Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick Review


Can you make me a HDTV?

Recently I was handed a Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick to use on my new Dell Desktop.  At first glance, I was amazed that you can tune HDTV signals with a USB device that was so small.  The Pinnacle HDTV Pro Stick comes with the following items in the package:

If you have a laptop, then you have an HDTV-capable display, so why can’t you watch free over-the-air HDTV on it?  Most laptops today have a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, and the minimum laptop resolution I’ve seen is equivilent to 720p.  If you take your laptop on the road, then it makes sense to keep a HDTV tuner ready, because who wants to deal with crappy hotel cable?

There’s no shortage of HDTV tuners for PCs, and new ones are USB-based so they can be used on laptops or desktops without any hardware installation.  Pinnacle has released several HDTV tuners that are USB capable, and their PCTV HD Pro Stick is one that can make your life easier.

Product Description
PCTV HD Pro Stick is the first ultra-compact USB 2.0 powered TV tuner in an attractive stick form factor that brings the brilliant sharpness of HDTV via ATSC to your PC. The new digital TV standard ATSC comes over the air and for free in high or standard definition, and there is no subscription required. In addition to ATSC, also standard analog TV (NTSC) can be received, via cable, satellite or antenna. The included Pinnacle TVCenter Pro software lets you not only watch TV but also record it. You can even pause live TV and resume exactly where you left off and you can rewind or fast forward. Good looks, great features and minimum size, will make the PCTV HD Pro Stick a must have wherever you are.

  • Watch live high quality digital HD and SD TV without service fees from anywhere on your laptop
  • Break free with the sleek USB 2.0 powered portable PCTV device
  • Sit back and relax from afar with full remote control access
  • The options are unlimited with full support for both analog (NTSC) and digital (ATSC) reception*
  • Instantly transform your PC into a personal digital video recorder (DVR)
  • Never miss a critical part of your favorite show again with pause, rewind and replay
  • TimeShifting and automated digital recording of TV shows in SD and HD with Pinnacle TVCenter Pro and integrated Electronic Program Guide**
  • Full support for Windows Media Center (Remote Kit for Windows Media Center is available separately)
  • Eliminate the guess work by automatically recording shows direct-to-DVD and/or in the destination file format of choice (i.e. iPod, PSP, DivX, etc.)
  • Capture from most consumer devices with analog outputs (e.g. VCRs, camcorders, DVD players, etc.) and then edit and enhance with the included Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software

* ATSC, the new digital broadcast standard, is now available in many areas of the United States. ATSC reception is dependent on many factors. The provided antenna will allow reception in areas where there is a good ATSC signal. In regions or rooms where the signal is not strong, an amplified rooftop antenna will be required. It is generally not possible to receive an ATSC signal while en route (e.g. in a car or train). Please consult with your local reseller or go to for more information on areas covered and optimizing your reception.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Windows® XP with SP2 or Windows Vista (32 bit)
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, Pentium M 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 processor (for HDTV reception, a Pentium D or Pentium Dual Core or equivalent AMD Athlon 64 processor is recommended)
  • RAM: Windows XP – 256MB RAM (512MB recommended)
    Windows Vista – 512 MB (1GB recommended)
  • DirectX® 9 or higher compatible graphics card
  • DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card
  • 1 GB of disk space to install software (20 GB recommended for TV recording)
  • USB 2.0 port
  • DVD-ROM drive to install software

Inputs & Outputs:

  • TV antenna input (F-connector)
  • S-Video (via included adapter)
  • Composite Video (RCA, via included adapter)
  • Stereo audio (1/8” headphone plug, via included adapter)

TV Standards

  • ATSC (HDTV up to 1080i, SDTV)
  • NTSC (cable, over the air)

Package Contents

  • USB 2.0 TV tuner for ATSC/NTSC reception
  • Mini remote control including batteries
  • Portable telescopic high-gain antenna
  • A/V adapter cable
  • USB extender cable
  • Printed QuickStart guide
  • CD-ROM with Pinnacle TVCenter Pro software
  • CD-ROM with Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software