Pinnacle Video Transfer lets you copy a video source to any USB 2.0 mass storage device, without the need for a PC. But that's all it does.
Not everyone enjoys being presented with an old family video at get-togethers, particularly when everyone in the room has all eyes on the TV showing that 25 year old clip of you being potty trained.
However, by investing £100 on just such a problem, you can hook up your relatives' VCR through either S-Video or composite connections and encode VHS footage directly to a digital video iPod, PlayStation Portable (PSP) or other USB storage device - conveniently drawing the conversation away from the embarrassing scenes on the TV.
The Pinnacle Video Transfer unit lets you copy a video source to any USB 2.0 mass storage device, without the need for a PC.
Pinnacle Video Transfer automatically detects when it's plugged into a USB storage device and once it's receiving a video signal, its retro-style LEDs light up blue and you are ready to press Record to transfer the video.
Video quality can be set to 320x240 at 512 kilobits per second (Kbps), or up to 720x574 at 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) and the quality produced by the Pinnacle Video Transfer is excellent.
We even outputted a Sony Cybershot camera to a PSP and, in effect, built our own impromptu digital video camera with the PSP acting as an external storage device and widescreen viewer. The Pinnacle Video Transfer unit really couldn't be easier to use, but it's only for very specific uses.
You'll need access to a mains power supply, so despite the Pinnacle Video Transfer unit's size it isn't portable and you can't program it to record video at a set time from a set channel – so you'll have to be there when it records from your chosen source.
Pinnacle Video Transfer accepts stereo inputs, but you can't encode sound directly to MP3 so you can't use it to digitise your record collection even though that's something it could theoretically do without issues.
All Pinnacle Video Transfer does is encode and transfer analogue video and, as the manual says, you just 'Press and Go'. Laptop owners would be advised to add S-Video or digital TV input functionality to their computers at a cheaper price.
The Pinnacle Video Transfer is a cute unit that's elegant at transferring analogue video to a USB storage device but thoughts of recording late night TV before an early flight are fantasies because you'll have to be there, recording. You may as well record TV to a PC and encode later, while you shower in the morning.