Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus and Model 1512 Review
Given the rise of gamers sharing their gameplay videos on Youtube, and the need for sites like ours to capture video of games for reviews, guides, and more, PVR manufacturer Hauppauge has become the go to brand for making the process as simple and efficient as possible. We’ve seen a number of PVRs in the past, but at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hauppauge unveiled their two latest and greatest PVRs yet: the HD PVR 2 model 1512 for those of you interested in home media setups, and the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus for advanced gamers looking for the best quality game footage to edit and upload for online consumption.
At first glance, both of the new models appear exactly the same as the previous HD PVR 2 model. However, they both serve very different needs. The model 1512 is perfect for anyone looking to get the most of their home media set up. It acts similarly to a DVR in the sense it can record your favorite television shows or movies, but gives you the added flexibility of swapping inputs between either a satellite or cable box without the monthly fee to lease your provider’s DVR hardware. The built-in IR blaster lets you control the channels on either box, and the TV scheduler software lets you set recordings by time, date, even setting recurring recordings to make sure you never again miss an episode of your favorite series. Best of all, and unlike DVRs from service providers, with the model 1512 you can download your recorded TV shows to your PC for archiving. Whereas a DVR is limited by its HDD capacity, and some even auto-delete your recording after a set length of time. Not the case at all with Hauppauge—you’re only limited by the HDD in your PC (then again, with things like cloud storage and external HDDs, sky is the limit).
Both models come with software to allow you to easily and professionally edit your videos to create exciting effects, add text, logos, or transitions, adjust color, saturation, hue, and contrast, or even apply the anti-shake tool to make for a smoother all around video. The same software makes it easy for you to upload to Youtube, create DVDs and/or Blu-ray movies, or export files to work with your phone, tablet, or personal media player. The software is a value on its own, and comes packed in with every HD PVR 2 for free.
This newest round of PVRs from Hauppauge feature the same AV connector, HDMI in and out, but now features the aforementioned IR blaster for use with remotes, and most importantly, an optical SPDIF input for capturing video with full 5.1 surround sound audio—a first for any Hauppauge PVR. This means that not only will the quality of the video you capture match your actual gameplay experience, but now the audio will too.
Recording is very simple using the one-touch button located on the top of the PVR, and the quality is excellent using either component or HDMI passthrough. The HD PVR 2 GE Plus works with all consoles including the Xbox 360, the PS3, and the Wii U. However, due to High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection on the PS3, you must use the supplied AV cable with component connecters to capture video from the PlayStation 3. HD video is still possible, but it’s something you should know going into your purchase of a new HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus. Having owned the original HD PVR Gaming Edition, I was excited to use HDMI to capture video on the PS3, only to find out that it wouldn’t work and I had to stick to component cables. Regardless of this minor setback, the HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus is still an excellent product, and using the SPDIF optical input you can still take advantage of HD audio and HD video recording of console gameplay footage.
Aesthetically, it’s a sleek looking device that you won’t at all mind having out on your desk or entertainment system. It’s about six inches by six inches squared, and it emits a blueish-green LED glow. The ease of set-up and overall ease of use means that users with varied levels of experience with PCs or gaming consoles will find it simple to get recording, editing, creating, and sharing their content with the world. Best of all, everything you need is included in the box—that means all of the cables, even the software is bundled in with the PVR itself for no additional cost.
Again, it’s a great product, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another PVR with similar features at a similar price. At $169.00 MSRP, it’s still a bit on the pricey side, but a worthwhile purchase if you either don’t have a DVR and would like to record personal media, or have gaming consoles and want to capture footage to share on Youtube or anywhere for that matter, since you can easily export various file types for use in many different applications, devices, disc formats, and more.