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I am really trying to record/stream some footage from both computers and video consoles. The best solution wold be to use an Aver Media Capture Card, but seeing as that is out of reach financially, I was looking at the HD PVR 2. This allows for component and hdmi in with no delay pass through to a computer. Has anyone used this before, have any reviews or experience? How easy is it to get older systems on a 4:3 aspect ratio to work on it? I wouldn't think it would be too bad with the right adapter? Thanks for your thoughts.

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    I'm confused, looking online, I see the HD PVR 2 as more expensive than the Aver Media Capture Card. Also, what do you have that is doing component video in 4:3 resolution? Component (3 cables for video and 2 for audio) is NOT composite (1 cable for video and 2 for audio). – AJ Henderson May 28 '14 at 17:10
  • I am aware of that, but I was referring to older video game systems that don't have component capabilities. I've seen many adapters that upscale without aspect ratio modification. I should have elaborated more on why its out of reach, while it is near in price I would need an entire new computer to use it. – Kyle May 28 '14 at 20:39
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There are a plethora of capture cards on the market in that general price range from numerous manufacturers. There are two main things to worry about with these devices.

First, for analog inputs, such as component video, you need to consider the quality of the analog to digital converters as well as what capabilities they have for scaling and format. Not all converters can handle arbitrary analog resolutions (or digital for that matter). You want the highest quality converters to digital you can get for the resolution you need. For SD feeds, that may actually mean getting an older, cheaper device that has good converters, but doesn't support HD (and doesn't need as advanced of a hardware encoder.)

Second, once you have a digital signal, the quality of the hardware encoder matters greatly. HD video is very, very large in raw data, so heavy compression has to be applied to store it and make it playable. This compression is generally a complex and time-consuming process, but specialized hardware can allow for real-time encoding that can keep up with a live feed. The quality of the encoder will directly impact the quality and size of the end video.

As far as comparing between one device and another, looking for reviews or video samples from each is probably your best bet. As there are many devices out there, you are unlikely to find people who have used both and can compare them directly for you. You might have more luck with finding people with first hand experience of popular devices like Matrox's MXO2 or BlackMagic Design's Intensity, but those are (slightly) more expensive professional devices.

  • Thanks for all of that information, ya I wasn't looking for any comparison really. Just wanted to know if anyone out there had used this device and if it was worth the money as a true capture card is not available at this time, due to computer limitations. – Kyle May 29 '14 at 14:37
  • @Kyle - I'm not sure what you mean by "true capture card." There is no reason a capture device has to be inside the computer. An external device with hardware encoder is the same as an internal card, just a matter of how it hooks up. As long as hardware encoding is being used, bandwidth requirements are significantly reduced. USB 2.0 can be a limitation for some particularly high quality feeds, but firewire 800, thunderbolt and USB3 devices are just as good as card based solutions. – AJ Henderson May 29 '14 at 14:39
  • That is true, that's why I was looking at the device that I was. In the past I have tried cheaper dongles but they fail in too many ways to even justify the price. – Kyle May 29 '14 at 15:03
  • Yeah, the hardware encoder is the important part. Most dongles are just pass through devices with no encoder and leave the encoding task on the CPU itself. It can work if you have a really, REALLY beefy rig, but hardware encoders are far superior (and more expensive). – AJ Henderson May 29 '14 at 15:13
  • Ya I don't believe this does any encoding itself, according to the spec sheet. But, it does have zero latency pass through. – Kyle May 29 '14 at 15:24

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