Elgato Game Capture HD also happens to allow easy HDMI recording to OS X

“Talk about off-label use: I own neither an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3. These are the normal devices associated with Elgato’s Game Capture HD box,” Erica Sadun reports for TUAW. “The box lets you hook up an HDMI video source to record your interactions with your favorite gaming system. For me, I wanted to see how well it worked with Apple TV and iPad.”

“With Game Capture HD, you can plug in a second-generation-or-later Apple TV unit and, boom, you can watch and record anything you’d normally view on a TV,” Sadun reports. “Plus, the video quality is astonishing: really crisp and clear. You can also connect an iPad up directly, using the digital AV adapter with HDMI or mirror an iPhone 4S through Apple TV for the same effect.”

Sadun reports, “If you’re thinking that Game Capture HD might offer a workaround for re-recording HDCP content, think again. It cannot process any HDMI signal that uses HDCP protection.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The Elgato Game Capture HD PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 Recorder for Mac/PC is available via Amazon.com for US199.69.

13 Comments

  1. “you can plug in a second-generation-or-later Apple TV unit” – projected sales: 200,000
    “watch and record anything you’d normally view on a TV” – projected sales: 500,000
    ‘video quality is astonishing: really crisp and clear” – projected sales: 750,000
    “mirror an iPhone 4S through Apple TV” – projected sales: 1,000,000
    “cannot process any HDMI signal that uses HDCP protection” – projected sales: 0

        1. I believe the article was about Elgato’s Game Capture HD.

          True, though, the only way to capture copy-protected HD is via the old-fashioned analog loop (just like you could record audio from CD via analogue in, before it became easy and simple to just rip them). Generational loss of quality cannot be avoided, though, and the copy won’t be a digital clone of itself.

          1. I believe the article was about capturing game play and not digitally protected videos, but apparently the discussion strayed, right?

            “Generational loss of quality cannot be avoided”
            Of course it can. Just burn the file to DVD.
            It’s built right into the EyeTV software to use Toast.

            1. Once the digital stream leaves the digital domain and travels across the D/A converters into the scary analogue domain, it picks up all sorts of interference and noise while in that analogue domain. Then, it goes through one more conversion, this time A/D, before it returns into the save digital domain. No amount of burning to DVD will protect it from all that can happen to it while in the analogue loophole, not to mention the damage D/A — A/D conversion itself can do to it. By the time it arrives to that DVD, the damage has already been done.

            2. Damage? Really? Have you ever viewed a 720p source on component? It looks great.

              Is it pristine? No. Are the blacks perfect over the spectrum? Not quite.

              Do you have any idea how many steps a video signal goes through between the satellite uplink and the final delivery to the TV? Quite a few. You are splitting hairs.

              You mentioned pirating and then talk down the analog quality. This isn’t cassettes going out to your high school buddies. The purpose of the EyeTV HD is to get excellent quality files of shows you missed or enjoyed enough to watch repeatedly. No one claims they are Blue-ray grade, but then neither is iTunes.

              The point I was making is that should someone want to capture hi-def video from their video box, forget the Game capture and use the HD. And if you’re too finicky for the small degradation in quality, then hold out for the Blue-ray disc to play in your Oppo hooked to your Elite via a ridiculous AudioQuest HDMI, I don’t care….

            3. Yes, I know, splitting hairs (four ways, no less), but the main point is that the ability to make digital clones is not available, and there are so many people out there who consider this a big problem (note wzinc above, who implies it to be a dealbreaker).

              For the purposes that most people will be needing, analogue loop is likely perfectly adequate, and they don’t need this device.

  2. The important question for this device will be how it captures HDMI and what it does once it is captured. If the incoming HDMI stream is captured raw and encoded into something like Apple 422 ProRes (or Cineform, or similar), that would be a very exciting proposition for people who own AVCHD (or AVCCAM) video cameras. The frequently mentioned shortcoming of these devices is that their chroma sub-sampling is only 4:2:0. Apple 422 ProRes has much better chroma of 4:2:2, which significantly improves the ability to work with chroma key setups. If one can use those HD sensors but sidestep AVCHD encoding and go directly to the Mac into something more robust and better quality, this will be a very welcome device. So far, HDMI capturing was available only via PCI cards (i.e. only for Mac Pro), and even those were quite expensive.

  3. and god forbid that the Amazon page should include info on the output file-formats!!! But neither does the Elgato product page, and I could not find any reference to this new product on their support pages – congrats guys! Digging into the FAQ on the special website for the product, it states:

    “Elgato Game Capture HD uses advanced hardware H.264 encoding to deliver stunning HD quality, while keeping the filesize low. Your captures will be saved in MPEG-4 at bitrates up to 30Mbps, depending on resolution”

    1. Thank god somebody had the time and persistence to unearth this bit of information.

      So, the device is useless for serious purposes, as it uses its own (likely moderately crappy) H.264 encoder (consequently, with the consumer-grade 4.2.0 chroma sub-sampling).

      Why should anyone expect anything better…?

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