Install and Configure a Video or TV Capture Card in a PC

Starting recording in minutes

A video capture card, also known as a TV capture card, records audio or video output signals to a connected computer. Video capture cards can be internal devices installed inside your PC or external devices connected by USB. Internal video capture cards are often less expensive than external cards while offering more features and flexibility.

Here's a look at installing a TV or video capture card into a PCI slot in your Windows PC's motherboard.

This information applies to installing a PCI internal video or TV capture card into a Windows PC. You'll need a Phillips-head screwdriver and the capture card's bundled capture software.

Computer video capture card, close up
LIgorko / Getty images

How to Install and Configure a Video Capture Card

Before you get started, make sure your Windows PC is shut down. Then disconnect all the cables from the back of the computer, including the AC power plug, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Only begin this process when everything is disconnected.

Before installing the video capture card, make sure your computer has a free PCI slot.

  1. Remove the cover on the PC to access the inside components. Every case is different, but this usually involves unscrewing a few screws on the back of the case and sliding off one of the side panels.

    Check your computer or computer case manual if you're unsure of how to open the case.

  2. Once the cover is open, lay the case on a flat surface with the motherboard facing up. Inside the case, you'll see lots of cables and components. Find a free PCI slot on the motherboard.

    Motherboard with PCI and AGP slots
    Flickr

    PCI slots typically are used by modems, sound cards, video cards, and other peripherals. PCI slots have one small rectangular opening and a larger rectangular opening and are usually white. Check the capture card's manual for help in finding a PCI slot.

  3. After you identify a PCI slot, unscrew the small metal bracket attached to the computer case directly behind the PCI slot.

    Fully remove this small rectangular piece of metal because it will be replaced by the PCI capture card.

  4. Gently yet firmly, slide the video capture card into the PCI slot, making sure it's fully locked down. Screw the card into the back of the case so that the inputs and outputs are exposed on the back of the computer case.

  5. Place the panel on the case, put the screws back in, and stand the case upright.

  6. Plug all the cables back into the case (monitor, keyboard, mouse, AC power plug, and other cables).

  7. Power on the PC, and Windows detects the new hardware.

  8. The Windows New Hardware Wizard runs, asking for the installation disc to install drivers for the capture card. Insert the installation disc into the CD or DVD-ROM drive, and follow the wizard to install the drivers.

    Windows 10 Found New Hardware Wizard

    If the Hardware Wizard didn't run automatically, go to the next section under Manually Install Your Drivers for manual installation instructions.

  9. Install any software that came with the capture card on the installation CD. For example, Nero to capture video and burn DVDs, or Beyond TV, if the capture card has DVR functionality.

  10. After installing all software, shut down the computer and connect either a cable, satellite, or over-the-air antenna to the inputs on the capture card (coaxial, S-video, composite, or component cables).

  11. Power on the PC, open the capture software, and start capturing TV or video.

Manually Install Your Drivers

If the New Hardware Wizard didn't run automatically, you can manually install the drivers and complete the installation process.

  1. Place the installation disc in the CD drive and open the This PC app. Right-click the C: drive under Devices and Drives.

    In older versions of Windows, right-click My Computer on the desktop.

    The C: Drive in Windows 10
  2. Select Properties.

    The Properties command
  3. Go to the Hardware tab and select Device Manager.

  4. Double-click Sound, video and game controllers, and then double-click the capture card.

  5. Go to the Driver tab.

  6. Select Update Driver, and the New Hardware Wizard appears. Follow the on-screen directions to install the drivers.

  7. Install any software that came with the capture card on the installation CD. For example, Nero to capture video and burn DVDs, or Beyond TV, if the capture card has DVR functionality.

  8. After installing all software, shut down the computer and connect either a cable, satellite, or over-the-air antenna to the inputs on the capture card (coaxial, S-video, composite, or component cables).

  9. Power on the PC, open the capture software, and start capturing TV or video.