Setting up the Roxio Game Capture is blessedly simple. The component connection is analog, giving more opportunity for quality degregation but not requiring the digital handshake of HDMI. Although the bundled software took a surprisingly long time to install – hardly an age though at around 10 minutes – as soon as we plugged-in the console and USB cable, the video came streaming through the bespoke Game capture software immediately.
You need to pick from a list of PAL, SECAM and HTSC (the majority of you will only need to worry about PAL) options, but even if you don’t know the exact band of your equipment, you can find out through experimentation within a minute or two. AVI, WMV and DivX recording options are available, but the capture resolution is locked to 480p. Those looking to save gaming highlights for desktop posterity should use the data-hungry AVI codec, but wannabe YouTube stars may be better off with the lesser-quality WMV and DivX alternatives.
One-click recording makes capture tremendously easy once these initial setup choices have been clicked through. You can also choose to record for a certain length of time – perhaps an hour – if you want to record a whole gaming session rather than just a quick nugget too. Captured clips then show up as thumbnails at the bottom of the screen, using a snap from the beginning as a thumbnail image.
When Roxio Game Capture is geared towards Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers though, the lack of HD recording feels like a massive missed opportunity. We find it baffling – when mobile phones have no trouble processing HD-quality video, is Roxio seriously suggesting it’ll be too much for the PCs of hardcore gamers?
Fine detail is lost, resulting in a much softer image that your console is pumping out – unless you’re harvesting footage from a Nintendo Wii or last-gen machine. However, it’s much better than the results we saw in the S-video Compro Videomate C200. There’s no ghosting, no strange textures in block colour and the edges of objects are as solid as they should be – you’d likely find all these issues in any s-video or composite alternative.
Once videos are blown-up to full screen on a decent-sized computer monitor though, the difference between 480p and 720p is instantly obvious. And it’ll be obvious to any prospective YouTube and Vimeo viewers now that HD content on the top video sites is very common.