Capturing gameplay from your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and uploading it to websites such as YouTube is becoming an increasingly popular hobby amongst gamers, turning a few people into Internet celebrities in the process. If you’re familiar with the scene, you’ll know that video quality is incredibly important, with viewers preferring to gaze upon high definition gameplay rather than watch standard definition footage that lacks detail or is blurry.
There are many solutions available, with most requiring you to own a decent computer in order to capture stable footage. Not ideal if your gaming set up is in a different room or your computer isn’t the most powerful. That’s where AverMedia’s Game Capture HD comes in, offering a solution at a cheaper price than its competitors, but without the need for a computer.
Inside the box you have almost everything (more on that later) you need to get you started, including the Game Capture HD device itself and a universal component cable for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. The package also includes a standard component cable and RCA audio cable, allowing you to hook the device up to your HD TV without issue. AverMedia has bundled in a remote control (batteries included) in the package too, this allows you to record or change various settings from the Game Capture HD’s menu with ease once everything is connected and powered up. Not that you will have a problem, as the device is incredibly easy to set up and get going. If you do happen to have an issue, you can always refer to the manual in the box, which explains the entire process expertly.
Going back to the “almost everything” point, the Game Capture HD doesn’t come bundled with any recording medium. This might be an issue for some game capture aficionados, but the device is designed to be a convenient, portable solution, so the exclusion makes sense in that regards. At the bottom of the Game Capture HD itself, you’ll find a slot where you can install a 2.5″ SATA hard drive. If that method doesn’t suit your needs, you can plug an external USB hard drive or flash drive into the slot on the front of the device and record the footage on there. One word of warning, you will need to make sure the USB device you plug into the Game Capture HD has a decent write speed. Any USB hard drive or flash drive with a speed of 15mbps or above will be more than adequate, resulting is stable and smooth captured gameplay footage.
Depending on the size of the USB drive you connect to the Game Capture HD, your recording time will be limited, but you can always delete old files after you’ve transferred them over to your PC for editing and uploading purposes. On average, gameplay footage around 15 minutes in length will come in 1.3GB. This should give you an idea of what raw file sizes to expect when recording footage that is longer or even slightly shorter.
As you have probably gauged by the contents included in the box, the Game Capture HD allows you to play and capture via component cable, supporting 480i, 480p, 576i, 720p and 1080i at both 50 and 60Hz. 1080i is fine, but for best results we recommend recording in 720p. Just make sure you switch to real time mode via the remote before you start capturing, because if you don’t you’ll experience input lag whilst you play. You’ll only be able to record and take screenshots in this mode, but as soon as you’re done capturing you can switch back to normal mode and have access to the device’s full menu again.
Recorded footage (avi format, can be converted to mp4) is instantly playable on your TV or PC, as the encoding is done during the capture process using a h.264 codec. The quality of raw footage will vary ever so slightly from title to title, but on the whole you’ll find recordings to be smooth and representative of game’s visual quality. We tested the Game Capture HD with quite a few titles, including the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, FIFA 12, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Killzone 3 and NBA 2K12, with each test yielding impressive results. Rather than talk about it, to give you an idea of the quality, we uploaded a few examples of raw captured footage to YouTube.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Gears of War 3
The above is simply raw footage that has been uploaded to YouTube, but if you want to edit captured gameplay with your swanky introduction or comment over it, you’ll need to do that via third party software. This might be a slight negative for some (especially newcomers), but most other capture devices on the market don’t bundle in their own editing software either. Besides, more often than not, bundled editing software usually falls short when compared to the likes of Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere.
On top of the recording, the Game Capture HD also allows you to take screenshots at the press of a button of the remote whether you’re recording or not. It’s a nice feature, but the quality of the screenshots isn’t as impressive as the video. Take a screenshot of a game when it’s in full motion and the result won’t be too great, with the action on screen looking out of focus. Thankfully, screenshots of menus or slightly more static gameplay come out much better. One such example can be seen below, taken from the NBA 2K12 home screen.
Even when you factor in the need for a recording medium, it’s cheaper than other capture devices on the market and delivers video quality that is just as good. Priced at £129.99, the Game Capture HD isn’t a cheap purchase, but if you’re looking for convenient, easy-to-use, portable solution to your gameplay capture needs then AverMedia’s device is well worth the money.
AverMedia Game Capture HD is available to purchase now via Amazon and other well-know retailers.