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Sony Unveils 5th-Gen DVDirect Burner

New York — Sony will ship in August the fifth generation product in its popular DVDirect DVD recorder category, which for the first time adds the ability to store high-definition (AVCHD) videos taken with consumer HD camcorders to standard recordable DVD discs.

The latest model, VRD-MC5 ($229 suggested retail) is a DVD drive that is designed to make fast dubs from virtually any video source to DVDs without the need to connect a PC or run special software. The drive features DV-format IEEE-1394 iLink (without support for DTCP protected video) and USB 2.0 inputs to accept direct files, or composite video and S-video inputs for analog video recordings.

The device also adds an assortment of flash-memory card drives including MemoryStick Pro, MemoryStick Pro Duo, Compact Flash, xD and SD/SDHC, to record motion and still image files.

The drive is designed to work with virtually any video source, regardless of brand, although the USB 2.0 input is only designed to work with Sony Digital Handycams allowing control integration between the recorder and source device.

Different implementations of USB 2.0 by various camcorder brands made it difficult to offer the same level of interoperability with non-Sony products, the company said.

When recording from standard definition or AVCHD Sony hard drive or Memory Stick Handycam camcorders to DVDs, users have the option to record all the contents, only new content captured since the last DVD burn, or to utilize the scene selection/date/selection/playlist recording modes.

High-definition video recordings are made in 1080i/H.264 format to DVDs that can be played back on compatible Blu-ray Disc players and drives. The drive will also make recordings over the iLink input from other HD camcorder formats including HDV (tape), and other AVCHD applications.

Robert DeMoulin, Sony Electronics’ IT products division branded storage products marketing manager, said the VRD-MC5 will typically be found in the camcorder department of most consumer electronics retail stores, although earlier generation models have been placed in the IT departments of some stores, as well.

The new recorder has been restyled with a built-in 2.5-inch color LCD screen for previewing video or up to six digital photos at a time without the need to attach a monitor. The unit offers automatic DVD menu and title creation using four preset menu backgrounds along with the ability to import JPEG images to serve as the DVD menu background.

The VRD-MC5 will burn up to six hours of standard-definition video, or up to 2,000 digital still pictures, or up to 95 minutes of AVCHD video to a single DVD+R/RW or DVD-R/RW disc. Up to 12 hours of SD video can be stored on a double-layer 8.5GB disc.

In high-def work, the drive maintains Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound as well as 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios with compatible camcorders.