[AI] Missing link in digital home entertainment

Shadab Husain shadabhsn at gmail.com
Sat Feb 23 22:31:24 EST 2008

Anand Parthasarathy

Pinnacle's video transfer device launched in India

Bangalore: With a wide selection of legal Indian language movie DVDs
available for below Rs. 50, and DVD players breaching the 'lakshman
rekha' of Rs. 2000,
home cinema viewing is finally affordable and no longer limited to
what TV channels choose to offer.

And none too soon: the new multiplex culture has taken the cost of
theatre admission to levels where it no longer makes sense for many of

However, armed as we now are with a DVD player attached to our TV sets
and our small personal libraries of feature films, there is still a
'missing link'
in this ecosystem of digital home entertainment, that has eluded most
of us: that is the ability to manipulate the format of our digital
collection — say
from an old VHS cassette to a DVD and to keep recordings of something
that appears on TV and which we want to store for later viewing or

We have heard of services abroad such as TIVO, which does just this.
Now finally a cool new tool from Pinnacle, just launched in India,
allows us to slot
in this last missing piece into the jigsaw of our personal digital
entertainment and attain complete control over how we want to use the
TV and video content
that we have paid for.

The Hindu has been enabled to try out "Pinnacle Video Transfer," a
palm-sized device with multiple input and output sockets that allow
one to record video
from TV, DVD or VCR, set top box or games console.

You can transfer the video (hence the name!) to a Sony PlayStation
Portable (PSP); an iPod or similar music device; one of those
increasingly popular portable
hard drives that come in sizes around 150 to 200 GB — or even to a USB
thumb drive.

The device uses the MP4 format — its correct technical name is H.264 —
and the resolution of 720 by 480 is up to DVD standard (though not the
upcoming high
definition standard).

This means, that at the best quality that the Pinnacle Video Transfer
can give, you can store 3 hours or one standard-length Hindi film on a
4 GB thumb
drive that today costs Rs. 850 in India or two movies on an 8 GB drive
that costs Rs. 1,600-Rs. 1,700.

Of course, you would need an MP4 player to view this — but that is not
very difficult to find since free players for PCs are plentifully
available for download.

We feel the device will be most useful, if you have a lot of movies on
VHS cassettes that tend to fade with every passing year. Now you can
capture the
videos, before they deteriorate further, store them on a thumb drive
or two — and later you can convert them into DVDs with a DVD burner.

The ability to 'grab' clips or serial instalments from the TV for
future viewing is another powerful incentive to spend Rs. 7,400 for
the Pinnacle Video
Transfer. Now you can tell your spouse: "Please save that instalment
of 'Kasturi' or 'Kyunki Saas bhi...' or that Karan Thapar interview
for me! Now, I
won't have to miss it because I am on a train when it airs!"


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