The Best Gaming Video Capture Devices

What Gaming Video Capture Device Should You Buy?

We've taken a look at several of the most popular video capture devices gamers can use to create YouTube videos, but which one stands on top as the one we'd recommend? We rank the six devices we tested below. See more tips and tricks for gaming YouTubers here. This list only covers the video capture end of the gaming YouTube equation. If you're looking for advice on microphones, see our reviews of the Blue Snowball and Blue Yeti.

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HD PVR Rocket. Hauppauge

Of all of the devices I've tested, the HD PVR Rocket is the one I'm going to personally be using going forward which seems like a pretty good reason to put it on top. Of all of the devices on the list, the Rocket has the best combination of features at the price you pay. With a PC-free mode that lets you record to USB storage and ability to record HDMI, component and composite sources, it is incredibly fully-featured at just $130. It is also very easy to use and has great software. It isn't the most powerful device available, so if you're looking for sheer bitrates or 60 FPS at 1080p it might not be for you, but for just about everyone else, I highly recommend the HD PVR Rocket.   More »

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Live Gamer Portable. AVerMedia

A close runner-up is the Live Gamer Portable from AVerMedia. It also offers a PC-free mode - this time with an SD Card slot instead of USB storage - and it can record HDMI and component sources. It supports considerably higher bitrates than the Rocket along with up to 1080p/60 capture, so it is a good, full-featured choice if you're looking for high bitrates (and the huge files that come with it). The RECentral software you use with it is also my favorite recording software of any of the devices I tested, which is another plus. The Live Gamer Portable does cost a little more, though, at $160, and can't record composite sources. You really can't go wrong with either the LGP or the Rocket, so consider what features you feel are most important and decide from there. More »

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It is one of the older models on this list, sure, but I've been using the HD PVR 2 GE for a couple of years now and love it. It also competes very well with the newer devices as far as features and performance go, so it is totally worth a look despite not being the new hotness. It can record HDMI, component, and composite sources, which that by itself makes it worth a look. It, like the Rocket, doesn't have crazy high bitrates or 1080p/60, but the videos it produces are still fantastic looking (more than enough to look amazing on YouTube) and it is incredibly easy to use. It does have a couple of negatives, however.  First, it requires an A/C adapter plugged into the wall, which none of these other devices do. Second, there is no PC-free mode, so you have to be connected to a PC to record. And, third, is the price. It still costs around $150, which is okay when you compare it to the other devices at that price, but somewhat laughable compared to the $130 for the more fully-featured Rocket. More »

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The HD60, along with its predecessor the Game Capture HD, are some of the most popular capture devices used by YouTubers. If you're looking for pure horsepower, and only want to record HDMI (it can't do anything else), the HD60 is on top with full 1080p / 60 FPS capture at ridiculously high bitrates. Unfortunately, it also comes with the highest recommended specs for your capture PC of any device we tested, and the software (while fully featured) is pretty slow and clunky. It also produced the only glitched/failed recording of any of the devices I used. I think the biggest thing against the HD60 is that for the price - $160 - you aren't getting nearly the amount of features you get from other devices for the same price or less. I know it's popular, but the HD60 wasn't one of my favorites. More »

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The AVerCapture HD is like the little brother of the Live Gamer Portable. They both look mostly the same on the outside, and they both use the same RECentral software, but the Avercapture HD is missing some key features of the LGP - namely that it only captured HDMI and doesn't have a PC-free mode. It does capture incredibly high-quality video, however, and like I said I love the RECentral software.  It is also cheap at just $120. If you don't care about recording anything other than HDMI and you don't need it to be portable, the Avercapture HD is actually a really great device. It just isn't as fully-featured as some others. More »

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If you're a beginner just getting started on YouTube and you don't want to spend a lot of money, the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro is an okay choice. It'll cost you $100 or less, but for that cheaper price tag comes a drop in quality. While it doe capture HDMI and component sources (and at up to 1080/60 if you want), it has the lowest max bitrate of any of the devices listed here. Like I've been saying all along, though, it still looks plenty good, particularly for a YouTube Let's Play where the video quality isn't the star attraction. More troublesome, however, is cheaper feeling construction of the unit itself, which puts the longterm durability of the unit into question, as well as less than stellar software compared to other devices. It was also the most temperamental of the devices I tested, and getting it to work sometimes required a lot of plugging and unplugging and restarting. Once it got going, it worked great, but it took more effort than I'd have liked. It is the cheapest 1080/60 HDMI device available, though, so that may make it worth a look, though I'd suggest the Avercapture HD or particularly the HD PVR Rocket instead for not too much more money. More »