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Hauppauge Purchase Pinnacle PCTV Line From Avid

Hauppauge Digital Inc. has agreed, through a subsidiary, to purchase the Pinnacle PCTV line and related assets from Avid Technology.

Hauppauge said it intends to supporting both PCTV and WinTV product lines.

"Avid's PCTV products have become one of the most popular TV tuner consumer product lines throughout the world," said Ken Plotkin, Hauppauge president and CEO. "With both the Hauppauge WinTV and Avid PCTV product families, Hauppauge will now be able to offer our customers an expanded set of TV products for personal computers, from entry level TV tuner products for laptop computers to high end embedded TV receivers used by leading PC OEMs"

Readers may remember I found the Hauppauge HVR-950 to be one of best, if not the best, USB DTV tuners of its time in off air DTV reception. Unfortunately, in testing at several locations across the country this month I found its successor, the HVR-950Q, did not perform as well its current competitors. In every case, the Pinnacle PCTV HD Stick Pro (Model 801) received the same or more stations with fewer dropouts. The DVICO FusionHDTV7 USB, which uses the same tuner and demodulator chips as the HVR-950Q, provided more robust reception using the same antenna in the same location. The surprise winner in my October cross country testing was the Artec T19ARD, which, like the HVR-950-Q and the FusionHDTV7, uses the Auvitek demodulator, but couples it with a Microtune MT2131F tuner instead of the Xceive XC5000 tuner used in the other USB demodulators.

While I've found Pinnacle's software to be somewhat bloated, it offers far more features than the WinTV software, which seems to be stuck in the analog TV era. One thing that Hauppauge offers that I'd like to see for the Pinnacle tuners is the signal monitor software, which provides a large display of signal strength and SNR along with lock status. It is much easier to align an antenna using it than the small on-screen colored bar graphics in the PCTV application.

Ideally, with Hauppauge's acquisition of Pinnacle's PCTV line we'll see both companies' products improve!

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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.