Pros: Cheap, 1080p video recording, HDMI and VGA inputs, great quality
Cons: Bloated software, no outputs (only software output)
The Avermedia Game Broadcaster HD is a PCIe card which is installed into your computer. On the back it has both VGA and HDMI inputs for recording up to 1080p Full HD at 60 frames per second. To record content, you need install the card into your computer, install the included ‘Aver MediaCenter 3D’ software (or other 3rd party alternatives) and plug in your HDMI or VGA device.
Inside the box there is the actual card, an installation CD (however I recommend downloading the latest drivers and software off the Avermedia website), a quick install guide, a component to VGA adapter, a dual RCA to 3.5mm adapter, a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a low profile bracket.
The Game Broadcaster HD is not a large expansion card, like for example, a graphics card. It measures 160mm in length, 69mm in width and a very thin 1.5mm in height. It comes default with a standard profile bracket, however can be used with the included low profile bracket. The card runs via PCI-E x1 which will work on any x4, x8 or x16 slots. It has an all-black PCB, which unlike my blue Gigabyte graphics card, looks appropriate in any computer case.
The visible part of the Game Broadcaster HD has a HDMI and VGA input. These can be used for recording either option individually. You can’t record from both at once, nor can you use one as an output. This results in a slight lag depending on your processor and memory, although I hardly noticed it and games were still fully playable. Finally, there is no audio input (for VGA) so you must use the line-in jack on your motherboard.
The Game Broadcaster HD will not bypass any HDCP protection, meaning it will not record Playstation3 via HDMI, nor iPad (despite the claims on the Avermedia website) unless using VGA.
Included on the disc (and available for download on the Avermedia website) are the drivers and two pieces of software, Avermedia MediaCenter 3D and AverQuick. AverQuick, from what I can gather, appears to be an interface between a hardware remote and the MediaCenter 3D software.
The MediaCenter 3D application is where you go to record anything. The MediaCenter 3D can also work with any TV tuners you have, to watch live TV and view previous recordings, regardless of whether you own a TV tuner or not. The software is also clearly intended to be a Windows Media Centre alternative, with screens for music and pictures too. The strangest thing is, to record something you need to go into the ‘TV’ screen. This software also replaces the default Windows interface, which is also something that I don’t like.
The MediaCenter 3D software is very bloated and it is unnecessary having all the media options, when all I and 99% of Game Broadcaster HD owners want to do is record gameplay. I feel another lightweight, professional-looking software could be included to replace the MediaCenter 3D which just allows recording and configuring of settings. The MediaCenter 3D software just adds confusion and requires extra processing power, and therefore I recommend choosing a 3rd party alternative.
There are various options for configuring your recording. These include changing your input source from HDMI to VGA, changing the audio input source, and configuring what file type to record to. The latter two are found under Settings > TV > Configure HD Input Source. Yes, it took me a while to figure that out.
As you will see on screen, the recording quality using MPEG2 is near perfect reproduction although I doubt YouTube compression does it justice. It is very smooth and can record up to 60 frames per second at 1920x1080. For each second it records via AVI (uncompressed), it takes up 125MB, which is huge. Using MPEG2 in Full HD at 30fps, (which is what is on screen) it records at around 3.6MB per second, which is around 3.3GB after 15 minutes.
One thing I have noticed is sometimes is the contrast/brightness of a VGA record needs to be slightly adjusted in your video editing program of choice to make it easier to read black on white.
The Game Broadcaster HD retails for $180 AUD at the time this video was made, which makes it one of the most inexpensive options to get started with Full HD recording or streaming. The installation of the card is easy and will not look out of place in any gaming rig. The software does the job, however it is very bloated and a large percentage of the features will never need to be used by anyone who purchases the Game Broadcaster HD. The recording quality is superb and in a capture card, that is the most important part. Taking these points into account, I can safely recommend the Game Broadcaster HD to anyone who wishes to record or stream HDMI or VGA.