Best Capture Cards in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 17, 2019
Want to embark on a streaming journey but don't know where to begin? Purchasing one of these capture cards could easily prove to be a great place to start. Read on for our top 5 picks and find the best capture card for your streaming and video creation needs. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Resolution
Inputs and outputs
Compatibility
System requirements
Package contents
Size and weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The device is capable of delivering 60 frames per second at a Full HD resolution. The Flashback Recording technology allows you to go back in time on your PC and hit the record button retroactively.

CONS

Doesn't capture PS4 party chat, pushing you into buying an add-on from Elgato additionally.

OUR VERDICT

This device is a great choice for a gamer that knows what he's doing and is looking for a capture card that could both rival and compliment their expertise and excellence in the world of video games.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Up to 1080p60

Inputs and outputs

1 x HDMI input, 1 x HDMI output, 1 x USB 3.0, Mini Jack 3.5mm

Compatibility

Windows, MAC OS, game consoles (not protected by HDCP)

System requirements

Windows 10 (64-bit) or Mac OS 10.12, NVIDIA GeForce GTX600 or better, Core i5 or better (AMD for Mac OS), 8 GB RAM

Package contents

Flashback recording feature, HDMI and USB cables included

Size and weight

11.2 x 7.5 x 1.9 cm

Warranty

2 years

PROS

A Hot Button is provided on the upper part of the case, to which you can assign any action (via the attached software). The LED Indicator gives clear indication of the status of the device.

CONS

No HDMI cable included.

OUR VERDICT

This model will definitely appeal to streamers, to whom, in addition to high image detail, clean and high-quality sound is very important. A 3.5-mm audio-out jack allows you to output sound from the board to external speakers or an amplifier - another plus for music lovers.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Up to 1080p30

Inputs and outputs

1 х HDMI-in, 1 х HDMI-out, 1 х USB 3.0, 1 х 3.5-mm audio-in, 1 х 3.5-mm audio-out

Compatibility

Windows, MAC OS, game consoles (not protected by HDCP)

System requirements

Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS 10.9 or higher, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.8 GHz/AMD Athlon 64 X2 3.0 GHz or better, VGA card supporting DirectX 10.0c, 4 GB RAM

Package contents

USB cable included

Size and weight

13.1 x 7 x 2.2 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Mic-in in front allows you to connect an external microphone to add comments directly during the game. In addition, the AAC audio codec is used for recording audio, which is supported by almost any DVD / BLU-ray player.

CONS

Does not support NTFS file system drives.

OUR VERDICT

If you own a gaming console and want to keep gameplay recorded on external media, this model from AGPTek was created specifically for you: just install a USB flash drive or external hard disk into a USB port, and you will receive video archives in 1080p quality.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Up to 1080p30

Inputs and outputs

1 х HDMI-in, 1 х HDMI-out, 1 х 3.5-mm audio-in, 1 х USB 2.0 for connecting storage drives

Compatibility

Windows, MAC OS, game consoles (not protected by HDCP)

System requirements

Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS 10.9 or higher, Intel Pentium Processor or better

Package contents

HDMI cable and AC Adaptor included

Size and weight

~11 x 6.5 x 2.3 cm

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The aluminum case provides effective cooling of internal components, so that even with hours-long sessions, the likelihood of lag or freezing will be minimal. The USB cable is braided with EMI protection.

CONS

Built-in USB cable is short.

OUR VERDICT

This capture card from August compares favourably with most analogues in that it works fine on less productive PCs. Nevertheless, it knows how to capture in 1080p quality (up to 60 frames per second), so your subscribers and viewers will be satisfied.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Up to 1080p60

Inputs and outputs

1 х HDMI-in, 1 х HDMI-out, built-in USB 3.0 cable

Compatibility

Windows, MAC OS, Linux, game consoles (not protected by HDCP)

System requirements

Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS 10.9 or higher, Linux, Intel Core i5 or better (AMD for Mac OS), VGA card supporting DirectX 10.0c, 4 GB RAM

Package contents

HDMI cable included

Size and weight

~6 x 4 x 1.5 cm (without USB cable)

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The device uses the Master Copy feature, with which you can save each of the broadcast elements (like game window, webcam and overlays) separately - very important if you plan to edit the video in the future to put on YouTube.

CONS

Designed for Desktop PCs with Windows OS only.

OUR VERDICT

The HD 60 Pro is designed specifically for advanced PC users who plan to turn their system unit into a powerful streaming platform: this board will be able to record video in Full HD quality and a bitrate up to 60 mbps, while not overloading the CPU.

detailed parameters
Resolution

Up to 1080p60

Inputs and outputs

1 х HDMI-in, 1 х HDMI-out, PCIe x1

Compatibility

Windows

System requirements

Windows 10 (64-bit), NVIDIA GeForce GTX600 or better, Core i5 or better, 8 GB RAM

Package contents

Flashback recording feature, HDMI cable included

Size and weight

12.2 x 5.6 x 1.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

Elgato HD60 S

Share Your Gaming Experience

There are many different forms that shape the idea of live streaming, but when it comes to gaming, the majority of streams could be divided into two categories. The first category belongs to the so-called Point of View streams. The general idea of these types of streams is rather simple. You have one person playing some video game and sharing this whole experience with his audience. Some streamers may interact with their viewers and provide a constant flow of commentary in order to enrich this experience. You can generally divide point of view streamers into two different categories: the ones that are incredibly good at the games they're playing and those that attract an audience thanks to their natural charisma, sense of humour or any other kind of entertainment value. The streamers of the first type are generally able to draw a substantial viewer base thanks to the educational value of their content since watching people that are exceptionally skilled at your favourite game can greatly improve your own ability and understanding of whatever game in question is. The second type of point of view streamers may not boast an exceptional skill when it comes to video games, but they are still capable of attracting a sizable audience thanks to a variety of other potential redeeming qualities, be it their exceptional sense of humour, the uncanny ability to interact with their viewers or simply their larger than life personality. Now, whether you consider yourself to be skilled at video games or capable of attracting an audience by other means, you'll still need a capture card in order to share your gaming experience and the Elgato Game Capture HD60 should serve as a great starting point in achieving that goal.

Review of Elgato HD60 S Game Capture Card

Twice the Regular Frame Rate

When it comes to streaming and game capturing, the important things to consider are supported resolutions and available frame rates. While the majority of capture devices are capable of delivering 1080p videos these days, not a lot of them can boast the ability to record and stream at 60 frames per second. Compared to your average frame rate of 30 fps, this kind of function allows you to deliver a much smoother gameplay. Of course, capturing in Full HD at 60 frames per second takes quite a toll on your CPU and requires a considerable deal of performance from your PC, which is why the Elgato Game Capture HD60 comes with a top-of-the-line H.264 encoder in order to reduce the strain on your central processing unit. In case you already played a few hours and forgot to hit the record button, the Flashback Recording feature allows you to go back in time on your PC and hit the record button retroactively. The device also features a live streaming function with stream command that will allow you to set up your stream on Twitch or YouTube in no time and easily add or change such options like webcam or stream overlay making the Elgato Game Capture HD60 a perfect choice for a gamer that would like to leave his digital footprint as memorable as possible.

Elgato HD60 S Game Capture Card in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Elgato Game Capture HD60 Trailer
 

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Lite

Versatility in Abundance

One of the issues that streamers and video content creators tend to run into with their video capture cards is the lack of versatility of their device. Many capture cards tend to be made with one particular purpose, and the controls are made to suit only that main purpose. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of flexibility built into many of these devices, which is a shame, as many content creators would really appreciate such a thing.

The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Lite Game Streaming and Game Capture Card seems to be one the exceptions to the rule. This high-quality video capture card was made with versatility in mind, giving streamers and content creators the ability to perform multiple functions with the device instead of being rigidly locked in to how the manufacturer thinks it should be used. A great example of this flexibility is the Hot Button provided on the upper part of the case, to which you can assign any action (via the included software). Being able to customize this hot button gives streamers and content creators the ability to assign whatever function they wish to it. On top of that, the LED Indicator gives clear indication of the status of the device, so there is no guessing game as to whether or not it is recording.

Review of AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Lite Game Streaming and Game Capture Card

Great Quality Audio

This model will definitely appeal to streamers, to whom, in addition to the high image detail of the device, clean and high-quality sound is very important. A 3.5-mm audio-out jack allows you to output sound from the board to external speakers or an amplifier - another plus for music lovers. This allows for easily separating and mixing the audio track of whatever is being recorded, making this feature a huge plus for those who create YouTube videos as well.

Despite the attention we have paid to the device's customization and audio capabilities, its video capabilities are certainly not lacking. This device is able to record and stream video in a variety of resolutions ranging up to full HD 1080p and includes an H.264 hardware enconder, letting you record and stream high-resolution HD video in a compressed but high-quality video format. The ultra-low latency of the device also lends itself great to streaming, so there won't be any noticeable delay between the action and what is being presented. Finally, the included software offers some great features such as allowing for included commentary as well as direct streaming to Twitch and YouTube, along with many other functions that can enhance your game capture streams and videos. In the end, this great quality video capture card will certainly delight any kind of streamer or content creator who values its features.

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Lite Game Streaming and Game Capture Card in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

AGPtEK NC-VG0019

Special Audio Features

As important as video functions and quality are to any video capture device, one thing that tends to be overlooked is the audio capabilities. Audio can be just as important as video, and having excellent audio capabilities is an important part of any video capture device. Unfortunately, such things tend to be overlooked in many of these types of devices, as it is rare to find a video capture card that has the same level of audio functionality as what is included with its video capabilities. For experienced content creators and streamers alike, finding a device that has the same attention to detail paid to the audio is important.

The AGPtEK NC-VG0019 HD Video Capture Card is a video capture device that includes plenty of audio functionality. To give a couple of examples, the Mic-in in the front of the device allows you to connect an external microphone to add comments directly during the game instead of having to rely on your computer's audio capabilities and software for this purpose. In addition, the AAC audio codec is used for recording audio, which is supported by almost any DVD / BLU-ray player. The advantage in this is that it allows for very high-quality audio in a small file size or bitrate for streaming, a definite plus where audio is concerned.

Review of AGPtEK NC-VG0019 HD Video Capture Card

Record Directly to External Media

Those who like streaming or recording games from their video game consoles such as the XBox One or PS4 will certainly love this device. If you own a gaming console and want to keep gameplay recorded on external media, this model from AGPTek was created specifically for you: just install a USB flash drive or external hard disk into a USB port, and you will receive video archives in 1080p quality. This is great for those who stream and want to keep recorded content of their streaming, as well as for those who like uploading their gameplay and achievements in games to YouTube, including their own voice commentary.

The recording quality of this device is just as good as its other features, with it supporting recordings and streaming in various resolutions up to full HD quality in 1080p. For connecting external media to the device to save your recordings, the device can support USB flash drives up to 128 GB and external hard drives up to 2 TB, so you will have the ability to save many hours worth of video. The actual act of recording is quite easy, requiring just the push of a button to both start and stop it. With its capabilities, this capturing device allows you to do virtually everything you want short of editing video on the device, with no PC required, which is certain to appeal to any kind of console gamer.

AGPtEK NC-VG0019 HD Video Capture Card in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

August VGB500

Stable and Durable

As with any kind of electronic devices, video capture cards have their own environmental restrictions which can come back to haunt them whenever they are violated. As these devices contain powerful processors inside of them, that means that heavy use of the devices leads to a lot of heat built up inside the case, which in excess can lead to plenty of problems. It is more than one streamer or content creator who has had a video capture card overheat on them, leading either to problems with their recorded or streamed content, or even to failure of the device.

The makers of the August VGB500 HDMI Capture Card are well aware of these types of problems with video capture cards and have taken special precautions to prevent them from occurring with their device. The aluminum case of this model provides effective cooling of the internal components, so that even with hours-long recording or streaming sessions, the likelihood of lag or freezing will be minimal. This screen recorder is able to stay cool under most conditions, a rarity with this type of card. In addtion, the included USB cable is braided with EMI protection, helping to protect the integrity of any video and audio captured by the device from any external electrical interference.

Review of August VGB500 HDMI Capture Card

Great for Lower-Specced PCs

This Capture Card from August compares favourably with most of its competitors in that it works fine on lower-end PCs, allowing you to stream and capture high-quality video even if your computer doesn't have the monster specs that are often required by other devices. Even with an older computer, it is quite capable of capturing and streaming 1080p quality video with a frame rate up to 60 frames per second, so your subscribers and viewers will be satisfied with the quality of your produced content.

In addition to the already great features that have been listed about this device, there are plenty more included that add up to making this an ideal video capture card. The HDMI pass-through, for instance, gives you lag-free video, letting you play your games with completely responsive controls while gaming, so you don't have to worry about use of the device interfering with your skills in the game. This card is also highly compatible with different platforms, so whether you use Windows, macOS, or Linux, this card is certain to work fine with your desktop or laptop computer. Even better, though, is the fact that it is completely plug-and-play, not requiring the installation of additional software or configuration in order for it to work, or having to bother with installing it in a PCIe slot. In short, this video capture device is one of the best bargains on the market.

August VGB500 HDMI Capture Card in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Elgato HD60 Pro

Superior Editing Capabilities

Content creators who upload their videos to YouTube know full well that recording their gameplay is far from the only thing necessary for high-quality production. Along with the video of the gameplay, there are many other elements in play, such as an audio commentary track, additional music that can spice up the video, and even various overlays which can show any number of things, including the faces of those who are creating the video along with other commenters. In short, creating a good quality production that is sure to please fans of their content is a difficult thing to do, especially when all of these elements are included.

The Elgato HD60 Pro Game Capture Card was made specifically for content creators who need an easy way to deal with editing and producing their video uploads. To help with this process, the device uses the Master Copy feature, with which you can save each of the broadcast elements such as game window, webcam and overlays separately. This is very important if you plan to edit the video in the future to put on YouTube, especially for those who value having a high-quality production. Having all of these elements separate can make the video editing process much easier.

Review of Elgato HD60 Pro Game Capture Card

Powerful Streaming Device

The advanced features that help with editing are great for those who want to put together a high-quality production, but they won't mean much of the other aspects of this device aren't high quality, such as the video and audio capture. Thankfully, this video capture card is of the highest quality in all of these aspects. This card is capable of recording video in 1080p HD quality at 60 frames per second, matching that of even the best of its competitors. Along with this, the card includes the Instant Gameview feature, which gives you extremely low latency gameplay while the game is being recorded, letting you play it up to your full potential without the interference of lag. The card even includes the ability to stream your content directly to Twitch and YouTube, saving you from having to use middleware in order to do so. As a bonus, it can work with virtually any game console or device, so even those with an older console like a PS3 or Xbox 360 can still capture their favourite games from these devices.

Overall, the HD 60 Pro is designed specifically for advanced PC users who plan to turn their computer system and gaming console into a powerful streaming platform. The extra details that have been paid attention to in all aspects of the card's design and build speak to its high quality, and will certainly become the best assistant that any streamer or content creator could ask for.

Elgato HD60 Pro Game Capture Card in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Capture Card?

People love to watch other people play games. While it is a concept that seems entirely ludicrous to the previous generation and even some individuals among the more youthful crowd, the rising popularity of this form of entertainment is something that even the most dedicated critics wouldn't dare to deny. With more and more people joining the ranks of streamers on the most popular streaming platforms, it comes as no surprise that the supply caught up with the demand and hardware developers manufactured a device called a capture card that helps said streamers deliver the content with great ease. A capture card is essentially a piece of technology that provides services for capturing video signals from external devices via HDMI connection. It helps the user to capture the gameplay from their favourite gaming consoles like the PS4, Xbox One, or even the Nintendo Switch. The device acts as an input data receiver. When the user is working on two PCs where one is used for playing the game and another one for streaming, the capture card is connected to the stream PC. GPU of the gaming PC will continuously transfer data to this capture card. This signal is captured, recorded and encoded if needed, and after that, it is finally ready to be uploaded to a streaming website. In short, the best capture card can help both streamers and video content creators make the best videos of their gameplay.

If you'd like to stream and record gameplay footage but aren't yet in possession of a gaming platform, you might want to look for a gaming console or a gaming PC first.

What Features to Compare

Resolution

Since what a capture card essentially does is capturing the video between the source and a display while acting as a pass-through for a video signal, you have to make sure that the video signal the device delivers to your display comes with a satisfactory quality. One of the ways to make sure that the outcome would be of the desired quality is to check the maximum resolution that your potential capture card is capable of handling. If that capture card doesn't support your display's optimal resolution, this kind of purchase will result in a low-quality, unclear image. Of course, as it is with displays, there's no drawback to getting the highest resolution option on the market, so don't get discouraged if the capture card is capable of supporting 1080p while your screen's optimal resolution is 720.

Connectivity Options

Another thing to pay attention to when looking for the best capture card would be the interface and compatibility. Your personal computer, gaming console, and your display have different inputs and outputs and so do the capture cards that allow you to record video sources as well as stream them live to a live streaming video platform. Therefore, you have to make sure that your potential acquisition is compatible not only with the source of information but also with the display that the capture card will be delivering said information towards.

Software and Compatibility

The last but not the least factor when it comes to purchasing the best capture card is software. A capture card ought to be capable of recording the gameplay footage for you to edit as well as streaming your gaming experience in real-time. You're looking to deal with a lot of data together with a variety of potential options, so a software that provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface is going to prove imperative in helping you delve into the often complicated world of streaming.

Did you know?

That:

  • Amazon acquired Twitch in August of 2014 for over $970 million.
  • Capture cards trace their roots to a TV tuner card that would allow television signals to be received by a computer.
  • In 2015, Twitch announced it had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million visitors per month.
  • Twitch originated from Justin.tv from the gaming category section of that website.
  • Some of the streaming services feature a partner and affiliate program allowing their broadcasters to make a living out of shared advertisement revenue and paid subscription system.

The Roots of Live Streaming

If you were to take a look at the big picture and don't give too much attention to even the most conceptual differences, the idea of sharing your own gaming experience with an audience isn't entirely new. If we were to trace back this idea starting from online streaming and going backwards in history step by step, the closest relative to the kind of services that websites like Twitch provide would be the so-called "Let's play" videos that started somewhere in the mid-2000s but really gained traction and popularity a few years ago on YouTube thanks to the likes of PewDiePie, Markiplier, Game Grumps, and Machinima. If you're not familiar with this format, Let's plays are basically a style of video series produced through documenting the playthrough of a video game, usually including the commentary by the owner of the channel.

Of course, before Let's Plays, there has been a variety of different gaming-related content, including but not limited to different kinds of game shows, series based around game theories and a plethora of other gaming content. But all of them had some kind of a theme and structure, while what Let's Play videos lacked in quality of the content, they more than made up for it with a kind of authenticity that attracted a huge variety of new followers.

How Capture Cards Came to Be

Naturally, even though Let's Plays didn't require much effort in terms of editing structuring, you still had to waste a lot of time on things like basic cuts, audio issues and uploading the videos to a website like YouTube. This is where video game live streaming services comes in. Instead of spending all of that time and energy on editing and uploading your videos, websites like Twitch allowed you to share your gaming experience with an audience in real time, providing the viewers with even more authenticity thanks to the absence of editing.

The whole concept became popular pretty much overnight and these kinds of websites started to gain a lot of traction in just a couple of years. Although in the early 2010s there were quite of few popular options, Twitch managed to clearly stand out among the competition, bringing in millions of viewers and eventually leading to its acquisition in the latter part of 2014 by Amazon. The place was basically a mecca for gamers trying to share their gaming experience with a following of loyal viewers. The only problem was that live streaming your gameplay puts an incredible amount of strain on your personal computer, not to mention the fact that the whole process was downright impossible regarding gaming consoles. What streamers needed was a device that would allow or help them to capture, record and encode video signals from their gaming consoles or personal computers and upload that information to a live streaming website at the same time. Seeing a potentially lucrative idea, the manufacturers of tech products decided not to waste any time and came up with a capture card almost before streamers even realized that they were in need of such a device.

FAQ:

Q: Do I even need a capture card in order to stream?
A: While a capture card is a remarkably convenient and effective device that can improve the streaming experience of every type of live streamer, the answer to that question depends on your gaming platform. If you generally tend to play on a gaming console like an Xbox or a PlayStation, then a capture card is an outright prerequisite since those do not possess the means to stream your gaming experience on your own. If you want to stream from your personal computer, technically you do not need a capture card, but since streaming can be very taxing on your central processing unit, a capture card that is capable of hardware encoding can really take some of that load of your CPU. Not to mention the fact that even if you are in possession of a powerful CPU, streaming in high resolution can still take quite a toll on your computer, so a video capturing device will prove more than handy.

Q: What's the deal with the delay and no delay live preview features?
A: A preview delay means precisely what it sounds like and that is a delay in the video stream from the capture card. A large variety of external capture cards and even some of the internal models come with a preview delay. If you're looking to stream from a console then we would highly advocate towards getting an internal or PCI based capture card since those models will allow you to play your console game on your PC while streaming at the same time. Capture card developers are working towards reducing the preview delay as much as possible, but only a few of the models can boast having no preview delay. Of course, there's no upside to having this delay, so you should look for the cards that have no or close to no preview delay.

Q: Do I want an external or an internal capture card?
A: There are two different versions of capture cards. The first one is called the internal or a PCI since it goes into your conventional PCI slot. The second is called an external because it needs to be connected to your streaming device with a USB cable. If you'd like to get an internal capture card you're going to need a proper desktop with an available PCI slot. Since a lot of people have a laptop instead of a desktop computer, an internal video capturing device is not an option for them.

Q: What's the difference between capture cards capable of hardware encoding and the ones that don't encode?
A: When you stream your gameplay to a live streaming website like Twitch or Youtube, your CPU encodes the video. What that essentially means is your CPU is turning your video into a transferable form and that process requires a considerable amount of processing power. If your personal computer isn't capable of maintaining this process while providing a solid frame rate in your video game, then a capture card capable of encoding will greatly reduce your CPU's workload and increase your PC's performance.

Sources:

Other reviews
Comments
0 Comments

Your comment was successfully sent

Error! Please try again later

Publish Date: 2019-07-17 10:11:21