By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Neuros Technology International, based here, said it is now shipping an MPEG-4 video recorder designed for use with Sony's PSP handheld video game player.
Neuros said its “Recorder 2” ($149.99 suggested retail) records video content from any video source directly onto memory cards that are playable on the Sony PSP, as well as a number of other handheld devices.
The Recorder 2 will record directly from any video source — including TVs, VCRs, DVD players, PVRs/DVRs and camcorders — through analog composite jacks onto Memory Stick or CompactFlash (CF) memory cards.
Recorded content can be immediately played back on a PSP without the need for a PC or additional conversion.
The device plugs into the video-out jacks of any video source using supplied standard RCA cables. Users initiate the recording function using a supplied remote.
When the recording is complete, the memory card can be removed from the Recorder 2 and placed into the PSP for playback.
Neuros said the recorder can be programmed for timed recording just like a VCR.
Some DVDs can be copied, Neuros said, by connecting to the analog output of a DVD player.
“Neuros stands for openness and protecting consumer's fair use rights,” said Joe Born, Neuros' CEO. “While the industry giants tussle over which proprietary, locked-down piece of malware will emerge as the best way to squeeze every last nickel out of unsuspecting customers, Neuros is working to make sure your content is open and plays everywhere without hassle.”
The MPEG-4 files produced by the Recorder 2 can be played back directly on many portable devices accepting Memory Stick or CF memory cards, the company said. Recordings can also be played back on players using other flash memory formats with an adapter.
The pocket-sized recorder offers three resolution settings: VGA (640 by 480) for playback on TV; QVGA (320 by 240) for high-compression playback on most handhelds; and WQVGA (368 by 208) for playback on PSPs; and four recording quality settings: superfine, fine, normal and long play.
It uses Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) format for high-quality stereo sound.
The unit's firmware can be upgraded for expanded functionality in the future.
It also ships with “The Core Pocket Media Player,” an open-source media player for Palm OS-based and Windows CE / Windows Mobile-based devices.
Neuros said it is distributing the MPEG-4 recorder through selected e-tailers in North America and from its Web site.
Distribution through brick-and-mortar accounts is planned for the “middle of next year,” the company said.
Neuros will meet with key accounts offsite at International CES next month, when it will also announce an “open source” version of its model 442 portable media player/recorder.
“Developers in the field are welcomed to hack the device, and we support them in their efforts,” said Kathryn Born, a Neuros spokesperson, adding the open source model will carry the same $399.99 retail price as the current 442. “Our internal developers will be creating new firmware (which means more functionality and features) in addition to countless developers in the field.”
She said the best of the hackers' enhancements will be incorporated into the product's regular firmware.
“It's like Linux, where developers will be able to jump in and customize their device to best suit their needs. Unlike everyone else, we encourage this, rather than threaten legal action,” she said.
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