Baltimore Sun Columnist Tries Out Pinnacle HD Pro Stick

While an earlier story in this week’s RF Report outlined problems with DTV reception, an article by Mike Himowitz in Thursday’s Baltimore Sun relates his success in receiving DTV on his PC using the new Pinnacle HD Pro StickM. In the article You can convert PC to an HDTV he says that the unit was able to find all of the Baltimore area DTV signals, but didn’t do so well with nailing Washington, D.C. digital television signals, something that Himowitz had experienced earlier with DTV converter boxes.

“The only local station it had consistent trouble with was Maryland Public Television, which can be problematic with both analog and digital channels in our area,” Himowitz said.

He didn’t say if he used the whip antenna that came with the Pro Stick or an outside antenna, but I suspect it was the inside antenna, for after trying out the antenna, he switched the USB tuner to his cable feed and discovered the problems with channel identification when receiving cable ClearQAM signals.

“The main problem was that Comcast’s scheme for numbering upper-level digital channels and the numbers TVCenter displayed bore almost no correlation,” Himowitz said. “In fact, each cable company has its own numbering scheme. You have to figure out what they are.”

He concluded that while the Pinnacle HDTV Pro Stick may not replace a dedicated DVR, it can turn your PC into a television set.

He reported that it “pulls in every analog and digital channel that’s available (and unscrambled), whether you’re using an antenna or cable feed. It’s relatively cheap, and you can use it on more than one PC.”

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.