How to record HDMI video, which is being sent from a notebook to a projector without interrupting it?

The HDMI signal shows desktop activity and/or video game gameplay on different devices that run Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

  1. Is it possible to use an HD camcorder with HDMI in and out (example device: Sony HDR PJ620)?
  2. Are there devices with built-in storage or that can write to SATA, USB or SD storage?
  3. Are there devices which can be connected to a second laptop which then records the video?

Hardware/Software solutions that run on/in the computer which outputs the HDMI signal are not relevant. The video-outputting computers can not be manipulated.

6 Answers 6


I would use three pieces of hardware for this task.

  1. A recording laptop.
  2. A device that allows you to input the HDMI to the recording laptop, aka, a frame grabber.
  3. An HDMI spliter.

A recording laptop

Any old laptop will do, really. It doesn't need super specs, like dedicated graphics, but you certainly want at least a mid-range machine. Like an Intel i5 or better, 8 Gig's RAM, fast HDD (SSD would be great, but not necessary). Software wise, anything that can see the generic devices will work. Pro software like Vegas Pro or Adobe Primere if you have it works great. There's also Wirecast and vMix if you have webcast requirements.

A video frame grabber

I've had pretty good success with the DVI2USB3.0 Frame Grabber by Epiphan. Use that with a DVI to HDMI converter and it will work just fine. It also allows audio capture. I especially like its very small size, solid construction, and that it's USB powered. It will work on USB 2.0, but you will get limited bandwidth in the form of limited framerates per the source resolution (I often get about 45 fps at 1024x768 on USB 2.0). It's a bit on the pricey side, but Epiphan has very good customer service. I know other options are available, but I have no experience with them. About 5 years ago I decided against Black Magic products because of the mixed reviews on Amazon, but that may have gotten better. Other items that are like $10,000 are not the kind of equipment you are looking for. I've never actually seen one of those being used for more than what a $1,000 in hardware can do. Basically, if you don't know why it costs so much, you don't need it.

HDMI video splitter

There are plenty available on the market (Google image search). They're pretty simple. They have a single HDMI input and at least two HDMI outputs, which are both exact duplicates of the input signal. Make sure you get one that is powered because the ones that aren't reduce signal strength and it often shows, especially on projectors (at least, this is true for the VGA splitters). If you intend to audio record over HDMI make sure the splitter you get can handle that.


  1. Take your source HDMI and run it to the video splitter.
  2. Run an HDMI from an output on the splitter to the projector.
  3. Run an HDMI from an output on the splitter to the Epiphan frame grabber via a DVI to HDMI converter.
  4. Plug the Epiphan USB into the recording laptop.

Alternative, VGA-based setup

I would actually recommend this setup if this is in a professional conference setting and there is a professional audio/visual crew working it. I also recommend this setup if any of the HDMI runs are farther than 30 feet. HDMI just can't push very far and VGA can easily do 100 feet.

If this is a professional setup and you're just hooking in to what they already have, then the projector is not yours and you don't know what to expect. Chances are very high that projector will be gathering it's feed via VGA, not HDMI (you really should call the AV company to find out though).

So instead of using HDMI from the source laptop, use the VGA out (if it has one) or convert it to VGA with an HDMI to VGA dongle. The setup is exactly the same as above except everything HDMI is VGA now, including the VGA video splitter and the DVI to VGA adapter. For audio, just plug into the recording laptop's mic input port. As a warning, you might need some kind of audio cleanup when gathering audio this way. I regularly use the Whirlwind line isolator and the Dsan laptop sound port.


I work for a company that does this all the time. If you need professional help with content production you can find information in my profile.

  • 1
    In the last year, many pros have made the stitch to HDMI and wire tech has gotten very good, allowing for 100 foot runs (longer with extenders), so chances are good now that a professional setting is using all HDMI now. You should still call to check if it's not your set.
    – user3643
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 15:43
  • I've been seeing sdi lately, converted to hdmi at the source and outputs. Seems over-complicated to me, unless you have to run longer than 100 feet. Regardless, might be worth investing in some hdmi-sdi converters. I like Decimator MD-LX. Black Magic is cheaper, but again, mixed reviews.
    – user3643
    Commented Apr 14, 2019 at 3:01

This should work:

Hauppauge HD Personal Video Recorder 2 Gaming Edition


The HD Personal Video Recorder 2 Gaming Edition from Hauppauge! allows you to record gameplay from your preferred gaming console in Full HD 1080p video. With HDMI input and output ports as well a component video input port, this personal video recorder supports the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 as well as the PC. Also, the no-delay HDMI video passthrough allows you to record and play in real time.

You have to connect another computer via USB with a S/W that does the recording. To find similar devices, search for HDMI recorder with passthrough.

  • Looks like a fun toy. I like that it sends record data over USB, instead of it being internal.
    – user3643
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 6:26

By late 2018, the category "HDMI recorder" (#2 of your 3 questions) has become a commodity. Passthrough is taken for granted. Online retailers and auction websites have dozens of models for around USD 100, with new clones appearing every month at half that price.


I personally never had great results with the Hauppage line of products. I would rather; recommend going with a BlackMagic converter box. They make every type imaginable. The BlackMagic H.264 ProRecorder is a fantastic device for the price (under $500); and also does live transcoding to H264, fully adjustable VBR, CBR, and even multiple bitrates. Plus it does live webcasting over livestream and other stream services. The Hauppage products I've looked at... are toys. Other than the ProRecorder in the 500ish price range, theres nothing that will beat it direct line in to the computer.

Other options would be a KiPro, a Atamos ($2000+ range), or go to an ImagePro III; but you're looking at $15,000.

The BM ProRecorder is fantastic.

  • About 5 years ago when I was looking into new equipment, I looked at Black Magic. I eventually decided against them because of the mixed reviews on Amazon. Maybe that's changed.
    – user3643
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 6:16
  • B&H comments for the ProRecorder are a little concerning. Asynchronous audio, won't work with Primere, easily corrupted files, short life ... I couldn't feel good about buying this, but I'm in a professional setting. The content I record represents thousands of dollars.
    – user3643
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 6:40
  • When you read comments/reviews on B&H, Amazon, etc. consider the fact that the negative reviews are almost all submitted by people who don't know what they are doing or don't know what they are talking about. I own and use many BlackMagic products from small converter gadgets to large video production switchers and 40x40 matrix switchers. With very few exceptions BMD makes cutting-edge products with exceptionally high price/performance ratios. The H.264 recorder is quite dependent on having a compatible computer configuration and installation to complete the process. Commented May 1, 2016 at 18:52
  • @Richard I personally see a high dependence on computer configuration a pretty big con. If you can control everything and have virtually unlimited prep time, it's no problem, but that's just not usually an option. I can't say I haven't been tempted to buy black magic, and I still might one day. The price is very attractive.
    – user3643
    Commented May 1, 2016 at 20:15
  • @fredsbend, I agree. My main recorder is an AJA KiPro, and backup recorder is a BlackMagic HyperDeck Studio. Which is why I posted an additional "Answer" about the completely standalone AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Commented May 1, 2016 at 20:24

Based on the experience of Dave Jones (EEVblog) I am ordering an AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable. It is a small, simple box that records HDMI video up to 1080p directly to an SDHC card.

Ref: http://www.amazon.com/AVerMedia-Recording-Definition-Streaming-C875/dp/B00B2IZ3B0

Ref: https://www.eevblog.com/2014/05/20/tagarno-microscope-recording-success/


You can take a VGA output & convert VGA signal to HDMI by using Kramer VP425, & Record this signal in Atomos Ninja 2 in HD Format. This will give you good quality of audio & video both as Kramer VP435 has sound input.

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