With more subscription TV services popping up on the Internet, it may be fine for a group of college kids to huddle around a laptop, but it isn’t very comfortable for a group of adults to share a 13-inch computer screen.
On Dec. 1, Sewell Direct (http://www.sewelldirect.com) will announce an HD Deck, which transforms a USB port into a full 1080p HDTV port, giving you VGA, DVI and HDMI video connection options. With both Mac and PC versions available, the product is perfect for streaming video, showing family photos off, or even business purposes.

The HDdeck is like an external video card you connect to virtually any computer with an available USB port, adding an additional screen (in most cases an HDTV but many monitors these days also have HDMI inputs). This will allow you to expand your computer’s desktop space to another monitor where you can watch videos, surf the web, play games, and more. It will not only handle video but also your computer’s audio as well through the HDMI connection.

Once you have an additional HDTV or monitor connected to your computer system, you will be able to use them in “extended desktop mode” (found on your computer’s display settings), which means you can use all screens like one contiguous screen. “Mirror mode” is also supported, which shows the same image on both screens at all times.

The unit handles the audio and video solely through the USB port. What’s more, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to set up a video wall (with either extended desktop or mirroring) for 1080p high definition TVs, look no further. Using six HDdeck USB to HDMI units and included software allows six simultaneous screens and allows you to arrange them in any way you want.

The HDDeck will be compatible with Macs running OS X 10.4 or higher on an Intel-based Mac. Alas, i5 and 87 processors are currently incompatible, though updated drivers for them are in the works. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

— Dennis Sellers