To be clear – it is a passthrough device that you can leave plugged into any 1080p monitor, or you can disconnect and throw it on your pocket or backpack.
What computer does it need to capture video?
Surprisingly it can get along with an Intel i5-4XXX, quad-core, 4GB and a hard disk. It can use the embedded Intel HD/UHD, or an AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GPU. It must have a USB 3.0 port.
We tested with a 4K Lenovo Yoga 920 (review here) and a Huawei 3K MateBook X Pro (review here), and it captured 16:9, 1080p (1K video) perfectly. We also tried I it with USB-A 3.0 to USB-C cable, USB-C to HDMI cable, and via a Thunderbolt 3 dock and these were fine.
While we used 8th generation Intel i5 and i7 processors we suspect that its success is more dependent on a,) device native video encoding and b)getting the speed from the USB port and later USB-C equipped devices will work better. Gamers should have no issues with powerful gear.
File size at 40 megabits per second (5MB per second) can be huge. An hour of uncompressed capture is from 15-20GB. Then you have editing, rendering and encoding so the faster the PC and disk – the better. Or you will drink a lot of beverage of your choice in waiting for finished product.
Damned copy protection – HDCP and unencrypted HDMI signals.
In theory, you could be playing copy-protected DVD/Blu-ray or streaming video content on your monitor. All device manufacturers have agreed to implement HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) – an anti-piracy protocol built into the HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort cable standard. When the Elgato HD60 S detects HDCP content (copy protected), it simply won’t capture this.
Now we don’t advocate piracy in any form, but sometimes HDCP can be too restrictive. Most mobile phones and consoles have HDCP protection, yet you want to stream from these.
You can get over this by buying an HDMI Splitter that strips the HDCP signal out of the stream. You can read more here, and we needed one for our test purposes across a range of devices. With it, we were able to record from Android and iOS devices.
Game Capture HD software
While you can use much more expensive and featured capture software Elgato’s offering does not disappoint.
It supports recording capture to your computer as well as live streaming to accounts on Twitch, YouTube, Restream.io, Ustream, Facebook, and any other platform which supports RTMP:// streaming protocol. By connecting your accounts to Elgato’s software, switching between streaming platforms is easy via a drop-down box.
It has all the necessary features – bit rate control, output/record quality and framerate, as well as audio mix controls between game audio and adding vocal commentary. But it also has many professional features, e.g. themed scenes and graphics which you can overlay on your stream.
It also can create your own for bespoke content.
And I mean bespoke: you’re able to add a webcam feed so people can watch you reacting to games, insert custom pictures and text, and even add animations for subscribers or other activity on your channel feeds. For those gamers who are eager to market themselves and set up a branded channel, these customisation tools are very valuable.
If you are recording content to edit for platforms such as YouTube, the software includes a simple timeline trimming, arranging and editing tool. However, if you’re looking at making sharp video content, you’ll want to export your captures into a dedicated video editing program. It won’t cut it for flashy YouTube content.
Resident Evil 2 on a PlayStation 4, big screen TV and a 2016 MacBook Pro
My test was to see if the Elgato HD60 S impacted on game speed – lag.
Lag was undetectable on the TV screen with the card connected