Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Upgrading My HD Capture Device Next Month

Okay, so I finally decided it's time to upgrade my HD capture device starting next month—that is, the one device that I've been using for all my YouTube videos since 2008!

Perhaps I didn't shed any light upon what I actually have been using. It's no other than the Hauppauge HD-PVR. I have the very first model of it, and I was one of the initial buyers to purchase it right when it came out.

Having gone through 5 years of model revisions and improved HD capturing technology, it was starting to feel as if my HD-PVR was falling behind the times. Although the quality was still there, I felt the ease of use was not prominent as it should be, and there were features on newer capture devices that I very much yearned for.

I especially desired a HD capture device that allowed me to capture in an uncompressed or lossless format, as opposed to forcing me to use its H.264 encoder. I always edit and re-encode my videos (never uploading the raw captured file), so once you start encoding a H.264 video with the same codec more than once, you're going to be losing a lot of quality. On the contrary, by having an uncompressed/lossless video file, I would have no worries of losing avertible quality when I edit and encode the video for YouTube.

Also, let's face it—HDMI is the way forward. Component limits your max capturing resolution to 1080i only, and you are additionally plagued to deal with analog interference, which can potentially ruin your footage.

So I decided my next HD capture device was going to be a BlackMagic Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt.

It's perfect for my needs. It has HDMI in and out, 1080p capturing, uncompressed capturing and high bandwidth thunderbolt connection. From just looking at the technical specs and features alone, this device far outclasses any other existing consumer HD capture device on the market today. It's also priced very aggressively, at $230 new and around $260 with a thunderbolt cable.

What about more popular HD capture devices such as the HD-PVR 2 and Elgato HD Game Capture? While those are a nice upgrade to my existing HD-PVR due to them being HDMI equipped, they are more or less the same box of yesterday—forced H.264 encoding with last generation USB 2.0 connection. I don't want more of the same; I want something with unlimited potential, something the Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt can offer.

I did briefly use an Intensity Shuttle a few months back, but it was the USB 3.0 version. My laptop unfortunately was not able to fully utilize the USB 3.0 speed, so the capture device was not fully operable. I now own a desktop that has thunderbolt connections, which is quite a lot faster than USB 3.0.

In conclusion, what does this all mean? For you as my viewers, it simply means much better video quality for my videos on YouTube. And I'm even hoping to be able to start uploading 1080p videos (although none of the games I've been recording are 1080p native). You can also expect a review here on this blog once I get it as well.

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