Pinnacle PCTV nanoStick
Digital TV tuner in-a-stick
- Ultra-compact design, TimeShift functionality, record video directly to DVD, inbuilt editing software, good picture quality (in optimum conditions)
- Erratic navigation software, ineffective rod antenna
The Pinnacle PCTV nanoStick is not without its quirks, but it remains a fairly decent tuner for the asking price. In optimum conditions it will not disappoint, with the included features boosting its value considerably.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
The Pinnacle PCTV nanoStick is an external USB DVB-T tuner that allows you to watch digital television on the fly. Designed primarily for notebook users, it combines ultra-sensitive reception technology (it says here) with a sleek and miniature design; ensuring you’ll never miss out on your favourite TV shows again. At least, that’s the idea in theory...
Unfortunately, the included navigation software is not without its quirks, and the rod antenna suffers from inconsistent reception quality. This diminishes the nanoStick’s appeal as a portable TV tuner, though it still offers a reasonable performance for the asking price, with plenty of inbuilt modes and features. In addition to being HDTV-ready, the device sports TimeShift functionality (for pausing and rewinding live TV), basic editing software (for trimming your recordings) and even allows you to record programs directly to DVD.
In terms of design, the nanoStick resembles a typical USB thumb drive, which makes it one of the smallest TV tuners on the market. Its diminutive dimensions are perfect for ultraportable notebooks, with no unseemly protruding bits. Build quality is excellent, with an intelligent sliding mechanism that protects the USB connector when it’s not in use. (We can't tell you how many times we've lost tiny thumb drive lids, so the cap-free design is definitely appreciated.)
In addition to the nanoStick, the sales package includes a magnetic rod antenna, a miniature remote control, an antenna adaptor and all the required cables and software. Installing the device on your PC or notebook couldn’t be easier: simply connect the nanoStick to your rod or house antenna and then slot it into your computer’s USB port. Naturally, you will also need to install the TVCentre Pro software, which allows you to scan, store and record digital TV channels.
It’s at this point that the kinks in the nanoStick’s armour begin to show. While fairly straightforward and easy to navigate, the TVCentre Pro application was curiously unstable. Throughout testing, it seemed to crash or freeze up at random intervals; especially during start-up. It also refused to pick up some TV channels, despite multiple scannings. Fortunately, the nanoStick is also compatible with Windows Media Centre, which is bound to give you a smoother ride.
Like the nanoStick itself, the included remote control is of superior build quality; especially for the $99.95 asking price. While some users may be hampered by its tiny buttons, we personally found it a breeze to use. The miniature dimensions also make it well suited to travel. Indeed, the entire sales package will easily fit inside a small purse or bum-bag. Pinaccle has really pulled out all the stops to ensure the nanoStick is road warrior–friendly.
With that being said, the rod antenna is not quite so impressive. Its magnetic foot seemed rather weak and provided little stability, with a slight bump detaching it from our notebook’s metal palm rest. Its reception quality was also rather limited. Pinnacle recommends placing it near an upper-floor window away from reinforced walls and neighbouring buildings. Obviously, this won’t be feasible for some users, who will be forced to revert to their roof antennas. This could effectively quash the tuner’s portable capabilities, depending on where you live.
In optimal conditions, we didn’t experience any reception issues when using the device. Even in full screen mode the video quality remained good for most channels. Recordings are stored onto your hard drive in MPEG-1/-2 or DivX, or you can burn them directly to DVD. Unfortunately, you can’t watch one channel while recording another, as the product does not sport dual TV tuner chips (you can, however, schedule recordings for later).
The inbuilt video-editing software is also quite impressive. While a little on the basic side, it allows you to make simple trims/edits to your videos as well as add titles and transitions. This should be more than enough options for most users.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HTC U11 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Gigabyte Aero 15 corporate gaming laptop review
- 3 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 4 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- What the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition's specs and pricing mean for PC gamers
- AMD Threadripper exclusive: Only Alienware's Area-51 will have it in 2017
- Intel's revealed the Core i9 ship dates, but you won't like them
- Hands-on: Creative Labs' Sound BlasterX AE-5 ups the audio for gamers
- Logitech's Powerplay mousepad wirelessly charges your mouse while you use it
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- MSI GL62M 7RDX gaming laptop review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSystem Specialist - Network SystemsOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - Cloud BIOther
- FTFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Development Expert – Adelaide Delivery CentreSA
- FTSAP ICT TrainerOther
- FTApplication Solution ArchitectOther
- FTSenior Big Data Engineer | Media DataOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTJunior Java developerACT
- TPSenior Business Analyst | 12 month fixed term contractQLD
- FTSAP ABAP DEVELOPMENT LEAD- NSW GovernmentOther
- FTProgram CoordinatorOther
- FTOnsite Helpdesk TechnicianOther
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Siebel - Canberra / MelbourneOther
- FTSoftware Development ConsultantOther
- FTProject Coordinator - Digital Applications (IT)Other
- FT.Net DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Siebel Integrator/Developer - Canberra/MelbourneOther
- CCHelpdesk Support - L2VIC
- FTData Analyst/DeveloperNSW
- FTRelocate to Perth for Technology OpportunitiesQLD
- CCData ArchitectVIC
- FTSolution Architect - PermanentQLD
- FTProject Manager- Infrastructure & cloud computingOther