Published on April 5th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition Hardware Review
Release Date: Out now
Price: USD 199.99
“OMFG! What is happening right now?! Didn’t anyone else see that?” “35 and 1. That’s right suckas!” An anomaly and a celebration, both of which create a sense of fulfillment but are short lived. Short lived, if you don’t have anything to keep track or record them, right?
The Hauppauge! is commonly known to the PC entertainment community for its line of recorders. If you have ever looked for a device that can capture your gameplay, or ever wondered how gaming sites or other YouTuber’s do this, then you might have run across a few options. Hauppauge hosts a variety of standard and HD capture devices for your PC.
The first and most common capture device you might come across is the Dazzle by Pinnacle Systems. This USB dongle that will capture from standard definition devices. Other equipment out there bears the slang name of “capture box” and provides higher end video encoding. This is particularly important in situations when HD is the new standard and bragging rights come with video proof of what you’ve done.
Now, when it comes to capture boxes and HD recorders, Hauppauge! starts to surface more often than not. The HD PVR, the most common HD box recorder, can be found on the shelves of retailers across the US. To follow up with its popularity and gear its brand towards gamers, we now have the HD PVR Gaming Edition.
The HD PVR GE has a pretty standard and easy setup. After realizing that my component cables for my Xbox 360 were lost in the abyss of wires, I was relieved to find multiple inputs that were included with the device. With one set going to your TV, the other to the console and to your PC, it is a pretty simple setup that even a non-PC familiar person can manage. I say that lightly.
The rest of the setup for the device consists of installing the software and getting familiar with the capture screen. After booting up the software, you must then select the folder in which all of your videos will be dropping into. I suggest labeling these as you want to know which you are dealing with when it comes editing time.
The capture mode of the device is pretty simple, but does come with its quirks. Little things like remembering to set your PlayStation 3 to 720p or turning off Progressive Scan on your Wii can be a couple hindrances when it comes time to record. For my PS3 I only had 1080i selected and couldn’t figure out why it kept flipping back to standard definition. With my Nintendo Wii, it wouldn’t even show on screen until I changed back. Big derp moment.
After cycling through all of my HD/current-gen devices, it was time to record some retro gaming. Hell yeah! Well, it almost was.
After playing with Device Settings and Format Settings, I couldn’t quite figure out why the display was laggy and glitchy. Immediately I started browsing frantically to find a solution. Low and behold, there wasn’t one.
I shot a quick email to the trouble shooting team and the PR company handling the review. Although the HD PVR Gaming Edition is great for 720p quality video, it didn’t however support composite video for certain devices. You might notice the Sega Dreamcast recorded gameplay in the vignette. This was due to the front S-Video input, which worked great–the front and back RCA, not so much.
The ArcSoft ShowBiz suite is the software that comes bundled with the device. The software is easy to manage and allows for all of the same edits that you can make with other software. The videos are captured and sent to a queue that is held to the left of the screen. This made it easy to view, edit and recapture if need be. The files can also be dragged and dropped into other folders from here or sent to the editing tab. Although the software was great for capture, the editing portion wasn’t as easy. This just led me to use a different source.
There are also plenty of tabs for things such as contrast and saturation under the device settings. This area hosts a variety of sound features to ensure the best recording possible.
When it comes down to it I was kind of torn after using the HD PVR Gaming Edition. There isn’t much difference between it and the standard HD PVR. The only really big differences are the cables included to fit each console.
Also, when you slap the label of “Gaming Edition” on to a device and include standard video inputs, the consumer is under the presumption that it will record retro consoles that also have the same input. At the moment, this is not the case. Those looking for HDMI input to record in full 1080p will have to settle for component 720p/1080i quality. For the standard Call of Duty player or casual gamer who might not care, the device labels itself as a capture box for those who do.
The Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition is a perfect device for uploading 720p video. Be wary, at this time the device will not record your other gaming consoles that hook up through composite cables unless it is through the front S-Video port. This is a plus for Sega Dreamcast owners, but leaves out the run of other consoles of that era.
The device does not support HDMI cables, so 1080p full HD is not possible. There are however optical cables for higher quality sound. There is no delay when playing the device through your TV, but there is a slight delay on your monitor.
The software suite that is included with the device is fairly decent for recording, but is not as simplistic or as easy as the included Windows Live video creator or other high end software. I would definitely recommend the HD PVR Gaming Edition for anyone looking to capture PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 gameplay and is the perfect tool if you are posting gameplay videos to a blog or YouTube channel.
+ Easy Setup
+ Great for current-gen consoles
+/- Bundled Video Editing Software
– Full 1080P Support
– No support for retro gaming
Here is a complete listing of the specs for the HD PVR Gaming Edition:
model 01445: HD PVR Gaming Edition, with English manual
model 01446: HD PVR Gaming Edition, with English and French manual
HD PVR Gaming Edition Specifications
H.264 AVCHD video encoder
AC-3 audio encoding
Recording datarate: from 1 to 13.5 Mbits/sec (user selectable)
up to 1080i from component video (YCrCb or YPrPb)
NTSC: 720p60, 1080i60, 480i60, 480p60
PAL: 720p50, 1080i50, 576p50, 576i50, 480p50, 480i50
Note: the video input format determines the recorded format. For example, 1080i input records at 1080i, 720P records at 720P, etc. Any other format conversions needs to be done with the MediaConvert program (supplied).
NTSC or PAL supported
19.8cm wide x 17.3 cm deep x 7 cm high
5V at 2 amps
Input voltage of power supply provided: 110-220v at 50/60Hz
1 lb, 3 oz
Included with the HD PVR Gaming Edition
HD PVR high definition personal video recorder, USB
Component Video Cable set, for use with Xbox360, PS3 and Wii
Component video cable set to connect to your HD TV set
Stereo audio cable set
HD PVR Gaming Edition Installation CD with Arcsoft ShowBiz
5v power supply, 110/220v
Bundled software applications
Arcsoft “ShowBiz” to record, upload to YouTube and burn video recordings onto DVD
Input and outputs
Component video input
Component video out (“passthrough”)
Left/ Right RCA audio input
Left/right audio output (“passthrough”)
Optical audio Input
Optical audio output (“passthrough”)
Composite video and S-Video inputs (on front panel)
Left/right audio input (on front panel)
USB2.0 High speed Device
TV set requirements
To use HD PVR to record game play using “no delay pass through”, your HD TV set needs to have a Component Video input. Component video is also called YPrPb and are the red/green/blue connectors on the back of your HD TV set.
PC systems requirements
Processor Requirements (minimum): Dual core CPU 2.0GHz or faster
Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit), Windows Vista or Windows XP service pack 2 (32-bit)
Graphics with 256MB memory (or greater)
CD-ROM drive for installing the HD PVR software
Note: when playing back video recordings made with the HD PVR on your PC screen, a fast CPU meeting the specs noted above and at least 256MB of graphics memory are needed.