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Audio Visual Insights for Web-Conferencing and Live Streaming

Capture Devices are Capturing our Atttention

Posted by Paul Richards on Jul 27, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Capture devices comparison

Video capture devices are used all over the world for live streaming purposes. These devices are most popular amongst gamers who stream live gameplay on several platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Video capture devices take input from HDMI, SDI, Displayport or Analog Video/Audio and output via a USB port to a desktop or a laptop. There have been many advancements in capture devices with the introduction of USB 3.0 ports, Full HD capture and instant share on social media.

Today, we will look at four devices from two companies which are capable of capturing video streams via either HDMI or SDI. These devices are more commonly used for video conferencing purposes but that does not limit their capabilities. Similar to other video capture devices, gamers can also utilize gadgets from Magewell and Epiphan to stream live games.

HDMI to USB video capture

HDMI to USB video capture refers to capturing video from the host via HDMI and transfering it to the client PC via USB. The video is encoded into any format the user requires. These devices are capable of processing Full HD video at 60 frames per second.

Magewell USB Capture HDMI


Magewell USB Capture HDMI is a compact device that can be used to capture video from a HDMI source. It is a plug and play device that does not require any additional software or drivers to work. Due to the vast diversity of operating systems and encoding softwares it is often hard to find the best solution, but Magewell is compatible with all of them.

It features a USB 3.0 port which is 10 times faster compared to USB 2.0. Although the device does have backward compatibility with USB 2.0 but for the best results utilizing USB 3.0 interface is recommended. There are several different manufacturers of USB 3.0 controllers and Magewell is compatible with all of them. In terms of OS support, the device supports Windows 7/8/8.1, Linux and OS X 10.8 and above.

Magewell USB Capture HDMI is capable of processing videos with resolution up to 1920 x 1200 at 60 frames per second. All the processing is done by the dongle so there is no effect on the CPU that saves a lot of system resources. Users can connect multiple dongles to one system for simultaneous video capturing and the device complies with both UVC and UAC standards.

Users also have the option of processing video on their desired resolution, they can downgrade the encoding of incoming video to 720p to decrease the file size. It is extremely easy to use with the Plug n Play functionality.

Epiphan AV.io HD

Epiphan AV.io HD is a similar solution to Magewell USB Dongle. It also features Plug n Play functionality and supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The compact device comes with a stylish design and the small size enables you to take it anywhere you want.

AV.io HD supports Full HD video capture at 60 frames per second with near-zero latency. The device also captures audio from HDMI and transfers it via USB. Users do not need to worry about video scaling since AV.io HD takes care of it for you. The device automatically scales video and aspect ratios based on the requirements ensuring the best possible quality.

It is one of the most reliable devices with a strong rugged design ensuring longevity. In fact some of the devices are even used in space that proves the quality of the device. Epiphan AV.io HD does not require any external power source, the device takes power from the USB port, which makes it one of the best portable video capture devices.

For professionals, the device can be used with several video conferencing softwares such as Skype, Telestream Wirecast, Adobe FMLE, Quicktime, VLC Media Player and Windows built-in camera app.

SDI to USB Video Capture

SDI to USB video capture devices are similar to HDMI video capture devices. The only difference between the two is that the former takes input from SDI while the latter takes video input from HDMI. SDI interface is most commonly found in teleconferencing cameras so these devices are mostly utilized in conference rooms.

Magewell USB Capture SDI

Design wise Magewell USB Capture SDI is identical to the HDMI version with no exterior changes. The only difference between the two devices is the input source. The dongle also features USB 3.0 port with vast compatibility with USB 3.0 controllers and backward support for USB 2.0.

Similar to the HDMI version, the SDI model also supports dozens of broadcasting softwares including – Windows Media Encoder, Adobe Flash Media Live, Real Producer Plus, VLC, QuickTime Broadcaster, Quick Time Player, Wirecast, XSplit and many more.

It also supports Full HD video capture at 60 frames per second and users can adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and scaling for the videos. The device also complies with UVC and UAC standards.

Magewell USB Capture SDI is a plug n play device that does not require additional software or driver to run. Users can just plug the device to both sources and easily stream video on any platform they desire.

Epiphan SDI2USB 30

Epiphan’s SDI2USB 3.0 external USB SDI video grabber captures and records uncompressed high quality images and videos directly from different SDI sources. The device supports 3G-SDI, HD-SDI and SD-SDI inputs and stream videos to the destination system with the help of ultra-fast USB 3.0 interface.

It is capable of capturing videos up to 1920 x 1200 HD resolution at 60 frames per second regardless of the video content. The device takes power from the USB port eliminating the need for any external power input. The compact and portable design enables users to take it anywhere they like without worrying about durability.

The device does not require any additional software or driver and offers plug n play functionality. It supports a range of operating systems and softwares so compatibility is not an issue. SDI2USB 3.0 comes with an additional software that gives more freedom to the users for capturing video and tweaking the settings according to their liking.

All four devices offer similar functionality in compact designs. Epiphan’s models offer better portability since they do not require additional power source but in terms of features all devices are identical. Users can choose either device depending on the requirements such as SDI or HDMI. In terms of price, all four devices are affordable compared to other offerings with prices being less than $400. 

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Topics: Epiphan


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