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HP DVD Movie Writer dc3000 review: HP DVD Movie Writer dc3000

HP DVD Movie Writer dc3000

John Morris
5 min read
Review summary
HP's DVD Movie Writer dc3000 has a mission: the quick-and-easy conversion to DVD of (according to HP) some 1.2 billion VHS tapes collecting dust in U.S. homes--and it delivers. Just connect a camcorder or a VCR to the integrated analog-to-digital converter, click a few buttons, and you're done. The included software lets you create more sophisticated home movies. Of course, you can also use the 4X DVD+R/2.4X DVD+RW external drive to burn video, music, and data CDs and DVDs, although its performance with some of these tasks was disappointing in our tests. Still, by putting all the necessary functions into one box, HP definitely makes it easier to move your collection into the digital age.

The dc3000 is larger than a typical external drive--about the size of a thick hardcover book--and it sports the same, metallic-blue plastic found on HP's Pavilion desktops, Photosmart printers, and other consumer products. The drive can sit horizontally or, using an included plastic stand, upright.


HP DVD Movie Writer dc3000

The Good

Simple, self-contained video-to-DVD conversion; easy setup; comprehensive software bundle; fast movie burning.

The Bad

Other drives offer better data read/write performance.

The Bottom Line

HP's innovative DVD Movie Writer dc3000 offers an easy route from VHS to DVD, and it's a decent burner to boot.

The dc3000 has connections galore: two USB 2.0 ports--one in back and one on the side--composite (RCA) stereo audio and video jacks, and an S-Video input. You can use the USB port on the side to connect other peripherals, such as digital cameras, but this pass-through port works only when the drive is on. HP includes a USB cable and composite AV cables for connecting a camcorder or a VCR, but there's no S-Video cable.

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HP's MyDrive application ties the many hardware and software applications of the dc3000 into one neat bundle.

Setting up the dc3000 is straightforward: install the software, plug in the power cord, and attach the drive to an open USB port. On our system, Windows XP recognized the drive immediately and automatically installed the necessary drivers.

Although the dc3000 is backward compatible with USB 1.1, it would take an eternity to burn your home movies at that speed; even DVD playback will suffer from the older technology's slower transfer rates. If your system doesn't have USB 2.0, you can add it with a "="" --="" rel="follow">-0.html?tag=top&qt=PCI+card">PCI card for around $25.

At a glance, the dc3000 looks like a fairly basic DVD burner that writes DVD+R at 4X and DVD+RW at 2.4X, but the integrated analog-to-digital converter makes it unique. It can capture analog video from VHS and other videotape formats (Hi8, Digital 8, Mini DVD, and BetaMax) and convert it to compressed MPEG-2 (720x480) video. It will also capture and burn up to two hours of video, but the software will reduce the quality of longer productions to fit them onto discs (you'll get the best quality with videos of one hour or less).

The large, task-based suite of included software makes it easy to create and play video, music, and data CDs and DVDs. With HP's Video Transfer Wizard, for instance, you connect your camcorder or VCR, type in a title, select a menu style, and take a walk--a long walk. It took about two and a half hours to create a test DVD+R with about one hour of video, but the test discs we burned played smoothly on PCs, Macs, and newer DVD players.

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It takes only a few clicks to go from analog video to DVD with the basic Video Transfer Wizard.

HP also includes two other applications for more advanced video-editing, ArcSoft ShowBiz 2.0 and Muvee AutoProducer DVD Edition, as well as Veritas RecordNow for creating music and data discs, Simple Backup for archiving, and CyberLink PowerDVD for watching movies on your PC.

In CNET Labs' performance tests, the dc3000 lived up to its Movie Writer moniker, delivering the fastest speed we've seen from an external drive in burning a 3.24GB movie to a DVD+R disc--it even managed to best the performance of the internal Sony DRU-510A. As with most external drives, the dc3000's data write and read speeds were slower than those of a typical internal drive. Nevertheless, the dc3000's overall performance was comparable to that of the other external drives we've tested, although it couldn't quite keep pace with the speedier Micro Solutions Backpack DVD+RW (USB 2.0).

Movie write test (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a movie to write-once media  
HP Movie Writer dc3000 (4X DVD+R, USB 2.0)
Micro Solutions Backpack DVD+RW (4X DVD+R, USB 2.0)
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+R, IDE)
QPS Que007 Portable Digital Theater (2X DVD-R, FireWire)
Addonics Pocket DVD-R/RW (1X DVD-R, USB 2.0)
Note: Compression rates vary depending on the drives' bundled software.

Data write tests (megabytes per second)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Write a 500MB directory to rewritable media  
Write a 383MB file to rewritable media  
Sony DRU-510A (4X DVD+RW, IDE)
Micro Solutions Backpack DVD+RW (2.4X DVD+R, USB 2.0)
QPS Que007 Portable Digital Theater (2X DVD-RW, FireWire)
HP Movie Writer dc3000 (2.4X DVD+RW, USB 2.0)
Addonics Pocket DVD-R/RW (1X DVD-RW, USB 2.0)

Data read tests (MB/Sec)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Copy a 500MB directory from rewritable media to the hard drive  
Copy a 383MB file from rewritable media to the hard drive  
Micro Solutions Backpack DVD+RW (2.4x DVD+R, USB 2.0)
Sony DRU-510A (4x DVD+RW, IDE)
HP Movie Writer dc3000 (2.4x DVD+RW, USB 2.0)
QPS Que007 Portable Digital Theater (2x DVD-RW, FireWire)
Addonics Pocket DVD-R/RW (1x DVD-RW, USB 2.0)
Note: Due to an error in our calculations, we originally published slightly innaccurate data-read results in this review. The scores have been corrected.

The dc3000 is backed by a standard one-year warranty. HP provides a toll-free number for telephone support, which is free for the warranty period and $30 per incident afterward. Product support is also available online and via e-mail, and the printed and electronic documentation is thorough and straightforward. HP makes it particularly easy to check for firmware updates automatically within the MyDrive application.

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HP integrates all of the dc3000's support options, including an automatic check for new drive firmware, into the MyDrive application.

HP DVD Movie Writer dc3000

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 8Performance 6Support 7
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