nothing wrong with belt drive. gear driven off a pto requires stopping to engage the pump. belt driven is a switch to engage a clutch. gear drive ptos will outlive the life of the vehicle. belt driven with a clutch will involve maintenance. few transmissions today have the ability to add a pto.
there are very few advantages to hydraulic winches, they only work if the engine is running. todays electric winches run when the engine has died. hydraulic winches work great on a tow truck but not so well when the intake is submerged.
Other than a winch like the MileMarker which runs off the power steering pump a hydrallic winch involves considerable expense buying the pump and plumbing and mounting it all. the infrastructure for an electric winch already exists, bolt the cables to the battery and go.
My 2 speed Milemarker 10k has been flawless, running off the power steering pump. I added an in-line filter. There is always an on-going discussion about the hydro winch needing the motor running to operate, versus the electric not being able to pull electricity for very long without the motor running. And the hydro being able to run all day long versus the electric burning things up and draining the battery. It's like the discussions about religion, or politics, or how much lift to install on your truck. Everyone is right. To me it's more of what matches how you use your vehicle.
I had one years ago, it came on a jeep I bought. IMHO it was great to recover someone else, but not great for self recovery. Trying to get someone else to run it was always an issue when I was stuck in seat and needed someone else to move the levers.
interesting comments, your mileage may vary in practice use.
I just went to their web site, mile marker's, and looked at the instructions. Looks like the same two levers that have 4 positions that they can be in. Plus the in out switch. Same winch I had and for some reason the morse code didn't work.
You needed to tell them what lever to free spool, then high or low speed. While it sounds simple, communicating that to someone while sitting at a steep angle and worrying about flopping was not fun. Many times they would flip the speed lever and or free spool it. When either of these things happened, I was either not going anywhere or in danger of going backwards. That is what I experienced running one for a few years.
The winch worked great, but second hand operator control was lacking. Not totally the original question, but my experience.