What Is a Capture Card and Do I Need One. What is a capture card

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The best capture cards for 2022: Xbox, PlayStation, and PC

The capture card allows you to stream and capture gameplay on your computer and consoles without interrupting your gameplay. Capture cards serve as an intermediary, stealing a game feed while in-game to record it to your computer or stream it to a platform like Twitch. However, these devices aren’t built the same, so you’ll need one of the best capture cards to record or stream your gameplay at the highest possible quality.

We’ve collected seven capture cards that are great for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PC, and Nintendo Switch. All of the cards below will work as long as your console has an HDMI port, but we’ve tailored our pick to ensure the best possible experience for their platforms.

If you’re interested in a PC video capture card, check out our guide on how to build a PC. Some cards only work inside your computer, so you’ll need to learn how to insert a PCIe card (it’s actually quite simple).

Further reading

Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+

Elgao Game Capture SD 60S capture card.

Pros: Instant streaming, flashback recording, console, PC and Mac support

Cons: No H.264 encoder, limited editing software capabilities

The Elgato HD60 hits the next generation with the Elgato HD60 S +. Stylistically and mechanically, it’s almost identical to the HD60 S – our previous recommendation for this slot – although it does have one unique advantage: the 4K60 transition from HDR.

While the HD60 S + is still limited to capturing 1080p HDR at 60 frames per second (fps), you can still monitor your channel with full graphical fidelity to your new console. The HD60 S + can also capture 4K, though it’s limited to 30fps.

Elgato has clearly targeted the Xbox Series X / S and PlayStation 5 with the HD60 S +, but it also works on PS4 and Xbox One. No matter what console you use, setup is simple. When you connect an HDMI cable to both ends and run the included USB cable to your computer, streaming software such as OBS Studio and XSplit will automatically detect the console as an input source.

PlayStation supports capture cards for the same reason as other consoles to be able to transfer captured data to your computer, so you can customize the stream better. This section covers the steps you must follow to set up your capture card on your PlayStation console.

Do I Need a Capture Card?

If you want to stream and record content on your screen, a capture card is highly recommended. While gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have built-in streaming capabilities, they are limited in terms of PC power and data speeds. They just can’t encode and render realtime video in high quality. This is where the capture cards come into play.

Not only are capture cards popular with gamers, but the popularity of live streaming and newly recorded camera content has made capture cards a popular item for all types of video streamers. The ability to capture and save content for later use, such as post-production editing on a computer, is invaluable to many people in today’s technology-driven world.

Live Streaming and Recording for Gamers

All you need is a computer and an application to start recording game footage from your computer. As mentioned, some game consoles have streaming features built in, but a capture card will be required if you want to record as well. There is a large community of gamers who edit their content on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Vimeo to share with their followers. Being able to stream and record HD videos from your game console to share with the community is a dream and even a livelihood for multiplayer. A reliable capture card carries the load of any gaming PC, offering HD streams with high frame rates. For platforms like YouTube or Twitch, the capture card is a convenience,which allows you to focus on creating the most entertaining content.

The capture card and accessories like HDMI, USB and SDI cables allow you to capture, stream, edit and share your entire experience. When deciding to buy a capture card, you need to determine which type is right for you: USB interface or PCI-e interface.

The value of a USB capture card such as the BZBGEAR® BG-CAP-HA lies in its versatility that you can take with you. BG-CAP-HA is an HDMI capture device that receives up to protected email signals and captures and stores email resolutions protected by USB 3.0. However, if your main goal is to only use the capture card with your PC, the PCI-e capture card is your best option.

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