When we decided that video content was a must have for the site, we researched a lot of products before making the final decision. One thing that was certain, the Happauge HD PVR – Gaming Edition was also coming up when attempting to find the proper device to capture game footage at a decent resolution. Now, after several hours of video editing and massive hard drive space consumed with files, we couldn’t be happier with what this little device offers up. For the price, it delivers the perfect solution for sites like ours that want to deliver great looking video content from your high-definition gaming consoles.
The first thing I noticed upon cracking open the box is just how small this device really is. Its compactness is perfect for fitting in with the rest of your electronics in your entertainment center, or moving it from room to room, which is what I do. The device is also extremely light, which was a surprise to me. For having so much going on under the hood, I half expected a meatier, bulkier device. Surprisingly, though, it is compact and easy to transport anywhere in the house.
Also included in the box is a set of cables designed to work with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. What is nice is that this allows you to hook up your consoles in other rooms without having to switch all the cables around. This came in super handy for me, considering that I use HDMI cables for both of my consoles, and I didn’t have to dig around for spare ones for each console. I also like that it is just one cable, so hooking it up to multiple systems is possible right out of the box with less clutter.
Getting setup is easy. The unit has an AC adapter and a component cable to plug into your external device. You connect to the PC with a USB cable and finally run the CD that comes with the package. The device works with PCs using the included software, but there is a third-party solution for Mac users that works equally well, albeit at $30 additional charge from the developer. It takes very little time and everything was recognized immediately.
The software bundled in the box is great for capturing, but not so much editing. This is worth noting if you intend to do some serious compilations. Personally, I captured the footage with the stock software and then exported the files over to Sony Vegas. Now, you don’t need to shell out that much cash for decent editing software, but what comes in the box here is really limited, so you will likely just want to find an alternative. If you just want straight video, you can export directly to YouTube with the in-box software, which is nice.
Video can be captured in true HD and looks fantastic. You can view the video above, which I captured entirely with the included software and used Sony Vegas to combine with the audio. This final product took me only 30 minutes to complete, which is really convenient for those of us without hours on end to spend capturing video. The HD PVR makes this so simple by working everything out within the box, keeping any delays or lag completely outside of what you see. Also, the quality is absolutely fantastic. I captured this at 720p, but you can go up to 1080i if you choose. The combination of simplicity and quality is really the highlight of the device.
If you are thinking of getting into video capture for your website, or simply want to grab some HD TV shows, this device is perfect. It handles any type of video with no hassle and the interface on the included software is simple enough that anyone can grasp it. It is also compact and simple to hook up with a quick diagram included in the box. I have to say, I am more than thrilled with the device and it meets all of the needs I had for capturing game footage for our website. If you are in the market, I definitely recommend laying down the cash for this device. I have tried some of the cheaper alternatives and they simply don’t deliver. Happauge has managed to combine quality with simplicity for the ultimate capture device.