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Best Video Capture Devices for Streaming and More

There's a pretty wide range of video capture devices out there that cover a lot of different uses. If you want to capture video professionally, for web streaming content, or convert analog video to a digital format, then you should consider a high-end model that gives you more input options and ensures high output. But there are also quite a few models that are very affordable and can be purchased for easy video capture at a very reasonable price. Consider the type of media you want to capture and the physical input and output connections you need for your existing hardware before purchasing any device.

These best video capture devices in 2022 offer the best picture quality thanks to HD video that supports up to 1080p 30 fps video quality. You get HDMI pass-through performance with all of these devices, which means they have HDMI output as well as input, so you can play or stream live in addition to recording gameplay with a single device. All of these video capture devices include great software that makes it easy to control how you stream or record video and audio, plus edit, save, and post video without the need for additional, expensive video-editing programs.

Comparing the Best Video Capture Devices of 2022

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Video Capture Device - Best Video Capture Device Overall

This is a fantastic all around option which supports a wide range of input and output resolutions and hardware, with both HDMI and analog input connections. You can capture video up to 1080p at 30 fps with this device and it also features push-button recording, pass-through functionality for streaming and recording. It’s also bundled with great software for editing and broadcasting your video and audio. A standout feature with this model is an SD card slot you can use to record and save video to an SD card, which lets you use it without a computer attached.

Elgato Game Video Capture Device - Runner Up

If you want the best picture quality possible, then this is a great choice that simply cannot be beat. You can capture up to 1080p 60 fps HD video with this device as well as pass-through HDMI connections, so you can stream live gameplay game while you’re recording. One of the nicest features with this model is you can actually stream video at one resolution while recording at another. This means you can stream at a lower resolution for better bit rates while recording at 1080p 60 fps. Another standout feature is Flashback Recording which lets you go back through the software on your computer and start recording even if you haven’t already done so. Keep in mind this model only has HDMI connection, so it won’t work with older hardware requiring an analog input. However, the bundled software makes it easy to record, edit, and post your videos, or stream content live.

Diamond Game Caster Video Capture Device - Honorable Mention

This is a great device that makes capturing  1080p 30 fps HD video simple and convenient without the need for a large system array. It's quite easy to set up thanks to both HDMI and analog video/audio inputs, along with an HDMI output and USB port for pass-through performance and streaming. You can use this to capture video from your computer but it also works well to record from an external device such as a video game console or video cassette player. A simple push-button record function makes it easy to start recording content at any time. You can also take advantage of the integrated card slot which lets you record directly to an SD card, making it ideal for use with or without a computer.

Hauppauge High-Def Personal Video Capture Device - Consider

There is a lot to like about this video capture device such as 1080p HD video capture and a record button to quickly start and stop recording. You can also skip backwards while streaming, playing a game, or begin recording after the fact if you missed something noteworthy. While it has HDMI input and output (along with a USB cable) it only has a single AV input for certain devices like the Playstation 3. This is opposed to individual analog video and audio connections which would make it more useful for a broad range of applications. Overall, this is a great option, but not necessarily the best choice for every video capture setup.

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro - Best Video Capture Device

Although a bit on the large side, this video capture device is easy to connect to a wide range of computers and other platforms. This model can capture up to 1080p 30 fps HD video, and comes bundled with software to efficiently stream and record video. You get support for a lot of different file formats with this model, so it’s ideal if you need a variety of input and output. There are also some great extras like hotkey support start and stop capturing, the option to add voice commentary or background music to recordings, and a USB cable for power. The lack of a physical record button and SD card means you need to use this pick with a computer, but it does include connections for both HDMI and component input. Keep in mind this device is only compatible with Windows.

Buyer's Guide

If you wish to record games from your PlayStation, X-box, Nintendo, or PC, you'll need a quality video capture device. A video capture device records video so you may edit it on your computer, publish it to YouTube, or stream it to sites like Twitch.tv and Ustream. In this buyer’s guide, we will go over what to look for when choosing the best video capture device, as well as some of the characteristics of the best video capture device in 2021, so you can choose the one that best fits your demands and budget. So, without further ado, let us get started.

What is a video capture device?

A video capture device is a gadget that connects a video source to your computer or storage device. It converts a video output from a media device such as a digicam, recorder, gameplay console, or a live stream broadcast from a TV into a computer-readable version. Internal video capture systems need the installation of a card into a computer, similar to a graphics card in a desktop computer.

There are other USB-based external capture devices available. These gadgets may be hooked into your computer's USB ports. In most cases, the video source's output ports are linked to the video capture device's input ports. The output ports are then connected to the appropriate input port on a pc.

On the desktop, a video capture software application would be used to initiate the capture process and store the captured information in a specific file. After capturing the clip in a suitable digital format, it may be edited using a video editing application. Video capture software is usually included with the video capture equipment. It also functions as a video editor, allowing you to cut the segments you have recorded, add music and titles, and even burn the modified movie on DVD or other disc formats.

When is a video capture device necessary?

If you want to convert an analog video to digital, you'll definitely need video capture equipment. An analog video is recorded on a cassette. VHS, 8mm camcorder video, and mini-DV video are all examples. The direct playback of analog video on computers is not possible.

As a result, a video capture device with video capture software is necessary as a gateway or converter to transfer data from an analog origin and transform it to digital prior to accessing the desktop.

What are the types of video capture devices?

There are two commonly known types— USB connections that require their own programming or PCI Express (PCIe) gadgets that offer plug-and-play. The latter is favored since it is less complicated to operate and does not require the assistance of drivers. They generally connect to a desktop or rack system through a PCIe adapter slot.

There's also the Mini PCIe version or the newer M.2 standard, which has a smaller form size. These cards have the advantage of being directly linked to the system, allowing for greater performance. This enhanced performance also allows many input lines to be used on the very same unit.

When employing devices with multiple capture broadcasts, video-shifting operating systems like Wirecast or vMix are suitable for multi-camera live-stream delivery.

What are factors to look for in a video capture device?

Video capture devices let you catch HDMI video signals from any device and transfer them to your computer, where you may use them in any software. Those who want to learn more about video capture devices can go at the following comprehensive elements to search for in the best video capture devices:

HDMI count

This is important because your camera will be connected to your capture device through an HDMI wire. The video feed from the camera is then transmitted to your computer through USB or any comparable interface. If you have a gaming console, however, instead of just simply capturing the visual output, you should display it on your desktop. Video capture devices designed for use with consoles or second PCs, for example, feature two HDMI connections.

In these cases, one HDMI cable connects your console to your capture device, while the other connects your capture device to your monitor. The video capture signal, like that of a single HDMI capture device, is transmitted to your computer through USB.

Interface

As previously stated, a video capture device must be linked to your computer via an interface in order to receive video signals. While earlier video capture devices utilize the slower USB 2.0 connection, newer devices use USB 3.0 for faster rates and higher image quality. A video capturing device like this should be able to handle contemporary resolutions like 4K at high refresh rates with ease.

However, if you absolutely want the best-performing capture device for recording or streaming your games, PCIe capture devices should be considered, since they are considerably quicker than USB 3.0 and provide superior image quality. PCIe video capture devices, on the other hand, can only be installed on desktops and are not suitable for use with laptops.

Resolution

Even if a video capture device uses the high-speed USB 3.0 connection, image quality may be compromised. Thankfully, you can quickly verify the resolution of your video capture device to see if it will provide good image quality. When looking at the resolution of a video capture device, there are two grades to consider: input resolution and output resolution. When we mention input resolution, we're referring to the highest resolution that your video capture device can broadcast to your display rather than your PC through USB.

For the resolution of the signal being sent to your system, check the output resolution of your video capture device. It specifies the real resolution that you may record and utilize in applications like OBS or XSplit. Even if you have a high-speed USB 3.0 video capture device, there's a good possibility it can only output or record at a resolution of 1080p 60 Hz.

Warranty

While it has no bearing on the functioning of your video capture device, it is still a good idea to verify the warranty. Typically, video capture equipment comes with either a one-year or a two-year guarantee. However, for your peace of mind, a select model may come with a lifetime warranty.

Best Video Capture Devices FAQs

Q: What are the specifications for a video capture device?

A: To record audio and video, video capture devices often require drivers and software. The drivers and software may be obtained under the support tab on the product page.

Q: What is the operation of a video capture device?

A: A video capture device is a software that helps to transfer audio and video from a recorder, digicam, or other hardware to your system and store it to a hard drive for modifying or storing.

Q: Is a video capture device required to live stream?

A: You'll need a video capture device if you're live broadcasting from your phone or iPad. A capture device isn't as necessary as you would believe if you're using a PC. As a result, even without a capture device, you may enjoy high-quality live broadcasting.

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