Pinnacle PCTV Dual DVB-T review

Dual antennas but no inputs for video capture

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Our Verdict

For desktop Freeview recording, viewing and editing on the fly there's really little to object to here for the money


  • Good Mediacenter software
  • Excellent format support


  • No DVB EPG
  • Soft picture
  • No video inputs

This Freeview PC adapter from Pinnacle comes with two portable antennas, and there's a UHF input, but Pinnacle has fallen short of including video inputs for capturing purposes.

A shame, as the device comes with Pinnacle Studio Quickstart, a straightforward video capturing and editing utility. Pinnacle has also included twin tuners so you can record one channel while watching another or two at once. There's also a picture-in-picture option.

The main software is Pinnacle's MediaCenter, which can be viewed either as a basic Media Player or expanded to let you access all of the multimedia content on your computer. The included remote control performs effectively enough, provided it's in sight of the adapter.

Unfortunately, there's no support for seven-day DVB EPG. Instead, Pinnacle has opted for the online TitanTV listings service - useless outside the US - but it is compatible with the UK-friendly tvtv service but you'll need to subscribe to this.

You can timeshift, and recordings can be scheduled using the manual timer option. You can also set a buffer either side of a recording. In practice, timeshifting and recording took a few seconds to kick in even on our relatively high-spec test laptop.

Recordings are saved with channel name, date and time in the file name and you can specify whether you want to record to the hard disc or straight to DVD. The default recording format is broadcast MPEG-2 but you can specify alternatives and convert fi les to those formats afterwards.

There's an extensive choice of aspect ratios and video can be resized at up to 704 x 576 (PAL) resolution or you can select the full-screen option. We experienced slightly jerky results with the latter option and pictures have a tendency to look a little pale and soft across the board even at lower resolutions.

On the plus side, the dual antenna setup ensured the stick managed to find more channels than other adapters we've tried in our test area.

The lack of standard EPG support is rather frustrating, but for desktop Freeview recording, viewing and editing on the fl y there's really little to object to here for the money.