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Access programs in EyeTV Lite by hitting the Menu button on the remote and looking under Recordings.
The Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Stick is a high-definition TV tuner that allows digital video recording on your Mac. You're still relegated to the Mac for your TV viewing, however, unless you connect the computer to your HDTV.
To receive programming, plug a cable line or antenna into the USB dongle. Conveniently, Pinnacle includes a compact antenna that can receive analog and digital programming. You get the additional benefit of time-shifting features (rewind, fast-forward) when you're tuned in to digital channels. You can resize the video screen to your liking, or use one of four presets, including a full-screen option. HD programs look as amazing as you'd expect.
The included remote control is nice and small, so it won't occupy much desk space, but that also makes using it more confusing, as certain buttons serve dual functions. For example, some of the number keys do double duty as Up, Down, and Enter - your only hint is their subtly different shape.
The HD Stick comes with Elgato's EyeTV software, but unfortunately, it's the Lite version, which has a severely reduced set of features and fussier navigation. For example, to schedule a one-time recording, you can use the TitanTV online programming guide to locate the show you want. But to create a repeat recording, you have to visit the Manual Schedule window and program it VCR-style, entering start and end times and other info. Ugh.
We also had difficulty figuring out how to access recordings. We finally found them by pressing the remote's tiny Menu button (you can also use the onscreen controls), scrolling to Recordings, clicking on a recorded show, clicking through the detail page of the show, and clicking Play. That's a lot of clicking. Also missing from EyeTV Lite: editing capabilities, iPod export, text search, and Internet programming, among other things. You can upgrade to the full version of EyeTV for $50, which pretty much negates the price difference between this product and the similar EyeTV Hybrid, which costs $150 but doesn't include an antenna.
The bottom line. If you want to receive digital and analog TV on your Mac, and you can live with the no-frills software, the HD Stick offers a quick way to get tuned in.
COMPANY: Pinnacle Systems
REQUIREMENTS: G4, G5, or Intel Core processor (dual G5 or Intel Core Duo processor for HDTV), Mac OS 10.4 or later, 256MB RAM (512MB for HDTV), 1GB disk space, USB
Brings in both digital and analog channels. Includes antenna.
Takes time to get used to the remote. Time-shifting features are available only with digital channels. EyeTV Lite software is kind of a pain.