I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on the Model 1512, which is aimed specifically for those looking to record PC games, as well as video from satellite or cable TV. Obviously, with the connection capabilities, you can certainly use it as well to capture gameplay from the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii U.
So let’s first dig right into what’s included in the box and how the HD PVR 2 (I’ll just call it Model 1512 moving forward) sets up. The PVR comes packaged with a power supply, a 9-ft USB cable, a 2-meter HDMI cable (which was appreciated), a 2-meter IR blaster cable, a component video A/V cable, the install guide and the install CD.
The device has a smaller form factor than its predecessor, and looks just like the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition – using a sort of hourglass figure with a sky blue line (light) that runs all the way around the unit. Flipping the unit around to its back, you’ll see HDMI in and HDMI out ports, as well as the port for the component A/V cable, the USB port, power connector port and a new addition – the optical in port. The optical input will now allow users to record surround sound audio, as well as utilize audio-pass through to connect to a surround sound receiver, while retaining surround sound decoding.
With my cable box’s DVR full, I decided to first try out the TV video recording. After connecting my box to the Model 1512 via HDMI and to my laptop via USB, I pulled up the PVR’s included WinTV v7 software. What I like about the software is that you can change channels by using the included IR blaster cable, which lets you use your cablebox (or satellite) remote, as well as getting the option to schedule a recording by using the software’s Scheduler feature. You can activate SAP audio if you need to and recording can even be done by simply pressing the built-in Record button, so you can record without having to be in front of your laptop or PC.
Getting the video up on my laptop screen was a cinch and only took a few moments, and with the device’s capability of various recording formats, I was able to retain the same video quality that was present on my TV. Keep in mind however, that the Model 1512 will still not let you record any video from HDMI if it has HDCP copy protection. However, you can still use the supplied component video cables to do so.
The unit encodes in H.264 format, which is used by Blu-ray discs, and record in MP4 or TS formats, while letting you record in 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i, 576p and 576i. You can create video discs by using the ShowBiz application, which is also part of the package. After recording a few boxing telecasts and a this year’s Royal Rumble (for my own keeping of course), I was happy with the overall picture quality that was present; having played back the Blu-ray disc both on my PC and on my Blu-ray player.
Next up was some gameplay recording. Since I had yet to do any recording of the Wii U, I decided to fire Nintendo’s latest console to see how well the Model 1512 worked. I was able to get going quickly, with video quality remaining optimal and only a slight delay in what I saw on my TV and what I saw on my laptop. Users who like to record a lot of gameplay, or even live stream, will be pleased with Hauppauge’s StreamEez software, which lets you live stream via Twitch or Ustream. Testing out both of them, I was able to see that the quality of my live stream was really good; though I’m sure the internet speed will make a difference for each user. For those who do this often, a nice feature is the ability to add a personal logo to each stream.
For those wondering about system specs, you will need a PC or laptop with a 3.0 GHz single-core processor or a multi-core processor of at least 2.0 GHz. The HD PVR 2 Model 1512 supports Microsoft Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP (Service Pack 3) and requires at least 512 MB of RAM, though honestly you’ll want to have 1-2 GB worth. Users who have Macs can download the 3rd party app HDPVRCapture or Capture4ME which is fully compatible with the unit.
The bottom line is that Hauppauge has done a nice job of updating its HD PVR, with some newer hardware features and software that makes gameplay recording or TV recording a snap. For me, the Model 1512 is now my full-time recorder for getting my TV content onto Blu-ray.
Final Score: 5 out of 5