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Test Tubes Wanna see what TV on your PC looks like? Now you can--for cheap.

By Mike Hogan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Seems like everything is about TV this year. The technologies being discussed--about a half-dozen that we'll explore as they get real in the coming months--present a holistic vision of PCs and TVs swapping high-definition programming and vids wherever you happen to be.

Well and good; it's going to be swell. But there's many a standards conflict and hardware upgrade to cross before we get anywhere near PC-TV convergence. Plan on changing a lot of your existing PC and home entertainment equipment--if you can figure out which technology to ride. Is PC-TV worth watching? Will it be worth it to you? There's a cheap and easy way to find out.

You can get a taste of that big TV-anywhere vision in the sky by plugging one of the new USB stick receivers into your PC. These $100-ish devices--let's call them USB-TV tuners--are all fairly similar and sold by vendors like Diamond Multimedia, Hauppauge Digital and Pinnacle Systems (see "Tune In, Turn On, below"). About the size of a pack of gum, the devices connect to one of the USB 2.0 ports of a (relatively fast) desktop or laptop with the cable provided. Screw in a telescoping TV antenna, install the bundled audio/video software and you can start pulling analog and digital broadcasts out of the air at home, in an airport--anywhere TV signals reach.