Pinnacle Video Transfer: Digitizing analog video gets easier

Pinnacle Video Transfer allows for converting videos without a computer.

One of the most daunting tasks in video archiving is getting the footage digitized and transferred to an easily accessible storage device. This is especially tiresome and tedious if the original is in tape format.

For this reason, I am impressed with the Video Transfer from Pinnacle.

About the size and weight of a cigarette pack, this little device is capable of converting analog videos from any source into MPEG-4-quality video files and saving them to any USB 2.0 storage device, including thumb drives, without the need for a PC. You can also choose to convert video footage directly into mobile devices such as an iPod, PSP, or any other MPEG-4 video player with built-in storage.

Pinnacle Video Transfer is compact enough for you to easily carry on the go. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

The device can also charge or power the target mobile device during the transferring if the device is USB bus-powered, such as the iPod Nano or pocket-size external hard drives.

Unfortunately, the Pinnacle Video Transfer can only convert/transfer from an analog source (like the VCR, analog TV turner). With digital footage (like recorded TV shows from a DVR) you will still need to play it with a device with an analog output before you can take advantage of this device. This also means the time it requires to transfer is as long as the video itself. However, it does significantly simplify the task down to pressing only one button.

The Pinnacle Video Transfer provides high-quality MPEG-4 encoding in H.264 at up to 720x480/576 (NTSC/PAL) resolution and supports multiple inputs including S-Video, composite video, and stereo audio. You can choose to set the quality of the digitized footage to be good, better, or best. The lower the quality, the less storage space the video requires. The device uses high-speed USB 2.0 connection to offer digital video transfer speed up to 480Mbps.

You can get it now for $99, which is a very reasonable price if you have a lot of tapes and want to transfer them into digital clips without the hassle of using a computer or fiddling with conversion software.

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