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Hagiwara Sys-Com Easy Recorder 2

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Easy Recorder 2 from Hagiwara Sys-Com

Easy Recorder 2

Hagiwara Sys-Com
Hagiwara Sys-Com's Easy Recorder 2 is a stand-alone recorder for recording video on to a Memory Stick Duo for direct playback on a PSP (or for transfer to a computer for watching on said computer or a Video iPod). For more details on what the Easy Recorder 2 is meant to do, read the Overview.

Plug-and-Play

The Easy Recorder 2 is touted on the box as an "easy-to-use stand alone digital MPEG4 video recorder." For the most part, this is true. Plug the AC adapter into the unit and into an outlet. Plug one end of the RCA cable into whatever device you want to record off of and the other end into the unit. Turn the Easy Recorder 2 on, pop in a memory stick, choose your recording mode, start your video playing and press "record/stop" on the recorder. Then wait the appropriate amount of time, press "record/stop" again, take out the memory stick, put it in your PSP, and watch what you've just recorded.

In practice, it wasn't quite that smooth, but then it wasn't hard either. If you can figure out how to plug in your DVD player and make it play videos in the first place, then you'll be fine.

For this review, rather than just attempting to give a bare-bones evaluation of the Easy Recorder 2, I'll describe my experiments with recording on it. I'm not a techo-guru by any means; I'm pretty much just an average reasonably intelligent person who likes electronic gadgets.

First Go: DVD

Easy Recorder 2 from Hagiwara Sys-Com

Easy Recorder 2

Hagiwara Sys-Com
For my first try at recording on the Easy Recorder 2, I decided to try a DVD. I used a 256MB Memory Stick and set the recorder at "Normal" record mode (the middle quality/compression setting), which ought to give me an hour of video. I selected a DVD (Hellsing volume 1 from Geneon) and put it in the DVD player.

Now, I'm sure there's a way to rig up the Easy Recorder 2 so that I could see what I was recording while I was recording it, but doing so isn't strictly necessary. You can set the recorder to sync with the video player and start recording when the player starts playing. Still, I like to see what I'm doing, so I plugged the DVD player into the TV, got the video playing and hit "pause" on the DVD player. Then I switched the AV cable from the TV to the Easy Recorder 2, unpaused the DVD and hit "record" on the recorder. Immediately, the three green LEDs that indicate the record mode started flashing but the "record" light did not light up. That wasn't right.

A quick panicky read through the User's Manual pamphlet told me that the flashing lights indicate that the source video can't record due to Macrovision copy protection. So, I selected a different DVD and tried again (The Twelve Kingdoms volume 4 from AnimeWorks). This time the recorder started recording. I left it to do its thing.

When the recorder had recorded as much as it could, I put the memory stick in my PSP and found I had an hour and ten minutes worth of anime at a pretty decent resolution.

Transfer

While I had some recorded video on the stick, I put it back in the recorder and plugged the Easy Recorder 2 into my Mac with the included USB cable. I tried transferring the video to my computer, which worked just fine using the old drag-and-drop method. The video looked good playing back on my computer, too, though it was of course very small.

For good measure, I tried deleting the video off the stick and transferring something else on which also went smoothly. It seemed to transfer at about the same speed as transferring between a PSP and computer directly (though I didn't actually time it).

Second Go: VCR

Easy Recorder 2 from Hagiwara Sys-Com

Easy Recorder 2

Hagiwara Sys-Com
For my next test, I decided to go primitive and see how well I could record off of a VHS video. Wouldn't you know it, but the first tape I chose (Castle of Cagliostro from Manga Video) was, like the first DVD I tried, copy protected with Macrovision. Sigh.

I tried again with a cheesy werewolf movie called Blood Moon (next to anime, my big weakness is werewolf movies). This time, I used the "syc" button to sync the Easy Recorder's recording with the tape playback. I pushed the "syc" button and the "record" button began to flash, indicating it was on standby. When I popped the tape into the VCR and it began to play, the Easy Recorder 2 switched to record mode automatically.

I let it run for a bit, then hit "stop" on the VCR, hoping that the Easy Recorder 2 would also stop recording, even though I wasn't actually using a timer on the VCR to play, which is what the recorder syncs with. The recorder kept on recording, so I stopped it manually. The resulting video was a reasonable quality, considering it came from a video tape and was recorded at the lowest quality setting on the Easy Recorder 2.

I decided to leave the testing at that, since I didn't feel up to pulling apart the entertainment center to get at the digital cable box connections. I briefly considered trying to run my PS2 cables into the recorder, too, to test the possibility of game clip capture, but if I can't see the game while recording, there isn't much point (maybe I'll come up with a way to make it work later).

Basically, the Easy Recorder 2 is a neat gadget that does what it says it does.

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