The Active Network

Product: Pinnacle Studio PCTV USB
Company: Pinnacle Systems
Estimated Street Price: $99.00
Review By: Julien Jay

Advanced Options

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Compatibility
3: Advanced Options
4: Conclusion

Advanced TV Software Features

This small device offers great and innovative features: the big red button on the box is very handy! Click on it and the current displayed image will be stored on your hard disk as a BMP file:

You can click as many times on this button to capture pictures from TV ( or other video input sources ). A small image list is displayed on the PCTV vision software toolbar miniatures of your saved pictures. If you double click on it, the default image editor will be launched. Very useful. Note that a print screen won’t capture the current displayed picture due to the overlay process.

But as Pinnacle wants to provide you the best video solution the PCTV vision offers a videocorder features. So you can saved as files your favorites films on your computer and watch them later. Obviously your hard disk has to be a big one (you can set the video quality to optimise the file size).


As the PCTV USB device used the USB bus you should have a fast computer to don’t see the video slogging! But on a Pentium II based computer since 266Mhz it’s not a problem. But you’ll notice even on fast computers (Pentium III ) the video slog when you launch a big software like Corel Draw or Adobe PhotoShop… But sound & image qualities are really good. The Nogatech USB Vision chip is a great & high performance companion for this device.

Studio Software

As every studio hardware, Studio PCTV USB comes with the Pinnacle Studio software (version in the box: 1.02 ). This great software is in fact”movie maker” software. You can plug into your PCTV USB box S-Video, Composite and audio cables to connect every kind of camcorder from Hi8 to MiniDV one (you can also capture TV videos). The Studio software will capture your video, and automatically detects scenes. It’ll allow you to change sounds or to add music to your favorites videos. You can choose transitions between each video scene and you can even add great titles by using the pinnacle award winning software: TitleDeko (but we regret that this software is not translated). The time code toolbar will make your job easy to better manage the scenes. A graph shows you the hard disk used space when you capture videos. You can set the brightness, contrast… before capturing videos. Obviously this wonderful green box captures audio!! It’s really a good, easy-to-use software. It’ll transform your bothering videos in funny one that you’ll be proud to show to family or friends. 

The final video can be saved in different file formats: AVI, MPEG or even REALVideo to send your videos over the Internet with streaming technology. The preview quality when editing the film is fair but when you compile the film the video quality becomes amazing!!! The software can be automatically updated via Internet. Sometimes you’re wondering why you continue to use Premiere when the Studio software is so simple and user friendly…


The PCTV has got numerous I/O ports such as:
Input: S-Video, Composite, Audio (the problem is that this entry is a jack one and not an RCA…), TV, FM. Output: Composite, Audio jack.


If you used a lot the PCTV USB device, a brand new remote is available and supported by the 1.04 drivers. This remote will allow you to set the volume, change channels and much more ! You can order it directly from Pinnacle Systems.


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