The Plextor PX-M401U ConvertX MPEG4, USB 2.0, Digital Video Converter, was the foundation of Video Archiving at Akimbo. In real-time you could capture any video source to a better than DVD quality at 4 megabit Mpeg4. You could crank it to 9 if you liked but at 4 you could get better than DVD quality stored on a DVD, and the files would play back in quite a few DivX enabled DVD players.
I still love these for quick video archive of live events, or for converting VHS to a more lasting format. It does hardware deinterlacing and a few other tricks, making the Plextor a really great device for under $40.