Video or TV capture was a cumbersome process, using a PC. Now, all it takes is small box and a few clicks
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, March 4 2019: For Generation Z or "Gen Zee" as they call themselves -- those born between the mid-1990s to the early-2000s -- video is a way of life. They view on average, 220 minutes of video every week. And in a Selfie Age where narcissism is the norm, much of it is generated by themselves. They go somewhere, do something -- and share the video on Whatsapp -- within seconds. It's not enough to play console games on XBox or PlayStation. They must record their triumphs for posterity and share it on social media.
The record-and-share part was fairly complicated , if not downright messy -- till recently, that is. It required beefing up your PC with a special Video Capture card that converted the analog signal produced by a video camera, DVD player or similar source, into digital video and sent it to a storage device. All that has changed.
Today, Video Capture technology has shrunk into a small box you can hold in your palm. Two HDMI ports are all it takes -- one to connect to your source -- games console, digital camera, handycam, TV -- and the other to link up a storage device where you dump the digitized video clips. And yes, one more port to power up the device from an electrical mains outlet. There are plenty of such devices in the market. Taiwan-based AverMedia is something of a specialist in such digital multimedia solutions, and I got to try out two video capture products that they have brought to India.
The AverMedia EZRecorder ER130 weighs just 176 grams. and is the most simple device in this class of capture device. Input and output is via standard HDMI, so your source could be any HDMI-ready video generator, even a TV set ( but not all games consoles). It records in full 1080p HD. You need to connect to TV to view the video live, or you can use an external hard drive to store it. In my limited experience, it will not work with the cheap USB sticks which can't transfer files at the required speed. You need a hard drive or a solid state SSD storage device. If you use the ER 130 to record programmes from a TV, there is a timer to preset when you want to record. Some basic editing is thrown on -- you can clip the video or remove unwanted footage. Or grab a snapshot still frame. It costs 11,900.
Specifically for gamers who want to create a record of their console games, AverMedia offers the Game Capture HD II system C285, which works with all contemporary games consoles and can take input from component video as well as HDMI. There is a slot into which you can insert an external hard disk. The editing features here are more elaborate -- and you can add your own commentary using a mike in the 3.5 inch audio port. You can set your own frame rate to get slo-mo or slow motion effects and adjust the resolution of the output video from 480 to 1080p for different play situations. I understood why, when I found you can directly upload the video to YouTube for instant fame. These extra features will justify the asking price of Rs 16,999.