This device falls firmly in the camp of a useful device that solves a specific problem: what is the best way to deliver video to your computer software, for video recording, Youtubes movies or even broadcasting via Skype for Business.
The Magewell USB Capture HDMI is a protocol conversion device that converts an HDMI stream into a USB video input stream. It is one of the better video capture devices on the market and you can buy it cheaply here.
But let’s dig a little deeper.
In this post we'll cover:
Overview of the Magewell HDMI Capture
Record a USB signal via USB 3.0 or stream it with the Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2. With its HDMI v1.4a input, this recording device accepts resolutions of up to 1920 x 1200 at 60p.
If you need to stream or record at a certain resolution, the USB Capture HDMI will internally raise or lower the input signal to the set resolution.
It can also perform frame-rate conversion and deinterlacing in real time with its own hardware, reducing the processing load on your computer’s CPU and freeing it up for other editing tasks.
Because USB Capture HDMI uses the existing drivers on your computer, the capture device will work with any software that supports those drivers.
Also check out this video review of The Streaming Guys:
If you don’t have a USB 3.0 port, the USB Capture HDMI works with a USB 2.0 port (which the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle doesn’t), although the resolution and frame rate options are limited due to limited bandwidth. No drivers needed for Windows, Mac or Linux
Automatically determines the input video format and converts it to the specified output size and frame rate
Automatically converts the input audio formats to 48KHz PCM stereo sound
64MB DDR2 memory on board to control frame buffer and avoid interruptions or lost frames when USB bandwidth is busy
Using a USB video stream means that Skype for Business and other streaming platforms will recognize the stream as input and use it for video calls.
HDMI is a universal video standard used on hundreds of different devices to deliver HD quality video.
The unit comes in a plastic display case and you get it right away with a USB 3.0 cable. No instructions are given, but if everything works properly, none are needed.
The construction is solid: the unit is made of metal (not plastic like many others in the market) and feels sturdy and well made. There are two ports, one at each end:
- one for USB
- and one for HDMI
There is no additional power source: all that is needed comes from the USB connection. This is good news for anyone who is already struggling with multiple power bricks (as I often do, especially on location).
When connected to USB, two lights are displayed on the device. Both are blue. One has a lightning bolt next to it and the other has a sun icon.
I suspect the lightning bolt is for power, but I’m not sure what the other light does. Once the device is connected to Windows, you should hear the USB discovery tone. No drivers are installed and no messages are displayed, it works right out-of-the-box.
Installation is as easy as any other USB video device: plug-in and go, no installation required. This is truly a “plug and play” device. Every time you plug it in, it also works immediately, with no exceptions. When you’re working on projects, you don’t want to spend half an hour fiddling with your connections.
However, don’t use it with a USB hub, or you can expect problems with the video stream, or with the other devices that are connected.
My guess is that it’s about the amount of data rather than the power, because I saw that even with a powered hub my mouse that was also connected started to work really messy.
I recommend that you connect this unit directly to a USB port on your computer.
Use Cases for the Magewell USB 3.0 Capture HDMI
Let’s explore some places where this device could be useful:
Professional video mixing / production
If this unit can be mixed to HDMI, you can combine your video blog or training session with any mix from multiple professional video cameras and post-processing and then export directly to your favorite video editing programs.
Professional / Amateur Video Cameras
Camcorders, GoPros and action cameras – virtually every amateur and prosumer video capture device can now be ported to HDMI. With this device you don’t have to just use your USB webcam anymore, which really expands your options for vlogging and live streaming.
Zoom in, zoom out, widescreen, fish-eye – go wild! If you’ve already invested in an expensive HD video camera, this can be a great way to get some extra use out of it if you only need to do the occasional seated vlog at home.
Video Content from your game console
One of the things I’ve been dying to try out was streaming content from my game console or maybe news from a cable box.
How naive was I to do that without the right solution. If you’ve never heard of HDCP, then you’ve lived a carefree existence without the worries of a litigious, copyright-protected society.
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection)” is a form of digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation. The system is intended to prevent HDCP-encoded content from being played on unauthorized devices or devices modified to support HDCP content. to copy.
Before sending data, a sending device checks whether the recipient is authorized to receive it. If so, the sender encrypts the data to prevent eavesdropping as it streams to the receiver.
To make a device that plays material protected by HDCP, the manufacturer must obtain a license from Intel subsidiary Digital Content Protection LLC, pay an annual fee, and be subject to various conditions.
What this means is that you can’t plug the Magewell USB Capture HDMI into a DVD player, game console, cable box, or the like and expect it to work.
You may get lucky with some lesser known brands, but there are fundamentally things that prevent you from storing copyrighted content.
I understand why this is in order, but it’s frustrating when you just want to stream an internal training video using a DVD player. As a workaround, you can play the content on a second computer and then stream the output from the computer to the device.
People use video content in different ways and also process it in different ways on their favorite devices.
Devices like the Magewell USB Capture HDMI help people fill in the gaps between what is offered by your capture device and what is desired in your editing software.