By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Pinnacle is now shipping to dealers a second-generation ATSC, NTSC and clear-QAM USB TV tuner flash drive.
The Pinnacle HD Ultimate Stick ($129) is a PC/TV tuner drive designed for "plug-and-watch" simplicity, the company said.
Pinnacle calls the PCTV HD Ultimate Stick "a self-contained solution for watching and recording SD and free HD TV."
It delivers TV viewing and recording on any PC with no software installation required.
The system is anchored around the use of a FlashPVR thumb drive to allow running the included TVCenter Pro software from the stick's onboard flash memory. Users can pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV programs from the drive.
Pinnacle said the compact size of the drive's high-gain telescopic antenna attachment, and supplied remote control make the system easy to carry around and watch TV on the go.
Key features include the ability to watch analog and digital SD and HD TV on a PC or notebook without the need to load special software or pay service fees. A connection is also supplied for ClearQAM unencrypted digital cable TV reception.
The Ultimate Stick follows last year's launch of Pinnacle's PC HDTV Pro stick, which Tanguy LeBorgne, Pinnacle Systems worldwide marketing VP, said reached the No. 1 market share position in the PC TV tuner space.
The newest version places the company's TV tuning software, including full DVR functionality, on the drive as well, to simplify setup and playback. The flash drive also includes 1GB of space to store recorded programs for playback at a later time.
The capacity on the drive is said to be sufficient for a two-hour movie in standard definition.
In addition to programming delivered over the built-in tuners, the Ultimate Stick will capture SD video from a camcorder or set-top box using included adapter cable.
The software also adds an electronic programming guide to find programs to view and record.
Pinnacle also supplies its Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software to trim and edit video recordings.
On-board memory can be used to store additional files.
Users can also save recordings to their PC's hard drive in MPEG-1/-2 or DivX formats or burn them directly to recordable DVDs.
System requirements include Windows Vista (32-bit) or Windows XP with SP2 operating systems; Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz, Pentium M 1.3GHz or AMD Athlon 64 processors and for HDTV reception, a Pentium 4 2.8GHz or Pentium M 1.7 GHz or equivalent AMD Athlon 64 processor is recommended; 512MB of RAM are recommended for Windows XP, and 1GB for Windows Vista; USB 2.0 port; sSound / graphics controller with support for DirectX 9; hard drive with 20 GB free space and a CD or DVD drive for Studio QuickStart installation.
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