Pinnacle's new box promises to stream hi-def video from your computer to your TV – but does its low price mean inferior performance?
The race is on! A host of big names – well, Netgear and Linksys – have busted a gut to help you wirelessly stream hi-def video between your computer and your telly. Now another's joined the fray: video maestro Pinnacle.
Its ShowCentre 250 HD works in much the same way as Netgear's EVA8000, connecting to your TV via Scart or component (for HD video) and letting you send all kinds of video and music files from your computer to your set. But can Pinnacle handle hi-def as smoothly as its accomplished foe?
The remote isn't a great start – it's ugly and functional, but that simplicity is good when it comes to setting up the 250HD for the first time. We tried it with networks at home and in the office and it managed to locate and lock on with ease, even if the entering of passwords was a tad cumbersome.
Once connected, the on-screen displays provide you with rapid-fire access to all your music, movies and still images. The remote comes into its own here, and it's a joy to navigate through the selections.
Jerky hi-def streaming
Sadly, performance is less satisfying when it comes to playback. As part of a fully wired system, streaming hi-def was a joy, with highly impressive detail levels and excellent colour balance. But stream it wirelessly and things start to go wrong – it's not so much hi-def video you get as a series of very hi-res images jerking from one to the next.
Still, at least standard-definition video doesn't suffer from the same switch from wired to wireless, and audio files were delivered with convincing clarity via a hi-fi system.
If you're happy with wires, or standard definition, then the Pinnacle is a great way of bringing your computer's video and audio files to your main system. But if wireless access to hi-def video is what you are after, you're better off with the slightly more expensive Netgear EVA8000.
Pinnacle ShowCentre 250 HD review
Handles standard-def video and audio with aplomb, but falls down when it comes to streaming hi-def wirelessly
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