Hauppauge has updated its game-recording tech with the HD-PVR 2. With a sleek-looking black box design it looks right at home next to a computer or console. It prides itself on its “no-delay passthrough” technology, which allows you to record and display the images on a TV screen to a computer screen without lagging the input on the TV screen. The HD-PVR 2 performed well during testing, but given its competition I couldn’t help but wish that certain tweaks had been integrated in to streamline its usage.
The HD-PVR 2 does quite a bit to improve over its predecessor, including allowing users to record from HDMI at 1080p. Keep in mind though that the HDMI is encrypted on a PS3 however, so you’ll only be able to record from it at 1080i using a component cable. The PVR 2 is packaged with everything you need to do recording for either system, along with two HDMI cables and a PS3 component cable. There’s also a small component adaptor that plugs into the PVR itself, so you won’t have to worry about scurrying out to a retailer to grab cables. Installing the ArcSoft software and HD-PVR 2 drivers are fairly simple, though there’s a special file you’ll have to find and delete from your system if you used the original HD-PVR.
The HD-PVR 2 has a simple, one-button interface. Once connected, a status light running through the middle of the unit will tell you if it’s powered on, ready to record, or if there’s a problem with the interface. The button enables and disables recording on the computer; if the ArcSoft software is already open on your computer it starts recording in a couple seconds. If the software is closed however, you’re looking at a 30-second delay before it works. Perhaps this could have been resolved if there were some internal memory, but unfortunately it doesn’t offer any. This is one of a couple small missteps I felt Hauppauge took with its sequel hardware.
The HD-PVR 2 is a large unit, but it offers no internal storage. In its defense, it does all the encoding with internal hardware, so you don’t have to worry about it slowing down your computer. But it also draws its power from an external AC adapter, which means you’ll not only have to have the space for the unit itself, but an extra wall outlet or space on a power strip for your plug in. The included ArcSoft software makes it pretty easy to add narration, create Blu-ray compatible videos, and upload to YouTube, I specifically would have liked an easier way to pull screenshots out of a video I’ve made. I end up using a secondary video program to do this, but it would especially help gamers who have blogs or websites they’d like to post high-res images on to have an integrated image capture function. Also, the unit can work up a bit of a temperature after a couple hours of recording, so be sure to keep it on a surface that handles heat well.
Overall, the HD-PVR 2 Gaming Edition is a solidly-built recording device that gives consistent video and is great for casual users and those with low-to-mid power computers. Hauppauge has a pretty strong competitor in the Elgato Game Capture HD, but updates are planned for the HD-PVR 2 that could help it fare even better against its rival, including a 1080p PS3 update. At $169.99, including 2 HDMI cables and a component cable it’s pretty reasonably priced, but with a couple tweaks here and there (along with some internal storage), Hauppauge could really have a killer piece of tech on their hands in the future.