Review – Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus

By: Louis Edwards

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Hauppauge let us take their HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus unit for a test spin. Is it worth its price tag or is it best left on the store shelf?

Read our review to find out.

 

The video game  industry is beyond huge and gaming websites and fansites have long looked for the best and least expensive way to capture their favorite game in both videos and screen shots. YouTube has countless hours of footage from just about every game under the sun with quality ranging from Full HD all the way down to a fuzzy mess.

Capturing devices range in design and price and the price is generally equal to the quality of the device and the video in which it can capture. Console capturing, like for the PS3 and Xbox 360, have been a bit harder to work with in the past and used to require passing your video signal through a PC and back out to your TV, with a definite lag that would make you look like a noob when trying to play a game. Enter the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus with HDMI pass through and digital optical with an Amazon price tag of $179.65.

The unit is clearly top of the line and state of the art. It’s small size allows it to fit nicely in most entertainment centers or sitting on top of your desk. The connections are pretty straightforward and seems simplistic by design. If you can utilize the HDMI pass through, all you need is to plug in the two HDMI cables, a USB cable into your PC, and you are ready to set up the software.

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HDMI doesn’t work with the PS3, sadly, due to HDCP compliance (there is a work around that requires more hardware but we won’t get into that) but HDMI pass through works great with the Xbox 360 and a PC.

Video recording formats supported

Xbox 360 PS3 PC
Connection HDMI Component HDMI
1080p50/60 check* check* check*
1080i
720p
576p
480p
480i
Notes * Passthrough to 1080p60, records at 1080p30

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The PS3 hooks up VIA component cables that ship with the unit, so there’s no need in buying anything other than this unit. That is very smart thinking and will save you a trip back to your local electronic store. Everything you need is in the box and ready to go, with the exception of the latest capture application. The unit does ship with a CD containing your system drivers and software for capturing and streaming, but we found that the newest software (available online and currently in Beta) was considerably better.

NewCaptureProgram

The HD PVR gives you several options in using the device. It can be used as a video capture device, a screen shot capture device, or as an online streaming device for Twitch or UStream. We played Dead Island Riptide online with some friends and ended up with a decent audience. The quality of the broadcast can be set from within the application, so even if your internet connection is on the low side, you can still broadcast, albeit at a lower bit rate and quality. You can also adjust the in-game chat settings with a built in mixer so that you can better understand the speaker. This is a great feature for anyone that likes doing video walk throughs and guides.

Another great feature for the device is the ability to record, edit and then upload directly to YouTube, without ever leaving the application. If all you want is just basic broadcasts, the app works OK, but there is a better application for producing videos on the CD, and that is ArcSoft ShowBiz. It gives a simple to use interface for adding still images to your video, and in turn puts out a much more professional looking finished product. YouTube uploading is also included in ShowBiz so right now we would recommend sticking with that until the new app, which is still in Beta, gets more features added.

ShowBiz

ShowBiz

We made a couple of test videos, one using ShowBiz and another using the basic capture and upload of the new application.

ShowBiz: Metro Last Light Introduction Movie

Hauppauge Capture: Metro: Last Light – Dead City gameplay

Both applications do an adequate job, with ShowBiz giving you much better production value. Once Hauppauge is finished with their own application, we are hoping it will be comparable to ShowBiz.

NewCapProgSettings

When streaming or capturing video, you have the option of watermarking your own logo on top of the video being displayed. We created our own custom logo in a photo program and then used Hauppauge’s program to set the insertion values. You can adjust the size, location, and transparency for your image giving each video a branded feel that can also promote your website, group, or organization.

For those that were wanting MAC support, you will be happy to know that MAC OS 10.7 and 10.8 are now supported with HDPVRCapture. We haven’t tried with a MAC, but from what we’ve seen, it’s just as easy to use as the PC version of their software.

Video game capture devices and software has grown almost as much as the video games themselves. With video driven sites like YouTube, Twitch and UStream, using substandard devices won’t do you any favors and won’t help you grow your audience. If you are serious about gaming, and serious about sharing gaming videos, no other device on the market can compare with Hauppauge’s latest addition to their family.

Their HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus is a must have for any gaming related website and any gamer serious about sharing their skills.

Nicely done Hauppauge.

10

The Final Verdict

ProsCons

  • Easy to set up
  • Simple Software
  • HD quality videos

  • Little pricey

VerdictWell worth the price
Rating
100%
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