Hauppauge continues to one-up themselves when it comes to personal video recorders, and the latest round of updated models do just that.
We’ve already reviewed the HD PVR 2 Model 1512, which is aimed at those who want to make the most of recording and editing HDTV content, but the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus, obviously is marketed towards the gamer who wants to get their best gameplay footage online.
Included in the box is a power supply, a 9-ft USB cable, a 6-foot HDMI cable, the necessary PS3 AV cable (PS3 won’t work with HDMI), the A/V component adapter the install guide and the install CD. One of my biggest complaints with past models was the need to go buy a 3rd party app for use with a Mac, but this time around, Hauppauge included a free copy of HDPVRCapture, which was the software of choice for me.
The device has a smaller form factor than its predecessor, and looks just like the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition – using an hourglass figure with a green light that runs all the way around the unit, with the device itself being black. 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 an optical audio port. The optical input is a very welcomed edition (which is also on the Model 1512) and lets users record their videos in full 5.1 Dolby Digital for much better audio reproduction.
The unit also now has a built-in record button on the very top, which makes it easy to start or stop recording without having to do it on a laptop. Setup as usual, is a snap and can be done in a matter of minutes, once you’ve installed the supplied software.
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 Gears of War matches and some zombie killing with Dead Island: Riptide, I was not only happy with the picture quality, but more importantly with the audio. Playing back the recorded footage on my PC with a 5.1 surround sound speaker system, the audio enveloped me in the footage and made it sound like I was playing it on my home theater system.
Users who like to record a lot of footage or stream their skills online will love the ability to stream directly to Twitch or Ustream using the StreamEez software, which is a free download. I tested out each stream option, with both working quite well, while also giving me the option to upload my videos directly to YouTube.
System requirements ask for a PC/laptop running Windows 8, Windows 7, Visa or XP (with Service Pack 3) and requires a 3.0 GHz single core processor or a multi-core processor at 2.0GHz or above. 1GB of RAM is recommended with 220MB of free hard drive space. For those using a Mac like me, you’ll just need Mac OSX 10.7/10.8 on an Intel-based 32 or 64-bit processor.
I’ve been happy with Hauppauge’s PVR line but this is certainly the best one to date. There aren’t any gigantic alterations to the previous models, but the addition of an optical audio input and the free Mac software make this the most complete version of their recorders. You can find the HD PVR 2 GE Plus for $179.99 via Hauppauge’s webstore.
Final Score: 5 out of 5