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.