favorite TV shows on the road by selecting a notebook that has the capability of recording TV programs the way a digital video recorder does. Record
shows and watch them later when it’s convenient.
Capture, edit and share life. Downloading digital photos and video to a
computer is as easy as popping a memory card into a slot or connecting a
cable. Again, flexibility is important; you want a notebook that has plenty of
hard disk space and port options for connecting your camcorders, such as
USB and i.LINK/Fire Wire ports for digital video transfer. Photo and imaging
software bundled with the notebook PC makes it easy to find, edit, share and
print photos. Create virtual photo albums for viewing on your notebook PC
or burn DVDs to share with family and friends.
On the video side, look for bundled video editing tools that help you capture and edit your home movies to make a Hollywood-style DVD. If you are
into chatting and sharing video mail with family and friends, look for a notebook PC with a built-in camera and microphone that integrate with the free
AOL AIM service. And finally, verify that the notebook PC is compatible with
the Windows Vista operating system.
Style. Style is subjective, which is why you need to pick a notebook that
reflects you and not you and a million other folks. Many notebooks on the
market are bulky, heavy and on the clunky side. Remember, mobility is the primary reason people buy notebooks. They’re looking for portability and functionality, but definitely not a trip to the chiropractor. Look for a notebook that
is thin, light and performs. If you can personalize your notebook to reflect
your sense of style, then you’re adding beauty to substance. A
Transfer video and digital
pictures to DVD—without a PC
Home movies and digital pictures have
a tendency to end up languishing on tapes
or memory cards, but now you can unlock
new levels of home video enjoyment with a
growing category of DVD burners that can
be used in place of a computer to transfer
video or digital photos to DVD directly.
These new devices have video and
audio ports on the side for directly connecting to camcorders, VCRs, even digital video
recorders (DVRs), and a little built-in screen
to preview the video being transferred.
The DVD recorder works rather
like a tape recorder: You press “Play” on the
camcorder/VCR/DVR and the video appears
on the DVD recorder’s screen. When you’re
at the piece of video you want to record, you
press the red “Record” button and, presto,
you are burning a DVD. When you’re done
recording, press the “Stop” button; a chapter
will be created on the DVD. Recording
occurs in real time, so five minutes of video
on tape takes five minutes to record to DVD.
You can repeat the process as often as you
want until the DVD is full or you have captured all the video you want. The finished
DVD will play in regular home DVD players.
Look for a DVD recorder that accepts
the five most common digital camera memory cards—Memory Stick Duo, Memory
Stick, Secure Digital (SD), xD Picture Card
and Compact Flash [see page 152]—and
you can transfer and record all the pictures
from a memory card to a DVD just by
pressing the “Record” button on the DVD
recorder. At the end, you can choose to
have the pictures on the DVD as files or you
can create a DVD slide show that will play
on a home DVD player.
A DVD recorder can even connect with
the new hard-disk-based camcorders (see
page 132), which store video on an internal
hard drive instead of a tape. Connect the
camcorder to the DVD recorder via USB
cable and, with a single button push, all the
video can be transferred to DVD at up to six
times the real-time speed (say, an hour of
video in about 10 minutes).