Game capture has traditionally been something of a dark art. PC gamers have been doing it for years, but when it comes to recording video and audio from consoles, it was always taken as a given that the professional games media had the capability, and that it was beyond the reaches of lesser beings such as us.
And so along comes Roxio (not to be confused with Rovio – the makers of Angry Birds). In the past they’ve focused on creating hardware for moving media across mediums (like VHS to DVD for example), whilst their software arm concerned themselves with audio and video editing. The Game Capture HD Pro takes this hardware and software know-how, points it at the emerging games streaming and e-sports scene, and packages it all together in one very attractive bundle.
I cannot stress enough how simple it is to record your Xbox 360 or PS3. You should note that if you’re looking to do nefarious things like recording Netflix or Sky, the encrypted signal from the console will stop you. However if you want to record gameplay footage, this kit is for you. You start by plugging a laptop (with the supplied software installed) into the Game Capture HD Pro using the USB wire. Then plug the HDMI in and out (component cables are also available, however the signal will be slightly diminished) between the Xbox 360 and TV respectively, you’ll very quickly see the image of your gameplay through your laptop – albeit with a second or two delay.
Although this is almost entirely obvious, even to a layman such as myself, the instructions that come in the box are very useful. Notably, Roxio cannot capture PS3 footage through the HDMI cable because the signal is always encrypted. In this instance component cables have to be used instead. However everything is clearly outlined to get you up and running with just a few cables being slotted in the appropriate ports.
From here you can either stream directly to twitch TV (I’ll talk about that later) or record the audio and video for you to edit later.
Editing is fairly simple. Using VideoWave, which comes in the box, whether you’re a video veteran or a newcomer, everything you need is right there. However, as a child of Sony Vegas Pro, I found the layout a little taxing to get to grips with. This isn’t really a negative, it’s just that VideoWave is not software I’m used to, so it took some time to get things looking the way I wanted them to.
You can even upload directly to youtube or facebook, which is a fantastic timesaver when you consider that’s exactly where most of your videos will go.
The actual act of streaming is a fantastic feature that is again built into the package. Once you’ve installed the software, simply link it to your twitch tv account, hit the stream button and away you go. The major downside to this is that you will be throttled when it comes to upload speeds. If you have less than 1mbps upload (1.5mbps preferable), the “stream in HD” selling point of the kit will be somewhat moot. You can stream in HD; your internet provider probably won’t let you. With super fast internet rolling out across the country, it won’t be too long before this consideration becomes a thing of the past.
In an attempt to streamline the offering as much as possible, the hardcore may find that some of their customisation options are frustratingly missing. Whilst you can adjust the quality of your live stream using the slider bar, for example, some will probably lament the fact that they aren’t given access to tweak individual aspects of the stream. That being said, this never proclaims to be the best on the market, however it arguably presents the best value for money.
Finally, and this is probably the least important selling point of the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro: it looks… sexy. With an unfussy, sleek design and purple light up LEDs, this is a piece of kit you’ll be happy to show off to any visitors to your sitting room / bedroom / game streaming lair (mwahaha optional).
All in all, Roxio have taken disparate activities and put them into one box to great success. With Roxio Game Capture HD Pro, you won’t need separate systems to handle game capture and streaming. If you only care about capture, it may well be time to consider trading in for this. The low price, competent video editing suite and excellent game capture hardware are well worth your money. I can see this fantastic combined hardware and software offering smashing the streaming and capturing community wide open; reducing barriers to entry and turning every gamer into a potential broadcaster.
- Tom Wallis