Elgato Game Capture HD 60

Score

Pros

  • Compact, stylish hardware design
  • Effortless setup and interface
  • Software very easy to use and includes editing and sharing features
  • Footage is very good quality

Cons

  • Only support HDMI input
  • Doesn't support uncompressed video capture

Key Features

  • Review Price: £139.95
  • Full HD (1080p) game capture at 60fps
  • Latency-free video feed for normal gaming experience
  • Mac and PC compatible
  • Hardware h.264 video encoding

What is the Elgato Game Capture HD 60?

The latest games consoles

offer the ability to record and share clips of your gaming glories, but

they only offer limited control and the maximum time you can record is

quite short. If you want to record hours and hours of footage and do

more with your recordings afterwards you’ll need something like the

Elgato Game Capture HD 60.

This latest version adds in support

for 60 frames per second recording so you can get the smoothest possible

recordings of your escapades. It also supports streaming with live commentary with support for Twitch and YouTube.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60

Elgato Game Capture HD 60 – Design and Features

Like

most such capture devices, the Game Capture HD 60 is a pretty simple

affair. It has an HDMI input into which you plug your console (or the

video output from any other HDMI-equipped device) an HDMI output into

which you plug your TV (so you can still play the game) and a USB socket

for sucking out the video stream and storing it on a computer.

The

device itself is one of the smallest we’ve yet seen at 110 x 74 x 18mm –

a smaller footprint than a smartphone, though a little thicker. There

is a reason for this, though, as there are very few extra features here.

Whereas the likes of the Roxio GameCap HD Pro and Elgato’s own previous Game Capture HD offer analogue audio and

video inputs and outputs (for use with older consoles) here the only

other connection is a stereo jack socket for recording video

commentaries – just plug your microphone straight into it.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60

The

small size also means that the device won’t sit firm on a TV cabinet as

the tension in most HDMI cable will push it around. A minor point, but

worth noting.

Another little thing that caught our eye is that

the USB socket is miniUSB, when we tend to like to see microUSB these

days just because most mobile devices use microUSB, but it’s a minor

point.

Otherwise the HD 60 is as elegant and compact as you

could hope for such a device to be. It’s finished in a soft-touch

plastic that is bisected by a shiny strip. From here a row of LEDs shine

through to indicate the device is powered on and recording.

In

the box you get a nice long (2m) USB cable and a much shorter (80cm)

HDMI cable. The short HDMi makes sense as the device should only be

sitting between what should have been a long enough HDMI cable to

reach from your console to the TV anyway. There’s no audio cable for

your microphone, but this seems like a reasonable omission given it’s far

less likely to be used.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60 – Setup & Software

Setting up the Game Capture HD 60 is very simple. First thing to do is download and install the software from the Elgato website, then you just hook it up between you console and TV, connect your microphone and plug in the USB cable.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60

The software provided with the Game Capture HD 60 is generally easy to use and tidily laid out.

In

the top left is the live stream of what’s running through the HD 60,

with it generally running a few seconds behind the live feed you’ll see

on your TV. Below this are the main recording controls, a hard drive

space indicator and buttons for starting the streaming service and

turning on commentary.

To the right are the various live options

where you can adjust game and commentary audio levels, tweak live

streaming bit rate and change tags. The main settings are in the

preferences menu accessed via the little gear button in the top right.

Here you can set where you’d like the recorded files to be stored,

adjust recording format options, enable streaming, set sharing options

and more.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60

As

well as recording, the software can also be used to do some rudimentary

editing. The interface offers the ability to chop the recording up,

removing and rearranging sections, start a new video from the chopped

selection, pick out screenshots and choose the audio tracks you’d like

to keep.

There are also output/sharing options, with YouTube,

Facebook, Wtitter, Email, Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Windows Movie Maker,

MP4 original and MP4 1080p options available.

It’s a decent

little selection for making some basic edits, though the lack of manual

control over output options may be a concern for more advanced users.

Both PCs and Macs are supported by Elgato’s official software, but there’s no word on Linux support.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60 – Operation

The

overall experience of using the Game Capture HD 60 is very easy. It all

just works once plugged in correctly and the software is loaded up.

We

were scratching our heads for a while until we realised that there was

nothing showing on the screen because the Xbox One we were testing with

was showing TV so was enabling HDCP. HDCP or High-Definition Content

Protection is the protection used by things like Blu-ray discs to stop

people being able to just record the video being played over HDMI. For

consoles like the Xbox One, HDCP is enabled whenever protected content

is being played, making the screen go blank when the Elgato software is

enabled. HDCP is not used when playing games or just navigating the

interface.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60
When HDCP protected content is being shown the screen goes blank

The

other thing to watch out for is the speed of the machine you’re using

to capture the video. We were using an Ultrabook laptop that struggled a

little to keep up with the constant stream of video being thrown at it.

In terms of files size, you can alter the output size and

compression level but the default settings of 60fps, 1080p and mid-way

along the compression level setting resulted in a 3:28 long file being

485MB.

Streaming is as easy to setup as recording. Depending on

which service you’re using there can be a few hoops to jump through,

providing permissions and such like, but it’s a process that takes a

matter of seconds. Once setup, just select the service you’d like to

use, the streaming bit rate (which determines the resolution) and click

the streaming button.

When streaming you can continue to record but only at 720p, which is also the maximum resolution of the stream.

A quick demonstration of footage captured using the Elgato Game Capture HD 60 on an Xbox One.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60 – Image Quality

Overall

image quality is excellent. The detail levels you’d hope for from a

1080p capture are clearly visible. There is a very slight haziness to

the overall image and occasionally colour can look a little blocky

compared to the original image, both symptoms of the video compression

algorithm, but both are negligible and the footage is easily up to

broadcast quality.

The advantage of 60fps capture is also clearly

visible with markedly smoother looking footage during normal playback (note that the 60fps advantage won’t be visible in the above video as YouTube doesn’t yet support this).

There’s also greater scope for picking out slow-motion sections and more

finely chopping up the footage for analysis.

Elgato Game Capture HD 60

Should I Buy the Elgato Gam Capture HD 60?

With

an MSRP of £139.95, the Elgato Game Capture HD 60 is a

significant investment just to get a bit more control over game footage

capture, and for those that simply want to share their latest ‘frags’

with friends it’s probably overkill.

Even if you’re remotely

serious about your video game capture and need the extra versatility

that a dedicated capture device can provide, 30fps capable models are

less than half the price, so again it’s worth considering how likely it

is you’ll need the higher framerate.

If you do need the full

feature set that the Game Capture HD 60 provides, though, then its price

is about on the money with 60fps capable competitors coming in around

the same price. That said, the AverMedia ExtremeCap U3 does offer

uncompressed capture and component inputs for around the same money,

though we’re yet to test that model.

Verdict

A capable game capture device that’s overkill for casual users, but a very good option for anyone who wants the best quality stream possible.

Score

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