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Symbiosis Between PC And Hi-Fi Device: Pinnacle ShowCenter

And... Action! One More Thing: The Secret Functions

Have you pressed PLAY? The preview window in the lower left shows you what's on

Movie in full-screen view on TV

Function button C on the remote control unit is not described at all in the documentation. The ShowCenter can even surf the internet. However, special functions like HTTPS (PIN/TAN home banking) and Java applets don't work...

Conclusion

The Pinnacle ShowCenter's performance in the test was impressive. With an Ethernet connection, all media were played back with no discernable loss in quality. It even played MPEG-2 videos without glitches.

If you wish to dispense with a wired connection based on 100 Mbit/s Ethernet, you can opt to go the wireless route. But less cabling comes at a price. Since the box only supports 11-Mbit/s WLAN (802.11b), problem-free video enjoyment is only possible if you don't exceed the physical bandwidth limits. This is the case with DivX/MPEG-4, XviD and VCD. But MPEG-2 files from DVD have to be converted to use the WLAN. Anyone who owns a digital TV card or streaming-capable Linux D-Box, however, can play even many non-converted MPEG-2 recordings. Programs from DVB and/or ATSC stations often have a reduced data rate. Such MPEG-2 files usually require bandwidths below the critical 5-Mbit/s hurdle.

It would be nice if Pinnacle would hurry up and re-tool the ShowCenter for 54 Mbit/s (802.11g). That would resolve the bandwidth conundrum for the time being.