When I first became interested into game capturing, I was initially looking into getting a PVR, a bit of a turn of events when I got this chance to test out the Elgato Game Capture HD which is indeed a great device. When I had the chance to review the PVR2GE+ I was more than eager to get my hands on it, as Hauppauge are one of the leading brands in game capture I was very interested in seeing how it compares to it's competitors on the game capture market.The PVR2GE+ comes in a fairly big box, you do have to stretch your hands a bit to grasp it, but it is nicely packaged and has all the important information ranging from features, computer requirements and a diagram of all the ports on the PVR.What's in the box?: HD PVR 2 unit | Power Supply | Component Cable (PS3) | Hauppauge AV Adapter | HDMI Cable x2 | USB Cable | Software (Disk) | Manual.The box states that 1 HDMI cable(2m) is included, however after contacting Hauppauge, it seems like they are now including the extra HDMI cable which is fantastic!Optional Extras: Optical Cable 2m, only needed if you want to capture 5.1 audio.Product RequirementsYou also need to be aware you have the appropriate system specs to run this product:* Laptop or desktop PC with 3.0 GHz single core or 2.0 GHz multi-core processor.* Microsoft Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit), Windows Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 3.* TV set with HDMI input* 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)* Graphics card with 256 MB memory* Sound card* 220 MB free hard disk space (& 10GB+ for recordings)* CD-ROM drive for software disk, otherwise download the software online from Hauppauge.For Mac users, visit http://www.hdpvrcapture.com/wordpress/?page_id=3451 for more details.Set-UpThe PVR itself is quite square measuring with a width and length of 15cm each, though I was really impressed by the very sleek style look (it looks even better when recording as it gives off a lovely green glow through the middle.As for connecting the PVR to your console, it's very simple:PS3: PS3 to PVR (via component and AV adapter) - PVR to TV (Via HDMI) - PVR to Computer (Via USB) - Power-supply to be connected to the PVR.*PS3 has to use this method to capture gaming, this is because the HDMI port is copyright protected. Make sure when using this device there is no HDMI cable connected to the PS3, and if your using the component cable for the first time, hold down the power button for about 8 seconds, by this time you should have heard a 'bleep' for the second time, on that secondly bleep, let go of the power button so the PS3 can auto-detect the connection. Once the software is set-up, you will need to go to the display settings and adjust the resolution to 720p, 1080i & 1080p.Xbox 360: Xbox to PVR (via HDMI) - PVR to TV (Via HDMI) - PVR to Computer (Via USB) - Power-supply to be connected to the PVR.You should be able to connect other devices to the PVR using the AV Adapter cable.It's the next step which takes the longest, that is installing the software.On the software disk there are three steps:Step 1) 'Check Cable Connections'; this will show you a diagram of how everything should be connected (just use this to double check).Step 2) 'Install HD PVR 2 Drivers'.Step 3) 'Install HD PVR 2 Software'. SoftwareThere are two software's included:Hauppauge Capture:This is the main recording software, from here you can choose from 5 different tabs:1) Capture: Select video/audio inputs, change advance options such as video scaler and video/audio encoder, adjust quality level, take snap shots, adjust the game volume and of course record gameplay.It also has a microphone input feature, you can select to input audio from your microphone/headset which allows you to do commentary whilst you're playing.You have two volume sliders, one for game and one for audio so you can adjust the balance.I would have liked to see a test button which allows your to hear yourself and gameplay audio so you can adjust them before recording, but it doesn't, so you may have to do a few takes to get the right balance.Oh and one thing I noticed is that the audio from the microphone to the gameplay is ever so slightly out of sync.As for recording, you can either press 'Record' in the software, or use the button located on the PVR.2) Edit: Basic editor that allows you to cut and split your video files and export them into an MP4 file.3) YouTube: From here you can view your recordings and upload them straight to YouTube.4) StreamEez: If you have a Ustream or Twitch account, you can use this tab to stream directly to either site. You can also adjust the stream quality & audio/mic volumes.5) Settings: Choose where you want your recordings and snapshots to be saved, add a personal logo onto your video (you can adjust position and transparency), as well as choosing the PVR button to automatically record or stream when pressed.This software overall is really easy to navigate around, for the main recording purposes you only really need to use the 'Capture' & 'Settings' tab.I've only had two crashes which happened in the space of 30 seconds of each other, but haven't had another issue since.ArcSoft ShowBiz (Video Editor):This I would class as a more advanced version of Windows Movie maker, but a very basic version of software's such as Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11.I think this is a great edition to be included with the package as it gives those who don't have the more advanced software's available, to spruce up their videos and make the final edit look good.It has tools ranging from video trimming, special effects, transitions and text, it has a time-line with different layers where you can drop things on where you want, and it also has it's own feature that will allow you to record from the PVR.It's a nice extra for those who need it.Overall OpinionThe PVR2GE+ is a great looking piece of kit which is simple to set-up and easy to use.After recording gameplay from various games, I have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of both; video and audio.I would like to see a few tweaks made to the software regarding the microphone to make it more in sync as well as easier to adjust audio properly, but apart from that it's a very decent game capture.- - - Hauppauge HD PVR 2 GE+ -VS- Elgato Game Capture HDAs previously stated, I also own the Elgato, so naturally I couldn't help to compare them both:+ Positive | / Neutral | - Negative.Hauppauge:+ PVR 2 In my opinion looks cooler, especially when the LED lights up.+ Instant record button on the PVR 2.+ 5.1 surround sound support via optical cable.+ Comes with additional editing software where you can add text and effects.+ Not too demanding computer specs: Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit), Windows Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 3 | PC with 3.0 GHz single core or 2.0 GHz multi-core processor | 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended) | Graphics card with 256 MB memory | Sound card | USB 2.0 Port. / Cables are long (This for me is EXTREMELY handy for my set-up, but some could see this as a nuisance).- Requires the use of a power adapter.Elgato:+ Sleek looking, very lightweight and portable.+ Simple and clean looking software.+ Time-shift mode (allows you to go back in-time to record the footage you've missed).+ Advanced microphone features (Game audio dimming when talking)./ Cables aren't too long (Great for people who love less clutter, not good for people who have the devices further away).- Requires much higher computer specs to use on your computer: Windows 7, Windows 8 or later | 2.0 Ghz (or higher) dual core CPU, or 2.0 Ghz (or higher) multi-core i3, i5 or i7 CPU | Sound card | 4GB Total Installed RAM (or higher) | Built-in USB 2.0 port.Both:+ Normally evenly priced on the market.+ Main software is easy to navigate.+ Commentary feature.Picking one over the other is a very hard choice because they both have their positives and both output top quality.To date, I much prefer the Elgato software, especially the advanced mic & time-shift features, but when it comes to practicality for my needs, the PVR2GE+ wins with it's longer cables, one-push record and is less resource heavy on my computer.Both very good contenders in the Game Capture market, so it depends on which covers the most of your needs.
Minor tweaks needed for software, however outputs quality results