A Complete Introduction to Capture Card

By May 19,2017 11:32 am

If you want to capture high definition or standard data from PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii like devices then you definitely need a Capture Card. Capture cards are mostly used by game lovers for recording various game play videos that can be later uploaded on internet. These cards provide best facility for live streaming and also if you wish to transform your old sources of movies like DVDs into HD format. So many companies are developing advanced capture cards these days that you can buy as per needs.

what-is-capture-card

How does it work?

Capture cards actually provides services for capturing video signals from external devices via HDMI connection. It helps users to capture their gaming consoles like PlayStation or Xbox etc. A capture card acts like an input data receiver. When user is working on two PCs where one is used to play games and another for streaming then capture card is connected on stream PC. GPU of gaming PC will continuously transfer data to this capture card. This signal is captured, recorded and encoded as per need, finally it can be uploaded to sites like Twitch. Few capture cards are designed with a inbuilt encoder so they perform function same as a CPU at the time of streaming.

Capture Card Related Terms:

Capture: It is simply the process of capturing any live audio or video in S-Video, RF Modulated Video, Analog composite video or digital video as like HDMI and SDI.

Record: It is the activity of recording audio or video in form of digital data that is perfectly compatible with computer system.

Encode: The activity of converting all raw character sequences into some coded form is known as encoding. For video content, H.264 CPU encoding format is preferably used.

Broadcast/Stream: It is the process of sharing or distributing audio/ video content with large audience with the help of some electronically working mass communication system. Video game streaming is becoming more and more popular these days as modern broadcasting process.

How to set up?

You can connect your Game Capture Card to game console with the help of HDMI connection. Even videos can be passed to TV set via HDMI port and this HDMI cable is usually included in your box.

 setting-up-a-capture-card

Follow these steps for easy set up:

Step 1. First of all with the help of HDMI cable make connection between HDMI In terminal of Game Capture card and your console.

Step 2. HDMI Out port of Game Capture card must be connected to TV set with the help of existing HDMI cable.

Step 3.With the help of USB cable available inside the box, you have to connect your PC or Mac device with Game Capture card.

Below are few details about connection and system requirements:

  • USB cable
  • 2 HDMI Cables
  • Console
  • PC with i7 Processor
  • Solid data uploading speed is desired- somewhere around 10MB/sec in case of 1080p resolution and 5MB/sec for 720p resolution.

Types of Capture Cards:

There are five main types of capture cards according to platform support. Here is a detailed summary of each type.

PC: If you are working on dual system, a capture device will help you connect this second PC to primary PC. This will allow you to maintain optimal performance on your gaming PC. This is particularly important for competitive gamers. Gamers who need to play at a competitive FPS rate, capture & record, AND stream simultaneously.

PlayStation: For PS gamers, Capture Card will definitely add more flexibility in doing some fancy stuff. As compared to simple software, the card will assist users in easy streaming, recording and editing of game play footage.

Xbox: Capture cards are useful for Xbox users as it can help them to handle larger size of game play footage as compared to simple software. The streaming and editing becomes much easier with capture card support.

Mac: There are few specially designed capture cards that support game streaming on Mac platform. It allows streaming over acceptable resolution level.

3DS and Wii: You need to buy a 3DS or Wii specific Capture card to assist easy transfer of content between these devices.

Popular Capture Cards:

1. Elgato: Few most popular capture cards from Elgato are HD60 Pro, HD60 S and HD 60. This company is well known for external card manufacturing but HD60 pro is one recently launched internal capture card.

2. AVerMedia: Here is Elgato's main competitor that offers series of popular Capture cards. Live Gamer Extreme, AVerCapture HD and C985 Live Gamer HD are some of the most popular capture cards from Aver Media

3. Roxio: Roxio develops various budget friendly capture cards for users and they provide efficient customer service along with better software compatibility with each product.

Difference between Game Recording Software:

 difference-between-game-capture-card

The game capture card is actually a hardware device that accepts video signal and record it. When you are working on two PCs then primary system use to run the game and it sends videos signals to another system to which capture card is connected. The second PC performs the recording task with the help of capture card and it will never affect performance of your first system.

On the other side, capture software use to record videos on the same PC on which your program or game is running. Now as capture task is going to happen on the same system so it will definitely affect performance of your PC. The benefit of capture software is that it is available at much lower price range as compared to capture card.

It is important to note that only few capture cards are able to record audio signals while processing video information. Also, they can support audio streaming from one source only and capture cards can work with standard resolutions or frame rates.

See also: Top10 Best Game Recorders

Do I Need a Capture Card?

Many users are still confused about whether they need a capture card or not. If you are also one of them then few popular benefits of capture cards are listed below that can help you to make right decision:

  • It assists in high quality data streaming.
  • If you wish to make yourself stand on the top among other streamers then Capture cards provide your opportunity to use custom overlays for streaming. It simply adds a brand value to your content.
  • Streaming that is supported by capture cards use to be lag free and is produced at very high quality so that viewers can always stay satisfied.
  • It helps users in easy management and creation of video clip library even on external storage.

Buying Guide:

What makes a good Capture Card?

There are four major criteria that decide whether you are going to buy a good quality capture card or not. Focus on its image quality, software support, types of input accepted and the interface. Professionals recommend buying a capture card that can record Full HD videos, it is good to check for Ultra HD or 4K specification while buying a new one. But note that you also need a powerful computer to edit such high quality data.

How to Choose a Capture Card?

If you are going to buy capture card for the very first time then you need to follow few expert guidelines to invest your money on right hardware. There are four major factors that you need to care about:

Cost: The most important consideration is cost of your capture card. In case if you want to capture few occasional videos then there is no need to buy a costly hardware but if you need this device to fulfil your routine needs then it is good to pick a branded one. Professionals are advised to spend more money so that they can record videos with rich quality.

Video Quality: There is no doubt to say that your capture card must provide rich video quality while extending support to high image resolutions. At the same time the frame rate must be quite high so that valuable content can be recorded. Those who need to record powerful games are advised to search for a Full HD or 4K resolution supporting capture card hardware so that it can maintain perfect results while live streaming. It is essential to render videos on powerful system if you want to use 4k resolution level capture cards.

 game-video-quality

Console: While buying your new hardware for live streaming, ensure that you have matched the specifications of your device and capture card. It must be able to support the recording device input type. Most of the popular gaming consoles like Play Station 4, Play Station 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One etc use to accept HDMI transfers. In case if you are using Nintendo 64 system then it will support component cables and will also need a component video input type feature. With all such variations, ensure that you are going to buy right hardware for you.

 game-console

Your capture card must be compatible with several hardware factors like storage space, memory and speed etc. It is also essential to buy capture cards from trusted manufacturers that also provide help and support via tutorials, customer support services and user manuals. It will help users to address various issues on practical grounds.

Easy to use: Some of the best gaming Capture cards come with wide range of features that assist users at different points. But you need to explore the right method to utilize all these features and thus it is essential to read the user manuals or take help from technical help department. A product that appears easy to use in terms of all features and applications is best for professionals as well as beginners.

Best Capture Card 2017

Don't miss: The Best Game Capture Cards .

1.Roxio Game Capture HD Pro

roxio-game-capture-hd-pro

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This hardware package assists users in advance video game capturing needs. With Roxio, you will be able to manage a great balance between design, quality and use. Its hardware setup is much easier whereas the software help users to manage their editing tasks with ease. The edited videos can be quickly uploaded on internet. Roxio game capture tool can be used to record high quality video and audio footage from game play that is working on any system like PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 etc. It supports video recording at 1080p resolution level and assists in easy recording even when users are playing their Full HD content on TV.

Check out our full review of the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro.

2.Elgato Game Capture HD

 elgato_game_capture_hd

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If you have low budget then it is good to spend on older model of Elgato. The Elgato HD contains all amazing features that are mostly needed by all gamers to capture HD content. With this device, you need to mess up very less with the setup and also it does not need any additional hardware arrangement to work. Due to this simplicity, this device is loved by most of professionals as well as beginners. The Elgato HD package includes PS3 cable, component adapter, HDMI cable, USB cable and capture software. The best part is its unique time-shift feature that supports flashback recording function so that users never miss any moment while recording their interesting game play.

Here’s our full review of the Elgato Game Capture HD .

3.Elgato Game Capture HD60

 elgato-hd-60

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This is an updated version of Elgato HD with little feature stuffing and sleeker look. You will definitely love its matte black finish along with rounded corners that appear attractive enough. The best part is that this device supports 1080p resolution level at 60 fps frame rate where live stream quality stays as pure as your real game play. As per few user feedbacks, this hardware use to stutter at the time of flashback recording but Elgato is working to modify this part. Moreover, sometimes awkward recording situation occurs when audio signals get desynchronised from video content. One prominent solution to resolve this problem is to use a 3.5mm audio cable between your gaming consol and PC and it must be enabled to play via speakers. Then you have to set Global audio offset of your capture software to 700ms so that audio can be perfectly synchronised with video feed. At the same time never forget to delay your cam by 700ms.

4.Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

 elgato-game-capture-hd60-pro

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Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro is latest internal capture card product from Elgato. Till now Elgato have served users only with external capture cards but this latest design provided a rock solid solution to multi system live streamers. The best thing to know is that this capture card received HGG gold stamp approval that is a globally recognised best performance award. This capture card will assist users to perform so many actions without losing performance during recording and live streaming. The master copy technology allows this device to record and stream 1080p with 60fps simultaneously. The flashback recording feature will help to capture all critical moments with ease and Instant Gameview works like advanced low latency technology.

5.Hauppauge PVR

 hauppauge-pvr-screenshot

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This device contains wide variety of features that can work beyond simple video game capture needs. Hauppauge PVR capture card is well known for its ability to record TV shows or game videos and it can easily save them on your personal computer with HD quality. Note that PVR never make use of your computer resources while recording footage hence it leads to much better game play quality. It is possible to live stream video content as well as users can save it and edit to manage later. This advanced capture card possess built in editor named as Total Media Extreme that can assist users in easy adjustment of capture footage formats.

6.AVerMediaExtremeCap

avermedia-extreme-cap

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People love its sleek design with smooth black plastic finish. Although it is not the lightest device of capture card series with overall weight of 186 grams but still users feel it easier to carry to different locations. Below the cover, you will find a LED light that gives active indications about recording. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack where users can easily connect microphones for high quality audio recording. With the box of AVerMedia Extreme capture card, users will be able to get a HDMI cable, USB 3 cable and special component cable adapter that assists in making easy connections with PS3. It work for smooth recording at 1080p with 60fps frame rate.

7.AVerMedia Live Gamer

 avermedia-live-gamer

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Here is a non-portable capture card solution for users that is installed inside PCIe slot of computer. This device possesses an easy to operate external button so that recording can be maintained with single tap functionality. With the help of RECentral, users can capture footage from game console as well as PC. The best part is that this device makes use of less CPU power so you will never face any trouble in terms of Pc performance. It is much easier to manage recording and streaming at the same time. This card supports AUX and HDMI outputs whereas the box includes Pass Thru HDMI, adapters and DVI cables.

8.AVerMedia Portable

 avermedia-portable-screenshot

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This device is able to capture videos with 1080p resolution level and at 30 fps frame rate. Users are going to get solid footage with this capture card but if you require 60fps frame rate specifically then it is good to drop the idea to buy AVerMedia Portable. This card is developed with so many unique features where users can also record content directly to any SD card. Professionals like its PC free recording with smooth functionality and the advanced RECentral software support make it more useful for editing and streaming.

9.Blackmagic Design

 blackmagic-design-capture-card

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Blackmagic provides services for high end type video input as well as editing features. It is perfect solution for professional videographers with some advanced video recorders and editors. The capture card is designed to serve users with uncompressed format of videos so that better quality of footage can be obtained. Although, it increases the file size but at the same time you will be able to obtain HD resolution for all recordings. Blackmagic capture card is developed with so many advanced features and it is made compatible to Linux as well as Mac devices. It works perfectly with common editing softwares like Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects.

10.Razer Ripsaw

 razer_ripsaw_screenshot

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This piece of hardware is developed to serve users with live streaming facility while capturing game footage. It works perfectly on a Window PC where sufficient hardware power is essential. Note that weaker systems cannot support capture cards even not other than Razer Ripsaw. This device is slightly bigger than that of Elgato HD60 capture card but the black rounded corners make it more impressive by looks. A textured classic rubber coating provides covering to entire base of this unit. At front side of this device you will find two indicating LEDs and on backside there are four different slots for USB 3.0, HDMI Out, HDMI In and Component In.

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Game Recorder
1. Game Capture Cards
1.1 A Complete Introduction to the Capture Card
1.2 The Best Game Capture Cards
1.3 Elgato Game Capture HD Review
1.4 Avermedia Live Gamer Portable Review
1.5 Razer Ripsaw Review: What’s So Special about the Razer Ripsaw?
1.6 Roxio Game Capture Card HD Pro Review
1.7 Best Elgato Capture Card: Which one should you Choose?
1.8 Best Game Capture Cards for Xbox one
1.9 Katsukity Nintendo 3DS Capture Card Review
2. Game Recorders +
3. How to/Tips +