Category Archives: Product Review

USB Video Capture Devices Review

I wanted to grab some video of the Raspberry Pi booting up with the Raspbian “wheezy” distribution. To do this, I planned to capture the video on my PC by using a USB video capture device. I bought two devices from Microcenter in hopes that one would work reasonably well but I was disappointed with the results from both devices. I later purchased another device from Newegg which worked much better and is used for all of the initial screen captures of the Raspberry Pi.

First a review of the low cost devices

Other than the quality of the video, I was rather disappointed with the way they did not play well with other video capture software. Each comes with some video capture software but I wanted to use Corel’s VideoStudio Pro X4 or Windows Live Movie Maker. At first it did not appear that the hardware devices would work with either software but I was able to figure out how to use them with Corel VideoStudio Pro X4. The default input on the device is S-Video not composite. In Corel VideoStudio Pro X4, you need to select composite input in the Options > Video Properties.

Neither device would work in Windows Live Movie Maker. When the capture device was selected and an attempt was made to capture video, the following message would be displayed. “Sorry, Movie Maker can’t record audio or video from the selected device.”

Devices tested

  • Sabrent USB 2.0 Video and Audio Capture Device (USB-AVCPT)
  • Sima GO DIGITAL Transfer Cable (SFG-1)

Sample video of the Sabrent

Sample video of the Sima

Now, the device I am currently using

  • DIAMOND USB 2.0 HD 1080 Game Console Video Capture Device (GC1000) USB 2.0 Interface

The Diamond GC1000 has much better quality however there are still some issues. The biggest issue is that it will not work with any software other than the included capture software. The good news is that the software works well. I did have a few issues at first but I was able to work through them and get it to work well. The other issue with the device is that the video displayed on the PC lags considerably from the live video. This is not too much of an issue and can be worked around by connecting a monitor to the output and working with that monitor rather than the video on the PC.

Sample video of the Diamond GC1000 – Composite Video with S-Video adapter (Now I connect to the Y jack of the Component Video)

Sample video of the Diamond GC1000 – HDMI

Conclusion

The bottom line is you get what you pay for, The cheaper devices I purchased from Microcenter work but the quality is not very good. I found them unacceptable for capturing video from the Raspberry Pi as the text was difficult to read in the captured video.

The Diamond GC1000 has much better video quality however there are still a few quirks that you need to deal with but they are not difficult to overcome and the resulting video is acceptable.