Pinnacle ShowCenter is by no means a new kid on the block but its latest version, ShowCenter v1.7 has some new features that make it worth revisiting since it has just been released in the UK.
For starters, Pinnacle ShowCenter is now 802.11g wireless network ready, and includes a compatible wireless module, making it easy to set up ShowCenter on a wired Ethernet, 802.11b or 802.11g home network, and giving it a realistic chance of supporting wireless delivery of audio and video.
Funky new features include the ability to listen to music without turning on the television – users can now assign radio stations or play lists to individual buttons on the ShowCenter remote control. But coolest of all, you can now pause live TV and schedule recordings on your PC.
For the uninitiated, Pinnacle ShowCenter is a set-top device that connects to wireless and wired home local area networks (LAN) allowing streaming of multimedia files from any PC on the network to any television or home entertainment system in the house. It’s really a complete media management software suite for organising and managing media files. Unknown file formats are automatically converted and streamed to the ShowCenter in a recognisable format, while you can control the PVR features on your PCTV tuner from the ShowCenter unit – if you have Pinnacle PCTV Pro, PCTV Stereo, PCTV USB2 or PCTV MediaCenter products.
The ShowCenter software has now been updated with audio and media management enhancements and from early 2005 users in the UK will have online music access via RealNetworks Rhapsody Internet jukebox service.
Pinnacle ShowCenter 1000g carries a suggested retail price of £199.99, while current ShowCenter owners can download v1.7 software-only features for free. Existing customers who wish to add 802.11g functionality to their units, can return them for retooling at a cost of £69.
“Digital media receivers such as Pinnacle ShowCenter are allowing customers to enjoy their PC-based digital music, photos and movies to the fullest extent — throughout the home,” said William Chien, director of product management, digital home products, Pinnacle Systems. “Customers have tremendous flexibility with the option to browse and use the ShowCenter media manager on the PC or from the comfort of their sofa on the television monitor with a remote control.”