Pros: Great audio/video quality, no visual problems, easy setup, multiple recording capabilities
Cons: Noticeable video output delay, audio desych with voice recording
Gamers are big time narcissists. Most of them want to prove to the world that they're either the best or just incredibly skilled at a certain video game. Fortunately, Elgato came out with a game capture device that works to let these gamers prove themselves. Though not only for the recording of video games, the Elgato Game Capture HD is a great device for recording anything from a TV screen at up to 1080p quality. The latter's nothing to sneeze at either.
The contents of the box are as follows:
- Elgato Game Capture HD
- HDMI cable
- PS3 Component cable
- Component adapter
- USB input/output cable
- Instruction manual
- Quick start guide
You'll notice there's no AC adapter to plug in. That's because the device gets its power from the gaming device and the computer you're using. No need to waste electricity and space by adding another set of wiring. This also allows direct passthrough of the content you're recording, which makes things simpler.
The video capturing is smooth. It can record anything up to 60 fps (frames per second) and play it back with few to no visual glitches. The only drawback is the playback itself runs at 30 fps. But that's what the contents advertise, so I can't call it false advertising.
The video you see from your TV, however, isn't exactly the video on your computer screen. there's a three second delay when recording from your TV to your computer, so you'll have to compensate for that when you're recording, as you might inadvertently cut or add a few seconds of game video if you're not careful.
The software that can be used with this device doesn't come with the box. Instead, you have to download it from the website given on the quick start guide. The download is free, so there's nothing that truly hurts your wallet with this purchase. It allows your videos to be edited easily (though without the fancy tricks that high-end video editors come with), and you can process the videos directly to YouTube, to MP4 files, and a few other video sharing sites so you can show off what you've done. The download times depend on the quality of the videos, with higher quality content at 720p and 1080p taking their sweet time for the most part.
A new software update now allows voice recording to take place alongside the gameplay, and I've had no problems with it apart from minor desynch issues that were fixed rather easily.
Recording from the PS3 has proven to be no problem for me. The component cable it came with allows for high quality recordings with no real problems. I would love to record with an HDMI, but Sony's copy protection prevents this. Also, the settings have to be adjusted once you start connecting the video settings, which aren't too bad. I've yet to record with an Xbox 360, but I hear the quality is just as good. The device also has the ability to record from the PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo Wii using the component adapter that comes with the package. Just set the record input to "other" and it'll recognize either of them in an instant.
If recording video game footage is something you've wanted to do, but lacked the necessary equipment or skill to try it in the past, I want you to consider purchasing the Elgato Game Capture HD. A few drawbacks with video delay, voice desynchronization, and having to download the software separately shouldn't hold you back from getting this product. At 200 dollars, it's worth every penny.