Hauppauge is well known for being the go-to company for a video capture device, and their peripherals are used by all types of video creators around the world. The gaming community however, stands out as the group of people who support this company the most. Almost all of the big gaming personalities on YouTube use a Hauppauge video capture device.
Their latest entry into their long line of great capture devices, the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition looks to continue the trend of providing great hardware to capture your favorite games. The HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition contains both HDMI and component video inputs and can capture video from the PS3, Xbox 360, and the PC.
The HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition features a sleek design and the overall aesthetics look a lot better than it’s predecessor. It is thinner and a heck of a lot smaller. The box is a rounded black square with an hourglass profile highlighted by a bright strip at its narrowest edge. If you look on the top of the box you will see a triangle-shaped button that allows the box to begin capturing gameplay. Around the back, there’s a power port, a USB-B port, a component video port, a HDMI input, and a HDMI output. It also comes with two HDMI cables, a PlayStation 3 component video cable, and an adapter to connect component video and RCA audio cables. To capture Xbox 360 gameplay, you will need to get a separate cable from Microsoft.
Setting up the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is not hard, and it takes very little time to do. You connect the 6v power supply, Plug the USB cable into your computer, connect the HDMI output to the screen, then you can attach your consoles or your PC. The PVR works on a passthrough system. It connects to your computer through the USB port, and outputs all video directly through its HDMI output, whether it’s a component or an HDMI. This allows you to view the action in real-time on a connected display. On the older HD PVR there was a few seconds of preview lag. You do not need a super maxed out PC to capture console gameplay, but you will need one when you want to capture PC gameplay.
After you set up everything hardware wise, you will need to install the drivers for the device. There is a CD that come packaged with the equipment that contains those drivers, but if you can’t use the CD you can download the software online. Beside the drivers, this CD also contains ArcSoft Showbiz, which is the one tool you will need to capture video from the PVR and edit clips with relative ease.
It’s not hard to maneuver around the software, as the controls are really simple. There is a large Capture tab and a small handful of frequently used options displayed (with more advanced options hidden in nested menus). When you open the capture tab, you will see the capture window, which will show video from the device to which the PVR is connected, along with sound. You can easily switch between three commonly used video formats, and alter settings like bitrate to adjust the file size and picture quality.
Although, there is no lag in the preview window, the software is incredibly slow to use. It can take between 5-10 seconds from clicking the capture button and the beginning of the actual recording process. Similarly, there’s even a 30 to 50 second delay between ending one recording and being able to start another.
Arcsoft is not the only software included on that CD. Hauppauge has also included their own streaming software called StreamEez. This software makes it easy to stream from your HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition to either Twitch or Ustream. It really is as simple as entering your account information and clicking a little red button. There are default profiles for high, medium, and low Internet bandwidth, which should suffice for most users. However, if you wish to mess with the advance settings, then you can do that. Should you wish to change things such as bit rate and frame rate, or even downsample the broadcast resolution you can do that. the Advanced Configuration tab will allow you to adjust your broadcast even more to your liking.
Once you being capturing or streaming gameplay there are no noticeable issues. Videos come out crisp, and look really good. I recorded PC gameplay throughout the time that I was reviewing the device, and I did not have anything go wrong with the video I recorded. There was some issues with sound, but it did not seem to be an issue caused by the hardware. I will continue to use the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition in recording any gameplay
The HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is not that bad of a device. I do have some issues with the software, and I wish there were more options, but the Hardware is not that bad, and I have no issues recommending this device to anyone I see. It lives up to the expectations, and at a price of $169 it’s not a bad buy. If you are interested in buying a video capture device, I see no better option than a HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition[Editors Note: We were provided with a review unit by Hauppauge, but this has not impacted our review]