By Ed Tittel and Toby Digby
For those with sizable collections of older videos, the Sony DVDirect VRD-MC5 Multi-Function DVD Recorder might be a real Godsend. It provides hook-ups for camcorders, VCRs and DVRs of many makes and types, and makes it easy to transfer that content onto DVDs without requiring a PC to broker the connection.
This view of the Sony VRD-MC5 shows where the DVD goes into the media drawer, along audio and video inputs to the side, and a 2.5" LCD display on top.
We especially recommend this unit as a great choice for Dads or grads with lots of old videos they’d like to transfer to DVD. The VRD-MC5 handles camcorder inputs nicely (except for HD cameras not built by Sony), and is also great for grabbing VHS input from a VCR (though, alas, Sony does not provide a suitable cable for the left and right channel stereo audio and composite video channels needed to move signals from a VCR into this device). The unit’s controls let you start recording as soon as playback on the other unit begins and drive its actions once recording gets going. You can stop or start recording using the buttons beneath the LCD screen on the top deck, or use a timer to stop recording at any pre-selected time.
The VRS-MC5 includes inputs for USB (works only with HDD/DVD/MemoryStick Handycam camcorders) and Firewire for more modern camcorders, plus the composite video/audio connectors used for VCRs (and older camcorders). The unit also works with camcorders that support Sony’s propriety AVC HD format. It includes three memory card slots that can accommodate Memory Stick Duo, MS, SD, xD, and CompactFlash formats, and lets you view photos as thumbnails (six per screen) to choose which ones to burn onto DVD. There’s even a menu choice for burning a slide show DVD where you pick the images and the music, and the VRD-MC5 does the rest.
At prices that range from $190 to $230, this little unit offers lots of useful functionality. If you’ve got a grad or a Dad with oodles of old videos or recordings around they’d like to get on DVD, help them realize that wish by buying the compact, stylish VRD-MC5. For more information on this handy little unit, visit the Sony product page.