The Active Network

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


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

Pinnacle is a German manufacturer known for its great professional-capture video cards such as the Miro Video DC30 series. The corporate has just released a new general public device formerly named: ‘Studio PCTV USB’. This strange green box will allow you to watch TV on your computer and even to listen radio in some countries. It also offers basic video capture features. It is big red button is a ‘capture’ button: one click on it and the current displayed image is saved on your hard disk. As it’s USB it’s really easy to install.

Also a big requirement is needed to make this device working properly: an active USB port. On desktop computers there’s no problems but on laptop ones you may need to buy an USB Hub to make the Pinnacle device properly feed in electricity as it needs 500mA.

Finally you have to know that this wonderful device is greedy in bandwidth as it takes up to 75% of a USB 1.1 desktop computer. So if you have a lot of USB devices when you’ll use the pinnacle one it’s great to unplug the others devices. But when you don’t use the PCTV, the device is automatically turned off, so it doesn’t use your USB bandwidth. (When it’s on, a green light will appear on the device.)

If you comply with all the exposed requirements, setup will be easy: plug the Pinnacle box on an active USB port, start Windows 98/98SE/2000 and insert the Pinnacle 1.04 drivers CD. Then say to windows to use the drivers stored on the CD and click OK. The drivers will be automatically installed and you don’t even need to reboot! Now the setup will invite you to take a few minutes to correctly connect all the cables to the PCTV USB box such as the antenna and the little audio cable that you’ll have to plug in your ‘Line-in’ sound card entry. Now run the Studio setup under Windows 98/98SE, choose your language, type your serial number (strange! a serial number to unlock hardware related software…) and select the components you want to install: Studio PCTV Vision (the TV software) and the Studio PCTV USB software and its components (TitleDeko…). Now you’re ready to watch TV! Reboot your computer (it’s recommended). Once the computer has rebooted, the Studio PCTV wizard will start and test the software (in fact the PCTV drivers), DirectX, DirectDraw, the overlay feature and the PCTV resources. Once everything is checked and you’re ready to watch TV!

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