Ultimate Capture Card Thread [Information/ Support/ Quality]

I spent a lot of hours making this post, please take a minute of your time to post some feedback :wink: It would mean a lot for all the effort i’ve put in.

I had a look around to see if there was a topic on this, and there wasn’t so i thought i would give it a bash.

Whether it’s regarding buying, information or support, people are always asking about capture cards. Hopefully this topic can clear things up for some of you.

What is a Capture card?

A capture card is a device that allows you to capture video from a source (e.g - Xbox, PS3, TV etc). It can be used to capture anything from gameplay to television.

Why should i get a capture card?

There a few reasons why you should get one: -

If your interested in uploading gameplay videos to the internet.

If you want to transfer your old VHS or DVD movies to digital format.

For recording live television.

Livestreaming.

What capture card should i get?

There are a number of factors that will determine your choice.

I will be going through the top 4 most popular capture cards

These are: -

Easycap
Dazzle
Hauppauge HDPVR
Black Magic Intensity Pro

These four devices are computer dependent, so obviously you need a computer close by to capture content. Check your computer specs before buying - A good amount of Hard drive space, RAM and a good graphics card are recommended.

The two best ones are the Hauppauge and the BM but they are also the most expensive.

The Easycap and the dazzle offer less quality but come at a much more affordable price.

Heres a video on youtube i found thats worth a watch -

The first thing that will influence your decision is what type of TV you have.

Is it Standard definition or High definition?

The Easycap and the dazzle only record in SD and not HD - but can record on both SD and HD TV’s.

The Hauppauge HDPVR and BM Intensity Pro both record in HD - The hauppauge using component cables and the BM using HDMI.

Remember if your using a SD capture card to record on a HDTV you have to play on SD as well.

Obviously HD is better quality than SD so bear that in mind if you have a HDTV and are looking for the best quality.

The Hauppauge and BM have both similar quality with perhaps the BM edging it.

Check out the difference here

Open Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwz1kO7c96w&feature=player_embedded

The next thing is what you plan to do with your device and what do you plan to accomplish?

Do you plan to become a youtube star? Or are you using it for private use.

Will you use it frequently or not a lot?

These must be answered as there is no point in spending a lot of money on something that you will rarely use.

I’ll now go through each capture card one by one, giving it’s description, price,how to set it up, specs, quality. FAQ, support and best rendering settings.

Standard Definition Capture Cards

Easycap

[details=Open Me]

The Easycap is basically the cheapest capture card money can buy. It records in standard definition, and is a great affordable option for people who are looking for a first capture card. The quality is the poorest out of the four capture cards but in regards to what your paying the quality is pretty good. It plugs into your computers USB port and connects to your tv/gaming console via the composite wires on the opposite end of the device.

Specs

Open Me

Launch date 2007, June
Dimensions (LxWxH) 88 x 28 x 18 mm
Casing Plastic
Color options Black

POWER-RELATED FEATURES
Power source USB

CONNECTIVITY
Connectivity options USB 2.0
Data transfer rate 0
Inputs RCA composite, RCA audio, S-Video
Outputs USB

ADAPTER-RELATED FEATURES
Supported file formats DV, AVI, MPEG, WMV, VCD, DVD

OTHERS
Supports Both NTSC and PAL video systems
NTSC recording 720 x 480 at 30fps
PAL recording 720 x 576 at 25fps
Recording formats DVD+/-R/RW, DVD+/-VR, and DVD-Video
Output formats DV, AVI, MPEG, WMV, VCD, DVD
Supports Brightness, contrast, hue and saturation control

Where to get it and how much does it cost

The two best places to get them from are amazon and ebay.

You get them on both the UK and the US sites so people shouldn’t have a problem finding the device.

Price in the UK is about 7.50 GBP
In the US the price is round about $10.00

Other things you might need:-

RCA to RCA composite cable

Male to Female RCA splitters

Editing software comes with the easycap so theres no need to purchase any.

How to set up

Open Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyXrirh00kE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2gV0w8NVno

Quality

This is the type of quality you can expect from the easycap, obviously this can be improved by using different render settings.

Support/FAQ

No input signal or signal is unclear

The following error “no input signal or signal is unclear” is a common problem when you first start using the easycap.

This message comes up after everything is connected and the drivers are loaded your trying to capture some video with the Ulead software, but there is no picture is on the display.

I initially had the same problem when i connected up my VCR to transfer some VHS videos, I thought i had the right cable SCART to COMPOSITE VIDEO, which seemed like it should work, but this cable was for VIDEO IN, I needed SCART to COMPOSITE VIDEO OUT, i quickly purchased a SCART to Phono + SVHS Adapter which has input/output switchable, Once this was connected the Ulead software picked up the signal.

Not recording in colour

When capturing video using the EaspCAP in the UK make sure the source you are using is set to PAL 50hz and also on the Ulead software, go to the capture options and set to PAL. If it’s set to NTSC the capture will be in Black and White.

How to record Wii Gameplay

[details=Open Me] If you have just purchased a EasyCap to record games on your Wii, here is quick guide to getting it up and running very quickly. A few extra Items you will want to purchase are 2 or 3 phono splitters
for this tutorial i will use just 2 splitters.

This will enable you to play the console on your TV whilst recording the game on your laptop or PC

phono splitters -

2 sets of phono extension cables

Now from the Easycap connect 1 set of the phono extension leads to the correct colours yellow on yellow for Video the other end connects to 1of the phono splitters

Repeat with the white cable and the other cable splitter, itshould now look like below

take the second set of phono extension cables and connect yellow(video) to the splitter, the white cable (audio) connects to the other splitter with the white cable

The other end of the extension cables goes to your TV, select the correct channel for the AV leads. Now you will need to connect the Wii AV cables to the splitter, following the same trend as before yellow (video) to the splitter with the other video cables, and white (audio)cables to the splitter with the white cables connected. You should now have this setup below

Now power on your Wii, you should see the picture on your TV screen, check you are on the correct channel for the AV cables.

If your based in the UK make sure the WII is set to PAL 50hz

Launch the Ulead software and follow the following steps

click capture video

click options, select video and audio capture settings

For PAL systems make sure you have these settings

Check the the capture tab has the same settings

If you have any problems with setting this up on your wii feel free to leave comments i will try and resolve the problems your having.
[/details][/details]

Dazzle

[details=Open Me]

The dazzle is the best non HD capture card out there in my opinion. It has good quality, nice design and is great for people buying a capture device for the first time. It’s not as expensive as the HD capture cards but is a little more expensive than the Easycap. Overall it’s a good capture card with your videos being in SD as well as playing in SD the only drawbacks.

Specs

Open Me

Minimum System Requirements

Windows® XP (SP2 or higher)
Intel® Pentium® or AMD® Athlon® 1.4 GHz or higher (2.4 GHz or higher recommended)
512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
DirectX® 9 or higher compatible graphics card with 64 MB (ATI® Radeon® or NVIDIA® GeForce’ 3 or higher, with 128 MB recommended)
DirectX 9 or higher compatible sound card (Creative® Audigy® or M-Audio® recommended)
1 GB of disk space to install software and 3 GB to install bonus content
1 USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) or USB 1.1 port
DVD burner for creating DVDs

Hardware Specifications

Video inputs: Composite video (RCA), S-Video (mini-DIN)
Audio inputs: Stereo audio (RCA x2)
On-board MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and DivX® compression hardware
PC connection: Hi-Speed USB 2.0 or USB 1.1

Software Specifications

Capture from any video source with composite (RCA) or S-Video output
Capture Formats:

Hardware compressed MPEG-1, MPEG-2 & MPEG-4
Import Formats: (Studio QuickStart)

Video: DV, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX®, MPEG-4, Windows Media® Format, Non-encrypted DVD Titles*
Audio: WAV, MP3*
Graphics: BMP, JPG, PCT, TGA, TIF, Windows Media Format
Export Formats: (Studio QuickStart)

Video CD (VCD) or S-VCD with optional CD burner (CD-R or CD-RW)
iPod & PSP compatible (MPEG-4)
DVD with optional DVD burner (DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R or DVD+RW)
DV, AVI, DivX, RealVideo® 8, Windows Media 9, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 files
Dolby® Digital 2 channel and 5.1 channel audio*

Package Contents

Dazzle DVC 170 USB video capture device with MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 compression hardware
Pinnacle InstantDVD Recorder software
Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software
Studio Bonus DVD
Quick Installation and Getting Started guides

Where to get and how much

Again amazon and ebay are the best places but other online retailers have as well

Retail price is about 40 GBP and about $50.

But there are different models of the dazzle so the price will differ depending on what model your buying.

Other things you might need:-

RCA to RCA composite cable

Male to Female RCA splitters

How to set up

Quality

Here is the typical quality you should get with the dazzle

The quality can be improved by changing the rendering settings

Tutorial by Juicy - https://www.wemod.com/forum/32-youtube-famous/15957-%5Btut%5D-best-dazzle-settings-possible.html

or

or

Tut by iBullet

Open Me

[b]This tutorial will cover making you’re videos HD and amazing quality.

Im only going to be covering the Sony vegas 9.0 part.

[size=15]1. go to Video FX

  1. go to Color corrector (secondary) Click on Computer RGB to studio RGB

2a. Click + Drag to the video track

  1. Go back to Video FX and choose saturation adjust.
    Drag to the video track and make it to these settings

Go back to Video FX again and choose Sharpen.
Click and drag ‘Medium’ onto the video track.

Ok now that is it for video FX (you can add your own or tweak to your liking.

Once you have finished editing you’re clips and doing what you are doing follow these next steps.

Go to File > Render as.
Change save as type to .wmv and choose default template as the template

  1. On the right there will be a button ‘CUSTOM…’ click it.

Click the audio tab
Change the mode to CBR
Format to Windows media audio 9.2

Click the video tab
Mode: CBR
Format: Windows media video 9
Image size: High definition (1280x720)
Pixel aspect ratio: 1.000 (square)
Frame Rate (FPS): 29.970 (NTSC)
Seconds per key frame: 5
Tick overide default compression buffer (seconds): 3
Video smoothness: 100 (sharpest)

Click project

Change Default template to YouTube.

Press the save button

Press ok down the bottom.

Now press save and it will start rendering.

[/details]

This is what kind of quality you could have - thanks to bruflot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E9ue046rPs&feature=player_embedded

Support/FAQ

My dazzle is recording in black and white -

What you do is download amcap - search for it on google. Once downloaded open amcap > go to video filter > and select secam b that should put it into colour.

Video tut -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6mrg-WjhHY&feature=player_embedded

My drivers need updated/my computer doesn’t recognize my dazzle -

Go to this website and select the appropriate driver according to your OS -

Pinnacle - Dazzle* Hardware Installer for Studio 10

Once correctly updated there shouldn’t be a problem.

High Definition Capture cards

Hauppauge HD PVR

Open Me

The hauppauge in my opinion is one of the best capture cards money can buy. The quality is great, the design of the device is nice and the software that comes with it is brilliant and easy to use. It’s simple to set up and doesn’t require you to buy anything. The only draw back is the price which may be to much for some people.

Specs

Open Me

Specifications

Hardware encoder:
H.264 AVCHD video encoder.
Recording datarate: from 1 to 13.5 Mbits/sec (user selectable).
Recording format: up to 1080i from component video (YCrCb)
Note: the video input format determines the recorded format. For example, 1080i input records at 1080i, 720P records at 720P, etc… Any other format conversions needs to be done with the MediaConvert program (supplied).
Size:
19.8cm wide x 17.3 cm deep x 7 cm high.
Power:
5V at 2 amps.

System Requirements

Processor Requirements (minimum):
Dual core CPU.
Microsoft® Windows® 7 (32/64bit), Vista (32/64bit) or Windows XP Service Pack 3.
Graphics with 256MB memory (or greater)
Note: the playback of high definition H.264 requires a fast CPU and at least 256MB of graphics memory.
Sound card.

Included with the HD PVR

HD PVR high definition personal video recorder, USB.
IR Blaster transmitter cable.
Component video cable set.
Audio cable set.
USB cable.
5v power supply.

Bundled software applications

Arcsoft “TotalMediaExtreme” for video capture, preview, playback, and authoring and burning your TV recordings onto a Blu-ray DVD compatible disc.
Arcsoft “TotalMedia Theater”, a video player so you can play back your TV recordings to your PC screen.
Arcsoft “MediaConverter” , to convert your H.264 HD recordings onto other formats.
Includes Hauppauge’s WinTV scheduler for scheduled TV recordings.

Input and outputs

Component video input and loop through output.
Optical audio Input and loop through output.
Left/ Right RCA audio input and loop through output.
Composite video and S-Video inputs (on front panel).
Left/right audio input (on front panel).
IR Blaster output.
USB2.0 High speed Device.

Where to get and how much

Amazon is the best place but a lot of online retailers also sell them. Play.com is where i got mine.

The retail at about 180 GBP and about $190. Expensive but well worth it.

How to set up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTWcDMjwlmQ

To start off unplug your console composite cables from your tv, but keep them plugged in your console. Your then going to plug your console composite wires into the “in” inputs (the bottom ones) on the pvr.You then take your composite cables you get with your pvr and plug one side in the out inputs (the top).

[details=Open Me]
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You then plug the other side of the composite cable into your tv (the inputs you had your console leads in before.) After that is done plug your power adapter into the back and plug it in. You should then see a blue light appear on the pvr as soon as its switched on. Plug the USB into the pvr and connect it to your pc/laptop. You then have to install the drivers and capture program for the pvr before you can record with it, its fairly simple just follow the on-screen instructions. After this is done you will have to restart your pc/laptop. When this is done you will now be free to record gameplay/video from your console.

Quality

Here is one of my videos to show you the quality - watch it in 720 p for HD quality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMie2_XBIfM

Render settings can improve the quality but not as drastically as with the SD capture cards.

Good render settings -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNIqgiBuzqw

Support/FAQ

My drivers are not up to date/ hdpvr isn’t recognized -

Go here and update the drivers - http://www.wintvcd.co.uk/drivers/HD-PVR_1_5_7_0_WHQL.zip

Should work if updated correctly.

I can’t view my videos in sony vegas

Change your recording format in TME to M2TS rather than MP4. Vegas supports M2TS but not MP4.

Black Magic Intensity Pro

[details=Open Me]

The best capture card out there. It edges the HD PVR when it comes to quality due to it having a HDMI input rather than a composite one. It again is expensive but you get your moneys worth. It’s put in the PCI slot of your PC/Laptop instead of connecting via USB.

Specs

Open Me

Digital Video Input 1 x HDMI input.
Digital Video Output 1 x HDMI output. .
Supported HDMI formats 525 NTSC, 625 PAL, 720HD and 1080HD switchable.
HDMI Audio Input 2 Channels.
HDMI Audio Output 2 Channels.
Analog Video Input Component, NTSC, PAL or S-Video.
Analog Video Output Component, NTSC, PAL or S-Video.
Analog Audio Input 2 Channel RCA HiFi audio in 24 bit.
Analog Audio Output 2 Channel RCA HiFi audio in 24 bit.
SPDIF Audio Output 2 Channel 24 bit.
Dual Rate support HDMI and Analog Component switches between high definition and standard definition.
Sync Input None
Device Control None.
Computer Interface PCI Express 1 lane, compatible with 1, 4, 8 and 16 lane PCIe slots
.[/details]

Where to get and how much

I would say amazon is your best bet (again) they retail for about $190 in the US and about 150 GBP in the UK.

Its cheaper than the HD PVR but more complex to use and setup - but you do get better quality.

How to set up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zde1YxJ1YJ4

Quality

The quality is very sexy, as i’m sure you will agree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66YdUiu_g3g

and some render settings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UvZWmuI7Vo

Support/FAQ

To be updated

Last thing is if your going to be uploading your videos to the internet your going to need some editing software.

Sony Vegas Pro 9 or 10
Adobe After Effects
Final Cut Pro

I would recommend using Sony Vegas Pro having see first hand how good it is.

If you need any support regarding capture cards, leave your questions here and i’ll do my best to answer them.

Any feedback on the topic is as always, greatly appreciated :thumbsup:

I hope this helps some of you out :sunglasses:

This is very Informative, Thanks for a good post on the different capture cards

~Anime

Thanks.

Any questions regarding support for capture cards that are answered i will add to the Support/FAQ section for that particular capture card. These can be used for future reference.

You can leave your questions here, pm me, leave a visitor message or contact me on AIM although the best way is through here.

AIM - ptkgreg

I have a AverMedia HDDVR, works like anyother HD PVR just different installing and stuff.
Has the same quality or even better.

I didn’t want to touch on capture cards that i didn’t know too much about. there are other alternatives like your one but i felt it was just best sticking with the 4 popular choices.

I would really appreciate your input guys, i hate to sound needy but when you put 6+ hours into a post and don’t really get any feedback, it can be a bit frustrating :confused:

I feel the need to bump this as i put a lot of effort into this and it would be a waste for this topic to be of no use to anyone considering all the information it has.

If anyone needs any support - i’ll do my best to help leave your problems here or pm them to me.

i love my black magic intensity proo, but the guy u got for example does not have enough memory its lagn a bit

My EasyCap Quality.

Good guide, I’d suggesting adding the AverTV HD, for $80-$90 and 1080i, it’s tough to beat in the price range.

I will also get you a quality test later.

i have never relized this but very nice post G7 i like it alot

You should add in the Black Magic Shuttle.

Updated - also thanks to bruflot for his quality video of his dazzle.

Thanks, i may add some more capture cards like the avertv but i don’t know to much about them thats the problem. A quality test would be appreciated though.

Thanks, it took a while to put together :smile:

I’m looking into it, i’ve been reading up on it - could be very popular in the future and looks like it will be the best capture card on the market.

Updated again with new video.

I won’t be able to help out or update this topic for a month so if you have nay questions email me @ Ptkgreg@hotmail.co.uk

Just to let yall know!

I have the EasyCap w/ S-Video Av Cables Xbox 360, And the picture comes out in HD. Not as defined as The HDPVR, but just as good as the Dazzle DVD Recorder + HD

<3 Yes.

Are all of these compatible with PC and Mac?

Please check the thread date before replying, this thread is over 3 years old. I suggest you look into current capture devices as all the ones in this thread are outdated.

You should start your own new thread if you’re serious about purchasing one.

A mod should close this.

I’m aware of how old this thread is. I just decided I might as well reply because I can’t find a good site that explains the details about capture cards, but thank you for the advice.