DVD burner won't tie up system resources

If your agency or department needs to burn DVDs on a regular basis, you'll want to consider Pioneer Electronics Inc.'s new PRV-LX1, the first professional-level DVD burner we've seen.

There are obvious advantages to the PRV-LX1. First, because the unit includes its own processor, hard drive and Linux operating system, you won't be tying up resources on your other production computers.

Secondly, the PRV-LX1 supports a wide variety of video inputs. In addition to the Super-Video and RCA inputs found on consumer-level DVD burners, the PRV-LX1 includes a FireWire input and component and XLR audio inputs. SDI and AESBU digital input are some of the other available additions.

The box is ruggedly constructed and offers ports for video output and mouse and keyboard input. You can burn input video directly to the DVD drive. You can also choose to add a second DVD burner, which makes copying DVDs very easy, although the drives will not copy copy-protected commercial DVDs. Another option is to save video input to the PRV-LX1's 120G hard drive. If you do the latter, you can employ the unit's sparse collection of editing tools prior to burning discs.

We found the video quality of the PRV-LX1 to be very good, particularly for a single-pass VBR encoder. The bit rate can be set from 1.4 megabits/sec up to 9.6 megabits/sec.

There are a few drawbacks we encountered with the PRV-LX1. We found the interface to be nonintuitive and tedious for some operations. The unit also requires a live feed in order to record. Although the device has a network interface, the operating system does not support downloading already existing video files across the network and burning them on the PRV-LX1.

The PRV-LX1 has a list price of $3,995, with the optional second DVD-R/RW drive costing an additional $495.

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