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Pinnacle Video Transfer review

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Last month Riyad reviewed Roxio's excellent Crunch video conversion software, which offered iPod and iPhone users a quick and simple way to convert video files stored on a PC or Mac into an Apple friendly format. In a similar vein, Pinnacle's new Video Transfer device is aimed at making life just as easy for users who need to capture and digitise video from an analogue source, and all without the use of a computer.

Rather than spend time worrying about what software settings and bit-rates to use, with the Pinnacle Video Transfer (PVT) all you need is a FAT32 mobile storage device such as an external USB 2.0 hard disk or flash memory key and you can start recording pretty much straight away. The PVT will even record directly to a Sony PSP (running firmware version 2.81 or later) and most types of Apple iPod (firmware version 1.21 or later), but not the iPod Touch. In principal, the PVT will record video from any device that outputs a Composite or S-video signal, such as a VHS recorder, DVD player, set-top box or gaming console. But before we get onto recording, let's take a quick look at the device itself.

The unit measures a compact 12.3 x 6.6 x 2.2cm, and is constructed largely of black plastic which feels sturdy enough in the hand. The top of the PVT is dominated by a colourful circular logo, next to which sit the unit's only two buttons; REC and MODE. Just below the MODE button are three small blue LEDs which light up depending on the selected recording quality - one LED for ‘Good', two for ‘Better' and all three for ‘Best'. Videos are recorded using the H.264 (MPEG-4) video compression format, but the exact properties of each recording setting depend on the connected USB device.

To record at the highest resolution of 720 x 576 pixels you will need to use a hard disk or memory key. However, videos captured at this resolution are recorded with interlaced frames, just like regular TV broadcasts. When viewed on a computer screen, annoying ‘comb' artefacts may show up on the resulting video images, which are particularly noticeable on moving edges. Pinnacle therefore recommends using the Good or Better quality settings when using a hard disk or memory key, if you intend to watch the captured videos exclusively on a PC screen.

Leonard

August 19, 2008, 12:13 am

I have a pinnacle hub that takes in composite (analogue) usb and s video cable. It has in the past worked ok with my digital camcorder. Now when I try to send video into my pc via the hub the pictures are slurred and color is all over the place.Ita a canon l-2 and it makes great videos. I ran it direct to my big screen via the s video cable and it was great. My question is why wont it load through the pinnacle to pc that way? Careful if you buy for this purpose...

Harshad Sheth

January 1, 2010, 11:54 pm

I tried Pinnacle Video Transfer. When viewed the transferred movie oon Quick Time, the movie was full of artifacts and the sound was way out of sync from video. Tired every trick and tips I could find in their manual and website, but no luck.





Bottom line, it is a pice of junk. Do not recommend.

Ken Murdoch

October 28, 2010, 7:53 pm

I have a question if anyone can help?


I live in Canada (NTSC), and have a bunch of UK video cassettes (PAL).


Would this device (PVT)record straight from these from a North American VCR player, or would I need to acquire and use a UK VCR player? {Not sure how the VCR machine works}?


Many thanks to anyone who can answer this


Ken

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