ION USB VCR - Last Chance To "Be Kind & Rewind"
ION may be familiar to our readers for their turntables and cassette decks that also feature a USB connection to your computer. The ION VCR 2 PC ($249) includes simplified video editing software that can convert your home videos to DVD, iPod, PSP and even phone video formats. The deck is available in both NTSC and PAL, and includes front panel jacks for hooking up other video sources.
It seems like the world changed over from VHS to DVD in less time than it takes to rewind and eject a tape. I've been trying to think of any forgotten features that VHS has over DVD. Of course it's recordable, but only at half of broadcast resolution. The blank media is cheap, but not as cheap as 20 cent blank DVD's. The only thing I've been able to think of is that a VHS tape stays where you last left it, handy for pre-cueing a pile of videos - which I doubt that anyone does anyway.
One thing that VHS has is a tremendous history of home recordings. Given that VHS was the only way to record television for most people for 30 years, there are some videos out there that are irreplaceable. VHS tapes degrade over time, so there are piles of video home movies, and even some commercial titles that aren't released on DVD that are worth preserving. ION has created the first VHS deck with a USB video output for doing just that.
I've done a lot of archiving of my own video work and early camcorder experiments, but it's always been a hassle. A bundled system like this could make backing up those old videos easy and maybe even a little fun, though at nearly $200 it is a pretty expensive setup. I'd also like to see what the software offers as far as color correction, audio enhancements and other fixes for aging analog video. I don't know what ION is going to USB enable next - I'm waiting for the Betamax and 1/4" audio reel models.