Pinnacle PCTV To GO review

The ability to watch the telly via your PC is hardly a new idea - TV cards, Slingbox, etc. But this new model from Pinnacle ups the ante with its sheer simplicity.

The unit plugs into your satellite or Freeview box and then into your router and a few steps of a set-up wizard later you're watching Jack Bauer kick serious terrorist butt on your desktop. If you're in to that sort of thing.

Once set up correctly, a virtual remote control can displayed on screen which allows you all the major functions of your handset. This is achieved with an unsightly, but clever little infrared blaster which points at your set-top box.

The response times on this are adjustable, but I found that the strength of my wireless signal was a major factor in how quickly the unit will react to your choices. Signal strength is also a factor in determining picture quality it would seem. Wired network users should have none of these concerns, but those using Wi-Fi might need to make a few adjustments to their network to maximise their viewing pleasure.

Programmes can be recorded direct to your hard drive at the click of a button and these default as MPEG files so there's no need for any third party converters to view these wherever you choose. These can also be easily burnt to DVD.

Verdict

It's difficult to find many faults with this little unit and it's a serious contender in the battle for desktop telly viewing.

Anybody with a Windows Media Centre will certainly see this unit at its best with full integration and further options.

An excellent performer that's a doddle to set up and use.