Monday, June 13, 2011

Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick Review


Reviewed by K.C. Kim

PCTV HD Pro Stick Overview
Bring digital HDTV with full DVR functionality to your laptop with Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick. Enjoy all of your favorite shows in high quality HD anytime and anywhere.

Watch live high quality digital HD and SD TV without service fees from anywhere on your laptop

Break free and PlaceShift 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 MediaCenter and integrated Electronic Program Guide**

Full support for Microsoft Media Center Edition environment (MCE upgrade kit including a Microsoft compatible MCE remote, IR receiver and IR blaster 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.

Internet connection required; not available for all countries. One year of EPG support provided at no charge. Additional years may require a subscription fee.

HDTV on a laptop for free that sounded too good to be true. But this is what was promised from Pinnacle’s PCTV HD Pro Stick.


What In the Box: Along with the TV tuner stick you get a portable antenna, usb extender cable, a/v input adapter, PCTV Installation CD, Pinnacle Studio Quickstart CD, remote, and QuickStart Guide. Everything included is all you need to get started.


Installation: The process was simple to get started simple plug the PCTV HD Pro Stick into an available USB 2.0 port. Windows should recognize the device. Next choose which connection your using. You can use the rooftop antenna in your house, the included mini antenna, cable, or cable/satellite box. I chose the included antenna.


Software – You will receive two CDs with the tuner, PCTV MediaCenter version 4.5 and Pinnacle Studio QuickStart version 10. You can also download updates at the official website. There is already a patch 4.52 that fixes many issues. Going through the process of installing the program was simple. Once you get the channel scan it may take a couple minutes but after that you ready to watch shows on your laptop.


Design – The Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick is small only a tad bigger than a usb drive. It is small enough to fit in your pocket. The included antenna does offer much reception but the good thing is you can hook this up to your rooftop antenna to get a better quality experience.

Performance – The PCTV HD Pro Stick lacks an internal decoder, which is the reason they can keep the tuner so small. This means you need a fast machine to run it smoothly without any lag. I would recommend at least 3GHZ, 1GB Ram, and a 128mb-video card (not shared) to watch HD channels.


Conclusion - The PCTV HD Pro Stick is an excellent first generation HD tuner with only a couple of rough spots (Mainly software which is buggy) but those issues can be fix through updates and patches. For only $129.99 this is an inexpensive way to get over the air HD channels on your laptop.

Rating 8.0 out 10

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