Realistically, only those who care enough about their VHS collection to re-record all of it in real time – or those who really don’t care that much about quality in the first place – would consider the OSD, were it not that the it has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Though again it’s nothing you couldn’t easily convert using a PC, you can set the Neuros OSD to record for a PSP, iPhone or Smartphone, which will automatically choose the appropriate resolution for the device. After all, image quality is much less of a concern when you’re watching material on a 4.3in screen. For TV recording, meanwhile, the OSD can do 640 x 480 or a rather odd but more widescreen-friendly 672 x 448 in MP4 format – just keep in mind that when recording at these resolutions, there is a 4GB maximum file size. For audio recording, the Neuros can do AAC or MP3.
The recording process is easy as pie. Anyone who can manage a VCR will have no trouble whatsoever with the Neuros – to a point. You see, there is absolutely no mention in the quick-start guide of how to prepare your media. Considering it spends an entire page on recording settings, which are rather easy to figure out, this is a regrettable lack. FAT or FAT32 file systems are readable, but the OSD can’t cope with NTFS. So yes, you can plug in your 1TB hard drive, but you might need to re-format and partition it first.
The main thing holding the Neuros OSD back is its somewhat limited hardware and lack of support for high definition. I can understand Neuros not wanting to get involved in the whole DRM/licensing nightmare that an HDMI input would represent, but an HDMI output would at least give you better picture quality when viewing. At the very least give us component – it’s an analogue standard with no copy protection so recording from it should be just as easy, and it would certainly improve output quality – especially for DVDs. Also, with the world’s most successful current generation console, Nintendo’s Wii, not to mention all the older Xbox 360s and upscaling DVD players using it, it’s hardly likely to get killed off by digital anytime soon. If Neuros was to make an Open Source Device with more ports and high-definition support, then the possibilities would be amazing, and I would buy one in a flash.
The Neuros OSD has a lot of potential, but doesn’t quite deliver enough to make it worth the asking price. It does what it says on the box, but unless you’re not too concerned with video quality, you still cherish your video-cassette collection, or you don’t own a PC, we wouldn’t recommend it. Once – or ”if” – the NAS functionality is implemented, the device will become a lot more interesting, and of course due to its open source nature, other enhancements are always possible.
Score in detail