Review: AVerMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro

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The AVerMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro card allows anyone to directly record any HDMI or component/composite input to your computer. Perfect for gamers that wish to upload their gameplay to YouTube, the capture card uses PCIe for a high bandwidth connectivity to your computer. Recording in 1080i, the capture card can record almost anything and export to almost anything with the included software. Check out the review after the break.

  • Score:

    9.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    High quality, easy to use, cheap, many connections.

  • The Bad:

    Only one HDMI input.

  • Bottom Line:

    Fantastic for anything!

Features

The capture card has a wide range of features. It can capture video up to 1080i which is super high quality (blu-ray quality), the included software can directly upload to YouTube when recording has finished, Real-time HD H.264 encoding, 4:3/16:9 Aspect Ratio Conversion and it’s compatible with Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder meaning you can directly output the video to a streaming service in full 1080i quality. The capture card also comes with CyberLink PowerDirector 8 HE & CyberLink PowerProducer 5 BD, allowing you to edit your captured videos easily. It also comes with a low profile plate, so you can easily use the capture card in a low profile computer case.

Connectivity

The capture card has two input slots. The first one is a HDMI port allowing you to plug in any HDMi device (eg Blu-ray player, gaming console) and the second one (which looks like a HDMI port but isn’t) allows you to plug in the multi-connection cable provided (see picture to the right). It has S-video, component and composite allowing you to plug in things like video cameras, DVD players, older gaming consoles etc. It’s hot pluggable meaning you don’t need to shut down your computer or close the software to change devices or plug in new ones. We would of liked to see multiple HDMI inputs but i’m sure that will come in another version of the card.

Quality

During testing, I was astounded by the quality. I had an Xbox 360 hooked up by HDMI and was playing a number of games and not one time did the capture stutter, freeze or drop quality. A 1080i 10 minute recording was around 300 mb in size, so if you don’t have the disk space, it might be a good idea to switch to a compressed codec or record in 720p. Unfortunately, I didn’t save any of the recordings but I did find a perfect example of the quality on YouTube. See the video below:

techgeek.com.au CES 2012

During our CES broadcast, AVerMedia provided us with three of their capture cards for the purposes of broadcasting and recording our shows. We were very impressed by the quality of the broadcast and the capture cards did a fine job. You can check out recordings of our shows at our Justin.TV channel.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy solution to record almost anything in super high quality, then the AVerMedia DarkCrystal HD Capture Pro is for you. We were so impressed by the quality, we will continue to use AVerMedia products for our video capturing needs.

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