Streaming devices review: 10 capture cards tested

The best way to stream or record

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Startech

Startech has released multiple capture devices, for this test we included the PEXHDCAP60L and the USB3HDCAP. The former is a PCI-Express x1 card, with a DVI-D and component input. The latter is a USB 3.0 device that an HDMI input, in addition to the same two ports found on the PEXHDCAP60L. These are also the only devices in the test that do not have a 'passthrough' feature. Instead you'll have to connect one of the Startech devices to one of the extra outputs of your graphics card, after which you'll have to duplicate the video you want to record/stream in Windows.

StarTech.com USB3HDCAP
The Startech USB3HDCAP is one of the two devices that does not have an HDMI-passthrough feature.

Both cards come with the program 'Stream Catcher'. As the name suggests this program is not only meant to stream with, as it's also capable of recording. Recording can be done at 60 fps on both devices. Stream Catcher isn't as user-friendly or intuitive as other software we tried. Remarkably enough it encodes video using an older build of the x264-encoder. Even though it's possible to choose the container wherein the video is placed, you cannot change the encoder itself, at least not using Stream Catcher.

Since x264 is used, it's not a surprise that image quality is quite good, however the load on the CPU is also quite high. What does come as a surprise though are the prices, especially if you keep the limited functionality in mind. The PEXHDCAP60L costs about 240 pounds, while the USB3HDCAP will set you back 190 pounds.

StarTech.com PEXHDCAP60L
The Startech PEXHD60CAPL is the only PCI-Express capture card in this test.


The settings of Startech Streamcatcher.


The interface of Streamcatcher.


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