Burn, DVD Baby, Burn
For the computer-inhibited, the slender, upright DVDirect device (6.5 inches tall, 2.6 inches wide, and 9.2 inches deep) can connect directly to your camcorder or VCR (via S-video or composite) thanks to built-in real-time video capturing and hardware MPEG-2 encoding. Sony gleefully points out that this all-in-one approach potentially saves money (that could be spent, say, on a better Sony camcorder) since no external capture or encoding devices need to be purchased with the DVDirect burner. In stand-alone mode, the DVDirect device can use either double-layer DVD+R DL discs (for up to 12 hours of MPEG-2 video recording in SLP mode) or single-layer DVD+R or DVD+RW discs (for up to six hours of recording). Five, 10, and 15 minute chaptering can be automatically inserted on DVD+RW discs using DVD+Video Recording (+VR) format technology allowing users to "jump to specific parts of a DVD during playback and edit video footage on the fly." The DVD+VR format is compatible with home DVD players that support DVD+RW playback. Recording is made even easier with the auto-start/stop recording feature that's compatible with most camcorders and VCRs.
Sony's Robert DeMoulin, marketing manager for branded storage products in Sony Electronics' IT Products Division (try fitting all that on a tiny business card), waxed lyrically about the how easy it is for non-computer users to benefit from the device. "Users can simply connect their camcorder to the recorder, hit the record button, and out comes a DVD disc that they can pop into their home DVD player. Meanwhile, computer-savvy users can attach the DVDirect device to a PC to perform all of the common tasks characteristic of computer-attached burners."
Sony's DVDirect burner takes on added features when attached to a Windows 2000 or Windows XP PC with a USB 2.0 connection. Feeling snug and safe in the shadow of your PC, the DVDirect burner will support dual-format, double-layer burning (DVD±R and DVD±RW) and 16X maximum recording speeds for DVD+R discs (resulting in the ability to rapidly burn a full write-once disc in approximately six minutes). The DVDirect burner also supports 4X DVD±RW, 48X CD-R, and 24X CD-RW recording speeds. Included in the burner is an 8 MB buffer memory and Sony Power-Burn conformed buffer under-run error protection technology.
To help out those brave enough to make the USB 2.0 connection to their PC, Sony bundles "an award-winning Nero software suite from Ahead". The bundled software suite contains enough features to keep you sitting in front of your computer for days including DVD video authoring software, DVD/CD burning software, as well as packet-writing software that lets you record files and folders by dragging them to the icon of the DVD±RW/CD-RW disc. In case you thought that wasn't enough free software, there's more, including DVD-video playing software, backup software, virtual disc drive software, management/jukebox software, disc label creation software, and drive tool software. The included Nero StartSmart launcher provides one-click access to all the programs included in the package.
Sony's DVDirect burner is expected to ship in November with an estimated street price of $300. Sony will also provide something they are calling "worry-free" installation which doesn't involve pharmaceuticals but instead relies on toll-free customer and technical service, Mondays through Saturdays, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Central Time.