126 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2012
New Edit: Elgato is continually updating their software, so I've updated my review below with important points (and noted where things no longer apply, marked with three asterisks ***).
As the title says, ***this appears to be the opposite of the HD-PVR 2 in almost every regard***. -Since Hauppauge has now released their own capture software for their HD-PVR devices, and I have not used said software, I can't really compare the software.
- Physical ease of use - the pass-through just plain works. The HD-PVR 2 required the PC to be powered on and the software opened before anything was passed through. The Elgato, I didn't even have the drivers installed yet and the pass-through worked. Definitely a plus.
- Video quality - the 1080p bitrate on the Elgato is over twice the HD-PVR 2 (30 Mbps vs 14 Mbps). It's not a big deal for just uploading clips to YouTube (since they compress 1080p to the 2-6 Mbps range anyway) but for a filmmaker like me, quality is the number one priority, so the Elgato won out on this alone.
- Software - the Elgato approach is both good and bad. For filmmaking, HD-PVR 2 is preferred because you hit record, you made a file, and you stopped recording. Then you have a file. That's it. With Elgato, it starts recording as soon as you open the program and doesn't stop until (presumably) you run out of disk space. This is a plus for gameplay footage - there's no need to record all the time and then go back later with a different program to cut up your footage, all this is built-in. You scroll back to before that big play happened, hit record, then edit it and export it. In-program cutting with no re-encode is definitely a plus.
***HOWEVER file management definitely needs work. As soon as you hit record, the ENTIRE FILE that it has been recording is saved. So if you open the program for 10 minutes, scroll back 5 minutes and hit record, it shows the latter 5 minutes in the program, but the entire 10 minute file is actually saved. And there's no way to get that first 5 minutes back unless you go get the raw TS file and cut it with a different program. You could have the program open for 45 minutes, hit record on only the last 2 minutes, and you'd have a 2-minute file in the software but a 45-minute file on disk.***
The previous behavior no longer exists - during Timeshift recording, the program actually makes multiple smaller files, and then only saves the files it needs to depending on where you scrolled back and hit record. So it will have a small part of the "unrecorded" footage, but when you stop recording, it cuts the file down to exactly where you scrolled back to.
***So to save disk space, I would cut the clip I want and do the "MP4 Original" export, which cuts and remuxes the video into an MP4 format (which jives with Media Player Classic and Premiere Pro CS5 with no problems - awesome). And then, after exporting the clip, I delete the original file, and the software DELETES THE EXPORTED FILE TOO. Unless you move the exported MP4 from the default folder, the program deletes it when you delete the source clip, which to me, doesn't make any sense and is why I only gave 3/5 stars. I lost ALL of my first-day test footage because of this bug. (and none of the files were recoverable because I kept playing after exporting and deleting, and recording the new file overwrote all the old ones).***
The above point has been fixed - exported clips are no longer deleted when you delete the footage entry.
The "Input Device" selection is also very strange to me. As far as I can tell, it has a huge impact on picture quality. Even with an Xbox 360 plugged in, the "Other" option looks much better than the "Xbox 360" option (deeper blacks, better contrast, etc). So I leave it on "Other". However, when the software is not open, it appears that the option defaults to "Xbox 360" (even when a non-Xbox device is plugged in) so the picture looks worse when the software is closed than when it is open (and thus, recording). I removed the Elgato from the equation and plugged my device directly into the TV, and it looked as good as it did with the "Other" option checked and the software running. So the Elgato is doing some sort of processing on the signal, meaning the pass-through is not a bit-for-bit pass-through of the source material, which is a bit unsettling. But hopefully that's just a bug that can be fixed.
Overall, the hardware is amazing, but the software needs ***a lot of work*** (not as much anymore). It's definitely geared towards the less-technical user (the quality slider is just "good" to "best" and only recently did they add an indicator of what "good" or "best" means in terms of Mbps), so I'd like to see some more advanced options available, and maybe more explanation on what "Input Device" really does (and an option to turn off whatever processing it's doing).
But the bottom line is, it records 1080p at 30 Mbps, which is a better bitrate than even my professional video camera. So this device beats out the HD-PVR 2 (which is 14 Mbps) on that alone.
P.S. I tested setting my Xbox 360 to 1080p output using the component cables, and the Elgato read it and recorded from it just fine (albeit not as good quality as HDMI), but I'm assuming that means you PS3 users can record at 1080p.
*** Some other notes that still apply as of July 2013:
- Flashback (timeshift) recording can be disabled, but when it is, you cannot pause the preview in any way.
- Streaming to both twitch.tv and YouTube has been added, and works wonderfully
- They added in-program commentary recording from any microphone on your computer
- Dolby Digital will not pass-through - the Elgato downmixes it to stereo for both recording and the pass-through
In conclusion, this is the best high-definition USB capture device on the market right now. The only better devices would be ones that don't have real-time compression (i.e. Blackmagic)
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
The set up is the easiest thing in the world. The editing software is smooth and simple.
- Great Quality
- Small in size
- Easy set up
- Comes with HDMI cable
- Can record last 5 minutes if you forgot to press record
- Can record commentary along with footage
- Can live stream
- If you really are into editing videos, you will need your own editing software. The software that comes with this only has a few features. You can split clips, rename clips, screenshot clips, and that's basically it. You can't even make clips into a montage.
- The commentary is a great feature. But you can't edit your voice once it's recorded. So if you farted or sneeze and wanted to cut that out, it will be stuck there.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The last game capture device I bought was a Dazzle (by Pinnacle) and boy am I glad I upgraded. This Elgato one is very high quality and has a ton of capture options, including my most coveted 1080p capture. There are a couple features I will admit that I wish it had, but for the price I feel quite happy with everything it does offer.
[+] Supports every gaming platform I tried connecting: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii, GameCube, N64, SNES, and of course basically any device that outputs in analog. Depending on what you're doing, some HDMI devices will not work when they are HDCP encoded, so you can't try to put a Blu-ray in your Xbox One and capture from it. Not a big deal to me since I really did buy this for game capture.
[+] Supports all of the most-common capture resolutions: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i
[+] Out of the box has support for HDMI in as well as component/composite in, as long as you have updated their game capture software (free) to the latest version. It's especially cool that the same component adapter can be used for composite input by just plugging the yellow video cable into the red component slot.
[+] The free included software is quite nice, and while not perfect, WAY better than Pinnacle's included capture software that I previously used with my Dazzle. It seems stable and has never stuttered or produced a bad video. I haven't used the editing portion of it much, however, as I prefer to capture the video from there then import it into Adobe Premiere/After Effects.
[+] Capture quality. My 1080p videos look amazing! The quality of each frame looks just as it does playing uncompressed on my TV. And there are many selectable quality options to choose from in case you want to sacrifice some quality for lower file size. I put the slider somewhere between the middle and high quality, and it still looks nearly perfect!
[-] Only supports up to 30fps, so while many games output in 1080p60, you will only capture in 1080p30. If you're uploading to YouTube, this shouldn't be a deal-breaker though as YouTube currently doesn't support 60fps anyway, and they will get transcoded into 1080p30. But I'm sure in the future they will support that and it would be nice to have this device be more future-proof with 60fps support.
[-] Don't forget to close the capture software. I unplugged the capture device from the USB input and left my laptop. Then I came back several hours later to find it running hot as heck. Even if you disconnect the device and there is no active video feed to your PC, it will run up your CPU just the same and prevent it from falling asleep. So you need to remember to close out the software all the way when done using it.
[-] Doesn't support S-video input out of the box. They have an adapter listed on their website you can buy to add S-video support, but it is currently out of stock and I can't find it for sale ANYWHERE (not amazon, ebay, etc).
[-] Can't be used for live streaming or to game on your laptop/PC. The video capture feed has a delay of about 5 seconds (even if you are just feeding it 480i). So the "live feed" preview is completely unusable if you want to look at that instead of a separately connected display device.
Not perfect, but for the price, really pretty satisfied! I'm hoping sometime soon they can release an updated device that addresses the four cons I listed above, and they would easily have another sale from me, even if they priced it higher. I can't find any device at any pricepoint that does everything I want yet, so for the time being, this seems to be the best option out there.
YouTube just announced coming 48 and 60fps support, so just like I mentioned above this is one unfortunate thing the Elgato won't be able to take advantage of. Hopefully by time YouTube actually releases higher fps support there may be an upgraded capture unit I can buy. 1080p60 capture would be awesome!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
I bought this because my DirecTV DVR was getting full of programs I wanted to keep, and there was really no way to get them off. I tried to buy an Avermedia stick that just plugs into the side of the computer, but I could not get it to play nice with Windows TV (Kept requiring a remote, and I don't have that...).
So now I have this amazing little device. The upside is that so far, it's worked flawlessly. I have transferred several programs off of the DVR and onto the computer to archive. Not only that, it's basically plug-and-play, once you download Elgato's software to your computer. Plug being the operative word here. Since I'm using my DirecTV DVR, and DirecTV encrypts the HDMI signal, I used the component cables to connect from the DVR to the Elgato. Then, HDMI from the Elgato back to the TV. And lastly the USB cable from the Elgato to the computer. As soon as that's done, and the software booted up, voila! You have the same feed playing on your computer as on your TV. Just hit the big red button to start and stop recording, and that's all there is to it.
Lastly, if you need to do some minor editing, the software has that capability as well, so if you're on the fence, just go ahead and buy it, you won't be sorry.