View Full Version : Review: Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2

May 1st, 2006, 22:41
Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2
Manufacturer: Neuros Technology
Site: Buy from Neuros Technology (http://www.neurostechnology.com)
Price: $149.99

Overview : The Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder is a digital VCR for the portable video age. If you own a Video iPod™ or Sony PSP™, the Recorder 2 is a must-have! Instead of buying proprietary UMD discs at $20 each or downloading TV shows for a fee from a limited catalog, you can now create open digital video files from all the content you already own. You can watch content whenever and wherever you want on your Video iPod™ or Sony PSP™.

Watch commercial here (http://www.neurostechnology.com/press/files/neuros.mpg)

Features :

Record effortlessly from any video source (TV Cable box, Satellite Receiver Box, PVRs or DVRs Like TiVoTM, DVD players, VCR, Camcorders).
Simple setup that works without a PC and operates like a VCR.
MPEG-4 video format allows you to view content directly on your PSP™,Video iPod™ or any other device that accepts Memory Stick DUO/PRO DUO or Compact Flash (CF) memory cards (not included).
The MPEG-4 format is also compatible with most other portable media devices such as the Neuros 442.
A great way to digitize your home movies for archiving, emailing, or playback on portables and laptops.
Can play back from Recorder 2 through TVs and home theatres. Pocket-sized device is small enough to use as a portable VCR.
Three resolution Settings: VGA (640 x 480) for near-DVD quality playback on TV; QVGA (320 x 240) for high-compression playback on most handhelds like the Video iPod™ and Sony PSP™; and WQVGA (368 x 208) optimized for playback of wide screen movies on the Sony PSP™.
Four recording quality settings: Superfine, Fine, Normal, and Economy.
Uses Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) format for high-quality stereo sound.
Upgradeable firmware from www.neurostechnology.com for future expanded functionality.

Quality/Usability : The Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 looks similar to its predecessor. The difference would be a new user interface, new remote control and the support of the Memory Stick Duo. The recorder is very small and light (4.6 inches x 3.42 x .71 inches. 4.9 oz.). It has a shiny black finish on the top and bottom. The front of the recorder has the IR port for to communicate with the remote as well as the CF slot and MS Duo slot. Back of the recorder has the DC 5V plug and two AV plugs (IN and OUT).

The Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 can playback MP3, WMA audio files for music, QuickTime (MPEG-4 AAC-LC); and ASF and AVI (MPEG-4 MP3) files for video and JPEG, BMP, and GIF file for pictures.

Using the recorder is simple. Connect the DC 5V power supply. Connect a video source to the video IN (DVD player, VCR, TV, etc.). Connect the video OUT to the TV. Insert a storage card (CompactFlash or MS Duo - not included) and start recording your favorite shows.

The recorder uses three different resolutions: 320x240 (QVGA), 368x208 (WQVGA), and 640x480 (VGA). The recording format is MPEG-4 SP with AAC-LC audio at 30 frames per second. This file format is supported by the PlayStation Portable, the Apple iPod Video, and the Neuros 442 video players, and can also be played with the Apple QuickTime movie player on a PC or Apple computer.

There are four levels of recording quality for video: economic, normal, fine, and superfine. The higher the quality, the more storage space the video file will require. The QVGA and WQVGA formats can only record in economic or normal quality.

The menu itself on the recorder is pretty easy to navigate. Pictures are for pictures, music are for music...you get the point. Once you're ready to record, just hit the record button and it'll start. An on-screen display will also show on the TV but wont show on the recording. This display will tell you how much space and how much recording time has elapsed.

Once you have recorded, the videos can immediately be replayed on the TV or on the mobile device of your choice whether its the PSP or iPod Video.

Transferring the MS Duo to the PSP is simple. Just take out the MS Duo and place it into the PSP. For the iPod Video, its a bit more trickier. There is no USB port or anything to connect to the computer or to the iPod itself. This is where you'll probably have to spend a little extra unless you already have a CF card or MS Duo and a card reader. You'll have to transfer the recorded movie to either of the cards and than transfer them using a card reader to the computer. Once its on the computer, you'll have to plug your iPod Video to the computer and than transfer it. Neuros gave instructions as to how to transfer to the iPod but it seemed to take longer and more work.

The software CD that is included is The Core Pocket Media Player. It is designed for PalmOS, Windows Mobile and Windows CE. Unfortunately, I dont own or run either of them. From what I have read, it is missing the support for AAC audio format. This means that although the videos will be recorded, they may not be sound.

For the PSP

QVGA (320 x 240) MPEG4 + AAC-LC 30fps
368 x 208 (16:9) MPEG4 + AAC-LC 30fps
VGA (640 x 480) MPEG4 + AAC-LC 30fps

Video Decoder:

MPEG4 SP, MPEG1 Layer 3 (MP3). 30 fps at D1 resolution
DivX 3.11 @CIF resolution,4.x, 5.x 30 fps at D1 resolution
Quicktime 6; MPEG-4 AAC-LC stereo, MP4 format at D1 resolution

Audio Decoder:

Codec: G.726
MP3 decoding @ 30 - 320 kb/s CBR and VBR


Up to 16M pixels (4096 x 4096)

TV System:

Video Out format: NTSC, PAL

Typical Recording Times on a 1GB card
MPEG-4 video at 30fps @320 x 240 resolutions

143 minutes for normal (768k)
250 minutes for economic (384k)

MPEG-4 video at 30fps @ 368 x 208 resolutions

143 minutes for normal (768k)
250 minutes for economic (384k)

MPEG-4 video at 30fps @ 640 x 480 resolutions

60 minutes for super fine (2M)
111 minutes for fine (1M)
143 minutes for normal(768k)
250 minutes for economic (384k)

Whats in the box:

The Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2
DC 5V Power Supply
Remote Control
2 sets of Audio/Video cables
User Manual
Software CD

Conclusion : Overall, this is a great product. There are some cons though that should be implimented in the next version. The support of USB. The previous Neuro MPEG4 Recorder had USB support but was taken out on 2. This is a mistake especially for those who dont own a card reader or a CF card or MS Duo. Not only did they already pay $150 for the recorder but have to pay extra for a card and reader.

Currently when inserting the cards, you push it in and pull it out. What would be nice is a ejection feature where you push in and the card would eject out a little. This is just something I would like to see.

What would make this even better? An internal harddrive or storage. 5GB would be enough. This will allow additional storage for movies instead of having to record movies one by one. Supposedly, this is already in the works. Dont know the exact storage size or any other information regarding this.

Images via comments

May 4th, 2006, 12:58

Neuros Technology has issued a warning to owners of its MPEG-4 Recorder 2. If youíre using a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) in conjunction with the device, Neuros advises you not to upgrade to Sonyís recently-released firmware 2.7 update.

The MPEG-4 Recorder 2 records analog video straight to flash media, including Memory Stick Pro Duo cards used by the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). It can also work with video iPods and other portable media players.

Here is a copy of the email:

Dear Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder 2 Owners:

We want to make you aware of an issue that has recently popped up for use of the Neuros Recorder 2 on the Sony Playstation Portable.

Sony has recently offered a firmware upgrade for the PSP from Version 2.6 to Version 2.7. We donít think Sony did this on purpose, but, for now, PSPs with the upgraded firmware wonít play files recorded with the Recorder 2. A second result of this issue is that any files you may have recorded previously with the Recorder 2 would need to be converted to play on PSPs having the upgraded Version 2.7 firmware.

Until we solve this problem, we strongly recommend that, if you have not already done so, that you wait before upgrading your PSP firmware to Version 2.7.

We take this issue seriously and are taking three different approaches to solve it. We are: (i) working to create an upgrade to our own firmware so that files made with the Recorder 2 will play on the PSP. We anticipate that this will take a week or two to solve; and (ii) trying to make Sony aware of the problem so that we can work with them to create a firmware upgrade that does not have the problem. We donít yet know if Sony will cooperate with this but will keep pushing. (iii) we are working to provide a free solution to convert your old recordings to play on the new PSP firmware.

Thanks for your understanding while we get this figured out! Weíll keep you posted.

The Neuros Team

May 19th, 2006, 01:19
You can now download the updated firmware for your Neuros MPEG4 R2, here (http://www.neurostechnology.com/support/support_MPEG4_R2updates.asp).