Sony's latest DVDirect camcorder-to-DVD recorder creates AVCHD DVDs with 5.1 sound

It's some 60 percent smaller in size, but other than that Sony's new VRD-MC6 DVDirect looks and acts an awful lot like the previous VRD-MC10 and VRD-MC5: it can take 1080i video with 5.1 audio off your Handycam's drive or Memory Stick and shoot out an AVCHD DVD that plays back on compatible Blu-ray drives like the PS3. If you're not into the all-Sony seamless end-to-end HD experience, you can also bring in SD video over FireWire, composite, or USB to churn out regular old DVDs with automatic chaptering and custom menu backgrounds, or you can go totally old-school and just drop in an SD card full of photos and MP3s to generate a slideshow. Yeah, it's not nerd heaven and you won't be editing Oscar-winners here, but at $230 it's a pretty painless way for everyone else to archive and share their videos. Ships in September.