Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus Review

Hauppauge's best efforts come up short in the HD PVR 2, held back by poor software and lackluster hardware.

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The latest video capture device from Hauppauge introduces a handful of new functionality to its HD PVR line: HDMI, optical audio, bundled video production software, and built-in video streaming. Unfortunately, the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus is nowhere near as good as the $179.99 price tag suggests. Outside of optical audio support, there's nothing the latest box from Hauppauge offers in terms of features or user experience that can't be found in competing devices at the same price or less. The core functionality is there, but it's underwhelming overall, and when the device is held to the same standard as the competition, the HD PVR 2 comes in dead last.

There are two major disadvantages to the HD PVR 2 right out of the box: it requires an AC adapter, and the video bit rate tops out at 14Mbps. Hauppauge is the only leading manufacturer of game capture devices left to require an AC adapter for its flagship device; Elgato, Roxio, AverMedia, and BlackMagic have managed to simplify power and data down to a single USB connection. On top of that, with a maximum video bit rate of 14Mbps, it's handily outclassed by its contemporaries.

Hauppauge HD PVR 2
Roxio Game Capture HD Pro
Elgato Game Capture HD
AverMedia Live Gamer Portable
Black Magic Intensity Shuttle
14Mbps
15Mbps
30Mbps
60Mbps
60Mbps

As you'd expect, the HD PVR 2 supports HDMI (up to and including 1080p signals) and component video feeds. It also has the uncommon ability to utilize S-Video and composite cables through an optional $12 accessory. Analog video support has faded into the background for some manufacturers who have made HDMI a priority, but it's an invaluable resource for people who still enjoy pre-HD-era consoles.

There's software support for Windows and OS X, but the latter is only available out of the box with the Gaming Edition Plus model; otherwise, it costs $30. However, even with OS X support, Mac users get but a fragment of the functionality provided to the Windows crowd. Where Hauppauge is happy to provide Windows software to capture, stream, edit, and publish videos, OS X users receive only the capture portion of the equation. So, not only are they penalized and forced to pay a $10 premium to get the HD PVR 2 model that's bundled with the otherwise $30 software, but they're ultimately shorted on functionality.

Then again, it's not like the Windows software is a paragon of user-friendliness or functionality. The ArcSoft ShowBiz suite is used to capture, edit, and publish video. Unfortunately, the capturing portion is incredibly slow. With a 5- to 10-second delay between clicking the capture button and the beginning of the actual recording process, don't expect to be able to capture anything with a sense of urgency. Similarly, there's even a 30- to 50-second delay between ending one recording and being able to start another. Plus, if you've ever wanted to feel confused about settings, take one look at the two settings tabs detailed below. With more options related to encoding in the Video Properties window compared to the Video Encoder window, it's not surprising that the rest of ArcSoft's suite is so slow and disorganized.

Beyond ArcSoft's contribution, Hauppauge has included software of its own. Its StreamEez app makes streaming to TwitchTV and Ustream as simple as entering your account information and clicking a little red button. There are default profiles for high, medium, and low Internet bandwidth, which should suffice for most users. Should you wish to fine-tune settings such as bit rate and frame rate, or even downsample the broadcast resolution, the Advanced Configuration tab will allow you to adjust your broadcast to your liking.

Hauppauge has also bundled its Personal Logo Inserter software. It allows you to grab a JPG, PNG, BMP, or GIF image and overlay it onto your video feed. The software itself is simple, but a bit lacking. After importing an image, you can adjust its location by clicking and dragging within the preview window, but resizing images requires manual adjustments to the image dimensions. Rather than invest the time to program streamlined resizing into its software, Hauppauge passed the burden on to the consumer. It's a tiny omission, but one that speaks volumes.

If one word could summarize the HD PVR 2, it would be "disappointment." When a product is technically inferior, fragmented, and riddled with sloppiness, it should be reflected in the price. For $180, you could buy any of the competing devices and end up with a better product, such as Elgato's sleek and versatile Game Capture HD. In short, you're better off ignoring the Hauppauge HD PVR 2, Gaming Edition Plus or otherwise, when shopping for a device to capture and stream gameplay.

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Discussion

56 comments
HiDefKid
HiDefKid

I have the haupauge and it works great for me. I use their stream eazy software for twitch and the quality is incredible. I stopped using the showbiz software when they came out with their software upgrade about a month ago and I really really like it. It is MUCH MUCH faster than the old software. One of my friends has the elgato and it is a complete PIA with all the cabling. He had to get an hdmi switch so he didn't have to pull all the cables all the time. His twitch channel is always so laggy. I definitely have the better device.

mastermetal777
mastermetal777

I tried this device, and it really bugged me. The hardware feels cheap, the capture software is lacking, and I had more video glitches than I wanted. So glad I decided to stick to the Elgato Game Capture HD. Definitely the better device.

jason-bauer
jason-bauer

The Elgato is king. I have it, it's awesome.

KingofCabal
KingofCabal

Why do people seem to think that this has anything to do with xbox one or consoles. Your all a bunch of morons who cant read.

"personal video recorder (PVR), is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device"

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

XBO Console looks like DVR, and DVR looks like supposed XBO.

o.O

Davir
Davir

it ont Xbox one

Majkic666
Majkic666

lol people are so stupid.... do yourself a favor and dont comment if you dont know what PVR is -.-

FernoFrY
FernoFrY

I'm really baffled at all the comments not knowing that game PVRs existed before Xbox One. How do you all think footage gets on Youtube now?

They'll all be extinct by 2014 though since XB1 and PS4 have them built in.

Aaron5825
Aaron5825

Wait... what?? does the Xbox one Already came out??

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

I have no idea what this thing even is....

Lord_Sesshy
Lord_Sesshy

This would have been a cool look for the Xbox One....

baxwam
baxwam

Hauppauge HD PVR 2 > Xbox1


starjay009
starjay009

HOLY SH** !! I thought M$ redesigned their console....

rmartinezdl
rmartinezdl

If this sux, xbox one will suck even more 

dalua360
dalua360

Please, can someone tell me which one is good for PS3 video capture ? The price is important too, but if the quality is a lot different between brands, so I would prefer to get something good instead of cheap....

abnergoinbig
abnergoinbig

I plan on getting the Elgato this summer.

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

btw the reviewer's is a dumbass 

the roxio HD pro is 100$ on amazon 

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

as for amazon rating goes the avermedia has the highest rating

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

look at all thr ps3 and pc trolls come to spam xboxone sucks 

jeez would you guys get a life

Supabul
Supabul

Thats what the PS4 is going to looks like

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

It looks better than the Xbox one lol

Earthen80
Earthen80

Xbox One's real competition.

obsequies
obsequies

looks better than the xbox one, just make the green xbox green and put the logo on the front and top

AK_the_Twilight
AK_the_Twilight

Just curious: this has been out a long, LONG time. Why is Gamespot just now reviewing it, especially when since its release, many other competing devices have been released?

rah_xephon23
rah_xephon23

It's a lot better than this review makes out to be. Plus they are always asking for feedback and have continued to make updates.

Blaiyan
Blaiyan

Sounds like it's mainly for streaming. The start and stop times sound really long. When my Avermedia Darkcrystal takes seconds to start (rarely) I always worry if something is about to go wrong. This would have me worrying all the time.

With my capture device you get 15 mb/s tops at variable but 20 mb/s at constant. Did you try both? 

 I didn't know avermedia made a new portable device that let's you record at 60 mb/s at 1080p. I think I'll pick that up eventually.

JBStone1981
JBStone1981

Fake Kevin Smith writes good reviews.

c_teb
c_teb

@Majkic666 

It seems like that is all people do on this site....  A few people know about the different technologies out there, but the ones that comment are the ones that have no clue what it is they are even talking about.

VelocityEvo
VelocityEvo

@FernoFrY That's completely untrue and wrong. The Xbox One and PS4 will be very limited compared to PVR's like Elgato. 1. They have limited recording time 2. Already stated for the PS4, you won't be able to recorded everything, ending bosses for example you will not be able to record to avoid spoilers 3. It hasn't even been stated whether you can take the recorded footage and place on your PC so you can edit it. 

Shall I go on? 

o016945
o016945

@Aaron5825 please tell me you're questioning the structure of your question

branin05
branin05

@dalua360 Ive got a Hauppauge HD PVR (not this model though) and while I have to run hd component cables, I can still capture video in hd and then upload to Youtube. It takes a bit to get all the settings correct but after that its fine.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@thequickshooter Reading comprehension for the win. The $180 statement tells us that for the price of the item reviewed, you could buy a better product--not that the Roxio HD Pro is $180. 

Also, *reviewer. I can grab a few capital letters and some punctuation marks if you need some, too. It seem you ran out. 

xJackelx
xJackelx

@thequickshooter Where was it stated otherwise? The statement read that for $180 you could try any of the products listed and that because the product being reviewed here performs worse than those which don't cost as much - it comes up well short. 


mantano68
mantano68

come on if u think that looks better than the xbox one u need to get some sleep and i hope u dont think the ps4 is going to look any better i studied the ps4  trailer and the ps4 is going to be  big square box like xbox one but its not going to look as good as u think its surface finish is going to look like the latest ps3 real talk

Renunciation
Renunciation

@lilnazar Xbox One, with an added grill as part of the "all-in-one" package.   No word on whether or not the controllers will be barbeque-sauce-resistant.

typevuspecII
typevuspecII

@mantano68 you've "studied" the PS4 hey, oh please tell us all about how you have the PS4 sitting on your desk right infront of you. I would love to hear all about it.

obsequies
obsequies

@mantano68 oh yeah your right it needs more vents and glossy sections of plastic I'm sorry. Plus the green isn't right