Roxio Game Capture HD Pro Review

Roxio’s Game Capture HD Pro promises “everything” you need for videogame capture. It’s a fair capture solution, but that’s not exactly true.

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro: On the plus side

Many years ago now, I used to have one of my consoles set up for what could have been permanent video capture. To be more specific, because I had a UK model SNES (long story) in Australia, the only way I could get audio was to run it via composite cables through a VHS player, as was the style at the time.
Why yes, I did wear an onion on my belt. I must tell you about that at some point.
The practical upshot of this was that, when the mood struck me, I could hit record on the VHS and capture gaming gold for posterity. Or one of my university flatmates using Mario Paint to make a pooping moose animation, but you get the point.
Video capture of gaming sessions isn’t a new thing, but it’s been a long while since I’d looked at any capture gear to speak of. I mention this upfront, because when the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro turned up, I realised it had been a gap in my reviewing for a while. As such, I’m not comparing this to other solutions — and they do exist — because I haven’t tested them. I’d rather have that clear upfront. Now, on with the show…

Would there be an audience for a livestream of the Wii U menu? There's only one way to find out...
Would there be an audience for a livestream of the Wii U menu? There’s only one way to find out…

The Game Capture HD Pro is a relatively simple USB bus powered capture device that offers HDMI and Component capture of video sources out to a host PC. It’s also got HDMI passthrough, so you can use it for capture and playback at the same time. About the only thing you could get wrong in the setup process is plugging an HDMI input into the output. As I discovered, all that does is confuse the software, because it can’t detect any input at all.
Roxio’s software is on the very basic side; when you first launch it you’re met with the simple choice to either capture gameplay footage, or edit and share it out. The interface is simple, and it’s not exceptionally powerful, but at a basic capture and edit level it’s functional enough.
Overdoing it on the transitions would be wrong. So don't do it.
Overdoing it on the transitions would be wrong. So don’t do it.

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro: On the minus side

There’s a few obvious issues. The latest generation of consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One support onboard capture natively, so there’s less value in the Game Capture HD Pro there.
That shifts the focus back to the previous generation, and here there’s one significant caveat. Because of the HDCP implementation in the PS3, HDMI capture isn’t supported by the Game Capture HD Pro.
This means that if you do want to capture from a PS3, you’ll need component cables to hand; they’re not supplied in the box, and there’s little mention of this made on the packaging itself. Indeed, the back of the box proudly proclaims that it has “Everything you need to easily capture, share and showcase your best gameplay”, with a tiny print point noting that you need an HDMI cable. There’s no mention of the PS3 component issue, and I don’t think that’s quite good enough.
Video capture quality is fairly decent, but the use of USB 2.0 means that lag is inevitable. If you can pass through (or, as I did, test with Wii U games where Gamepad play was feasible) that shouldn’t be an issue, but if you planned to capture and play via Roxio’s own software interface, you’d need to have quite interesting reflexes, or plan to play something turn-based.

It's a'me! Lag-io!
It’s a’me!

Finally, and this is very much a personal observation, it’s slightly annoying that the Game Capture HD Pro is HDMI and Component only.
For those of us with a retro fixation, that removes a whole lot of old school console capture goodness. I wonder if I can find and revive a VHS deck again?

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro: Pricing

The version of the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro I tested was supplied to me by the Australian
distributor, Mindscape Software, who list its RRP as $179.95.

Roxio Game Capture HD Pro: Fat Duck verdict

The Roxio Game Capture HD Pro is a bit of a mixed offering. On the one hand, with the right cables, it does work as advertised, especially if you’re connected an Xbox 360 or Wii U.
PS3 capture is significantly more tricky and limited, albeit for reasons that are quite fairly outside Roxio’s control. Still, I do think it’d be a honest step for that to be stated more clearly on the exterior packaging.

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