One of the single best things that can happen when reviewing a product is realising that it just works. No mucking about, no deciphering manuals, no trawling the interwebs. For sure, embed options to twiddle with, but make the process from opening the box to using the product as quick and seamless as possible.
Avermedia has done this wonderfully with its Game Capture HD. This standalone box is designed to plug in between a console and HDTV and allow you to record gameplay with the push of a button. While this sounds simple, we have tried to capture enough console footage over the years at Atomic to know that it never is.
This is why the Game Capture HD excites us so much. While it is very much a solution to first world problems, it makes capturing and subsequently watching or uploading gameplay footage a doddle. It uses component video outputs to do this, avoiding issues thrown up by the inclusion of HDCP in the HDMI specification. To set the box up, just use the included Xbox 360/PS3/Wii to component output cable and then plug the box into the component inputs on your TV.
You can capture footage to a USB hard drive or you can install a 2.5in internal drive. All you then need to do while gaming is hit record on the remote and everything is lain down as an AVI with Mp3 audio in the output resolution of your console – the box supports recording up to 720p/1080i. There are more advanced settings to use, but you don’t need to bother if you don’t want.
The big concern when piping graphics through a passthrough box like this is latency, and this is an area where Avermedia impresses. While there is a lag, it is barely perceptible, and we didn’t find it impacting gameplay.
Not only has Avermedia delivered a product that works quickly and easily, but it has done so with attention to detail and a focus on what people actually want. While it may seem extravagant to spend $200 on a box designed to record video games, for those who want to share footage with friends, or show off their leet skills on the Youtubes, then this is a truly fantastic bit of kit.