Price: $149
Works With: Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii
Where to buy: http://www.avermedia-usa.com/AVerTV/estore/estore.html

Why in the world would anyone want to record themselves playing a video game? Sounds like some weird, nerdy narcissistic complex right? Don't be so quick to judge. With sites like the wildly popular TwitchTV, recording and streaming gaming sessions have become quite popular. Think of how many times you've watched someone play round after round of Street Fighter. It's almost like watching a sporting event only in this case animated characters are doing the competing.

Capturing your games used to be a laborious task as you'd have to run a connection from your console to a computer with a tossed salad of cables and adapters. These days, hardware companies are making it way easier to capture gameplay with devices like AVerMedia's Game Capture HD.

The Game Capture HD provides simple, user friendly features that will have gamers of all levels recording their boss battles like pro streamers. Right out of the box, we were able to set up the Game Capture unit and barely had to look at the manual. Usually with devices like this, there's a cable missing that you'd have to run out an buy (HDMI comes to mind first) but in this case, we had everything thing we needed in-package to get rolling.

Instead of a bunch of separate cables, AVerMedia included an all-in-one connection that has ends to fit all of the major consoles. Whether you have an Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii you're covered. PC gamers are out of luck on this one but you guys have enough options already. Be aware though, if you have a bunch of consoles, don't make the mistake of attaching all of them to the Game Capture HD at the same time. It won't work and you may wind up damaging it.

For storage, you have two options; you can either use an internal 2.5" hardrive or attach an external to the front of the device via USB 2.0. Installing an internal drive was a breeze; it was all just matching up the ports and clicking everything into place. Using an external drive is as straight forward as it sounds. Although the manual says that the Game Capture HD will recognize drives formatted in both FAT32 and NTFS, we opted to format the disk in whatever the default is for the device.

 


Recording a game is as simple as pressing the red button on either the box itself or on the included remote, That's it. The GCHD works like a DVR in this aspect, you press record and then stop when you're done. In order to watch what you've captured, navigate the built-in file management program to play, erase and move your footage around. One thing that took us a minute to figure out was how to navigate to our available drives. When the management window pops up, it doesn't go straight to your readied partition, you need to select it first. It makes sense in the event you've partitioned your hard drive into sections like having one for video and the other for snapshots. Not a big deal at all, just something to remember.

The quality of the recorded media is fantastic. Video is near exact considering it's compressed into an AVI file and the snapshots are pretty decent. We took a shot from the Xbox Live Marketplace and it came out a little dark but with a little touching up, it was perfect. A few things we would've loved to have been able to have was a way to operate the device without a remote. From the box you can only power on and record so if something happens to your remote, you're assed out. We would've also loved to have a streaming feature integrated into the Game Capture HD. Sure, we know that would drive the price to insanity but it would be cool anyway.

As a solution to gamers who want to archive their skills or stream them later, AVerMedia's Game Capture HD is just what the doctor ordered. Its compact size and easy to use interface makes operation as easy as turning on another console. For under 200 bucks, picking one up should be a no-brainer.