Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to test out Hauppauge’s redesigned HD PVR, dubbed the HD PVR Gaming Edition, which allowed gamers to easily capture gameplay footage from their favorite consoles. The one big downside however was the lack of an HDMI input for full 1080p resolution.
Fortunately, Hauppauge has addressed that issue with their brand new HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition. Priced at $169, the HD PVR 2 builds upon the great features of the original unit, while adding HDMI support. Capturing video in H.264 format, the unit can record resolutions from 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p and 480i. The one caveat is that the PS3 cannot output full 1080p via the HDMI cable due to copyright restrictions on the console. That of course isn’t the PVR’s fault but you can at least still get 1080i, using the included PS3 component AV cable. That’s not an issue with the Xbox 360, which was able to send out 1080p with the included HDMI cable (we appreciate that it’s included in the box), and while the original HD PVR had some minor delays in sending the video signal to our laptop, the HD PVR 2 did a much better job of using it’s “no delay passthrough”.
I also liked it’s modification on the design of the unit, though for it’s size, I still wish it had some internal memory so that I could save some video directly into the unit. I’m also not thrilled that you still need AC power, so you do have to have it connected to a power source, unlike other PVRs that get its power from your PC or laptop via USB. My laptop however did not have any noticeable slowdown, due to the device encodes the video internally.
Whether or not you’ve used one of Hauppauge’s HD PVRs in the past, setup is a snap, and the included ArcSoft ShowBiz software easily allows you to capture gameplay, edit your videos and then quickly upload them to YouTube. I also tried burning some video over to a Blu-ray disc and found it to look fantastic.
Another addition that I dug was the inclusion of a Record button on top of the HD PVR 2, which made it easy to start and stop my recordings, without having to go over to my PC or laptop.
I feel Hauppauge made some necessary changes and updates to the previous model that make the HD PVR 2 the definitive version of their PVRs. If you’re in the market for a video capture device, the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition should be at or near the top of your list of options.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5