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Pinnacle Video Transfer

PC-free H.264 video encoding

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Review Gadgets now capable of playing video have left owners are hungry for content. Folk with large VHS tape collections want to digitise them, just like vinyl. Two problems, one solution, says Avid offshoot Pinnacle: its Video Transfer standalone H.264 encoder.

Pinnacle Video Transfer

Pinnacle's Video Transfer: one-touch, PC-less H.264 encoding

The Video Transfer is a handsome black unit that's a bit bigger than an iPod Touch and about as twice as thick. At one end are the inputs: stereo audio and composite-video RCA jacks - white, red and yellow - and an s-video port. Pinnacle includes a composite cable, but you'll need buy an s-video lead separately. The box also includes a Scart-to-composite adaptor.

The other end of the Video Transfer is home to the power connector - it's driven by a small AC adaptor - and a pair of USB 2.0 ports, though one is "reserved for future expansion" and doesn't work.

The working USB port is ready for connection to any storage device with a suitable adaptor: a hard drive, a Flash key even an iPod or PSP connected through an appropriate cable and formatted to the FAT32 file system. The Video Transfer is smart enough to know what it's connected to and configure its settings depending on whether you've selected Good, Better or Best for the video quality.

The top of the Video Transfer sports a silver circle that's a two-way switch. Press the top to start and stop recording. Push the bottom to set the recording mode. Each category of device - iPod, PSP or generic storage unit - has three different versions of the Good, Better and Best pre-sets, selected by pressing the Mode button once, twice or three times in a row. A set of three blue LEDs below the Mode button indicate which one you've selected.

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