The Best Video Capture Software

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There are many reasons these days why you would want the best video capture software around; you could be the next up and coming Twitch or YouTube streamer playing the most entertaining video games, or maybe you’re just looking to transfer your older technology videos, like on a DVD or VCR, onto your computer to keep your memories around forever. With the right software and hardware combo, you can capture live video that otherwise wouldn’t be possible and stream it online, so that you can build an audience with your content.

Here’s a list of some of the best video capture software and hardware that you can find on the market right now — once you get one of these units, you’ll be well on your way to creating the best content that you can. If you’re still not sure about which specific kind of video capture software you want, we’ve put together a little guide at the end of this article, to teach you all about the special features you should be on the lookout while you shop, like hardware connectivity and video resolution.

1. Editor’s Pick: Elgato Game Capture HD60 S

1. Editor’s Pick: Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
  • Captures video in high quality
  • Not as much lag in streams as other options
  • Easy to set up
  • Only a few cables to connect
  • Compatible with many different systems
  • Expensive
  • Can heat up a bit while in use, so make sure it’s not on top of anything that could burn

Key Specs

Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
FPS: 60
Connectivity: USB 3.0
Compatible Systems: Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Wii U
Dimensions: 11.2 x 7.5 x 1.9 cm

The Elgato Game Capture HD60 S is the perfect hardware option that you’ll need if you want to stream video games from certain gaming systems, like the Nintendo Switch, to an online content streaming platform like Twitch or YouTube.

This is the best choice for anyone looking for a great all-around video capture card that is compatible with many different systems, and it’s powered by low latency technology so that your live video streams won’t be laggy. It’s also one of the easiest around to set up for gamers, and it has built-in software that’s great for beginners and anyone looking for a simple set up experience.

The main setback with this unit is the price — it can be quite an investment if you’re a beginner looking to get into the world of streaming, but it will really help simplify the process and help you capture video from systems that don’t have the capability built in, like the Nintendo Switch.

2. Runner Up: Razer Ripsaw HD Game Streaming Capture Card

2. Runner Up: Razer Ripsaw HD Game Streaming Capture Card
  • Small and compact
  • Easy to use and set up if you know what you’re doing
  • Audio mixing capabilities
  • 4k passthrough
  • Well worth the price
  • Doesn’t have its own software, you’ll need to use one like OBS or XSplit
  • Might be difficult for beginners to set up

Key Specs

Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
FPS: 60
Connectivity: USB 3.0, Hemi 2.0
Compatible Systems: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Dimensions: 10.52 x 8.51 x 1.6 cm

If you’ve ever wondered how a typical game streamer’s set up looks like, check out the images in the product description of this option; you’ll need a capture card hooked up to your PC and gaming system, and you can plug in various accessories to enhance your stream like a wired microphone and headset. This unit also comes built with audio mixing capabilities, so that you can more easily tune and manage the audio in your stream.

While this product says that it has a 4k passthrough capability, this doesn’t mean that it can stream and record video at a 4k resolution; essentially it means that if you’re playing a game in 4k resolution and live streaming it, it records your video in a lower resolution more smoothly, and without any lag or choppy frames. It can be a much better experience knowing that you can play your games in high quality without sacrificing the quality of your stream for your viewers.

3. Best on a Budget: Y&H HDMI Audio Video Capture Card

3. Best on a Budget: Y&H HDMI Audio Video Capture Card
  • Affordable and accessible for beginners
  • Great for converting cameras into webcams
  • Easy to set up
  • Low latency recording
  • Good value for the price
  • Not as long lasting as more expensive options
  • You might have trouble setting it up with gaming systems if you’re inexperienced

Key Specs

Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
FPS: 60
Connectivity: USB 2.0
Compatible Systems: Windows, Android, Mac OS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Wii U
Dimensions: 12.19 x 9.4 x 2.79 cm

You don’t need to spend a fortune to stream high quality video; the Y&H HDMI Audio Video Capture Card comes at an affordable price, and you can still connect it to your gaming systems and cameras and turn them into live video.

We think that this unit is a great choice for anyone who’s new to live streaming video and just wants to get their feet wet; other more expensive options will give you better video quality with less lag, and they’ll likely last much longer without breaking. Like some other options, if you’re a beginner you’ll likely have a much easier time setting this unit up with a camera to turn it into a webcam than you would with gaming systems, but it’s entirely doable.

4. Also Consider: MiraBox Capture Card

4. Also Consider: MiraBox Capture Card
  • Easily connects to cameras and video cameras
  • Lag free streaming experience
  • No need to install any drivers
  • Easy to set up if you’re good at tech
  • Great value for the price
  • Some users had trouble setting up this unit with their gaming systems
  • Unit gets hot while using

Key Specs

Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
FPS: 60
Connectivity: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Compatible Systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Wii U
Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 2.2 cm

Elgato might be the gold standard for video capture cards for gaming right now, but the MiraBox Capture Card is another good option, especially if you’re streaming from a camera, but you’ll still be able to connect many of your gaming systems and stream them to your computer through software like Twitch or OBS.

You’ll be able to capture HD quality video with this card, and it’s built with tech that will reduce latency, meaning your videos will have less lag. Many users who needed to stream content directly from their video cameras loved this product, but some who were using it for gaming found it difficult to connect it to their system — you might be better off purchasing the more expensive Elgato card if you’re less experienced in setting up electronics and want something easy.

5. Best Analog Pick: UCEC USB 2.0 Video Capture Card Device

5. Best Analog Pick: UCEC USB 2.0 Video Capture Card Device
  • Easy to learn and use with software like OBS or QuickTime
  • Perfect tool to save old videos
  • Can be connected to older gaming consoles that use RCA
  • Affordable and great value for the price
  • Works very well with Mac OS computers
  • Some users noted that the video produced wasn’t the highest quality
  • The software included can be difficult to use

Key Specs

Video Resolution: Varies
FPS: Varies
Connectivity: RCA, USB 2.0
Compatible Systems: Windows, Mac OS
Dimensions: 16.61 x 14.2 x 4.9 cm

This video capture software and hardware combo is meant for a very niche purpose — to digitize your older analog videos! You’ll be able to turn videos on something like a VCR or camcorder into videos that are playable on all your computing devices, so that you can store and share them much more easily.

The UCEC USB 2.0 Video Capture Card Device is the perfect tool for saving your childhood memories or special moments recorded on tape; you just need to plug the RCA cables into your VHS player and a USB cable into your computer, and then follow some easy instructions on either the video capture software included or another one of your choice.

You can even use this handy tool to live stream your older video gaming systems that use RCA cables, like from a Nintendo 64, if that’s what you’re into! Just because the games are older doesn’t mean they’re boring or out of style.

Features to Look for in Video Capture Software

It can be hard to choose your new video capture software and hardware; if you’re feeling lost after looking at some of the product descriptions, read this little guide to help you figure out which of these specs you might want to focus on while shopping.

Connectivity: With most of the options on this list you will need to connect the video capture card to your computing device through a USB connection, and then you’ll connect an HDMI cable from your gaming system or camera to the card, which will allow you to send video to a live streaming software like OBS. One thing to note about USB connections is that they can have different transfer speeds, which you can figure out from the number following USB; for example, USB 3.0 can be up to 10x faster than a USB 2.0 cable because it has more connector wires.

Video Resolution: The video resolution will tell you how many horizontal and vertical pixels your video will have; a higher resolution means a higher pixel density, so that your videos will look clearer and more detailed. High-definition video, for example, has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels, and will generally look good on most screens. Some video capture cards and software will allow you to change up the resolution to your liking, so if you find that your stream is lagging and you don’t mind sacrificing some video quality for a smooth connection, you can reduce the resolution and speed up your live stream.

FPS: This term in the product description, which stands for frames per second, will tell you the frame rate of your video; it basically tells you how many times the frames in your video are updated per second. A higher frame rate means that your video will appear smoother and less choppy because there are more images in the video to ensure a seamless transition. Keep in mind that the higher resolution you go, the harder it is for the unit to have a high fps; make sure that the unit you choose has an adequate frame rate based on what resolution you plan on streaming your video in.

Compatible Systems: Here you’ll need to watch for two key factors — that your video capture software and cards will be compatible with your computers operating system, like Windows or Mac OS, and with your gaming system or video camera. Generally, they’ll work with any game system or camera that has an HDMI port, but it doesn’t hurt to read the user reviews to see if anyone had issues with a particular system.

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Do you use a video capture device? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below!

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