Life often gets simpler if you skip the middleman. You could wrestle with cables and software to turn analog video into digital movies on the computer, but the Pinnacle Video Transfer device lets you skip the whole computer part and record the video directly onto an iPod or Sony PlayStation Portable. The box can also put the video files right onto a USB 2.0-equipped hard drive or flash drive. The Pinnacle Video Transfer can capture video from a TV, DVD player, VCR, camcorder or set-top digital recorder and convert it to files in the H.264 format. It will be available this month for about $130; technical details and a link for orders are available at pinnaclesys.com/pvt. The Pinnacle Video Transfer comes with its own RCA audio-video cables and a power adapter. The iPod connects with its own white USB cable. The device charges the iPod's battery during the recording process, so your portable player will not conk out after a long afternoon of converting VHS tapes or camcorder all-star moments.
If a friend's digital music collection leaves you with playlist envy, instant gratification is one step closer. MiShare lets music connoisseurs swap files between iPods on the fly. The device serves as a bridge between two iPods (though not the Shuffle or Touch models) and allows sharing of songs, videos and photos. It can transmit a 3-megabyte song in about 6 seconds, or a 60-megabyte album in under 2 minutes. Pushing a button copies the most recently played song; holding it down copies the whole playlist. But miShare doesn't eliminate the need to connect to a computer altogether. When you sync your iPod with iTunes, you are prompted to unlock any songs and videos that are protected by Apple's anticopying system by entering the original purchaser's user name and password. Unprotected songs are available for immediate playback (but sharing responsibly is always a good idea). The device is simple in form, but the manual is a must-read for the technologically timid.
NEW YORK TIMES