Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Review
Back in 2009, Hauppauge released the original PVR external capture device. It recorded video up to 1080i via component video cables and passed the signal back out through component video. This became a groundbreaking device for gamers to record and stream their gameplay to millions of viewers on the internet. In 2012, Hauppauge released the 1080P successor, the PVR 2, which replaces the original PVR as the choice hardware for gamers and online broadcasters.
All HD PVR 2 units have two HD video inputs: component video via a dongle and HDMI, provided that the signal is not encoded with HDCP. There is an optional dongle available that allows for standard definition inputs, such as S-Video and composite video. All of these video formats are passed through via the HDMI out port on the back of the unit.
There are currently three PVR 2 models, so to avoid confusion I have created an image that breaks down the variations in the models.
HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition (Model 1480):
HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus (Model 1504):
HD PVR 2 (Model 1512):
The PVR 2 Gaming Edition models come with every cable that you’ll need to capture video from an Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Wii U, as well as the PC. The PVR 2 records video in 1080P at up to 30 frames per second from both HDMI and Component video and will actually pass the untouched signal from either source through the HDMI out port on the back of the unit to your HDMI display of choice. All PVR 2 models feature a button to start and stop video recording. This makes recording gameplay more convenient, especially for longer gaming sessions. Like the original HD PVR, the PVR 2 has an onboard encoding chip, which means all the compression will be handled by the device itself, and as such will not be very resource intensive on your PC.
Operating the PVR is very straight-forward, after connecting all the cables to your console of choice, plug the power adapter to the unit, then plug the USB A/B cable into your Windows or Mac Machine. I would recommend skipping the software disk included, as it will undoubtedly be outdated. I’ve included a link below to Hauppauge’s website so you can get the latest version.
Cons / Issues:
One issue deals with the software supplied by Hauppauge. I’ve run into minor issues with their program on different versions, but most of these have been corrected through updates. However one issue remains and it’s not well documented. The PVR 2 doesn’t have auto input detection, so if you have an HDMI device connected and component video is selected in the software, it will not be automatically switched. Because of that, a black screen will be output to your display. This is minor issue, but there’s a second part to this.
I had run my HTPC connected through HDMI to record gameplay and everything looked like it was recording. After finishing the game session, I noticed 0MB files saved. After checking the connections and trying the other capture program, it was doing the same thing. Fortunately, Hauppauge monitors their Facebook and provided an answer. If you have no audio going through HDMI, and HDMI is selected in the audio settings, blank files will be recorded. I didn’t want audio recorded to begin with, so I found that selecting “line-in” worked. If you did want sound recorded, you can enable audio through HDMI or use a Y-Splitter to run RCA audio to the PVR 2.
The second issue is with the component video input dongle. The cables leading to the connector on my component dongle are pulled out, exposing the bare cable. My cable came like this when I got the PVR2, but I didn’t notice it until I hooked up the PS3 to record The Last of Us. This is a minor issue that Hauppauge was happy to replace for me, but it’s a design flaw in the connector itself. On the AverTV capture card, the dongle uses an HDMI connector to handle component video, S-Video, composite and everything else. This connector is very sturdy and provides a solid connection.
The housing on the PVR 2 component dongle, however is flimsy and has a push-button release, similar to the old iPod cables. Disconnecting the cable from the PVR2 requires a lot of pressure and some rocking, which will likely lead to the connector wearing out over time.
After using the PVR 2 for 2 years now, it’s definitely the better choice over an internal capture card, like the AverTV HD DVR which we reviewed back in 2011. The quality is about the same for 720P content, but with 1080P content becoming more prevalent, this device really shines. I like having the ability to plug this into any machine, load up the software, and be able to capture or stream gameplay with the push of a button. The software is intuitive and is frequently updated to provide new features. The current version of StreamEZ allows you to integrate a webcam and a logo into your video broadcast, which makes it convenient to stream gameplay on services such as Twitch.
If you’re looking for a capable capture device to record and stream 1080P content, I highly recommend picking up one of the Hauppauge PVR 2 models.
Final Score: 9/10
Sample Video Clips:
HD PVR 2 hardware specs
- Hardware encoder
- H.264 AVCHD high definition video encoder, with record resolution to 1080p30
Recording datarate: from 1 to 13.5 Mbits/sec
Recording video formats: AVCHD (.TS and .M2TS) plus .MP4
- No delayHDMIpassthrough:
- HDMI in to HDMI out – up to 1080p60
- Component Video in to HDMI out – up to 1080i60
- Input/output connections
- HDMI in, from HDMI sources without HDCP such as Xbox 360
- Component video in, with stereo audio
- S-Video and composite video in, with stereo audio (optional cable not supplied)
- HDMI output
- Size: 6 in wide x 6 in deep x 1.5 in high
- Power: 6V at 1.6 amps
- Weight: .75lb / .34 kg / 12 oz
- Recording formats
- 1080p60p (recorded as 1080p30)
- 1080p50p (recorded as 1080p25)