Best Capture Cards for Streaming PC Games, PlayStation, Wii U, and Xbox
The world of video games is constantly evolving. And this includes other components besides the games. Now, die-hard gamers can share their gaming skills with the world right from their couch. The best way to enjoy the game is to have others witness your success, right? This is why we searched the web inside out for the best capture card for streaming on YouTube and Twitch. Fortunately, these capture cards support games both on PC and TV.
Before we get to these gaming buddies, let’s see what a capture card is and why you need one.
What is a Capture Card?
A capture card is more like an input data receiver. It captures video signals from external devices through an HDMI connection. These cards come in handy when gamers are in search of ways to display their gameplay whether for fame, fortune, or as a business venture.
Thanks to capture cards, you can now enjoy several benefits such as streaming with ease, better game performance, professional editing tools for customization, adding your commentaries while playing, versatile file formatting, instant playback, quick share option, and most importantly, additional fun.
How to Choose a Capture Card
First, decide how much money you can spend on your card. There are many of them in different price segments, so it all depends on the budget. Then, check the resolution and latency parameters: live streaming is much better than the one with delays, and if your subscribers are watching you streaming on a big screen, the resolution matters. Look at the chosen capture card’s system requirements: some of them don’t support Macs or consoles. Read user reviews: sometimes people mention important things that you may miss or just don’t find while reading technical documentation.
You do not need prior experience on how to stream to use these capture cards as they come with complete guides on how to get started in a snap. Your game time just got better!
Want to know how to capture gameplay on your PC? Check the guide below:
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15 Best Capture Cards in 2020
As one of the many feathers in Elgato’s hat, we didn’t expect anything less. The Elgato Game Capture HD60S comes with full HD 1080p video output that runs at 60 frames per second (fps). This device allows you to stream your highlight as well as capture your game at the same time.
With just the smart reversible USB connector (USB 3.0), you are sure to get the device up and running in a snap. Besides the ridiculous ease of connection, Elgato HD60S makes it even easier to showcase your skills by allowing you to stream or upload your game to YouTube or Twitch in a snap. The built-in streaming feature allows you to stream part or all of your gameplay without breaking a sweat.
You also have the audio feature that allows you to add commentaries to your game as you play No need to add commentaries manually after the game. Simple and fun!
- Great quality
- Easy to work with
- Non-compatible with relatively old OS versions
- Doesn’t work with Linux
Compatibility: Windows 10, macOS Sierra 10.12 or newer, PS 4, Xbox 360 and One, Wii U
The LITE version of AverMedia Life Gamer Portable (LGP) is crafted specially for real-time at-home gamers who want to stream their gameplay with ease and style. With just one click, you can get everything on and streaming without breaking a sweat. LGP Lite comes with a resolution as high as 1080p and runs at 60fps. So, you can get your video streaming on YouTube and Twitch in quality and style. In addition, you get to enjoy the sharing option through RECentral available to both PC and Mac.
What’s more? You no longer have to wait to add your voice after the show. Now, you can stream, edit, and add commentaries on the go.
- PC-free recording mode
- HDMI-compatible only
- The software is rather hard to master
Compatibility: Windows 7 or newer, macOS, XBOX One and 360, PS3, PS4
Designed to work with the latest USB 3.0 technology, this capture device is a great option for gamers who are looking to stream or record their gameplay on the go. Although it is one of the ‘new kids in the block,’ Magewell USB HDMI Capture is equipped with virtually the same features that most high-end game capture cards come with. It allows for 8-bit video processing and runs at the rate of 60 frames per sec on a resolution up to 2048 x 2160 pixels. This gaming buddy also comes furnished with amazing editing features such as cropping, color adjustment, up/down conversion, mirror and flip, color space conversion, and a host of others. It got you covered!
- Resolution: up to 2048 x 2160
- FPS: up to 120
- Good at editing
- Easily overheats
- Lagging when hot
Compatibility: Windows (even older versions like 2008), Linux (Ubuntu and CentOS), OS X / macOS
The new Intensity Pro 4K is an obvious upgrade from Intensity Pro. It contains several amazing features such as the DaVinci Resolve that allows you to edit and grade your video to Hollywood standard. Hardcore gamers will find this game capture especially useful as it gives them the opportunity to record gameplay in HD without video compression. Even more? Intensity Pro 4K is incredibly easy to use. It works with both analog and digital devices. You can even stream live video without a laptop. At an incredible resolution of 1080HD that runs at 60fps, you are sure to get awesome visuals of even the fastest paced game.
- Greatest quality up to Ultra HD
- Can make an uncompressed video
- Customizing may appear complicated
Compatibility: macOS 10.11 or newer, Windows 7 or newer, Linux
One striking feature of Razer Ripsaw is its ability to stream videos from last generation classic games. Yes, it can! This device possesses what it takes to take you all the way to a few years back with modern technology. You get to stream old games at a resolution as high as 1080p and at a rate of 60 frames per second. Still, it is very much compatible with latest games such as PS 4, PS 3, and Xbox One. The sophisticated USB 3.0 makes it so much easier and fun. Razer Ripsaw also allows users to add their voice to their game or just about any song to go with the mood.
- The LED light helps to identify the connection status
- One of the cheapest 4K capture cards
- Users complain about audio issues
- Setup may appear difficult
Compatibility: Windows 7 or newer, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Roxio Game Capture HD Pro is arguably one of the best PC and/or TV game captures in 2020. This astounding game capture device is designed to meet the sleek fashion needs of game lovers as well as provide the desired functions which include real-time game capture, easy share option, live streaming, and even more. Roxio HD PRO is also equipped with top-notch editing features that allow both professionals and beginner gamers to edit their gameplay before uploading it to their YouTube or Twitch account.
With this device, you get to play and record at a resolution as high as 1080p 30p/60i. The newly added SmartEncode is an added bonus to help reduce the video rendering time. You just can’t go wrong with Roxio HD Pro!
- Good quality
- Easy to install
- Comes without an HDMI cable
- Not reliable
Compatibility: Windows XP SP2 or newer, Xbox 360 and One, PS3, PS4
AGPtek HD is undoubtedly one of the best capture cards in 2020 – and for good reasons. The stylish and easy-to-use ‘plug and play’ device is designed to record and stream video games at a resolution of 1080p which runs at 60 frames per sec. Due to the USB 3.0 technology, you are sure to enjoy an effortless moment of glory as you stream and record part or all of your gameplay. Furthermore, gamers can add more life to their gaming with their voice by adding commentaries as they share their gameplay with their audience. Even more? The AGPtek HD game recorder is compatible with both Windows, Mac OS, and Linux and requires no driver installation for setup.
- Very simple to use
- Comes with all cables needed
- May have a delay at the beginning of capturing
- May have sound issues
Compatibility: Windows 7 or newer, Linux, OS X 10.9 or newer, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
Thanks to this sleek capture buddy by Cloner Alliance, die-hard gamers can now stream their gameplay effortlessly and even add commentaries. The HDML-Cloner Box Pro comes fully equipped with everything a gamer would need to display his skills and highlights on YouTube, Twitch or any other platform. As an upgrade of the Evolve version, this device is designed to be able to record and stream without being connected to a PC. Yes, this capture card does not need a PC to stream or record. It is equipped with several astounding features including the ability to stream 4K videos and produce videos that are capable of retaining their quality in any format. The device works with a 1080p resolution and runs at the rate of 60 frames per second. It also allows for instant playback after recording and can produce videos in any format.
- Free video editor / converter included
- PC-free mode
- Some users complain about the interface
- Easily gets overheated
Compatibility: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
You will agree with me that the ‘selling point’ of this device is the fact that it is very portable and does not require an additional PC to stream or record gameplay. Yes, you read right! It doesn’t! It is equipped with internal features that allow it do the job perfectly on its own. In addition, the Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket allows you to record and stream live games at a resolution of 1080p that runs at 30fps without a laptop. You just have to set the device up and you are good to go. It also comes equipped with an audio mixer that allows you to record your game commentary on the go.
- Can work with some old consoles like Nintendo 64
- Can record sound without a PC (microphone needed)
- Footage might require some editing
- Old design
Compatibility: Windows XP and newer, Xbox One and 360, PS3 with an additional cable, PS4, Wii U
Although it would require you to put out tons of cash, the new Elgato 4K 60 Pro is the game capture for gaming pro who are looking to stream real-time gameplay in high video quality. It is designed with a sophisticated resolution that makes it stand out from the crowd. With this buddy, you can capture up to 4K resolution at a rate of 60 fps.
Game lovers will love the fact that Elgato 4K 60 Pro is very easy to install. This makes it the go-to choice for both beginners and professionals alike. If you already have past experience building your own rig, then you will find this device way easier and fun to install.
Also, this game capture is compatible with a number of game streaming apps for easy upload to your Twitch or YouTube account.
- Good at streaming 4K video
- Low latency technology
- Doesn’t support HDR
- Doesn’t work with Windows 7
Compatibility: Windows 10, anything with an HDMI port
Pinnacle Dazzle DVC100 is one of the few modern-day capture devices that can capture directly from analog sources without any hassle. It works perfectly with VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, and game system. A perfect mix! Like most topnotch game capture cards, it is equipped with cutting-edge resolution and editing features. You can now stream your games from analog sources at a resolution up to 1080 pixels and at the rate of 60 frames per second. With the Pinnacle Studio, gamers are allowed to do more than just stream or record. You can cut, trim, transitions, add tiles and menus, and adjust your video to your unique taste and style.
- Editing options
- Great compatibility
- Problems with Windows 10
- The software is hard to master
Compatibility: Windows Vista and newer, Xbox, PS, DVD Players, cameras
Ready to stream 2 victory? The AVerMedia LGHD2 provides you with all you need to shine. With the RECentral 3, this Pcle-capturing buddy allows you to stream and record uncompressed videos at a resolution of 1080p. As with most modern-day game capture cards, LGHD2 is very easy to set up and stream with. No driver installation. Just insert it into a PCle slot and you are ‘game on.’ It also allows you to spice the game up by adding some commentaries to your gameplay. There is no dull moment with LGHD2!
- Great quality
- Simple-to-use software
- No support for resolution of 1440, only 4K
- Users complain about video and audio issues
Compatibility: Windows 10, Xbox, PS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
The Elgato Video Capture is unarguably one of the finest game capture devices under Elgato’s umbrella. Yes, it may not be as sophisticated as most Elgato’s high-end capture devices, however, it contains all the necessary features that a decent game capture card should possess. This capture buddy is specially designed for analog videos of the last gen. With Elgato’s video capture, you can digitize videos from analog video sources such as VCR and camcorder as a high-quality H.264 file. You also get to edit last gen gaming videos to suit modern-day taste. Lost as to how to get started? This game capture comes with a complete guide on how to set up your game capture and start streaming or recording in a snap.
- Has many adapters for different devices
- Almost no distortions
- Issues may appear when using on Windows 10
- The software isn’t perfect
Compatibility: Windows, macOS
This standalone video capture box is a lifesaver when you need to stream or record gameplay from any video source. HDML-Cloner Box Evolve is designed with two HDMI and one AV input to get your game on with style and speed. Running at a rate of 60 fps on a resolution of 1080 pixels, you are sure to get your game streaming on YouTube and Twitch without any hassle. While the Pro version is obviously better for streaming, this capture card also supplies users with necessary features to share their gameplay with friends. However, we recommend the pro version for professional videographers.
- One-button recording
- Free video editor / converter
- The software might be difficult to work with
Compatibility: Windows, Xbox 360 and One, PS3, PS4, Wii
As the official website rightly puts it, indeed, the champion is back. This time bigger and better! The new AVerMedia LGP2 comes with RECentral 3 software and an updated fps from 30 to 60. This buddy allows you to display your unique skills with ease and style. You do not have to worry about editing and manual commentaries as it comes equipped with the ability to record gameplay as well as commentaries on the go. You get to enjoy live editing too!
Even more? AVerMedia LGP2 allows for both live stream and sharing of already created videos. Like the aforementioned game capture devices, AVerMedia LGP2 supports PC games, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, and Wii U games on both TV and PC. What more could you ask for?
- PC-free mode
- Software with a user-friendly interface
- Can’t stream in 4K
- No support for resolution of 1440
Compatibility: Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and One
The 10-billion dollar gaming industry now offers so much more to game lovers. A decade ago, sharing your gameplay with friends would involve meeting at a place to play. Today, you can stream your game right from your couch and have millions of people watch you stream to victory.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you play and stream on the same PC, the capture card won’t make any difference. These devices are used only to transfer data: to another computer that is configured for streaming or (if the capture card has a PC-free mode) to an SD-card. If you have a second PC or want to stream from a console, the card will help.
First, get a Twitch account if you don’t have one. Then, download and install the Open Broadcasting Software. After that, go to the Settings menu and choose Twitch as the service. Visit the Twitch website, get a stream key from the Settings menu and type (or just copy) it into the Stream key field in Open Broadcasting Software. You’re done!
Basically, a single computer with Internet access and software installed will be enough. Of course, you can add a webcam, a microphone and an audio mixer to this combination, but all will work even without these additions. Don’t forget to make a streaming channel!
You can stream, record, edit, add commentaries to your videos, and do a lot more with our one-click game capture dubbed Gecata. Try out one of these best capture cards for streaming and let us know your take on the performance. Looking forward to hearing from you!