One of the big press events in New York City prior to the holiday season is the CES press preview. This preview is a warmup for the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
This year there were a bunch of exhibitors on hand who has won Innovation Awards from the Consumer Electronics Association. One of the winners that caught my eye was the SanDisk V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder. When I asked about it, I was surprised to find how close of a match it is to a common VCR, with some really neat enhancements. Of course, the video cassette tape is out the window, replaced by a raft of flash memory card options. Just think of it as taking the rack that holds your tapes and shrinking it to dollhouse size to hold your memory cards.
I was never one to pay for the likes of a TiVo system, so this gadget is right up my alley. I can retire my old VCR and replace it with the V-Mate. It will record video from any analog source directly onto the aformentioned flash memory cards, including the ultra-cheap SD cards. This way, you can really shrink your VCR tape collection by moving the content to memory and then DVD. And if you have an analog output on your computer, like I have on my Toshiba notebook, you can even record streaming video. According to the specs, you can record up to 3.5 hours of high-quality video per gigabyte of memory.
Playback options are cool, too. Unlike some of the PVR systems out there, you can view the stored video on a mobile phone, PDA, MP3 player, portable game console such as the Sony PSP or notebook computer. The V-Mate does this by compressing the video into MPEG-4 in multiple formats and then creating the correct file format for the target mobile device.
The V-Mate has all of the features you have come to expect in a VCR, but comes in a much smaller form factor: 5.1” x 2.6” x 0.8”. Admittedly, I just saw the demo, but at a MSRP of $129.99 I’m ready to buy one for Christmas. Did I say VCR? I meant VMCR.
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