video content has never been simpler than with the new Pinnacle Video Transfer
system. Unlike traditional methods which require a dedicated recording unit or
a PC fitted with capture hardware, the Pinnacle Video Transfer requires
only a standard USB memory device such as an iPod, PSP, USB stick, or USB hard
drive. The unit records video using MPEG-4 (H.264) quality with resolutions of
up to 720x480/576 onto any USB 2.0 storage device without the need for a PC. The
Video Transfer device is simple to setup and video can be captured with
a push of a button. The unit is less than 5" long, 2.75" wide and 1"
thick and weighs a mere 4.7 ounces. The Video Transfer includes a set of
standard A/V cables and a universal power adapter. Many of us have older video
tapes we would like to transfer to DVD or files that are playable on our PCs.
If you are like me with stacks of VHS, S-VHS, and Hi-8 analog tapes lying around
it's time to get all those memories into the future formats. Moreover, degradation
of those old tapes is inevitable so the longer you wait, the more likely those
memories will become a faded past.
As with any compressed video format, the user will have to trade
picture quality with storage size. The Best picture quality (720x480 resolution)
requires approximately 1.3GB of data storage per hour of video recorded. There
is also Best quality resolutions for the Sony PSP (320x240) and Apple iPod
(640x480) that differ from DVD and require less storage space. For some, picture
quality is less important than storage space, so Pinnacle gives those users the
ability to maximize the video time with some video degradation.
The Pinnacle Video Transfer unit has interfaces for composite
and s-video along with two channel audio. The unit will automatically detect the
incoming signal when connected to a source and display a light above each of the
active inputs. This will let the user know what input is being used during the
video transfer. Users with the choice of either video type should choose s-video
for superior video performance. S-video has the chromanance (the modulated color)
and the lumanance (the brightness level of that color) separate in the cable,
making it easier to decode the color information in the video signal. The result
is a picture with better color fidelity and color accuracy with no cross color
artifacts due to Y/C separation.
The Video Transfer unit has a USB-A and a USB-B type
connector for transferring data along with the power input connector. No USB cables
are included with the unit because in most cases you will be using the cable included
with your iPod, PSP or other portable drive. The unit comes with a compact universal
power adapter that accepts 100-240VAC at 50/60Hz and outputs 5VDC at 1.5 amps.
Currently the USB-B type connector is not used and is reserved for future use.
The USB-A connector is designed to interface to a number of USB drives including
iPods, PSPs, flash drives and hard drives. As long as the connected external device
displays a blue status light on the Video Transfer unit, you are good to
The top of the Video Transfer unit has a Record (REC) button and a Mode
(MODE) button. The record button starts or stops the recording process. The Mode
button powers the unit ON or OFF and also selects the recording video quality.
Pressing the Mode button for more than a second turns the unit off. When
a video source is connected to the unit, indicators illuminate above the input
jacks for the corresponding audio and video signals. Once detected, the input
lights turn blue. This tells the user that the unit has recognized the input signals.
In our case, we connected the s-video and left and right audio cables to the unit.
The next step is to plug a USB memory device into the unit. In our tests we connected
a Kingston 2GB flash drive into the Video Transfer unit. Upon inserting
the memory into the Video Transfer unit the corresponding memory light
flashes red as it checks the connected device. Once the Video Transfer
recognized the flash drive, the light turns blue. At this point the Video Transfer
is ready to capture video and the user can select the record quality by tapping
on the Mode button. Briefly pressing the Mode button cycles through one
(good), two (better), and three (best) lights indicating the unit's recording
quality mode. Pressing the REC button initiates the recording and all indicators
turn red on the Video Transfer unit. The memory stick's built-in light
begins to flash indicating that it is receiving data.
we captured the video we wanted, we again pressed the REC button to stop the recording
process. The unit takes a few seconds to close out the recorded file, so the user
must wait until the USB indicator light on the Video Transfer unit turns
blue again. In our test case the video file was named VID00001.MP4 and placed
into a folder named VIDEO. Each file added to the same directory increments the
number in the filename (i.e. VID00002.MP4, VID00003.MP4, etc.) Since the Video
Transfer unit has no way of knowing the current date, the file date and time
will not be correct.
what about recording onto other portable media players not mentioned in the manual
such as the Archos 605 Wi-Fi? We decided to plug it in and test it. Within a few
seconds the status light on the Video Transfer unit turned blue indicating
it was recognized. We recorded a few minutes of video and it looked absolutely
beautiful on this unit. There were some noticeable de-interlacing artifacts on
fast scenes, but overall the picture resolution and color fidelity were exceptional.
Whenever possible we recommend using the highest quality recording mode to minimize
video degradation, even at the cost of memory.
Pinnacle Video Transfer offers a whole new approach to capturing video
content from other sources and is available with an MSRP of $130. No longer is
a PC or laptop required for the task of capturing your favorite video. The Video
Transfer system offers users flexible recording quality with a simple push
of a button. Pinnacle's Video Transfer is by far the cheapest and simplest
solution we have seen and the video quality is terrific. The unit also makes it
easy to capture video on an iPod, PSP or other portable media player and take
it on the road. In addition, iPod and Archos users will have the added benefit
of charging the media player while connected to the unit. Users are no longer
required to have a multi-step process to getting video on their portable devices
thanks to Pinnacle's Video Transfer product.