July 10, 2008 The Sony VRDMC3 DVDirect DVD Recorder does just what its name suggests – it records to DVDs directly from other sources, and it does so without the need for a PC. The VRDMC3 can record from just about any source such as camcorders, DVDs or VCRs, thanks to the provided USB, Firewire, S-Video and composite inputs. In addition to video, still images can be copied directly from memory card to DVD as a slideshow or for photo storage by using the built-in 5-in-1 card reader. PictBridge compatibility allows the unit to interface directly with a printer and images can be previewed using the 2.5-inch colour LCD that sits on top of the unit. Once selections have been made they can be copied to disc using the large "record" located just below the screen.
The US$300 unit can also transfer High-Definition video in native 1080i resolution from Sony AVCHD HDD/MemoryStick Handycam camcorders to DVD in H.264 format. Five recording quality modes allow up to 12 hours of video to be recorded per disc with support for 4.7GB DVD+R/+RW and 8.5GB DVD+R Double Layer Discs as well as regular CDs. In computer-attached mode, the VRDMC3 can burn DVD+/-R discs at 16x, which "equates to about six minutes of recording time for about two hours of video" according to Sony, however burning speeds are halved to 8x when it's not connected to a PC. Like the recently reviewed USB VHS Converter, the Sony VRDMC3 DVDirect DVD Recorder is great for people looking to consolidate their family home movies, happy snaps and recorded TV shows of questionable legality onto one format with the range of connection options provided by the unit ensuring most bases are covered.