Pinnacle, a company best known for its PCTV line of tuners that allow you to bring television to your PC, has announced a new set of TV tuner devices that may make it easier for you to watch your favorite shows on your computer.
The first — a PCTV HD Ultimate Stick — is a portable TV tuner that connects to any PC via USB 2.0. Once connected, the installation-free device will allow you to watch any SD or free HD content on your computer and even allows you to record the show you’re watching.
Unlike other products of its kind, the HD Ultimate Stick runs the PVR software (Pinnacle TVCenter Pro) straight from the device, alleviating any need to install software before you start using the product. Interestingly enough, the Stick is flash-based, which means you can record shows directly to the product, but considering its price ($129.99 direct), the undisclosed capacity will probably be quite small and recording long shows may be difficult. Pinnacle is claiming the stick can record up to two hours of programming.
Next, the company unveiled a new internal PCTV HD PCI card. The HD card comes bundled with the aforementiond PVR software and for some odd reason, the company is touting its ability to play FM radio. Regardless, the PVR software will record videos in MPEG-2, DivX formats or allow you to record directly to a DVD. Besides a remote to help you get your way around stations, the PCTV HD card will come with Pinnacle Studio QuickStart for trimming captured videos. The HD card will retail for $79.99 direct.
It seems Pinnacle may be getting into the TV tuner game at the right time. With an increasing amount of HD content being produced on television and an expected TV tuner boom to hit the industry, the company — much like others — could recognize a significant increase in revenue.
In fact, one study from research analysts at In-Stat/MDR suggests that TV tuners designed for a PC could see an jump in sales through 2011. The firm reported that while only 15.8 million tuners were sold in 2006, it expects an astounding 50.8 million to enter homes by 2011.
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology journalist who covers everything from Google to HDTVs. He currently writes for over 15 popular technology publications, including CNET’s Digital Home, InformationWeek and PC World.