Last week, I bought a cheesy Pinnacle USB2 TV-in device. I really only wanted it for composite video in from a PlayStation2; the fact it had an aerial socket for analogue terrestrial TV wasn’t a factor in the purchase at all. In fact the main purchase factor was that it was in stock at a local PC World and that it only cost £34.99—much cheaper than the nearest Hauppauge kit.
So I take it home, plug it into one of my Dell laptops, and yay: the TV-in works. Now to make the composite video work … hmm, where’s the software options to enable it? Why does the clunky media centre-like software say “can’t change channel” when I press AV on the remote? I was becoming more and more worried about this purchase. Eventually, I searched the Pinnacle support forums and found a post which absolutely floored me.
In the readme file on the installation cd this is mentioned.
7.00 Known limitations
Composite and S-video are not currently supported.
How do you like dem apples? Two ports, which are clearly visible on the actual hardware through a clear pane in the retail box, just don’t work. Not even the manufacturer knows how to make them work. I was back in PC World like a shot looking for a refund, which to their credit they happily gave me.
Wandering around the store, I saw some cheap and cheerful PlayStation2 games. Lurking amongst the chaff was a beaten up copy of Twisted Metal Black with a bundled Network Adapter. Now this is something I’ve been looking for for an age—a search which has sped up now that I’ll have a copy of Pro Evolution Soccer 5 within the next couple of weeks. The RRP of this bundle pack is £39.99, which the PC World “reduced price” sticker reminded me of. The reduced price was £12.97. Yoink, mine!
When it was rung through the till, it came up with a price of £7.97. Bonus! Saved myself £28.02, which is not too shabby at all. On opening it at home, it was in mint condition: Network Adapter packaging untouched, plastic seal still around the enclosed game … PC World marked off 70% of the cost simply because the box was a bit tatty.
So the reason I’m not wibbling and ranting like I usually do was that my returning the gash USB TV card got me a piece of console gadgetry that I’ve been hunting for at a cheap price for months. I’ve a bit more respect for PC World now, even if just that whoever prices up some of their “used and abused” products just doesn’t have a clue :)