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Pinnacle Showcenter 200

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      08.06.2010 20:56
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      • Reliability

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      Old but reliable, SwissCenter breathes new life into it

      This was the first streamer I purchased. It was when I had a CRT TV. At the time it cost me £117.52. The technology is now "old" so it's probably a lot cheaper now.

      Despite its age, it works well. Admittedly, it has now been replaced by a PS3 for streaming purposes, but sometimes I still prefer the ShowCenter for some of its features that the PS3 lacks (such as film and TV information*).

      *Needs third party software, which is mentioned later in the review.

      The system has various video connectors including scart, s-video and component (which support 720p HD connection), so there should be no problems connecting it to old or modern TVs. There are also options for switching to HD and wide screen support for the software interface.

      In terms of connectivity, it supports wireless (B and G), Ethernet (10/100MB) and also USB so you can connect a digital camera or USB storage devices (HDD, flash drive, etc).

      The Showcenter 200 can play DIVX, XVID, MPEG, OGG, MP3, WMA, WMV9 and WMV-HD. Note that it does not support all resolutions for WMV-HD, only up to 720p. Everything I tried playing on it (that it supports) played flawlessly. The server software will convert some incompatible formats to compatible ones, but a third party utility might be needed to convert some file types (such as mkv).

      Getting it set up might be a bit fiddly, at least if WIFI is used as entering a passphrase using the remote isn't easy at first. Once it's up and running the operation of it is straightforward.

      The PC software Pinnacle Media Manager, which acts as the server that for the ShowCenter to stream from, is easy enough to install and configure. I recommend checking the Pinnacle website for software and firmware updates, though.

      For those of you who are a bit more adventurous there is "Swiss Center" available from swisscenter.co.uk which provides an improved interface for the streamer but does not do any transcoding (automatic conversion) for any incompatible file types. However, it can be used to check information about films and TV shows, view RSS feeds, listen to Internet radio and check the weather. That's just to name a few of the advantages over Media Manager. There are more.

      Either way, Pinnacle Media Manager and Swiss Center are both easy to use. A simple menu interface to browse through the different media types such as music and video.

      There is also TVersity, which I have not tried, which apparently provides some extra functionality such as viewing YouTube videos.

      The software is stable and I did not experience any problems. Just remember to have the media software running on your PC first though otherwise you won't be able to access it.

      The ShowCenter is quite old. Back in its time it was very good. It still is if you can pick it up on the cheap either brand new or second hand. Great for connecting to your secondary TV or even to your primary one if you don't need to play HD content. Just make sure it supports the file formats that you commonly use before purchasing it.

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  • Product Details

    Easily stream your favorite high-quality digital photos, music and movies from your PC to your television and home stereo system with Pinnacle ShowCenter 200. It combines top quality audio and video, including HD photo and video support, with an intuitive user interface for an incredibly convenient and engaging entertainment experience. Stream audio from your media library, listen to Internet radio, enjoy premium content purchased on the Internet.

    Equipped with a USB port on the front panel for enjoying photos and other media files from a camera or other storage media device. It comes with powerful, easy-to-use media management software and works with high-speed wired and wireless (802.11g) home networks.