Once every so often an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, the resulting collision sends shock waves throughout the surrounding realm and changes the outlook of that environment forever. Never again will things be quite the same as they were before the arrival of the inbound meteorite. Such things occur within the boundaries of the entertainment industry with great infrequency….until now.
Ask any gamer who frequents the internet, and in particular such websites as our own Youtube channel, or Twitch TV page, about which video’s they watch to further glean all of the necessary information that they require to further aid their progress in their desired videogame, and to a man, ( or woman_EiC ), they will all point to channels and websites that feature gameplay captured by ‘genuine gamers’ during their own play through. Delve deeper into the event, to put a question to the director of said video’s regarding the very hardware and software that they used to make this magic happen and it used to be the case that to a ‘person’, ( happy now Ed? ), they would all have been capturing their exploits via any one of two options, The first up being the Hauppauge PVR, the second the Roxio.
Of course, there were always cheaper, and less fruitful choices on offer to the player who was looking to save a few meagre shekels in their pursuit of a Youtube partnership, but if the truth were told the fact of the matter was that the Roxio and the Hauppauge were the only two legitimate options on the market.
This continued for some considerable length of time before options such as FRAPS and the expensive Black Magic reared their heads, but it is with the birth of one of the gaming scenes more youthful contenders that our attentions now lie, thanks in no small part to the hardware’s second to none features and simply flawless production values, and that is the all-new Elgato HD PVR video capture unit.
With the advent of this seminal set up we have been given a rare opportunity not yet afforded to any other website, and that is that we have been granted authorised permission, for the very first time, by both concerned parties, to conduct the very first official comparison of the Hauppauge and Elgato HD PVR’s. We relish the challenge, as well as the prospect. Without further ado, then, we will put to the test the latest HD PVR Game Capture 2 from Hauppauge, as well as the super slim Elgato HD PVR. May the best man win.
First off we will compare, right of the box, the contents that consumers will receive when they part with a similarly matched price tag of around £170, and right from the word go gamers should be instantly impressed by the sheer lack of clutter and cables that come with the sleeker version of the gameplay capturing units. Whilst the Hauppauge may indeed be the ‘elder statesman’ and current ‘King of the Hill’, as far as the internet gaming communities are aware, the assorted metres of PS3 component cables, and the noticeable lack of a compatible Xbox360, Wii U or even PC friendly HDMI cable, should not come as any great shock to those who have sampled the earlier versions of Hauppauge’s capture devices. Albeit that they have, indeed, been rectified with the latest PVR 2.
In stark contrast to the veritable smorgasboard of wires and attachments of the Hauppauge, the Elgato HD system comes with scant cabling to confuse and confound the customer. Offering up little more in the packaging than the bare essentials required to make bringing your latest MOAB or 24789-1 killstreak to your ever faithful Youtube viewers. The Elgato HD does exactly was it says on the box, but with the littlest amount of fuss and headaches.
So what’s in the box?:
Game Capture Device | AV Cable(PS3) | Unencrypted HDMI Cable(Xbox or use as pass-through) | Component Cable | Micro USB – USB cable.
Minimum system requirements:
* Mac: Mac OS X 10.7, 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU.
* PC: Windows 7, 2.0 GHz dual core CPU.
* Sound card | 4 GB RAM | Built-in USB 2.0 port | You will also need an internet connection to download the software from Elgato’s official website as there is no software disk required.
Trusting the users desire for the mot effective format with the least amount of headaches the Elgato HD has to come out the clear victor by way of its super sexy sleek black system with little more required of gamers to operate it other than plugging in their console and PC via the included cables, HDMI as well as USB, and then installing the software free of charge from the manufacturer’s website. The Hauppauge HD PVR 2, on the other hand, comes with a myriad of multiple cables, all of which produce varying effects depending upon the console that you input the wires too, as well as the editing software that you decide to run with. ( even though the Hauppauge does, in fact, come supplied with the Arcsoft Showbiz edit suite, this is not always the best option as, more often than not, the complimentary software always seems to fall short of either offering up A) the most basic of functions, or B) the latest, whichever is you want? ).
Speaking of software, ( stay with us here we do have a point mixed in among all of this waffle, honest we do! ), and the crux of the biscuit is no longer the ‘apostrophe’, as according to the late great Frank Zappa, but moreover it is in the fact that the Elgato HD PVR is quite literally light years ahead of its well-known competitor’s thanks, in no small part, to the constant free upgrades and updates that come in thick and fast to ensure that the product you have purchased always stays one step ahead of the competition.
A quick example of this would be the additional feature that allows players to upload directly to either Youtube via the video capture in saved file format, or the outstanding inclusion in the latest software update of the ‘Live Streaming’ feature that will allow Elgato HD PVR users to upload live commentaries and live gameplay ‘as it happens’ directly to the new kid on the block in social media platforms such as Twitch TV. ( an example of this can be found on the GamesMediaPro Twitch TV account here ).
The sheer ease of use and undoubted superior quality of the Elgato HD PVR is self-evident in the peerless performance of not only style and design, but also in actual production and output thanks to a second to none format that allows users to capture, or live stream, their chosen gameplay with a whopping 1080p throughout the Xbox360 and Wii U consoles, and a truly impressive 1080i even from the PS3, ( which suffers none of the headaches of the rival Hauppauge’s and Roxio’s of this World due to Sony’s encrypted HDMI output signal )
Speaking now of output, we will walk you through the uncluttered and uncomplicated set up of the Elgato HD PVR connectivity, admittedly there is a similar process, now, for the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 which is severely lacking in the earlier edition, but neither the Hauppauge, nor indeed the Roxio, the two heavyweights at the top of the PVR challenge tree, come even close to the simplicity of the Elgato HD, nor do they produce anything like similar results.
First up, then, we will take you through the ‘idiot proof’ Elgato with its A-B-C set up that offers as painless an experience as you are ever likely to encounter with any tech, let alone an HD PVR:
Step 1) Download the game captures software.
Step 2) Connect your console to the ‘Game Capture HD’ using the appropriate cable:
- PS3: You need to use the AV cable rather than HDMI cable, this is because the PS3′s HDMI port is encrypted (You can still get 1080i quality).
- Xbox & Wii U: Use the HDMI cable provided.
Step 3) Link the ‘Game Capture HD’ and HDTV together via HDMI cable.
Step 4) Insert the USB cable included to both your computer and ‘Game Capture HD’.
Step 5) Load up the software.
Step 6) Turn on your console.
PLEASE NOTE *PS3 Information: Playstation 3 owners will need to go to their PS3 “Settings” and then onto “Display Settings” – “Video Output Settings” and ultimately “Components / D-Terminal” to achieve the desired effect. Users should also take into account that when selecting resolution that they should ensure “1080p” is NOT selected, and instead PS3 users must select only the ” 1080i ” option.
This is due to the Playstation 3 HDMI output signal being encrypted at source by Sony for anti piracy measures.
So, after hooking up your all-new Elgato HD PVR, which took up a whopping great 3-4 minutes of valuable gaming time, what results can you expect from the three major consoles that are currently the cream of the crop in home entertainment for the videogaming masses? Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, and so with that we will let you decide for yourselves what you think of the quality of each consoles with the results being shown in the video below:
As is expected the Wii U and the Playstation 3 both offer up clone quality performances care of the Elgato’s spectacular system, and examples of both of these consoles performing perfectly using the market leading game capture device can be found on both our Twitch TV account, as well as out Youtube channel by following the links displayed on the corresponding names. ( Hell, you can even hit that ‘subscribe’ button while you are there! )
Of course, we are not going to say that the Hauppauge and the Roxio systems both do not offer up quality game capture, because they do, particularly when utilised with a more powerful editing suite. But, if straight out of the box, no-nonsense results is what you are looking for then the Elgato HD PVR is the clear winner of this three horse race by a country mile.
To take on additional software such as a Sony Vegas Pro 11 or a Camtasia 8 is to take the supreme qualities of the Elgato HD even further past the reaches of its two main rivals, regardless of software, edit suites and additional extra’s that you may have been told will enhance their performances.
When all is said and done, the main point of this review was to offer up the services straight out of the box, and not with added features and bonus extra’s from third party software that does not come as standard with any of the three big players of the HD game capture market. So, with that in mind we can come to but one conclusion and that is that the Elgato HD is by far and away the most bang for your buck, whilst still being highly affordable for the every day gamer.
The quality, ease of use, connectivity and outright customer care shown by the manufacturer and distributor of this genre defining peripheral is absolutely top drawer and flawless in both its performance and product. Far neater, smaller and much more compact this sexy little number would look good adorning the entertainment centre of any pro gamer or online gaming commentator, and the fact of the matter is that it probably already does. Elgato HD PVR’s may well be ‘The New Kid on the Block’, so to speak, as far as game capture devices are concerned, but this young upstart has come into the arena with weighted gloves and a whole list of special moves and outstanding finishers with which to record a flawless victory for you in more ways than one. Quite simply the very best game capture device on this or any other market. 10 out of glittering 10