I have a camera that can only provide a HDMI output. It does not have in-built recording capabilities as it is basically meant to be displayed directly on a screen.

My Goal?

I want to record that feed.

Components I have:

  • A Windows PC
  • HDMI to USB cable.

I asked around and it turns out that I would need a frame grabber to read the HDMI video feed, convert to a language the computer understands and send the converted feed via USB to the computer. That's pretty neat.

But My Problem

I don't have funds right now to get any new device. So how do I make the computer understand the raw HDMI feed via USB without using a separate device?

Is there a software/driver which can do that? Some sort of a signal analyser? What options do I have?

1 Answer 1


You already stated your options and you only have one that would work: you need a frame grabber.

A frame grabber is a specialized chipset that does a very specific task. Sometimes such devices are called application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC). They basically do only one thing and they do it very well. The chipset that controls the USB on your computer is designed for general use. It can do primary tasks moderately well. That's it.

A frame Grabber is designed to take a specific video input stream and digitize it into frames, which applications can easily use. A video input card is nearly an ASIC of this variety, which is why some of them can probably achieve this task by adding an HDMI input to your computer.

I'm unfamiliar with any video cards that have HDMI inputs. Such solutions require a desktop computer with an open PCI-e slot. I have used some Epiphan products with decent success (the DVI2USB3 can take HDMI input via a DVI to HDMI adapter). I used to hear mixed reviews about Black Magic products but now they seem pretty good. These solutions only require an open USB port, which many laptops probably have.

Summary: Nope, you need different hardware.

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