Hands-on With Sony’s Computerless Blu-ray Disc/DVD Recorder

Sony debuted a new product in their line of direct disc burning devices at CES 2011. The new burner on the block is set for release this March for $300 and is named VBD-MA1. Its primary use is to save videos and photos onto a Blu-ray or DVD disc without a PC. It is compatible with Handycam, Cyber-shot, alpha, many non-Sony camcorders, and nearly all video tape devices (VHS, miniDV and Hi8). There are five quality modes that you can record in, allowing up to 19 hours and 20 minutes of HD video on one 50GB double layer BD disc.

It record on just about anything, with support for BD-R, BD-R DL, BD-R LTH, BD-RE, BD-RE DL, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW. There’s also a 2.7 inch color LCD screen which allows you to watch video or look at 6 photos at a time. You can even connect it to a PC via USB2.0 and use it as an external Blu-ray writer.

Sony boasts that titling, menus and chapters are easy to create. There is four preset menu designs, and the ability to program automatic chaptering every 5, 10 or 15 minutes.

Recording features include 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio support, Dolby Digital 2 channel, and the ability to record from a USB DV/Analog sources. There are also composite video, L/R audio, and 4-pin i.LINK connection (IEEE1394) inputs.

Memory card support is pretty standard on this burner, including the MemoryStick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo series and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.

There are several exceptions to this device worth nothing though, such as:

“AVCHD video cannot be previewed on the LCD. You cannot record High Definition and Standard Definition video onto the same disc. The USB connection not supported for non-Sony cameras and camcorders.”

Here are some additional angles of the VBD-MA1 and its settings menus:


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