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PCTV MediaCenter: The Complete TV Experience for your PC?

Introduction

Pinnacle has been offering solutions for watching TV on a computer for many years, most notably its PCTV. The latest version of PCTV now ships with the MediaCenter and MediaManager software applications. The bundle, renamed "PCTV MediaCenter" for the occasion, comes in two versions: PCTV MediaCenter 100e, which sports an external unit that connects to a USB 2 port, and the 100i version, which uses a traditional PCI card. The same software is included in both, along with an infrared remote control.

Both the PCI and USB 2 versions of PCTV have audio/video inputs and a connector for an antenna cable. That means you can also capture analog videos via the MediaCenter, without the need for a separate acquisition card!

Pinnacle's new Digital Home line is built around MediaCenter and MediaManager. MediaManager handles the multimedia files (video, music, images) on your computer and lets you organize them into categories. The resulting database is updated continuously and lets you create your own playlists. After that, it's easy to browse the information via the MediaCenter graphical interface, as we'll see shortly.

MediaCenter is an application that brings all TV, video, music, and photo functions together in a simple, clear graphical interface. The files on the computer are directly accessible with the remote control, or more traditionally with the mouse. This makes MediaCenter a direct competitor of Microsoft's Windows Media Center solution.