First off some of you might not even know what you are looking at or maybe you do but you don’t know exactly what kind of capabilities this device has. Well this little device packs a big boom when it comes the capability and convenience of it. PVR stands for personal video recorder, so that is exactly what the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 does, only it is specifically made to record gaming (gameplay) in the highest quality possible. All those video montages you may watch of gamers getting crazy kills in Battlefield 3 or many of those Youtube videos that walk you through tough spots or hidden areas in games; they are all done using some type of PVR (or capture card, etc.). This is truly where the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition stands out from ANY other product on the market when it comes to recording gaming.
There are tons of different ways to record footage from your gaming console to then edit and create your own video on your PC whether it is a game guide, walkthrough, tips, tricks, video review, montage, Easter Egg guide, secret locations, glitch video, just goofing around, tournament/clan battle and the list goes on. The broad range of users of these products are professionals that use game recording devices to your 12 year old neighbor next door. So no matter who you are or what you are into, if you play games or are in the gaming industry, a device like the Haupauge HD PVR 2 is one of the best devices you can get your hands on from the price to the quality as well as the convenience. Hauppauge Digital, Inc. are one of the leading manufacturers of high definition video recorders, as well as digital TV and data broadcast receivers for PC’s. So Hauppauge is no stranger when it comes to this field.
Now you have so many different types of recorders, such as your capture card which although has been used as a nick name for any gaming recorder it is not. A capture card is actually a more literal card with microchips and all on it that must be manually placed into a desktop computer. These are not cheap and for a long time where though to be the best way to record the highest quality of video. The game has changed since then, with many other alternative products, many of them being external recording devices that hook up to your PC as well as your console. Recording HD video on your PC is one thing, but recording at 1080p from a next generation console was a whole different story. I have seen tons of different recording devices for gaming consoles that one way or another were just a pain in the ass. Whether it was all the wires and connections or the software itself, it just made it seem like you had to spend a fortune just to get a descent recording device for consoles to then still have to worry about the quality as well as the technical issue you may face.
The Hauppauge HD PVR 2 is by far the easiest external PVR for recording gaming on next gen consoles I have seen to date. Shortly before the HD PVR 2 was released you simply could not use an HDMI cable to record video in HD; unless you had a HDMI decoder (which would be yet another technicality to add to the list), you would simply have to settle for the 5 component cables to record in HD. So if you could still record by using that, it obviously made it harder with there being more wires and not to mention the fact that if you normally play on your next gen console using an HDMI cable. I have never seen a more easy to setup and record device in my time when it comes to the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 as it only uses the simple one HDMI cable that I know mostly everyone is used to using now with their HD products. The diagram shown here shows just ow simple it is to record in the highest quality, running smoothly whether you have a laptop or a desktop. One of the nicest features of the product is how basic it is to record while you are playing, as if you decide you wish to play without any plans of recording anything, there is not need to switch around plugs. There is no true benefit to disconnecting the HD PVR 2 just to play normally. You have you basic setup like anyone would have only you have an extra HDMI cable (included with the device) running through the PVR acting as a conduit so long as you have it powered on.
So recording with HDMI cables directly was my biggest issues when it came to recording devices specifically with the Xbox 360 and Hauppauge has changed that. As far as recording on the Playstation 3, it is just as simple, however you will need to use a special set of component cables provided as the Playstation 3 simply does not allow recording via HDMI. With the Wii-U on the verge of release, you should also be able to easily record gameplay from that using an HDMI cable with the new consoles HD capabilities. So for around $169.99 you get the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 device which is much more compact then you may think, along with 2 HDMI cables, an HD Component Cable and a USB cable to hook it up to your PC (whether is be a laptop or desktop). Aside from the Hardware, the ArcSoft Showbiz Software is included and could not make is easier to record your footage, while giving you a wide range of options to fine tune your video(s). The ArcSoft Software allows you to edit different videos, splicing them together cutting segments out, adding voice over tracks and/or music to the video or specific parts of a video. You are given a timeline setup with in the software, which allows you to overlay to separate audio tracks (not including the audio recorded from the gameplay), as well as a text overlay and you can even take advantage of the storyboard layout to customize your work also. Then there is a wide range of visual effects you can add to your video once again using them in certain areas of a video or the entire thing. The effects include color effects, negative, emboss, film grain and many more along with all the different transitions that are used all the time in media to unique ones as well.
You will want to have a computer with a decent amount of room on it as it makes the whole process easier while it will allow you to record in very high quality, making the videos look outstanding. The HD PVR 2 does lack a little in quality when things are moving in the game at a high speed, but I only noticed this when comparing to the impressive HD footage of a smooth, slow moving cut-scene. The default bit-rate that is set for video recording is fine however if you increase it in the software settings, you will gain much, much better quality in your videos. This is most likely not explained because of the fact that increasing the file size of the video pretty drastically, which is why having a PC with a lot of Hard rive space is no doubt plus, on top of the fact in which case you plan upload your video anyway and then you can just delete the video on your PC to make room. As mentioned before you can record gameplay from the Xbox 360 in 1080p resulting in crisp, clean footage and sound. Although the Playstation has a maximization recording capability of 1080i (from the component cable facter), anyone who has seen both quality in video would know it is hard to tell the difference.
Overall the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 is the best bang for your buck on top of being one of the best if not THE BEST external HD, next gen console, PVR available at the moment. Any other internal capture card is going to cost you a hell of a lot more and all other external recording devices are either crappy quality, confusing to setup/use, have wires everywhere or all of the above. The compact, sleek looking Hauppauge HD PVR 2 only gives you four wires you will have to deal with making it easy to setup or take apart, that can neatly find a place near either your PC or your gaming console. I am proud to say that this is GamersBliss.com’s PVR of choice right now as we will continue to use this and wish to have one connected to everyone of our review consoles. You can also use different software to broaden the level of editing you can do with the videos you capture as well as get longer cables to ensure that your setup is as neat as it is convenient. Either way right out of the box you are good to go and record the highest definition gameplay, edit it and upload it straight to YouTube or wherever you prefer it.