly because in order to cope with a colour television signal, you would require a colour screen - something Nintendo's Game Boy lacked, and which Sega were happy to point out at every given opportunity.
The TV Tuner plugs into the Game Gear's cartridge slot, and has a mono A/V input. This means that if required, a VCR, camcorder or another video game console can be connected and played off the system - it essentially turns the Game Gear into standard 1990s-spec television. Some models have an extra port for an extra antenna (the Game Gear Car Antenna was the only official product to use it) - this port was removed in some variants because it served no purpose in many regions.
TV Tuners also differ depending on the television standard. For example, the US model uses NTSC, whereas the European model uses PAL. On top of this there are several different types of PAL - the United Kingdom for example uses PAL-I and so had a different TV Tuner to France and Germany.
Unfortunately due to the short battery life of the Game Gear, the TV Tuner is a largely redundant accessory unless the system is connected to an AC adapter. The battery life will be drained much faster with the TV Tuner than playing Game Gear games. Also as the world switches from analogue television to digital, the system becomes ever more useless, and the TV Tuner is reportedly incompatible with the late 90s Game Gear produced by Majesco.
Following the release of this device, NEC responded by releasing the TurboVision, a similar add-on for their rival handheld, the TurboExpress. Unofficial TV tuners would also show up for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS in the years which followed.