AverMedia AverTV HD DVR [C027] Capture Card Review (Dark Crystal)
We have been looking for an HD Capture device for the past few months that is around $100. Now that we’ve been doing more video content, I stepped up my search and narrowed everything down to three devices – the Black Magic Intensity series, Hauppauge HD PVR, and the AverTV HD DVR. This card ended up being right at the $100 mark and happened to be on my 2 favorite hardware sites, Amazon & Newegg. After reading several user reviews and watching some captured footage, I ended up picking this up off of Amazon, due to the overnight shipping only costing $2.99.
Product Links: Amazon | Newegg
Requires one PCIe x1 slot free, a 2Ghz Dual Core or greater, a video card capable of handling 720p content, 1GB of RAM, and at least 100MB of hard drive space free for the software. Oh.. and the capability of installing a device into your motherboard correctly.
High Definition input 720p / 1080i:
Standard Definition input up to 480p:
Stereo L/R Audio
Packaging / Presentation:
The packaging was easy to get into, as they used a simple cardboard box covered by a decorated sleeve. As soon as the box is opened, the capture card and the low-profile adapter bracket is revealed. The next layer has all of the booklets and the CD with the software and drivers. Underneath that is the dongle cable, which allows you to input Component, S-Video, & Composite video, as well as two stereo RCA inputs and one 3.5mm audio-in plug.
The software is definitely the weakest point of the device. The included software is very rudimentary and has crashed several times during Yousef’s testing. It has a basic menu interface and a limited set of options that just get you by. The software also seems to have some issues with recording content over HDMI.
Switching video input quality on the device over HDMI and using FRAPS to capture the PS3 content has caused the program to crash or glitch out, which normally requires a restart. Capturing content from HDMI on the Playstation 3 requires a screen capture program and the software to be in full-screen mode. This causes a number of issues, as many desktop monitors are not the correct aspect ratio (16:9), which will require either changing your resolution to that of the video you want to record, or make sure its large enough to get black bars & resize the video afterwards.
The reason behind the HDMI capture issue is not the software’s fault, as HDMI on the Playstation 3 (and many other devices) are HDCP compliant. The HDCP Protocol encrypts videos so they cannot be captured by devices like this. This brings to mind, why include HDMI on the device to begin with… but we’re glad they did, as there are many ways around this – which they were aware of.
We ended up using FRAPS, a professional screen recording program, to record the Playstation 3 content. It’s a bit finicky at some points because of the software, but all-in-all the glitches were at a minimum.
If you are looking to hook this device up to an HD Set Top Box, such as a cable or satellite box, you have to manually program the recordings and watch them while recording them. The issue here is the software isn’t really friendly for someone hooked up to a television and used to a DVR menu.
Update: The latest software update corrected nearly all of the issues we experienced during the original review. It also decreased the latency from gameplay to display, making it nearly indistinguishable from playing directly on a TV.
The capture quality of the device has been superb so far, with only a few minor glitches. As you will see from the screenshots and videos below, the device is perfect for making Youtube videos, which is the intent of the device for our usage. Unfortunately, the device is marketed as a DVR replacement, which it is clearly incapable of doing for a reasonable person, as discussed in the software section.
Using component video on devices such as the Xbox 360, the delay is negligible and playing games is possible through the computer. HDMI is a different story, having approximately 200 milliseconds delay – which is fine for slow-paced games, but intense games like first person shooters are unplayable and will require a quality splitting device.
Despite the minor issues, the actual captured content has been no less than excellent through both HDMI and Component video. S-video and composite look like they should – meh.
Screenshots & Captured Content:
Two Screenshots of the Xbox 360 Running at 720p and 1080i
Call of Duty: Black Ops Running at 720p
Sonic Unleashed Running at 1080i
Excellent video quality
Low Price Point
Plethora of inputs
Low latency using component video
Software is a bit crappy (Note: This has since been corrected in their latest software update)
No HDCP capture through the software (why include the HDMI?)
The AverMedia AVerTV HD DVR is an excellent capture card for its price. At a price-point of just under $100 USD, this capture card is too good to pass up if you are looking to grab game console footage – provided you have a free PCIe 1x slot on your motherboard. Its a good mid-range HD capture device and it serves its purpose very well for us – capturing gaming footage in HD on a budget.
Final Score: 9/10