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Gadget of the Week 3-31-09

March 31, 2009 - Dave Hecei
Elgato has done it again. The makers of some of the best video hardware and software has taken the amazing Turbo.264 USB converter and added HD. The new Elgato Turbo.264 HD can take almost any type of video and quickly convert it to a format that works on iPhones, iPods, AppleTV, Sony PSP, and of course any computer running Quicktime. Along with the ability to convert formats the Turbo.264 HD greatly improves the speed of importing AVCHD video.

The new Turbo.264 HD is a must have for anyone with a Mac who shoots video with one of the new AVCHD digital video camcorders. AVCHD is a newer High Definition format used on video cameras that record to hard drive or flash memory cards.

The new iMovie 08 and 09 can edit AVCHD video, but getting this video into the Mac takes much longer than it should. AVCHD video, in its native form, is not ideally suited for editing. When you import AVCHD video, iMovie has to convert it to an intermediate format for the Mac to work on. This process can double or triple editing time (an example - 15 minutes of video can take almost an hour to import and edit).

The Turbo.264 HD just plugs into any open USB 2.0 port. Now attach your AVCHD camera, or put the memory card in your card reader, as you normally do. Using the Elgato software you can import AVCHD clips or even do basic editing of any clip. With the Turbo.264 HD, importing is near real-time. That 15 minute clip should take about 15 minutes to import.

The Turbo.264 HD is not just for importing video. Just like the original Turbo.264, the HD version can export finished video. With the popularity of the iPhone/iPod Touch, and even the AppleTV, the Turbo.264 HD can save you time. With an Intel based iMac it may take up to 3 hours to convert a 1 hour video to the H.264 Quicktime format. With the Turbo.264 HD the same video should take about an hour.

The Turbo.264 HD is ideal for those using their Mac as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). The Turbo.264 HD works seamlessly with Elgato’s TV tuners, like the eyeTV Hybrid or the eyeTV 250 plus. These TV tuners can be used to watch you favorite TV shows, in Standard or High Def, on your Mac. They can also be used to record TV to your Mac’s hard drive (for HD you need an Intel Core2Duo processor) essentially replacing your VCR.

By using one of these TV tuners, you can set your Mac up to automatically record your favorite TV show, convert it, and place it in iTunes ready for you to sync with your iPhone/iPod.

If you have one of Elgato's TV tuners or you have an AVCHD camcorder, then the Turbo.264 HD is a must have 'Gadget of the Week'.


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