There are a number of external DVD rewriters available. Rather than having to delve around inside your PC, this type of drive plugs straight into a USB 2 port. Where LG’s new take on this product range differs is in its ability to act as a digital video recorder.
Housed in a custom designed silver case, though with an annoyingly separate block power supply, the drive will act quite happily as a high performance rewriter and recorder, offering 16x DVD+R and DVD-R, as well as 8x DVD+RW and 6x DVD-RW. It’ll handle dual-layer recording at a maximum of 8x as well.
More than this, though, the snappily-named GSA-5169D has four extra sockets at the back and a second button at the front, opposite the ubiquitous eject button. The sockets enable connection of S-Video and composite video sources and stereo audio, and the extra button invokes ‘One Touch Recording’.
This works with a software application, supplied with the drive, and any PC with a reasonable spec. The specification of the partner PC governs the size of the DVD picture that’s recorded, from 352×288 pixels for a Pentium 4 or equivalent around 1.5GHz, to 720×576 for a processor above 2.5GHz.
The recording process may be one-touch, but it’s also two-step. The software first records from your camcorder or VCR to hard drive – you’ll need between 10GB and 16GB free – and then copies from hard drive to recordable or rewriteable DVD.
If you want to be a bit more creative with your video than OneTouch allows, LG thoughtfully supplies Cyberlink’s PowerProducer 2 Gold, as well as PowerDVD for playback and Nero and InCD for DVD and CD recording.
While PowerProducer isn’t a DVD editing program in the sense of Pinnacle Studio or VideoStudio, you can perform basic tasks like importing separate clips, trimming them, reordering them and adding a soundtrack.
As an external PC drive, the GSA-5169D handles all the current formats for saving data, from CD-R up to DL DVD+RW, at the highest data rates currently available. So what this product amounts to is a high-spec external DVD rewriter and a video patch panel in the same case.
The extra facilities of the GSA-5169D are useful, but it’s a shame it still has to be tied to a PC to record video. How much more useful would it be if you could simply connect a video source – TV, VCR or camcorder – and record direct to DVD? Something more like a consumer DVD recorder, but with a USB 2 connector, so you could export recordings to a PC for editing.
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