Review: HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is one of the best multi-purpose video capturing devices out there
Capturing your best play or perhaps footage for your own video review doesn't have to be complicated. Hell, it shouldn't be complicated. Some of the best stuff found on YouTube isn't made by another website, it's made by someone at home. We at GameZone feel the philosophy of "the easier, the better" for capturing footage always comes first. We've been through a few capture devices and while each one had its own benefits, the HD PVR 2 truly did everything we required it to.
Everything from capturing the PS3 and Xbox 360, to seamless working with the new Nintendo Wii U, this was the mac daddy of capture devices, that actually doesn't cost much more than its competition.
What you get
With the HD PVR 2, you get absolutely everything necessary in order to plug in and start recording. The capture device supports HDMI in, as well as a special input for Component cables. Since the PS3 doesn't allow capturing with an HDMI cable, this handy component connector allows us to have our Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 plugged in simultaneously.
Aside from that, you also get the included software to capture, edit and then upload all your footage easily.
The HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is actually very sleek. It's square, neon lit build will look good almost anywhere you decide to put it, whether it's on your TV stand or near your computer desk. The light signifies whether the device is currently capturing or not, which means if you're not near your PC, you don't have to worry whether you incorrectly turned it on or off.
The original, much more bulky Hauppauge HD PVR capture device
When compared to the original HD PVR, the second iteration is much less bulky, thinner and shorter.
How it works
I think what Hauppauge is going for is ease of use. Aside from being able to easily have both my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 connected at the same time which makes switching between capturing each console a breeze, they also added a capture button directly on top of the capture device. This eliminates the need to constantly go back and forth between your computer when starting and stopping each capture.
The included software, ArcSoft ShowBiz is actually quite intuitive as well. However, for those set in their ways of video editing, they will probably want to stick to whatever program they were using before (like Adobe Premiere for instance). The editing tools here, while varied, just won't match the type of quality you might be looking for. However, as far as actual capturing and uploading goes, ShowBiz gets the job done.
Choosing the right format of your recording as well as setting various parameters for recording can all easily be done with ShowBiz. The settings are actually extensive, and if you know your way around these settings, you can truly tweak it to capture your footage to your exact specifications. However, for those, like me, who aren't exactly savvy in these settings can opt to choose the format they want to capture in and what output, be it 720p, 1080p etc. The software then optimizes everything for you.
Here you can actually take a look at our DmC Walkthrough footage which we used the HD PVR 2 to record the entire thing.
What's wrong with it
The only issue that I've had my entire time with the HD PVR 2 was the delay/lag in the time it took to actually capture the footage when I pressed Record, and then similarly when I pressed Stop. Essentially what would happen is the program would freeze up for a few seconds, readjust its window size, and then start recording about 5 seconds later. Not that big of a deal, but it was strange given that the Roxio HD had no such lag, and that device simply plugs into the USB without any additional power sources.
Though it's not that big of a deal, it could potentially ruin a shot if something unexpected happened in your game, and you weren't capturing the entire time. It could also be a technical issue on my end, though the PC rig is quite powerful.
The bottom line
For around $150-$170, depending on where you order it from, you're getting a quality video capture device that produces the results you expect it to. For the same price, the Roxio HD Capture Pro was a bit more lightweight capture device with less inputs, though still the same functionality, however it did not support the capture of the Nintendo Wii U. The included software is also quite multipurpose. If you don't currently have a video editing suite, ShowBiz will definitely get the job done.
Our verdict is: If you always wanted to show your mad skills to the world but weren't sure which capture card is right for you, you can rest easy knowing that this one truly does it all, and for a similar price as its competitors.