Convert old tapes to DVD the easy way

Video cassettes are so twentieth century, but those of us with large collections tremble at the thought of converting hundreds of cassettes to DVD -- the whole capture-convert-burn process gets a little tiring, even if you're lucky enough to have your AV gadgets next to your computer. Late last year I decided to bite the bullet and start the process, but the sheer scale of the endeavor has led to the kind of procrastination I haven't indulged in since I still had to hand in term papers.

My salvation, however, may be at hand: I was just reminded that Sony has been producing their DVDirect line of DVD recorders for a while now, and the latest edition has recently appeared. The DVDirect VRD-MC3 is a reasonably portable box with composite, S-Video and FireWire inputs that burns your video straight to a DVD-R/+R/-RW/+RW DVD discs (including dual-layer versions of each, except for DVD-RW) -- no fussing with computers or software, unless you really want to.

If you want to create fancy menus and precise chapter stops, then you can stick with your computer; the VRD-MC3 can put in chapter stops at preset intervals or if you hit a button manually, but that's about it. Still, for quickly bringing your video collection into the twenty-first century, this could be just the thing.

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Emru Townsend

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