Apple and the television networks would like you to pay $2 an episode to watch TV shows on your iPod. Sony and Hollywood expect you to pay $20 each for movies you can watch on your PSP. Neuros anticipates you’ll spend $150 for their MPEG-4 Video Recorder 2, so you can tell Apple, Sony, the networks, and Hollywood to pound sand.
The MPEG-4 Video Recorder 2 is an ingenious little device (we’ll refer to it as the MVR2 from now on). Plug in an A/V source, press a button on the remote and it automatically encodes the signal to MPEG-4 and stores it on either CompactFlash or Memory Stick Duo media. Plug the Memory Stick into Sony’s PSP and it’ll play video just like Sony’s UMD discs. Playing these videos on an iPod (or just about any other handheld video player) requires a quick trip through a flash memory reader-equipped PC.
The MVR2 would be much less interesting if you had to manually start and stop each recording session, so Neuros built a simple user interface into it (displayed on your TV, since the device has no screen of its own). The intuitive UI is very easy to navigate using its credit card-size remote.
You can automatically stop recording after one, two, or three hours, or as soon as the incoming signal ends. The software for recording TV programs is slightly more thorough: You can establish up to six programs, each with specific start dates and start/end times; then you can instruct the device to record whatever is broadcast in these windows just once, every day, or every week. The device can’t control your TV tuner, of course, so you’ll need a DVR or VCR for that.
The resulting video quality is quite good, rendering this a useful gadget for folks hooked on watching video on the small screen. If you could save programs to cheaper external USB drives rather than the expensive flash formats, this would be a much more compelling product.