My time with Hauppauge's game video capture unit was most notable for how (basically) effortless it was to use. Besides some quirks with the PS3 (you have to fiddle a little to get it to work with Sony's console), capturing video on my PS3 and 360 worked like a charm.
After the jump, find out how easy it was to capture video on my consoles, guaranteeing that I'll be inflicting tons of my Battlefield 3 death videos upon the general public.
Setting the HD PVR 2 isn't quite an out of the box and play effort, but it's pretty close to it. The box includes everything you see above:
The main unit
A component cable and adapter
Two HDMI cables
Capture and editing software (Windows)
Since the PS3 poses some of the trickier setup issues, that's the platform I decided to test it out on first. After connecting the main unit to my laptop and running the installation software, I had to do a little tweaking on the settings for my PlayStation 3, since the instructions note that the HD PVR 2 can't output 1080p video from the PS3. That meant going into the PS3's display settings and manually setting the video to 1080i and swapping the audio output to RCA. From there, I connected the included standard PS3 component cable with an adapter to plug it into the main HD PVR 2 unit.
Here's how Hauppauge advises you set the whole thing up:
This all took a small amount of troubleshooting, since I was switching from HDMI to component and swapping between outputs can occasionally force you to contend with the timer on the display menu on the PS3 to confirm your video choice (there's probably a simpler way of switching inputs, but I didn't want to fight that fight any longer).
But after getting everything sorted, I was immediately greeted with a slightly delayed stream from my PS3, showing the XMB with a crisp and clear picture on my laptop in the ArcSoft ShowBiz editing software.
To capture content, you can either press the handy button at the top of the PVR or press the capture button in the main window of the ShowBiz software. It's all pretty easy to navigate and drops a video file in either a TS, M2TS, or MP4 format. You can record the first to a Blu-ray disc, while you can view the latter two formats on the PS3 and 360 respectively.
From there, I checked out the the editing software which allows you to drag and drop your video files and throw in some effects and transitions. There's also a one-button option to upload your masterpiece of sexy custom Soul Calibur V characters to YouTube, and it's a fairly accessible suite of tools for manipulating your footage. I'm still getting a handle on the fairly simple features, it was easy to pick up on what everything does.
For a newbie like myself, Hauppauge's PVR provided an easy-to-use capture solution without an excess of complicated bells and whistles, and it's a great solution for anyone looking to capture gameplay from either of their consoles.
The Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is available now on Amazon.
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