The 6 Best TV Capture Cards and Video Capture Cards of 2021

Recording your favorite shows on your PC is easier than ever

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The Rundown
"The Hauppauge works inside both full and half height PCs with minimal installation."
"The HDMI supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 and it does so in a smooth, reliable way."
"At just eight ounces, the Hauppauge is small and easily disappears when connected."
Best Video Game Capture:
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S at Amazon
"Elgato offers ‘flashback recording,’ allowing the user to ‘slide back time’ retroactively."
"The inputs automatically detect and switch between audio formats, and it supports all your favorite software."
"This video capture card is an easy to use USB stick at an affordable price."

The best TV capture cards and video capture cards should support high resolution recording, work with a variety of media content, and be easy to install and use. Capture cards are particularly useful for gamers who like to stream their PC games and people who want to capture TV shows. Our top pick for the category is the Hauppauge WinTV-quadHD PCI Express TV Tuner at Dell. It's a PCIe TV Tuner card that's easy to install and works out of the box with Windows own media center.

If you're planning to do some gaming and streaming, you should also take a look at our list of the best graphic cards to ensure you can power your setup. For all others, read on to see the best TV capture and video capture cards to buy.

Best Overall: Hauppauge WinTV-quadHD PCI Express TV Tuner

Hauppauge WinTV-quadHD (1609) Four Tuner Digital TV Receiver

If watching, pausing and recording up to four ATSC or clear QAM HD TV programs at the same time catches your eye, the Hauppauge WinTV-quadHD PCI express TV tuner card is exactly what you’re looking for. For use with computers capable of fitting a half-height PCI express board, the Hauppauge works inside both full and half height PCs with minimal installation and setup. The included remote control comes with a one-meter infrared receiver cable for easily plugging into television, so it's ready to work right out of the box. Beyond controlling playback from the comfort of your couch, the actual capturing is done via third-party programming or with Microsoft’s own Windows Media Center that’s active on Windows 7, 8 and 10. Support for all ATSC formats with four ATSC over-the-air digital TV tuners onboard is included, so the Hauppauge won't miss a beat and can handily grab programming that’s currently being broadcast.

Best Apple Option: DIGITNOW HDMI Video Card

If you’re looking for a Mac-centric video card, it’s likely that you aren’t looking for a coax-to-USB situation. Whether you’re streaming video games, TV, film, or otherwise, you need something compatible with the latest video and streaming software. That’s where this option from DIGITNOW comes in. It connects to video via HDMI and then connects through to your computer via USB 3.0 (though it does support 2.0, as well). The USB connectivity is, according to the manufacturer, pretty plug-and-play, and won’t require you to track down and install some cumbersome driver software.

The HDMI supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 and it does so in a smooth, reliable way (with less risk of cutouts). They also claim to support auto-deinterlacing for increased compatibility. It’ll work with your Mac of course, but it also supports PC and Linux devices and has been designed for everything from Xbox One to PS4 Pro all the way to standard HD television streaming. Plus, it does it all in a footprint less than the size of standard credit card.

Best Multifunction: Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner

Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner

While Hauppauge’s Digital TV Tuner might be primarily designed for the Xbox One, its multipurpose function for both the Xbox and live TV make it an ideal purchase for buyers. Initially, the Hauppauge’s primary function is to enjoy over-the-air television alongside game play with the Xbox One allowing access to any broadcast networks available in your area. This type of viewing would eliminate the need to switch inputs between games and TV. Beyond the Xbox, the Hauppauge adds extra functionality by including an activation code for the company’s Hauppauge Win TV v8 application for Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7. The application itself allows Hauppauge owners to watch TV in a window or full screen as well as record digital TV programs to a connected PC’s hard drive.

Installation is easy, just connect the Xbox One via USB, and with the included antenna, it can receive the best reception within a 10-mile radius from any TV transmitter. For reception beyond 10 miles, a high-quality antenna can be separately purchased to boost the channel selection. At just eight ounces and measuring at 3 x 6.5 x 8.5 inches, the Hauppauge is small and easily disappears when connected to either the Xbox One or connected Windows PC. If you were not already sold on the Hauppauge TV tuner, perhaps the addition of streaming live TV to Windows PCs or iOS and Android devices around the house is enough to win you over.

Best Video Game Capture: Elgato Game Capture HD60 S

Elgato Game Capture HD60

If capturing memories of video games are just what you need to remind your friends later of that all-important victory you achieved, Elgato’s Game Capture HD60 is a great get. Capable of recording from both the Xbox One, Wii U and PlayStation 4, the Elgato records 1080p quality with 60fps right back to your Mac or PC. To make things even more convenient, Elgato offers “flashback recording,” allowing the user to “slide back time” retroactively and record your game after you’re done playing.

A built-in live streaming feature offers connectivity to Twitch, YouTube or Ustream that offers users not only a way to record their own victories, but a way to show them off to the world. Additionally, there’s just one-click sharing available to push captured videos to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Most important is that at 3.7 ounces and measuring at 4.4 x 3 x 0.75 inches, the Elgato doesn't take up any room on your desk.

Best Internal Card: Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder

From Blackmagic Design, this low profile PCIe capture card lets you record SD, HD or 4K footage via HDMI or SDI. Its input panel holds a single SD/HD/3G/6G-SDI input and its HDMI 2.0a connections let you capture all formats up to 2160p30 on your computer. The inputs automatically detect and switch between audio formats, and it supports all of your favorite software including DaVinci Resolve, Fusion, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Avid Pro Tools, Photoshop CC and more. You can even develop customizable capture solutions with the Blackmagic Desktop Video SDK for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.

Best Budget: BlueAVS Audio Video Capture Card

The BlueAVS Audio Video Capture Card is one of your most affordable options at recording high quality video. It's a simple USB stick that lets your connect a DSLR camera, camcorder, action cam, and other devices to your PC. It supports 4K recordings at 30Hz and 1080p at 30Hz, letting you cover your bases when it comes to content. According to the manufacterer, you can record content directly to the hard disk without any time delay, and easily produce video with editing programs.

Final Verdict

The best TV capture and video capture card to buy is the Hauppage WinTV-quadHD (view at Dell). It can record up to four TV programs at once, works with computers that support PCIe boards, and is easy to use out of the box. For gamers, we like the Elgato Game Capture HD60 S (view at B&H). It can record on just about any current console and works great with Twitch, YouTube, and other services.

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