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Topic # 30079 28-Jan-2009 12:50
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Having looked at various threads here and on PC World forum its hard to escape the conclusion that this is a pretty poor product that for most people simply doesn't work. How on earth can PC World have given it such a positive review?? I got mine using points from my Visa card so it didn't cost me real dollars but I'm still pretty disillusioned. 
Its a consumer product that should work without the need for downloading or paying for additional drivers or other software. What experience have people had when asking for their money back?
I get absolutely nothing using the supplied indoor aerial and could get an aerial point installed next to my PC at home but am wondering if its worth it given all the hassles other people have had.
Any ideas/suggestions? Are there other products out there that work better? Thanks.


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  Reply # 192469 28-Jan-2009 13:11
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I'd say your experience is probably typical of a lot of users. I've now tried probably 6 or 7 different DVB-T cards from various companies. I'm sum up the included software with every card in one word. Rubbish.

All of these tuner cards will work fine with 3rd party software but you raise the point that this is something people shouldn't have to use. The product should work well out of the box which is something that simply dosn't happen.

One problem that does arise is that to get a quality picture you need to be using an H.264 codec that supports H.264 hardware acceleration and a GFX card that supports this. Licencing a H.264 codec from the likes of Cyberlink is expensive which is potentially why companies aren't doing this.

If you want a decent solution you have to use either GB-PVR, Media Portal or DVBViewer with a GFX card that supports H.264 and a codec such as the Cyberlink one from PowerDVD8. Anything else is going to give you less than ideal results.

There is anything at all wrong with the product itself - as a tuner card it works great.

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  Reply # 192482 28-Jan-2009 13:40
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My father-in-law bought one of these on one of those daily deal websites.  Couldn't get it to work on any computer in any location around Wellington.  Completely rubbish product.



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  Reply # 192541 28-Jan-2009 18:40
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Many thanks for the quick replies.
A couple of further questions:
Is the Pinnacle an analogue or diigtal tuner? The fact it (allegedly) supports HD implies that it is digital.

Can you suggest a suitable codec?
I don't know if my graphics card is up to the task of running the necessary software. Details are
Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)   Total available graphics memory 590 MB         Dedicated graphics memory 256 MB         Dedicated system memory 0 MB         Shared system memory 334 MB   Display adapter driver version 7.14.10.9686   Primary monitor resolution 1680x1050   DirectX version DirectX 9.0 or better


Can anyone help? Thanks again. 

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  Reply # 192543 28-Jan-2009 18:48
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it's dvb-t

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  Reply # 192545 28-Jan-2009 18:51
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Glad I didn't buy it over the Christmas season. The box makes it out that it is a simple plug and play process.

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Reply # 192564 28-Jan-2009 20:02
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To get the USB adapter working is quite simple. To get the proper software is a different story.

I use a Hauppagge HVR900. On Windows Vista you need Cyberlink PowerDVD for its CODEC and either dvbviewer or GB-PVR. With Windows 7 you need just the OS. since it provides th H.264 codec.




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  Reply # 192578 28-Jan-2009 20:19
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I don't think average Joe would know what codec is.  Harvey Norman staff simply says plug in the USB stick and install the software on the CD.  No wonder the piles of Pinnacle Nanosticks in-store have not moved much over the past few months.

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Reply # 192582 28-Jan-2009 20:21
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True, true. I was at DSE on Featherston ST (Wellington) today and saw a Hauppage HVR USB stick - "special price". The sticker in the back said "Returned product, client says it doesn't work on Windows Vista".




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  Reply # 192586 28-Jan-2009 20:27
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freitasm: True, true. I was at DSE on Featherston ST (Wellington) today and saw a Hauppage HVR USB stick - "special price". The sticker in the back said "Returned product, client says it doesn't work on Windows Vista".


Haha, that's not going to help the sales figures at all.  I wonder if the purchasing managers of technology stores actually know what they have imported. 

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  Reply # 192592 28-Jan-2009 21:00
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heavenly_wild:
Haha, that's not going to help the sales figures at all.  I wonder if the purchasing managers of technology stores actually know what they have imported. 


Not just the stores - I wonder sometimes if the distributors know what they are really selling themselves. One card I did play with (I can't recall exactly what one) couldn't even record or playback H.264 recordings even with the NZ updates for the software. Essentially they are selling something that most end users would expect to "just work" but the reality is it doesn't. I'm sure a lot of people expect it to work in VMC also.


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  Reply # 192593 28-Jan-2009 21:04
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freitasm: To get the USB adapter working is quite simple. To get the proper software is a different story.

I use a Hauppagge HVR900. On Windows Vista you need Cyberlink PowerDVD for its CODEC and either dvbviewer or GB-PVR. With Windows 7 you need just the OS. since it provides th H.264 codec.


I tested the one I had with every variation of what you've suggested, with no luck every time.  It was a lemon.



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  Reply # 192604 28-Jan-2009 21:42
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Thanks to everybody who has replied.

I would be very keen to get a response from PC World especially the guy who wrote the review which praised this product to the skies. If any PC World journos are reading this I am sure we'd all love to hear from you. I bought the product on the basis of your positive review and it just doesn't work.

Reading all the feedback on this topic it looks like this product is useless and nobody other than a few people of very high technical competence has ever got it to work.

Maybe the importer/distribuor/PC World guy can post a reply spelling out exactly how I can get this product to work. I'm quite happy to get a dedicated aerial socket next to my PC but I'm not going to spend another dollar unless I know it is going to work!

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  Reply # 192606 28-Jan-2009 21:49
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goethe: Reading all the feedback on this topic it looks like this product is useless and nobody other than a few people of very high technical competence has ever got it to work.


I don't think this is entirely true. Installing and configuring software such as GB-PVR, Media Portal or DVBViewer doesn't require a "high technical competence". If you're wanting to build up a PVR that will have daily use there is lots to learn but it's certainly by no means impossible for the average user.



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  Reply # 192649 29-Jan-2009 07:13
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Hi sbiddle.
Thanks for your interest in my problem and helpful answers. I don't want to build a PVR - I just want to watch TV on my PC occasionally! The Pinnacle product (or to be more precise the combination of hardware and software in the box) does not work and reading this thread it seems to me that I am not alone in having these problems. I am a reasonably competent user and I know what a CODEC is but I don't think it is right that I should have to seek advice and assistance from very helpful people such as yourself and be steered towards third party software tools to make the thing work.
Thanks again.

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  Reply # 192706 29-Jan-2009 13:16
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goethe: Hi sbiddle.
Thanks for your interest in my problem and helpful answers. I don't want to build a PVR - I just want to watch TV on my PC occasionally!
If you just want to occasionally watch some TV from the main channels on your PC and you don't really care about High definition, buying an older analogue USB tuner would be the minimum-hassle approach. The technology involved isn't "bleeding edge", so software compatibility is much less of an issue.

If you take that approach buy a tuner that has its own hardware-based MPEG encoder like the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-USB2 - that eliminates another hardware / software dependency.

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