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HolidayBuyer's Guide
TV Accessories

Pinnacle's itty bitty video box

Allo allo, what have we got here? A little black box that records TV shows and transfers them straight to your iPod, that's what.

Black boxes: not just for airplanes

Allo allo, what have we got here? A little black box that records TV shows and transfers them straight to your iPod, that's what.

Pinnacle -- of Pinnacle Studio fame -- has announced the Video Transfer, a pocketable device that records video from your telly, camcorder or game console and dumps it directly into USB-compatible devices such as iPods, PSPs and memory keys.

Videos are captured in iPod-friendly H.264 format, and you can choose from good, better and best quality recordings. Captured video is stored in the Movies category on your iPod, but you'll probably have to rename the files in iTunes to save yourself going mad -- they show up with names like "Pinnacle video 0001" and "Pinnacle video 0002".

The overall specs won't make anyone go all fanboy, but the simplicity is appealing. Here's a run-down on the tech details:

  • Video-in connections: Analog (S-video and composite)
  • Capture format: H.264 (MPEG-4)
  • Real-time encoding
  • iPod capture quality:
    • Good: 320x240, 512kbps video; 96kbps stereo audio; 48 KHz
    • Better: 320x240 768kbps video 128kbps stereo audio 48 KHz
    • Best: 640x480 1.5Mbps video; 128kbps stereo audio; 48 KHz

Pinnacle also suggests its device would make a stellar choice for converting VHS, Hi8 or VHS-C tapes to digital footage. Naturally this assumes there are people out there still hoarding that stuff -- perhaps in an underground bunker alongside their Millennium Bug canned food rations.

The Video Transfer will appear on Australian shelves in mid April at a recommended retail price of AU$249.95.