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Pinnacle PCTV NanoStick Ultimate review

Small but comprehensive TV package

The Pinnacle broadens its appeal by being supplied with drivers and software for both PC and Mac

Our Verdict

Costs more than many of its rivals, but this TV tuner has the edge with its fantastic software


  • Great software package
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Nice remote
  • Simple installation


  • Pricey

Pinnacle has updated its NanoStick USB TV tuner by adding HDTV features and has wisely chosen to call the revised product NanoStick Ultimate, instead of using its more prosaic PCTV 73e model code.

The Pinnacle certainly lives up to its Nano name, as the tuner measures a tiny 55mm in overall length and only projects 42mm from the USB port.

Small is good, but Pinnacle has also made the NanoStick compact by using a sliding cover on the plug, instead of the usual removable cover.

Tiny remote

This theme of the petite has been extended to the remote control which is rectangular in shape, but it is very small and measures 87 x 30 x 20mm. We're not convinced small remote controls are a good thing, but the Pinnacle remote certainly looks cute.

The Pinnacle broadens its appeal by being supplied with drivers and software for both PC and Mac.

During installation of the software on a Windows laptop you can choose to install the main TV Centre Pro 4 application or you can install drivers for the NanoStick without the software if you plan to use Windows MCE. This is a courteous move by Pinnacle and we would usually suggest that you take this option without delay.

Editing software

However, TV Centre Pro 4 is surprisingly good. It's hard to argue that it has an advantage over Windows MCE, but it looks good, works well and tells you what is on each channel and what is coming next.

Our usual experience is the software supplied with a TV tuner is basic, but Pinnacle has broken the mould and come up with something that does a proper job.

Pinnacle also includes DistanTV, enabling you to share TV across your home network for up to three computers, and VideoSpin, which is a video editing package.

The NanoStick Ultimate costs £50, but we found it on sale at £44, which is relatively expensive for a single DVB-T tuner, but this package is worth the money.