Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition Review

If you’re looking to upload video of you playing games to YouTube or stream to something like twitch.tv, you’re obviously going to need a way to get the footage. You could point a camcorder at your TV screen, but that’s idiotic…no seriously stop that. Or you can use a capture card like the latest from Hauppauge.

What’s in the box

  • Component Video gaming cable for Xbox 360 and PS3
  • Arcsoft ShowBiz software
  • HD PVR with spiffy new green led
  • Power adapter
  • Component cables
  • USB cable

Hardware

Hauppauge’s HD PVR or 1212 has been around for a while now, the “Gaming Edition” or 1445 is just a slightly revamped model of the original that now comes with a universal component cable for consoles, and a green led instead of the blue one found on the original. The package also come with a power adapter, a USB cable, a standard component video and audio cable. All for the not so low price of $199.0. More on the price later.

As far I can tell, the only functional difference between the “Gaming Edition” and the 1212 is the addition of a  H.264 high definition encoder. While definitely not a big enough change to make you upgrade from the old one, it will reduce the amount of space videos take up on your hard drive.

Those hoping for a HDMI in and/or are out of luck. You get component in and out, s video in, and digital audio ports. I’d like to see HDMI in and out on the next model– if only to just cut down on the number of cords needed.

Setup

Setting up the PVR is fairly easy. You start by installing the included software on whatever computer you’re planning to record to, connect the PVR to your PC, then hook your console of choice to the PVR using the included universal adapter. At this point you should get a preview of what’s on the console in ArcSoft Showbiz. While you could try playing your game using the PC monitor, you’ll probably find the two second or so lag unbearable. To fix this, you’re going to need to plug the included component into the back of your TV and PVR. At this point you should be good to go.

Sofware & Video Quality 

ArcSoft ShowBiz, the packed in recording and editing software, is easy to use while offering enough features to get a fairly slick product without having to open up something like Sony Vegas.

Presets, dependent on which console you’re capturing from, are included. Footage is captured into the MP4, M2TS, or AVCH formats. From there, you can burn the video to a disc–why would you do that?–export, or  upload straight to Youtube.

As expected, those without editing experience may find ShowBiz suitable for their needs, while experience editors will probably want to only use the program to record the initial footage then export that to their editing program of choice.

As far as video quality goes, PVR’s are usually pretty simple. As long as it doesn’t compress the life of the video you’re feeding it, the final product should look close to the original. Videos recorded with the HD PVR Gaming Edition look great, and, as long as you don’t manage to screw up the settings in ArcSoft Showbiz, the video is usually smooth.

Due to the lack of HDMI the  HD PVR Gaming Edition is limited to 1080i.

Overall

If you’re a gamer who just wants to occasionally share videos of you doing something cool every once in a while, I would opt for a cheaper device.  Those that want to take their gameplay recording seriously (for lets plays, machinima, ect.), the HD PVR Gaming Edition is good choice.

Pros

  • Easy Installation.
  • Included software is easy to use.
  • Comes with a universal Component cable for consoles. 

Cons

  • Price
  • limited to 1080i