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

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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 via USB. Internal video capture cards are often less expensive than their external cousins 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, and disconnect all your cables from the back of your computer, including the AC power plug, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Only begin this process when everything is disconnected.

Before installing your video capture card, make sure you have 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 down 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. They 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 down into the back of the case so the inputs and outputs are exposed on the back of the computer case.

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

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

  7. Power on the PC, and Windows should detect the new hardware.

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

    Windows 10 Found New Hardware Wizard

    If the Hardware Wizard didn't run automatically, jump 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 the PC back on, start up 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 your drivers and complete the installation process.

  1. Place the installation disc in your CD drive and open the This PC app. Right-click your 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. Select Device Manager under the Hardware tab.

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

  5. Select the Driver tab.

  6. Select Update Driver and the New Hardware Wizard will pop up. 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 the PC back on, start up the capture software, and start capturing TV or video.