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Avermedia/AverTV HD DVR PCI Capture Card Review


There is a limited market for affordable high definition capture cards. Avermedia is just one of the brands that comes to mind when searching for a product that offers both performance and affordability

Introduction

At the moment, Avermedia’s only PCI high definition capture card is the Avertv HD DVR C027. It is designed specifically for High Definition Video Capture from any non HDCP encrypted HD signal. It can record up to 1920 x 1080 i @ 60 fps and progressively at 1280 x 720 @60fps. It is also capable of recording YPbPr Component and s-video. Its native analogue recording formats are DVD/MPEG-2/H.264/AVI and IPOD and digital are MPEG-2/H.264 and IPOD.

Unboxing the Avermedia HD DVR we find the installation software.

The 10-in-1 dongle cable for recording analogue YPbPr component feed and s-video,

An instruction guide for a quick installation as well as low profile bracket for smaller sized cases.

Installation is a breeze. It fits into any PCI slot and is fully compatible up to windows 7 64bit. Depending on what type of recording, framerate and resolution , the card does require a strong system, with its minimum requirements being an intel core 2 duo E6600 2.4 GHZ, windows xp or above and  1GB of ram. Now these requirements are the bare minimum for recording analogue at a smooth framerate. I would recommend a quad core minimum, with at least 2 GB ram and two hard drives running in RAID.

Software

The Avermedia mediacentre software is easily installed. It has a very user friendly interface and is extremely straightforward to use. Although it has received alot of criticism for being too simple and restricting in terms of recording bitrates and codecs. Recently though Avermedia have been providing updates so that the mediacentre will allow it to record higher bitrates and provide more encoding settings. The programme allows for scheduled recordings as well as PIP and PIB.

The uncompressed quality of 720p Video is stunning. The card really does do a fantastic job of recording raw HD footage.

We tested the card with some of our favourite 3rd party programmes to see how well it could record. We were very pleased to see the card working with our all time favourite Virtual Dub, which is the programme that we use here to record our game reviews. It also worked flawlessly with stoick capturer, Adobe Premier pro, Windows media encoder, AMcap as well as VH capture. By using third party capture programmes we were able to use many different endocers as well as bitrates.

Overall, The avermedia HD DVR PCI card is a brilliant product for those that are looking for a value based HD recorder.

The only problems we encountered with the card was that the audio quality is not on par with the video. It can only capture a maximum progressive signal of 1280 x 720 which is fine for youtube and other media streaming sites but is quickly becoming standard issue as we start to see capture cards capable of 1920 x 1080p @60fps. The avermedia HD DVR is a brilliant HD capture card for the price, it’s extremely easy to use, easy to install, records outstanding HD quality footage whether you are using it as a PVR system to record your late night movies or capturing your very own game footage.

Have a look at the videos below which we recorded to test the quality captured through HDMI @ 1280 x 720p using Virtual Dub with Huffyuv and encoded to H.264 @5000 kbps

Watch out for Avermedia’s successor to this awesome capture card called the Darkcrystal HD Capture 2, which will have full 1080p recording and full compatibility with some of the best third party programmes such as Adobe Premier Pro.

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