Hauppauge’s HD PVR line is the best way to record HD video on the market; it has been since its debut. The vanilla HD PVR series produces output above and beyond any of its competition. However, recording video games is a slightly different beast. When the ability to perform is dependent on precise real-time input, the levels of lag introduced by many capture devices are unacceptable; this creates a market for specialized, gaming-specific capture devices. In that light, how does the Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition fare?
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Let’s start by taking a look at its features. To clarify, we’re looking at the modern HD PVR 2 series here, not the outdated 2009 models. To start with, the Gaming Edition has the same high-quality h.264 encoder as the regular HD PVR. This is best-in-class quality and performance at resolutions up to 1080p and 30 FPS; given the incredibly small number of contemporary console video games that actually render at a full 1080p60, it can cover effectively every likely usage case. It boasts the same “no-delay” video pass-through, as well; of course, this isn’t literally free of delay – that would be physically impossible; some insubstantial amount of delay is introduced by the extra cable length, if nothing else – but the amount it introduces is impressively minimal. It’s fully possible to play action-heavy games on the HD PVR without trouble. The included StreamEez software enables you to quickly and easily stream gameplay online, in real-time.
However, all of that functionality is provided by the basic HD PVR on which the Gaming Edition is built; it’s impressive, but it’s not any more so here than in the cheaper vanilla version. That’s important to realize: the stock HD PVR works just fine for gaming purposes. So, what does the Gaming Edition add to the picture?
The most notable thing is that it includes a free license for ArcSoft ShowBiz. ShowBiz is a top-notch video editing and production suite that normally costs $80 per license, so that’s considerable in its own right. This is a powerful piece of software, with robust but easy-to-use sets of video and audio editing tools. You can even upload videos to services like Youtube from right there in the software. If you want to do something beyond a basic live stream – for example, uploading specific multiplayer matches – and you’re not attached to a different piece of software, this is very nice.
Beyond this, though, there’s really not that much difference from the normal HD PVR. It includes a component video cable for use with the PS3, which is nice but hardly the sort of thing that drives purchase decisions. The record light is a different color, too, for what that’s worth. (Not much.) It’s a slightly ugly green; that’s not exactly phenomenal.
At the MSRP, you are saving money with the Hauppauge HD PVR Gaming Edition, compared to buying the vanilla model and the ArcSoft ShowBiz suite separately. If you intend to use that software, it’s well worth the purchase. However, if you don’t, then there’s no reason to recommend it over the regular HD PVR, which tends to sell for less and has equally fantastic performance, even in gaming tasks. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the Gaming Edition; it’s a great product. However, ShowBiz is the only notable thing it adds to the package. So, the decision on which HD PVR to buy comes down to just that: do you want ShowBiz in the package enough to pay a little extra? If so, get the Gaming Edition. If not, get the normal variety.
Article sent by Rali.