Elgato Game Capture HD Review
Elgato’s Game Capture HD crushes the competition.
The internet gaming community has been raving about the Elgato Game Capture HD ever since it landed on the scene in mid-2012. And with good reason- the Game Capture HD provides better quality than the long-reigning king of game capture- the Hauppauge HD PVR – while simultaneously being far more convenient.
Having previously owned an HD PVR for capturing game footage for our YouTube channel, I can tell you first-hand what a hassle that thing was to set up. Using two pairs of component cables, plus a wall adapter and a USB for computer connection, the HD PVR could single-handedly make your entertainment center look like a giant mess – and God forbid you ever needed to transport it somewhere.
The Elgato Game Capture HD, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity. You only need three cords- HDMI to and from the Game Capture HD (both are included and provide 1080p resolution), and the USB to computer connection. You download the software (recently updated to allow for 1080p capture), and you’re ready to go. The PlayStation 3 requires a special connection due to Sony’s encrypted HDMI port, but thankfully, this is also included. The device’s packaging states that it’s only meant for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but you can also record PC if you have another computer and a graphics card with HDMI out, and even iPhone gameplay with the proper adapter. Those two things were impossible (to my knowledge) with the HD PVR.
Beyond the convenience factor, the Elgato Game Capture HD provides essentially double the recording quality of the HD PVR, which maxed out at roughly 13.5 Mbps. The Game Capture HD’s maximum setting is 30 Mbps, and the extra quality is immediately apparent, even after YouTube’s compression algorithms.
Elgato’s software is really great, as well. It’s very easy to adjust settings and record, as well as quickly edit clips before exporting to a video editing suite. In the future, you’ll even be able to live stream with twitch.tv right from within this software. As if that weren’t enough, you can even enable (and disable, if you so choose) Flashback recording, which basically constantly records and acts a bit like a DVR – you can rewind at any time and record clips, which is helpful if you don’t know when something worth recording will happen. With the Game Capture HD, you’ll never have to scramble to hit the record button or miss an awesome gameplay moment.
Overall, the Game Capture HD is well worth the money. You can currently pick one up for $160 on Amazon.com, which is less than I originally paid for my HD PVR a year ago. With more features, better quality, and a much higher convenience factor, the Elgato Game Capture HD is the clear winner here, and I highly recommend it for anyone who records gameplay.