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Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 Plus

Wed Oct 4, 2006 - 1:27 PM EDT - By Harv Laser

Features and Quirks

Plan ahead with Timer Controls

Unlike a PVR like TiVO, the Neuros does not use a phone line and does not display a schedule. If you want to set up timers to grab future TV shows and movies, you program your SOURCE, such as your digital cable box to switch to some channel at some time and then program the Neuros' timers to start and stop recording(s) at those same times manually, with its remote, similar to the way you'd set timers to record on a regular VHS VCR. The Neuros has six timers and a screen to set them.

If you're just channel surfing and want to instantly record something you're watching, just mash the remote's red record button and it instantly starts recording. Press it again to stop recording and close the file. The red LED on its case tells you it's in record mode as does an indicator on screen which displays a timer and how much space you have left on the memory card you're recording to.

So you can set up timers ahead, up to six of them, or you can record instantly, on demand, any time you want.

Bonus features

The main reason to buy a Neuros is video recording, but it has some secondary features I'd call free bonuses:

  • copy MP3 music or JPEG images from your computer to a card, shove the card back into the Neuros and it will play and display those files, although it will not record them, just play them back.
  • It can copy files from a card in one of its slots to a card in its other slot if you have two cards in it.

Eventually, your card(s) will fill up. You can easily erase any recordings while a card is in the Neuros, but there's no "undo" so copy a video off a card to your computer if you want to archive and save it before you delete it off the card.

Quirks and fixes

The Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 Plus is one of my all-time favorite high tech toys. I use it daily, and at its price, for all these features, it's really a steal. But it's not a perfect product. What is?

It has some quirks that I've discussed at length with Neuros' Product Manager. The beauty of flash-upgradeable firmware is, that like the Treo itself, all these little problems are easily fixable and Neuros has already put a firmware upgrade or two on their fabulous Web site, with more to come in the future, so you don't have to throw it away and buy a newer model to get bug fixes and improved features.

After using the Neuros for a couple months, here are the things I'd like to see changed (and I've been promised they will be)..

  • A video recording is limited to two hours, actually 1:59:59. If you are recoding a three hour long movie, and set up a timer to do so, at exactly 1:59:59 the Neuros will stop recording, close the file, then after a 10-20 second delay, automatically open and start recording a second file, so any show or movie that is longer than 1:59:59 ends up as more than one file with a 10-20 second gap missing where it closed the first file and started the second file (it does this automatically)..
  • There are too many steps and button presses required to program its timers. They need to make this simpler. -With a VCR, when you've used a timer to record a show, afterwards the VCR timer clears itself, but on the Neuros, the timer doesn't go away or zero out, so if you record a show today, even after the recording is finished and you look at its interface tomorrow or next week, today's timer is still there. They should fix this so it's more VCR-like and a timer goes away after use.
  • The Neuros has no built-in video Editing features at all. Once it's recorded a video, it can play it, or erase it or copy, but that's it.
  • Every feature of the Neuros is controlled with its remote. As I mentioned, the Neuros It has NO buttons of any kind on it. Lose or break the remote and you can't use it all. I think they should put some controls ON the unit itself, like a VCR has some basic controls on it. When you purchase a Neuros I'd recommend you also pick up a spare remote. At about $15.00, it's cheap insurance should the dog eat yours.
  • The Neuros also has NO display on its body like a VCR does. No clock, no "timer is on" indicator, no settings or speed indicator, nothing. All of its features and controls display on your TV screen. The casework is so tiny, there really isn't any room for a display on its face, so this could be a pointless quibble.
  • The GUI is a little strange (it was coded in China where the Neuros is made, and I'm told an new version coded in the USA is in the works..) and could use some simplification and better visual indicators and text labels. Again, this can all be fixed with a firmware upgrade.
  • The timers all use a 24 hour clock. VCRs and cable TV boxes typically use a 12 hour clock with AM/PM indicators. I've suggested to Neuros that they do the same. Unless you're in the military, it's hard to instantly think "9:15pm, oh that's 21:15:00." or "a quarter after midnight is "00:15:00."
  • Perhaps most bothersome of all: while recording, there is NO PAUSE CONTROL like a VCR so no way to stop recording during a commercial and then start it again. Any time you hit the record button you either start a new recording or stop the current one and close the file. They should fix this so you can pause during a recording like you can during a playback.

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Product Info
> Name Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 Plus
> Company Neuros
> Tested with Treo 650
> Tested with Treo 700p
> Tested with Treo 700wx
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $139.95

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