SanDisk device turns USB drives into VCRs

SanDisk has announced V-Mate, which turns a flash memory device into a portable video recorder.

It can record video from a TV, cable, satellite or over-the-air, set-top-box, DVD player, personal video recorder, like TiVo, or a VCR. The V-Mate memory card can then be inserted into a mobile phone, video music player, hand-held game console, or notebook computer and the video replayed.

Memory cards supported include SD, MMC, MMCplus MMCmobile, SDHC, MiniSDHC, MicroSDHC, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Matthijs Hutten, a SanDisk product marketing manager, said: "The number of mobile devices with a card slot and video playback capability is huge and growing rapidly. The V-Mate will make it easy for consumers to watch video on their devices by doing the analogue to digital conversion for them, compressing the video into MPEG-4 in multiple formats, and then creating the correct file format for the target mobile device -- all features unmatched by any product today in this price range."

A remote control and TV-based graphical user interface let users control settings, record and access content. At initial set-up users select their playback device (such as a mobile phone or handheld game) to ensure the recordings are playback compatible.

The video storage capacity depends upon the gigabyte capacity of the memory card and the video recording quality. It has a maximum recording resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Recording time is approximately 3.6 hours in a mobile phone (at bit rate of 544kbps) and 1.8 hours on a notebook computer (at bit rate of 1.056kbps).

Wes Brewer, SanDisk's consumer product marketing VP, said: "The V-Mate is an easy-to-use, affordable way for millions of people to use their mobile phones or other mobile devices to watch video content that resides primarily in the living room when they are away from home."

The V-Mate, being shown at the Berlin IFA Show, measures 5.1" x 2.6" x 0.8." There is a mini-USB connection and cable to connect to a personal computer. It is expected to be available in October 2006 and will sell for US$129.99 MSRP.

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