Pinnacle Systems - PCTV HD Pro Stick USB 2.0 TV Tuner
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- Type of Video CardTV tuner
- Maximum 2D Resolution (at 32-bit color)720 x 480
- Maximum 3D Resolution (at 32-bit color)720 x 480
- Supports MPEG-1, 2Yes
- Stereo SoundYes
- Tuning CapabilitiesATSC (HDTV up to 1080i, SDTV), NTSC
- Video FormatDV, AVI, DivX, HDTV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4
- Software IncludedPinnacle MediaCenter, Studio QuickStart
- System RequirementsIntel® Pentium® 4 processor 2.4GHz, Pentium® M 1.3GHz or AMD Athlon™ 64 processor; 256MB RAM; 1GB free hard drive space; available USB port; CD/DVD drive; sound/graphics controller with support for DirectX 9
Rating 3.4 out of 5 stars with 39 reviews(39 Reviews)
Rated 2 out of 5 stars
Returned it the next dayPosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
After much reading about the best way to replace my VCR and record programs, I determined that this tuner was the better option as SATA drives don't seem to be widely supported by Time Warner Cable cable boxes, and all of the DVD recorders on the right now sound pretty lousy. Well after brining this product home I was immediately frustrated as the installation locked up. I finally rebooted after a half hour of waiting for something to happen. Afterwards I tried updating the Pinnacle driver for this device which was taking forever and not working either. After a while of messing around I finally got the driver updated. After restarting again I tried installing the PCTV MCE Vista setup for Windows Media Center which didn't work all that well either as it kept telling me I had an application open that had to be closed before finishing and Task Manager would not let me kill the task. I finally got the thing installed and restarted again and ran Windows Media Center first using the analog coaxial connection. I got it to work but I guess obviously since I was using a coaxial connection the quality was not acceptable. I then tried the antenna (which has an exceptionally short cable) and was immediately frustrated with that so I resorted to the final option of hooking it up through my cable box's 1 S-Video out (so I could no longer get that quality on my TV). Well to fuel the frustration even more, I couldn't use this connection with Windows Media Center as the remote provided with this package will not work with Windows Media Center so the program haults and tells you that it cannot detect an IR device. So I would have to go out and buy multiple parts including a new remote to get this to work. I was not about to do that so I installed the TV viewing software that came with this package which was nowhere near as nice as Windows Media Center had been. The quality on my computer was better than when I had used the coaxial cable as now I was getting a digital signal, but the quality was worse than a VHS recording. Granted this was the output on a computer screen so I ran another S-Video cable back to my TV to compare the quality and it just seemed that both on my computer and TV that not only was the quality not good but there weren't as many frames per second being displayed. I was watching a tennis match at the time and the ball was jumping through the air instead of smoothly sailing through the air. After 4 hours of frustration I finally decided that this product is worse than a VCR for recording and saving shows. If all you are looking for is to watch TV on your computer then I guess this product could work for you but as I was looking for something to record and save shows this was a big disappointment and I'm going to have to wait for better DVD recorders to hit the market.
Rated 2 out of 5 stars
Hardware OK, but software is poorPosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
I originally bought this product for my older Windows XP machine. I found out that it would not work, despite having the minimum software requirements. In addition, all the software that is supplied is outdated and needs to be updated to function properly, even on a Windows XP machine. So, I moved the product over to a newer machine that is running Windows Vista Ultimate. Vista Ultimate, like Home premium, has Windows media center capabilities. So, the buggy software is not needed to run the TV tuner - just plug it in to a USB slot and configure Windows media center. But, the remote control will not work, as it is not a media center remote control. And, the software for Vista is not fully "cooked" yet. I would recommend that you purchase just the tuner for a Vista machine (less money and hassle) and then buy a separate Windows media center remote control for your computer.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Surprisingly good antennaPosted .I would recommend this to a friend
I live about 20 miles north of Seattle and despite all the hills, I get fairly good reception with the antenna. Although it gets choppy sometimes, it's not surprising due to all the hills and buildings between my home and the TV towers. If you live closer to a downtown area or in an area with little or no obstructions, then you'll likely get perfect reception. Be sure you have plenty of RAM; I suggest at least 2gbs. Also, the recording software will let you know if you don't have enough room on your hard drive. Some people compain that it takes a couple seconds when you change channels for the channel to appear, but that's how digital receivers work. Well, at least that's been my experience with OTA receivers, from this one to a set-top box I have to the OTA receivers in HDTVs.
Rated 3 out of 5 stars
Good Product, Bad SoftwarePosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
The software is so non-intuitive. The remote is small and does not fast forward or rewind the saved program. The product itself works as it is supposed to. Now, using it with the Windows Media Center is heaven. I never used WMC before, but I figured that I might as well give it a try, since I was getting frustrated with the Pinnacle software. WMC is very user friendly. I went out and bought the WMC remote and it now I am even more satisfied. Bottom line if you have the Media Player, get the Pinnacle stick itself and skip this one with the remote.
Rated 2 out of 5 stars
Great Tuner - Forget Recording VideoPosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Purchased this item mostly to record TV shows digitally and HDTV was a plus. Also was interested in copying camcorder video to PC, for Editing. The tuner installed fine on an XP test system and worked on Vista, after some patches. The included antenna seems to do the trick when scanning for analog and HDTV channels. I recieved 8 HDTV channels, most at least 20 miles away. The TVCenter Pro Software looks and works cheaply like it was just thrown together. It is functional,but that is about it. Everything works slow, even on a fast PC. The function to download channel programming works pretty good. The remote control works sometimes. HDTV Picture quality is EXCELLENT! The tuner function is the only saving grace for this product. On to the bad. Although the start/stop recording scheduler works good, recording is nearly useless, expecially on large aspect channels. CPU utilization will go to 100% and video will be choppy and the audio out of synch. I have an AMD 64x2 PC with 2Gb RAM, so resources shouldn't be a problem. I get similar results recording DIVX, MPEG4 or "native" file formats. Pinnacle tech support was no help with "you need to update your system drivers" was their best response. ????. Probably talked to them 6 times on this issue with no improvement. I tried the video recording input from my camcorder, but the color signal was not coming through, maybe something I was doing wrong, but I was not impressed. Certainly both joy and disappointment with this product. HDTV ROCKS!! on the PC and this tuner will bring it on! Forget buying this product for any of the other features. Buy it on sale.
Rated 2 out of 5 stars
I expected more.Posted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
I had read alot of reviews on difficulty with installation with this tuner. That was not my problem. I run Vista w/2Gb ram and had no problems with installation or patches. My issue was with the actual picture quality and the way the product works. I have cable and hooked it up directly with coaxial and it would only pull in 13 of the over 80 channels available on analog cable. I have digital cable but due to where the cable box is located(the living room) and where the computer is located(the bedroom) I didn't want a cable hanging around on the floor just for that. Also...the picture quality is not that great with the analog cable. It may be better with digital cable or with a DSS satellite system, but that is not what I have.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
AWESOME!!!Posted .I would recommend this to a friend
Well people! I seen alot of tv's in stores and what looked good but didn't have the money to afford them. My laptop that I got last years as a gift which was a toshiba satellite a105-s4348. Which is still vista Premium ready. But waiting for the second service pack to come out hoping it will be more better than the last one. The only problem you will get is you will lose control with the remote in media center only in xp endition. Right now I have media center of xp and i like it so far. The only reason that people are complaining is their computer isn't tough enough to handle the product itself. Right now my computer has one 1GIG of ram and 128 mb's of video memory. which is shared with my system's main memory which is from intergrated video (onboard) Which is from intel and is called the 950 gma. I know it doesn't seem much but it does pack a bigger punch once you try it out with older games running at max settings. and so far I have the core 2 duo running at 1.6 ghrz each. which is the core 2 duo t5500. its the one of the high end ones but it will do alot more than you think it will. and people I have a warning. Make sure you guys go and buy a external or portable harddrive for extra storage cause when you record high def tv. well warning!!! it takes alot of storage. right now I have a 160 gig harddrive builtin my laptop. formated less to 148gig. and i got a 320gig external harddrive which was formated down to 298 gig. don't expect it to be full size. believe me everything you buy like usb flashdrives, secure digital, microsecure digital, even internal, external hard drives, and anything with its built in harddrive or buying a external source will be formated less. then its actual size.
Rated 3 out of 5 stars
Trouble-somePosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
I could not get Vista Media Center to recognize my cable signal. After loading their software that I did not want to load, it did work, but the picture was poor. When trying to run their media center, the program would not even open. After removing the software, I could not get the signal back. I tried to load the drivers only and download the patches, but I still could not get a signal on Windows Media Center.