Do you need a Linux machine to use Jetson board?

On the start up guide it states that you need a host machine that is running Linux. Would it work to just hook the board up to a monitor?

Jetson is a full computer all by itself. It runs linux inside, but does not depend on an outside computer to run. The requirement of a linux host is to be able to flash Jetson with new versions. The version of L4T which arrives on Jetson is R19.2, which is rarely what you’ll want to actually use…the later versions are much improved. No linux host and you are stuck in the past.

Some people have used a VM under windows and installed linux on the VM and used this to flash Jetson, but it is a much pickier environment to work properly this way; the underlying file system of the VM has to be native linux, so you’d need your VM to have a non-windows partition.