Pinnacle Video Transfer

Pinnacle Video Transfer

Cool Yule Rating: 4 stars

Price: $99.95

Product Web site

Description: This handheld device lets you connect any video source with composite inputs (or an S-Video connection) and transfer the video content directly to any USB-enabled storage device without having to go through a PC. This includes devices like the Apple iPod and Sony's PlayStation Portable. Three modes let you transfer the videos at "good, better or best" resolution.

I love this device because it's so easy to use, making for quick and easy backup of a bunch of different video sources. For example, I was able to take a stack of my camcorder tapes and turn them into MPEG-4 video files, which I could store on my USB storage drive, or even transfer to a PC for later editing. If you have a bunch of old VCR tapes, you can quickly digitize those, as well. The direct-to-iPod or PSP version lets you take TV shows stored on a digital video recorder and move the content directly to those media players. The device even comes with a composite cable, which means I didn't have to rifle through my cable drawer looking for the right connections.

The video transfers at a one-to-one rate – if you're transferring a two-hour wedding video, for example, it will take two hours to transfer to the USB-connected device. Also, if you're copying things from a VCR tape, you won't be able to see what you're copying (unlike a camcorder tape conversion, where you can still view the content on the LCD screen). You can fix this possibly by connecting the system to a TV that includes video and audio outputs, but we had a hard time finding some TVs that had this functionality (most only have audio outputs, not video).

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