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Retro game captures made… Easy? | The Near Perfect Capture Card – Startech USB3HDCAP Review

Retro game captures made… Easy? | The Near Perfect Capture Card – Startech USB3HDCAP Review


Capture cards are great. They let you bring in your outside signal
from your game consoles or cameras in and record, stream, share your clips with your
friends, and become a content creator. But the market of capture cards is a complicated
one, and my personal recommendations tend to be a lot of “if, then” statements rather
than just a single card. That was, until now. Today’s review is of a capture card with
a few problems, but one that I think I can recommend for most users with varying needs. Notably, if you’re looking for a modern
low-latency solution for capturing older retro gaming consoles now that Elgato has stopped
selling their original Game Capture HD, this is the video for you. Let’s jump in. Quality tech education and gaming nostalgia
that won’t put your to sleep. Get subscribed and turn on notifications so
that you won’t miss the next guide. I’m EposVox, here to make tech easier and
more fun, and this is the Startech USB3HDCAP. This is a non-mainstream capture card with
generic enough branding and a high enough price to generally get ignored on Amazon from
most aspiring content creators. And honestly, for reasons I’ll state throughout
the video, in the end I really just wish Elgato put these features on the HD60 S, since they
share hardware. Stay tuned for that. I originally unboxed this card on a recent
Twitch stream where I recommended it to TheFriendlyBroski for his Nintendo 64 captures, based on strong
recommendations from multiple users in my CRT Collective Facebook Group – so thanks
to him for playing the role of guinea pig for certain testing elements with this card. In the box you get the capture device itself
– a USB 3.0 device with a nice sturdy frame, some glossy plastic that’s just asking to
get scratched and covered in dust and fingerprints, and lots of input ports – a CD that you should
ignore and throw away immediately, a useless manual, and a bunch of video adapters, along
with a USB cable. Ideally, it should already be obvious why
I would want to recommend this capture card so strongly – it’s a USB 3.0 capture card
that provides uncompressed, low-latency video signals to your capture software of choice
– OBS Studio, in my case – from ALL of the inputs. Yes, this is the cheapest and easiest option
to get low-latency uncompressed access to Composite, S-Video, and Component inputs from
your retro game consoles. It also supports up to 1080p60 on the HDMI
port from modern game consoles, and even has a freaking DVI port with the full RGBHV pins
for analog VGA support, and even traditional RGB support if you want to deal with sync
conversion, adapters, and so on – not something I currently have the hardware for. I was able to push up to 85hz by default in
the Nvidia Control Panel to the DVI port at standard 4:3 resolutions such as what I would
use from my Windows XP rig, though some have reported issues wish such things from old
school computers such as Amigas and so on. Oh, and you’re not crazy for noticing – that
circular breakout port is the same, exact same 7-pin DIN connector you’d find on the
original Elgato Game Capture HD, with the same adapter cables for it, too. This is where I start to enter the “Why
didn’t Elgato do this?” territory. The original Game Capture HD has reached “end
of life” from Elgato and is no longer sold, and they refused to include analog connections
on their newer cards. Honestly, this is a shame, and I really feel
Elgato is missing out on a great market point here. Even more damning to this point was when I
learned (well, multiple sources suggesting but I cannot get 100% confirmation on this
as with any ODM situations on such products) that this USB3HDCAP device has the same core
hardware as the MicomSoft XCapture-1 capture device, and Elgato’s own HD60 S! So Elgato could have included Analog I/O and
support on the HD60 S and met so many more people’s needs much better. Sure, the HD60 S is slimmer, but is there
really any value to that? It’s not like this device is actually all
that large. The big lacking issue with this Startech card
is the passthrough. There’s no passthrough for any connections. HDMI IN, DVI IN, Analog IN, no outputs. For HDMI, this is fine – cheap ViewHD splitter
from Amazon to strip HDCP and provide lagless splitting, easy. But this can be a big problem for those wanting
to use this device with their retro consoles and do not have splitters for such inputs. Getting decent splitters for S-Video, Composite,
etc. can actually be pretty difficult these days, too. Component is a little easier, but the older
ones can be difficult to split. This is where this differs from the Micomsoft
device, which costs quite a bit more. The Micomsoft XCapture-1 has full passthrough
for all inputs – though I wouldn’t consider that to be something to cause the price to
be so much higher. I would still love to check it out one day,
however. Thankfully since the USB3HDCAP is well, USB
3, the latency to your video preview is pretty low and I imagine most streamers who were
desperate for a solution would find a way to play from the preview. But it would take some getting used to and
some precision-dependent games would be tough on such a setup. Althought if you’re used to playing on a bad
input lag TV anyway, it won’t be much different than those setups – heck, it might probably
be better than those TVs. Before we touch on image quality, I need to
address the situation of the drivers… I mentioned before to throw away the CD and
that is valid. Go to StarTech’s website, download the latest
drivers under “Support” and install those. Reboot after doing so. Their “Video Catcher” software – which
is just a renamed and rebranded version of Micomsoft’s “Video Keeper” software
– is honestly some hot garbage and something I generally recommend avoiding. Some users may have issues where games that
change resolution mid-game, such as for menus and such (a common thing that some N64 and
PS1 games did, switching between 240p and 480i) the feed in OBS will freak out and Video
Catcher handles it smoother, though it makes a new file whenever this happens. BUT THAT BEING SAID, I’ve never encountered
this specific issue myself and TheFriendlyBroski, who reported it to me, no longer seems to
encounter it either. So, generally, I recommend avoiding VideoCatcher. If you’ve ever looked into this capture
device, you may have noticed some posts discussing using custom drivers from “The Thrillness”
for it or from Micomsoft for a similar card. I’m going to stop you right now and say do
NOT do this. I recorded this whole long thing explaining
our trials and tribulations experimenting with these drivers and why it didn’t make
sense in 2018 to recommend this, as they’re broken – but just don’t do it. Because if you install the other drivers,
it kinda screws you over and you’re going to get Bluescreens with the Startech driver. If you just install the Startech drivers themselves,
you should not experience any Bluescreens related to their driver. And if you do, contact Startech support. But I’ve screwed myself in my testing to test
this for you guys, and despite not having a single bluescreen up until now, while I
was literally editing this video, I got a blue screen from the capture card driver. And this is because I have the other ones
in it. And I also used a couple other machines with
just the Startech driver, they didn’t get a bluescreen. This is really important. Big warning: With this device, reboot at every
step of the driver process. Uninstall old ones? Reboot. Install new ones? Reboot. The core problem being addressed here is 240p
support. No matter what driver you use, 240p games
– such as from SNES, Nintendo 64, Playstation 1, etc. when sent via Composite or S-Video
will be read as 480i. There’s no option to change it, and you’re
stuck with it. In theory, if you turn off deinterlacing in
the driver setting and can force “Retro” or “Yadif 2x” deinterlacing in AviSynth
or OBS, you can restore 60fps movement, but I could not get deinterlacing applied to the
video signal in OBS. It just wouldn’t work for some reason. If you have 240p sent over component, such
as via the fancy new HD Retrovision component cables for SNES or playing PS1 games on PS2
as I’ve tested here, you can get proper 240p progressive 60hz signals to the capture
card, but it interprets them strangely. I’ve seen some report it showing as 720×240,
but for me the signal is read in the driver settings as 1440×240. If you mess with settings too much this will
skew things so you get a super wide image that reflects that ratio. However, leaving the “Automatically adjust
ratio and resolution” checkbox checked – something I recommend always leaving on – it will fix
itself in OBS Studio when you set a custom resolution. For analog inputs from Composite, S-Video
or Component, I recommend setting a custom resolution in OBS Studio video device settings
and setting it to 1680×1050 or 1280×800, depending on if you’re targeting 1080p or 720p. The source 4:3 aspect ratio scales better
to 16:10 than 16:9, but also setting it to full 1080p for such sources just results in
a black screen for me. Then you can scale it to fit your canvas in
OBS. Lastly, I recommend setting the fill mode
to “Fit” or “Fill” in the driver settings. Unfortunately it defaults to “Stretch”
which is not ideal for… obvious reasons… One last note, you will have to change inputs
in the driver settings whenever you wish to switch. By right-clicking the source in OBS, hitting
Properties, then Configure Video, you change the input there. This is a rather annoying inconvenience. To set up inputs and resolutions for every
different use case, but once you figure it out and get used to it, it’s worth the hassle
to have a card that can take in so many different signals. None of this is a problem for the HDMI input
or the DVI input, depending on your source size. 1080p60 video from HDMI works flawlessly like
a normal capture card. For any input, you will need to tell it to
use a Custom Audio Device in OBS Studio and choose the Analog 01 input for the card to
get audio. VGA and DVI audio will need to be piped into
Line In on your computer’s motherboard and added as a Microphone/Input device in OBS
Studio. When you have it working, it looks really
good. 1080p60 capture is as you’d expect, and
it does a surprisingly great job at handling analog inputs. SNES, PS1, PS2, PS2 at 480p – it all looks
pretty darn great via this capture card. You hit a wall of quality based on the connection
type you’re using – Composite and S-Video are bad and there’s not much that can be
done about that – but this is about as good as it gets for such capture. The
Fast deinterlacing mode has worked best for me and maintains sharpness and low-latency
whereas the other modes make the image feel a bit more blurry. Lastly, this does not have a UVC driver so
it won’t be detected as a webcam in Skype and such. I wouldn’t expect it, but worth noting. Overall, the Startech USB3HDCAP is a super
flexible capture card and one I’d definitely recommend buying if you need something that
can do a little of everything – HDMI, DVI, VGA, Component, Composite, S-Video – this
has you covered, for a reasonable price, too! Under $200 is a great price for such a card
with uncompressed and low-latency access. I still wish this was what Elgato’s HD60
S ended up being – with passthrough still, of course – but for a third-party option,
I definitely recommend this one, quirks and all. I threw a lot of info about OBS and driver
settings and setup at you in this video, and it’s already long enough as-is. If you’d like a full setup guide and settings
walkthrough video on its own, let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, hit the like button if you enjoyed,
consider buying via my Amazon affiliate links in the video description below, and I’ll
see you next time. This video is sponsored by viewers like you. Our videos would not be possible without the
generosity of those of you who contribute to one of our fan-funding options, be it DonorBox,
Twitch Subscriptions, Direct Contributions via PayPal, or Patreon. To join our inner-circle and get behind-the-scenes
looks at videos, go to eposvox.com/support to learn more, and join us on discord at eposvox.com/discord. Thanks!

98 comments

I've been thinking of getting one of these for a while and this review is definitely convincing, but I think I'm still gonna hold onto my Dazzle for retro games. It's uncompressed and does Composite + S-Video, and while it sucks by it self, when combined with AmaRec TV you can get some really good progressive (240p) and interlaced (480i) performance (I used it in my last few Saturn and PS1 reviews if you wanna see the results).

That said, if I didn't already own a Hauppauge and a Dazzle I'd definitely buy one of these because it looks like a wonderful all-in-one solution with really good quality.

It's worth noting that I have a BIG stack of like 20 analog capture cards I'm working through. I wanted to get a solo review of this one out, but I will be doing a big video comparing them all soon.

Honestly, it makes more sense to get an HD 60 pro or S, and get a 20 dollar(ish) adapter for converting the older consoles to Hdmi.

Nice review. This card is definitely a winner. The 1440x240p thing is a quirk in the newer drivers since Startech dropped 240p support recently. Rolling back to an earlier driver should restore proper 720x240p support for composite/s-video etc. I get the exact same issue on my PEXHDCAP with the latest drivers. I have to use a really old driver when streaming 240p content, and then switch to the latest driver when streaming HDMI content. Annoying, but not the end of the world.

Cool device. I still prefer the look of the Avermedia Live Gamer portable, just because being able to record to SD card without a PC is really neat. Obviously you need something else to convert analog signals to HDMI, though I have a receiver that does this. The VGA input on that capture card is really unique and useful though.

I recently did a video on the USB3HDCAP and yeah, it's a great device. Especially if you combine it with the OSSC for RGB scart sources.

If you want to capture analog signals, isn't it possible to just use a converter box (composite to HDMI) on the console first and then capture the HDMI signal?

Great video. Would love a follow-up with this device paired with an OSSC and seeing what line-doubling modes work.

Hey! Just to let you know, I have modified the drivers for the latest version of the Micomsoft device (Dec 2017 1.1.0.178.0) to work with the usb3hdcap. VERY stable and accepts all the resolutions of the xcapture. Message me if you'd like it.

I own an hd60s, it has really long lag (up to about a half a second which is enough to easily desync audio), does this capture device do better?

Hi Epos, just wanted to thank you for sharing info about that card. I never knew about it until I saw this new upload of yours. 🙂

Eh, this is the one I returned to Best Buy because I just couldn't get it to work 100% of the time… When it did work, it worked great, but a lot of the time it just had issues (driver crashing, frame dropping for no apparent reason after previously capturing perfectly with the same settings, etc.) and wasn't worth it to hang onto for me.

Why not just buy an old capture card with the correct inputs and passthrough? I bought a used Happauge PVR and it works a treat!

What the fuck is that USB port though? USB type C connector anyone?
On the plus side, at least it's not shitty Micro USB.

Very cool. I've got a Yuan sc512n1-l (rolls right off the tongue) PCI capture card on one of my computers, and it appears to have identical software for settings. From my understanding, they ended up being rebranded as Micomsoft cards down the line. I've been wanting another like it for a 2nd computer, so I'm definitely going to put this one on my radar considering the price. Great review!

Is it possible to record somthing like ps1 games, and then get a display on a HD monitor? if so, how can I do it?

Solid work here. I've been using the Elgato HD for my content over the past few years, but I've had to put quite a few workarounds in place for many of my consoles. I've seen this card recommended in a few places and I think you review might just have finally sold me on it.

wait a second, the HDMI splitter by amazon does provide MOSTLY lagless results? I heard it's pretty much lagless altogether.

Hey @EposVox; I have a very specific capture need and was wondering if this capture card could do what I want for me. I've begun streaming speedruns (both of SD and HD games) and I need a low-latency capture card. I love the Elgato HD (the original one) and all it's done for me recording-wise but I NEED a low latency, USB 3.0 one for streaming. BUT…I need to be able output it to a CRT. Would the Startech be able to handle something like that? I use a HDMI to component converter that works beautifully and that's how I get the Elgato outputted to a CRT. I'm just worried if I get a Elgato HD 60S that I'll be converting the analogue signal into HDMI and then that HDMI signal back into analogue. I have a strange feeling that won't work…too many conversions.

Not sure if you'll get back to this but hey great video anyways; I'll probably end up trying this out!

Let's say I wish to capture an old PC's DSUB output with audio coming from a sound card. Is it possible to do so?
Mod: never mind, I've just reached the end of the video where you show the custom properties page. I guess it's just a matter of fact to select VGA+Line-In option.

I was thinking about this, since I use external processors (OSSC and a DVDO VP 30) I'd only be using HDMI/DVI and analogue audio. Currently I have Elgato Capture HD and the set up works fine with almost anything I throw at it with this set up with exception of some resolutions that OSSC produces like: 4X bob 480i (only useful for certain specific PS2 games), 3X 288p(optimised PAL exclusive PSX games), 4X 240p(this one's more of a vanity pick 3X works fine and looks goregeous).
Does this device take in audio through RCA ? I assume yes but you were talking about plugging directly into your PC's line in so I wanted to make sure.
The only turn off for me is the lack of any passthrough, I'd have to add another device to my set up to cover for that and I'm already video centipedeing so many things.

so should I get this startech capture card or grab the elgato hd 60 pro? I do want to play retro consoles like nes, sega genesis, ps2, n64 and so on along with modern consoles….which cap card should i get?

Can you download the software for the capture card online instead of using the installation disc?

Hey I remember having that conversation on the CRT collective haha. I was waiting for that video review and I forgot about it! Glad I got to see it. Great job man!

I'm sorry I got lost halfway through the video when it came to the blue screens and resolutions part. Sounds like it's too much maintenance.

hello, may I ask if this device can capture VHS tapes well through a VCR player that has no TBC (time base corrector)? have you tried that yet? thank you.

Can I connect this device directly to an HDMI TV/Monitor just to play Retro games? Can I use OBS and this device for recording old clips from an analog video camera?

im mostly interested in recording old consoles like nes/n64/etc. would you recommend going with the startech or the elgato game capture hd?(not the hd60 the first one) thank you! 🙂

how does it handle composite i am looking for a better capture card i had dazzle didn't like how i had to use the video editing software i couldn't use my own video editing software

Two questions

Is ther any input lag? Will actions on the pc happen at the same time as they do on the tv?

Can you get splitters to sorta make your own pass through to the tv?

EposVox, i bought this capture card, i have it up and running in OBS, works pretty well, i would like to know how to configure the audio to show up in the windows 10 sound mixer so i can lower the levels of the input sound from the card. it seems the only way ill be able to do this is to route the audio from the source device to my soundcard. i haven't found any other way to set this up, also in the driver settings in OBS, when i try to change the deinterlace options i get a bluescreen immediately after applying. i can change the deinterlace options in OBS but i just cant change the option in the driver settings

I got this and im a fucking idiot, i went to download the drivers it finished its install and i went into streamlabs obs, where i want to use this cap card and when i go into the capture device option, this capture card isnt a choice, what am i missing how do i use this damn thing, or how do i find a smart guy to come to my house and do it for me

A full setup video would be awesome. I'm running into an issue where my card will just lock video and audio. I have to restart the card either by deactivating it in OBS or unplugging the usb. Have you ever ran into this problem and if so, do you know the cause and fix? I'm running the latest driver from Startech and running it through both OBS Studio as well as Streamlabs OBS. The issue shows up in both.

When playing PS1 games on a PS2 using YPBPR component cables, does it capture gameplay through its software? I currently have the Elgato HD and despite being able to play PS1 games on my TV, it will not capture my PS1 gameplay through component (have to switch to composite).

a couple questions, can this be used for streaming (mixer/twitch)? Also, what video format options are there to save captured footage?

My two big questions:
(a) what's the processing lag like?
(b) is there a way to get something like this, with pass-through of some kind?

Please add this one to your recent HDMI latency and performance testing @EposVox. Very interested in this for streaming MiSTer FPGA output.

Does this device take composite cables? I see it takes component cables, but on Amazon, it's not listing composite.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PC5HUA6/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

Curious how viable this card is for mainly retro capture 240/480/p/i in 2019? Any better alternative comparable in price out, or on the horizon?

Already have a card that is great for modern 1080/4K, but looking for something in particular for retro, instead of jumbling with more adapters/converters/boxes than I already have.

Using components to the S-Video adapter: I got the video to show on OBS and the StreamCatcher app but my Genesis/SNES games appears in black and white. Gamecube is in full color though. Am I missing something?

@EposVox – Question: In Video Keeper 2, what is the highest data rate you can capture in and where can you adjust the setting? If there isn't an option, can you let me know what codecs and data-rates and/or compression they use for capturing? For example, MOV Quicktime Motion JPEG, MP4 H264 with data-rate adjustment up to 100mb, AVI Uncompressed, etc. I tried hard to look online for a pdf for details or even a video but I couldn't find anything.
I just saw at 9:24secs a Video Decoder tab, is that where the answer to my question above lies? What info they provide on there?
Thanks!

Or you can use a much better (imo) solution of upscaler (OSSC) + any capture card. This will cost more, but you will have a way better video quality for capturing retro games.

Love your video, however your logo hurt my eyes in a bad way. Not sure what was up with that distortion, but now I have a headache.

ive been running into certain issues with 240p and hd retro vision but have yet to determine the exact source of the issue. I bought this card because of this awesome video and have been streaming retro ever since it is a great card. I find that device default in the custom resolution works bet for me most of the time in obs.

Hi EposVox. I have a friend who has a elgato 4k60 pro and wanted to stream some retro games. Do you know a good why to connect the console to the capturing cars? Thank you

Thanks for this informative video, i want to convert and digitalize my family's vhs home videos, (a bunch boxes of old tapes) and i noticed that the StarTech USB3HDCAP work fine with 2‪40p PAL signal, is that correct?
I will buy one if it do that.

I have a BMI Shuttle and its amazing but… Its not accept a 2‪40p signal.

So please sir.. What's your advise?
Im using mac.

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Is this capture card useful If I want to capture retro games from a crt tv and rgb scart features. Not necessary for live streams, just for ordinary game recordings. Let's say if a use a Sync Strike as well. Thought about the usb3 capture card, do I need a computer with usb3 or is it enough with usb 2??

Anyone knows if this USB3HDCAP would work good on a laptop with AMD Ryzen 5 2500U / 2 GHz with a max turbo speed of 3.6 GHz? Would it also record PS1 in good quality if I'm using RGB together with a sync strike together with this device?

I'm very tempted to go with this card. I'm not all that tech savvy, and the elgato still seems more plug and play. But do you think this one is relatively simple for someone not totally familiar with hardware and especially software to figure out?(Especially with this video to come back and refer to?) I want something to record current gen, but also be able to record gamecube, ps2 and n64.

If and when you have the free time available a full setup guide and settings walkthrough video on this capture card would be greatly appreciated. 😁 👌

Cheers! 🍻

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