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Sony VRD-MC3

DVDirect® multi-function DVD recorder

Item # 158VRDMC3

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Our take on the Sony VRD-MC3

The Sony VRD-MC3 lets you transfer home video and digital photos to DVD quickly and easily — without using a computer. Simply connect a camcorder, VCR, or other source to make real-time video recordings on durable DVD discs. And if you have a Sony Handycam® hard disk drive camcorder, you can create DVD recordings of your home movies at up to 6X speed.

The Sony VRD-MC3 lets you transfer home video and digital photos to DVD quickly and easily — without using a computer. Simply connect a camcorder, VCR, or other source to make real-time video recordings on durable DVD discs. And if you have a Sony Handycam® hard disk drive camcorder, you can create DVD recordings of your home movies at up to 6X speed.

A memory card slot makes it a snap to transfer your digital photos to DVD for permanent storage. Preview your photos and videos using the built-in 2-1/2" LCD screen, and capture only those scenes you like. You can even connect the 'MC3 to a PictBridge-compatible printer to print photos stored on DVDs or memory cards. Or, connect the versatile 'MC3 to your computer for use as an external DVD/CD burner.

    Product Highlights:

    • records from Sony hard disk drive Handycam camcorders at up to 6X speed
    • records to the following types of discs:
      • DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, and DVD+RW (DV or analog source)
      • DVD-R & DVD-RW, DVD+R (USB source)
      • DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW (when used as an external PC burner)
    • plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, and DVD+R & DVD+RW
    • plays CD, CD-R & CD-RW, CD-ROM
    • records digital photos to DVD from Memory Stick®, Memory Stick Duo™, SD™ Memory Card, xD Picture Card™, and CompactFlash® memory cards
    • 2.5" LCD screen for previewing digital photos and video
    • connects to PictBridge-compatible printers for printing digital photos stored on DVD
    • high-speed USB interface
    • i.LINK (IEEE1394) input for camcorder connection only
    • 1 set of audio/video inputs (composite video, S-video)
    • 9-5/8"W x 2-5/8"H x 8-3/4"D
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
    Supplied Accessories:
    • AC adapter
    • USB cable
    • Nero® 7 Essentials software CD-ROM
    Requirements for PC use:
    • Pentium® III 800MHz (minimum), Pentium 4 2.0GHz or faster CPU recommended
    • Windows® 2000 (SP4), Windows XP Home or Professional (SP2)
    • 256MB RAM (minimum), 512MB recommended
    • 1GB (minimum), 10GB free hard drive space recommended

    What's in the Box:

    • Mult-Function DVD recorder
    • MPA-AC1 AC adapter with attached 4' DC cord
    • 31" AC cord
    • 6.5' Type-A to Type-B USB cable
    • Sony Software CD-Rom Rv. 7.42W
    • Operating Instructions
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Warranty Registration card
    • 2 DVDmail DVD mailing envelopes
    • "www.sonystyle.mail" card

    Hands-on research

    Product Research


    Overview: The Sony DVDirect VRD-MC3 allows both video and digital photos to be recorded to DVD without requiring a PC. The VRD-MC3 features audio/video inputs on one side for direct connection of a camcorder, VCR, or DVR for easy direct recording of video to DVD. On the other side, the VRD-MC3 also incorporates memory card slots for the 5 most popular camera memory cards and will directly record images from the memory card to DVD as a slideshow or just for photo storage. The unit's 2.5" color LCD screen makes it easy to preview video or view up to 4 digital pictures at a time. Enhanced connection to Sony HDD Handycam camcorders through the unit's USB port allows all the video on the Handycam to be recorded to DVD (full mode), or only new video shot since the last DVD burn (incremental mode) at up to 6x speed. The VRD-MC3 supports 16:9 Wide Aspect and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, taking full advantage of today's advanced camcorders. You can also connect the VRD-MC3 to your Windows XP or 2000 PC through the unit's USB port and make copies of your home video DVDs via the supplied CD-ROM with Nero software.

    Auto Setup Navigation:The Sony DVDirect VRD-MC3 automatically detect inserted memory cards and disc and input signals from connected devices. It then displays a message prompting the next necessary operation while preparations for recording are made without any complicated button operation.

    2.5" Color LCD: The Sony VRD-MC3 features a large 2.5" color LCD screen for displaying menu options and for previewing photos or video that have been recorded by the unit or photos stored on and inserted memory card. You can view up to 4 digital pictures a one time.

    Compatible DVD Discs: The DVDirect recorder is cable of recording up to 2,000 digital pictures in JPEG format or up to 12 hours of video in MPEG-2 format onto a DVD-video disc. The recorder supports DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW and DVD+ DL discs as a stand alone unit.

    Audio/Video Recording Inputs: The VRD-MC features the following A/V inputs on the left hand side of the unit.

    • USB: Type-A USB connector for connection of your HDD or DVD camcorder.
    • DV: 4-pin iLink connector for connection of a digital video camera.
    • S-Video: S-video connector for connection of a video camera or Super VHS player.
    • Composite Video:Composite RCA video connector for connection to a video device such as a video camera or VCR.
    • Analog Stereo:Left and Right audio RCA connectors for connection of a video camera or VCR.

    Note: Cables not supplied

    Memory Stick Slots: The DVDirect unit features the following memory card slots on the right hand side of the unit.

    • Memory Stick Duo Slot: Used for Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Duo Pro cards.
    • Multi-Card Slot:Used for Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, SD and xD picture cards.
    • CF Slot: Used for Compact Flash memory cards.

    Recording Quality: The Sony VRD-MC3 features five record quality settings to use when creating a video DVD. This setting only applies to Full Recording and Normal Video Recording modes.

    • High Quality (HQ): Single layer (1 hour), Dual layer (2 hours)
    • High/Standard Quality (HSP): Single layer (1.5 hours), Dual layer (3 hours)
    • Standard Quality (SP): Single layer (2 hours), Dual layer (4 hours)
    • Low Quality (LP):Single layer (3 hours), Dual layer (6 hours)
    • Standard/Low Quality: Single layer (6 hours), Dual layer (12 hours)

    Types of  Recording:The Sony VRD-MC3 features seven types of recordings for creating video and photo DVDs.

    • DVD Video Burn: This mode allows you to record video from an HDD camcorder onto a disc by simply pressing the DVD BURN button on the camera or Handycam Station.
    • Full Video Recording: This mode allows you to record video onto a DVD from a digital video camera connected to the DVDirect with a single tough of the Record button. The entire video content of the source will be recorded. The VRD-MC3 controls the camera during the entire process and completes creating of the video DVD. The completed DVD is automatically finalized, allowing immediate playback on DVD players.
    • Incremental Video Recording: This mode allows you to record the content of an HDD camcorder connected via a USB cable onto a disc. Using this mode, you can record only the newly taken contents of a camera whose previous contents have already been recorded onto a disc.
    • Consolidation Video Recording: This mode allows you to record the contents of multiple 8-cm discs from a DVD camcorder onto the corresponding number of 12-cm discs.
    • Normal Video Recording: This mode allows you to create a video DVD using the Record button on the DVDirect unit and the play, pause and stop buttons on the device connected to the DVDirect. You can record from any video device with a video output connector.
    • All Photo Recording:This method allows you to select at once all of the photos (taken with a digital camera) stored on a memory card or all the photos on the hard disk of an HDD camcorder and record them onto a DVD with one touch of a button. You can record up to 2,000 photos.
    • Photo Select Recording: This method allows you to select only the photos (taken with a digital camera) that you want to record from a memory card and record them onto a disc.

    Note: Still images taken with a DVD camcorder and stored on an 8-cm disc cannot be recorded onto a disc with the DVDirect. Also, when recording still images from an HDD camcorder onto a disc, only the still images stores in the camera are available for recording. In addition, you cannot record both the video and still images stored in the camera onto a disc at the same time.

    Types of Photo DVDs: The following types of photo DVD can be created with the DVDirect.

    • Photo Backup: This mode allows you to store photos (JPEG files) taken with a digital camera or HDD camcorder on a DVD disc. You can view the photo backup DVD created with the DVDirect in the display window or view it using the DVD drive of a computer.
    • Photo Slideshow:This mode allows you to view the recorded photos as a slideshow. The DVDirect creates a new chapter every 10 photos. You can play the slideshow DVD with commercial DVD players and even include background music using the unit's preset background music setting (off, Relaxation, POP or Whistle).

    USB Speed: In addition to real-time recording, when recording from an HDD or DVD camcorder connected via a USB cable, the length of time required for recording depends on the Record Mode setting used to shoot the video and the number of scenes the video contains. The chart below provides a general estimate of time required to record a 1-hour video containing one scene on a disc.

    Camcorder Type/Recording ModeHDD CamcorderDVD Camcorder
    HQ Modeapprox. 30 minutes (1/2 of video playback)approx. 60 minutes (almost equal to video playback)
    SP Modeapprox. 20 minutes (1/3 of video playback)approx. 40 minutes (2/3 of video playback)
    LP Modeapprox. 10 minutes (1/6 of video playback)approx. 20 minutes (1/3 of video playback)

    Computer Controlled Operation: The DVDirect can be used as a high speed DVD/CD drive with Hi-speed USB 2.0 interface when connected to a computer via the supplied USB cable. The DVDirect supports high speed recording to the following disc formats and high speed reading of the following the discs.

    • Max Read Speeds: DVD-Video (6x), CD-DA (8x), DVD-ROM (16x), CD-ROM (40x)
    • Max Write Speeds:DVD-RW (6x), DVD+RW, DVD+/-R DL (8x), DVD+/-R (16x), CD-RW (24x), CD-R (40x)

    Auto Stop Timer: You can select a preset time used to stop recording automatically when creating a video DVD. You can choose from off, 30min, 60min, 90min, 2hr, 3hr, 4hr, 6hr, or 8hr. This setting only applies to Full Recording and normal Video Recording modes.

    Aspect Ratio: The Sony VRD-MC3 can record in either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio to match your recorded source and playback display.

    Dolby Digital Compatible: The VRD-MC3 can record Dolby Digital 2-channel or 5.1 channels surround from Dolby Digital supported camcorders.

    Titles And Chapters: When you create a video DVD with the DVDirect, titles and chapters are created as follows.

    • Normal Video or DV Recording: Titles are created between the points where you start and stop a recording on the DVDirect. Chapters are created according to the Auto Chaptering setting (off or every 5, 10, or 15 minutes).
    • HDD or DVD USB Recording: Titles are created at points in the video where the date recorded, REC mode (HQ, SP, LP), or aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:) are changed. Chapters are created for each scene taken with the HDD or DVD camcorder (scenes are created each time recording is started and then stopped).

    Note: Up to 49 titles per disc and 99 chapter per title can be created.

    DVD Menus: The DVDirect will record a DVD menu at the beginning of disc recorded. The DVD menu is displayed each time a DVD is inserted into a DVD player and serves as a title page or table of contents for the video DVD. You can create DVDs that display thumbnail images of titles in their menu screen. You can select from four different menu styles (1-4) when creating video DVDs.

    Color System: The Sony DVDirect supports both NTSC and PAL color systems. You can select which one to use in the unit's menu.

    Mutli-Language Display:The DVD recorder features 10 different language displays to choose from, including English, French and Spanish.

    Pictbrigde Compatible:You can direct print from the VRD-MC3 when connected to a Pictbridge compatible photo printer using the supplied USB cable. You can directly print from a memory card or photo DVD inserted in the DVDirect recorder.

    Windows Compatible:The supplied CD-ROM's bundled Nero software allows you to create or play back CDs and DVDs on your Windows PC from the DVDirect via an USB connection. You will need the following system requirements.

    • OS: Windows 2000 SP4 or Windows XP Home/Professional SP2
    • CPU: Pentium III, 800 MHz or higher (Pentium 4, 2 GHz or higher recommended)
    • RAM: 256 MB (512 MB or more recommended)
    • Hard Disk: 1 GB (10 GB for DVD creation) free hard disk pace or more recommended
    • Connection: Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0 compliant) port

    Our Product Research Team

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