Brand: Corel / Roxio
Model: Roxio Game Capture HD PRO
Review Unit Provided By: Corel
Release Date: September 20, 2012
Earlier in the year we had an awesome idea at GIZORAMA headquarters, we had a game preview build and had the OK from the game’s developers and publishers to show off anything we wish from the build as long as it did not contain any spoilers. We figured we’d live stream our gaming antics to help let other gamers know how the game looked and played. We fired up our systems, installed a few programs, and got on our way to streaming our game preview shenanigans onto the interwebs. Only problem was that our stream lasted a matter of seconds before things started going wrong. First we had server issues where there was too much ping in the connection, then our accounts were wiped from the streaming program, then another issue where we had our system lock up due to the massive amount of memory being hogged by the streaming application. It wasn’t long until we had enough and threw our arms up in defeat. We needed a solution, and we needed one now.
It took a few months after our mishap, but Corel recently released the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro. Is this what we need at GIZORAMA? Is this what every gamer needs at home to capture their epic raids and/or headshots? Or is this just another gimmick that’ll end up in your desk’s drawer in a few days only to see the light of day when scrounging around for a pen?
Luckily from a first time user of both game capturing, and game streaming, I don’t think the Game Capture HD Pro could have been any easier to install and use. Upon opening the box you’re presented with a whopping four items. The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro unit, a USB cable, a CD with installation files, and a short instructional diagram for those who aren’t technically inclined to just go at it and hope for the best. No AV cords are included, but if you’re like me you always have a spare HDMI cord or two lying around. All that needed to be done was plug the Xbox 360 into the Game Capture HD Pro via HDMI, plug the Game Capture HD Pro into the TV via HDMI, and then plug the Game Capture HD Pro into your computer via USB. Three cords, one additional unit, and you’re set. Using a PlayStation 3 makes it a TAD more work, as you have to connect component AV cables to the Game Capture HD PRO versus a single HDMI, but aside from plugging in more cable ends the simplicity is the same.
Once everything’s hooked up properly, you can start up your console and game as normal, or utilize the Game Capture HD Pro to record or stream your session. This step’s also incredibly easy as the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro software has two options upon start-up, either Capture or Edit & Share. In Capture you set up the profile you wish to use, changing the capture resolution and video bitrate settings, and then it’s right into gaming. You can set the program to run for as long as you’d like, or you can set up timing intervals to keep the files in a smaller, easier to manage size. The recording quality is great, supporting 30 FPS on 1080p or 60 FPS on 1080i. Your audio is also captured in-line with the video, with settings to enable or disable in-game chat being recorded.
Once your footage is recorded you can head to Edit & Share and be presented with a plethora of editing features, effects, and settings. At first it was quiet a daunting experience as this was my first time editing video. Included features include over 95 transition effects, support for up to 6 picture-in-picture boxes, soundtrack support, gamer-style text overlays and voice changed narration to match gameplay. Luckily, Corel though about the average gamer, and the learning curve is surprisingly easy to master. After less than an hour editing video, I was able to create a short mashup of Battlefield 3 kills from numerous different games. You can also directly upload your videos from the Game Capture HD PRO program to both Facebook or Youtube with the click of a button to show off both your gaming and editing skills.
But what if you don’t care about recording your gaming sessions? Well well, Corel thought of that one too as the Game Capture HD PRO also has the ability to live share your gaming to the gaming focused streaming site, Twitch.tv. This also couldn’t be easier. Upon opening the Game Capture HD PRO software, you click Capture, click Live Stream, and boom you’re streaming live. Upon opening the Game Capture HD PRO, it took me a whopping 10 minutes to hook everything up and start my streaming directly to Twitch.tv, and the longest part of that was the game’s loading screen.
The biggest downside we could find with the Game Capture HD PRO is that there wasn’t an included power cord. The device uses the HDMI TV loop-through technology, which lets the video loop through the adapter then to your TV. The downside is that the HDMI TV loop-through requires power to let the signal pass through the Game Capture HD PRO, and the only way to provide power to the device is with the included USB cord. Should you shut down your PC or Laptop while connected, the Game Capture HD PRO will shut down, and connection will be lost from the gaming source. The reason this hurts the product is because you’re forced to either have your PC/laptop nearby, connected, and powered on or you have to disconnect your HDMI (or other input) from the Game Capture HD PRO and plug it back into the TV.
Worried if your PC/laptop will be able to run the Game Capture HD Pro? Luckily the system requirements aren’t too brutal. Windows Vista, 7, and 8 are all supported, but there’s no love for Mac or Linux systems. You should have a 1.8 GHz CPU, 2.3GHz or better if you’re looking to record 1080p/i, and at least 2GB of RAM. The Game Capture HD Pro software required 2GB of diskspace, and you’re going to want at least 10GB or more for your recordings as they can stack up pretty quick. We had a 40 minute Battlefield 3 recording clock in at 2.6 GB. If you’re looking to stream your games your going to need an internet connection of at least 1.5Mbps, but you’ll most likely have chopping even at 480p. Aim for 4.5Mbps or better if you’re looking to stream 720p. I was able to run the program and record at 1080p with my budget $400 Acer laptop without any hiccups in recording, but was only able to stream without lag at 480p. 720p live streaming lagged heavily after 5-10 minutes of gameplay even though my connection’s over 15Mbps, but I was unable to determine if this was the program, my connection, or Twitch.tv so no foul towards the Game Capture HD Pro.
Overall, the Game Capture HD PRO is a dead simple device that should be in the hands of way more gamers. Think of the amount of amazing things we’ve been able to see since the wide availability of products like the GoPro. If gamers were recording as much content we’d have a shocking amount of great kill compilations, raid runs, video tutorials, etc. With an MSRP of around $150, it may not fit into everyone’s budget as a whim-purchase, but if you at all like bragging about your insane kills or just want a way to capture your gaming footage, snap up a Game Capture HD PRO and get recording or streaming in a matter of minutes.
September 2013 Update:
While it’s rare that we at GIZORAMA update our reviews, due to our experiences, we sadly have to put a warning for prospective Game Capture HD Pro owners. If you’re a Windows 8 users, be prepared for various issues. When we updated from Windows 7 to Windows 8, we were forced to hunt into our systems registry, delete a bunch of entries, as well as uninstall and re-install the software. This wasn’t too much of an issue for us, but due to the massive lack of online support from Corel, we do want to point out the possibility of problems. We’ve also run into numerous issues while using Windows 8, the most noticeable being that we’ve lost the on-screen preview of whatever’s being captured.
The device is still a great device to own, but with other capture cards coming onto the market, we only recommend this device for those on an operating system other than Windows 8.