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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 is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.