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Using the Wolverine ESP as an on the spot DVR
The Wolverine Data ESP is more than just a device for storing and uploading your digital camera photographs, or playing videos captured from a camcorder, cell phone or other device. With the optional cradle, the ESP sort of acts like a DVR, enabling you to schedule and capture video from a TV, in addition to charging the battery and viewing content. The Cradle makes it easier to keep the device ready to go at a moments notice, and it has that primitive DVR function built in. It just takes a few minutes to get it set up.
First things first, you need to have the optional cradle, ($79) the AV cable that comes with it, and a fully charged ESP. First, connect the AC adapter of the Cradle to your power source, and then connect the AV-in jack to the back of the cradle. The red, yellow, and white connectors connect to the AV out connection on your TV. With that done, you need to set the ESP recording time. Connect the ESP to the Cradle and turn it on. Select VideoRec from the Home screen. Go to the Options menu. Set the proper date and time for the device if you haven't already done so and set the Date Time. This is the date and time that you want the recording to start. After you've set the date and time for the first recording, you can set the next date and time if it is a recurring show. You can schedule up to nine recordings. You can set the device to record either to the internal hard disk drive or to a removable media drive. Now comes the not so fun part. You have to have the TV turned on, tuned to the channel that you want to record. I say not so fun because the TV must be on to record, unlike with that like of a VCR. With the TV turned on and the ESP in the Cradle, one minute before the scheduled recording time, the unit will turn on. Recording starts at the actual scheduled time, and is denoted on the ESP with a red light, letting you know the device is recording.
After the scheduled end time, the ESP will turn off automatically. To play back your recordings, go to the Home page on the ESP, select VideoRec, select playback, and search for the recording. The ESP gives the video files a VREC designation along with a string of numbers. If you have five VREC files on the drive, file number six (VREC0006) will be the last recorded video file.
While not an elegant solution, and nothing like the Microsoft Media Center Edition, it does work in a pinch when you want to quickly record a show on the TV. The only downside, in addition to having the TV turned on, is when recording in a higher quality video format, such as 320x240 fine or 640x480 fine, the audio does not sync with video. Wolverine Data suggests to use a lower quality setting, such as 320x240 normal or 320x240 PSP. Your recording options though do include 352x240 normal or 352x240 fine, as well as 640x480 and 320x240 fine. The cradle does make it easy to for those times you wish to watch shows in places other than in front of your TV or computer. screen. Your TV shows can be made portable rather easily, albeit crudely.
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org