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Pinnacle PCTV To Go Wireless review

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A quick polish on the software side and PCTV To Go will have its main competitor on the ropes

Our Verdict

Definitely has the legs on the Slingbox in several areas.If Pinnacle continues software support, this will be the placeshifting champ


  • Very quiet
  • Excellent Media Center integration
  • Multiple users over LAN


  • More software options please

We've always been enormously fond of the Slingbox, which lets you watch a video from your own AV equipment (digibox, DVD player, Media Center PC and so on) via LAN or the internet.

Equally, quite why it hasn't been picked up by the masses as a really neat bit of kit has always escaped us. Pinnacle evidently feels it might have the answer, by solving several of the flaws with the Slingbox in one fell swoop.

For a start, there's this wireless edition, which is a godsend if you don't happen to have an Ethernet or Powerline connection next to your home entertainment setup.

The Pinnacle box also lets up to five people view the stream over a LAN simultaneously rather than just one - though because of rebroadcasting laws only one online viewer is allowed at a time.

Finally, and most impressively, the PC TV To Go software fools Media Center into thinking the networked video is a standard TV tuner, meaning you can actually record from the stream and timeshift either in MCE or Pinnacle's own software. This is an inspired addition and something that's not possible with any of its competitors.

It's certainly an intelligently designed and innovative bit of kit, but it does have flaws that need addressing. For a start, the viewing software can't be installed separately from the setup component, meaning a lengthy install on every PC you want to use to watch TV.

A low profile standalone download would be ideal if, say, you wanted to catch a programme from a friend's house or web café.

Also, while Slingbox has versions of its software for PDAs and mobile phones, PC TV To Go is strictly PC only. Quality wise, though, it's back-pats all round, with the MPEG-2 stream over LAN beating the Slingbox hands-down and the MPEG-4 net stream perfectly adequate as well.

A quick polish on the software side and PCTV To Go will have its main competitor on the ropes.