Make it Snappy!

GOOD things come in small packages. And that is exactly how the Snappy Video Snapshot registers in our book. Smaller and lighter than a palmtop, this video capture device from California-based Play Inc ( retails for under RM1,000.

It allows you to capture still images and frames from video-cassette recorder, camcorder, TV, cable TV box, satellite tuner, laserdisc player, closed-circuit security system, or still-video camera, even from Nintendo or Sega game consoles.

The images can be saved in several standard formats including BMP, PCX, TIFF, TGA, PNG, YUV, IFF and JPEG for storage on a PC's hard drive.

According to IMS Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd sales and marketing manager Chuah Chong Jin, the Snappy has a resolution of 1,500 x 1,125 with 16.8 million colours -- rivalling most digital cameras in the market.

"Images can be automatically digitised or enhanced. Basically it can help improve the quality of your pictures," he said, adding that it was a clearer and cheaper option than videocards.

He added that the high-definition chip housed in the device was responsible for producing good quality pictures.

Chuah also said that IMS secured the sole rights to distribute Snappy throughout Asia last month although the product is only three years old.

The device, which runs on a 9-volt battery, is hooked up through a parallel port on a PC. Then connect the video cable from the Snappy to a VCR, camcorder or TV.

"The battery lasts for up to 1,000 exposures," Chuah added.

The Snappy works with any 486 or Pentium PC with 8MB RAM and a minimum of 8MB free hard disk space.

Snappy also works virtually with any PC graphics program because it is Twain compliant, said Chuah.

The Snappy Video Snapshot is available in two versions: Snappy 3.0 and Snappy 3.0 Deluxe. The deluxe version which was released in United States last year is bundled with Adobe Photo Deluxe 2.0, Kai's Power Goo SE and Gryphon's Morph 2.5. The deluxe version has its very own mini movie maker with Audio Capture and it also allows you to e-mail images from the source.

Snappy 3.0 retails at RM788 while the deluxe version is available at RM998. Both models have a two year warranty.

"We are targeting the deluxe version at professionals in the advertising, video-editing, desktop- and web-publishing markets," said Chuah, adding that the regular version is aimed at home users.

The company hopes to sell 1,000 units within this year in the region, he added.

Chuah named CNN, ABC Online, FBI, American Airlines, AT&T, Boeing, Ford, Kodak, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and McDonald's as Snappy users.

IMS' distributors are DPI Technology Sdn Bhd for the central region; Quest Marketing (East Malaysia) and Pineapple Computer Products (P) Sdn Bhd (Northern region). -- ANITA MATTHEWS

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