Update 2 (Oct, 27, 2012):
Out with the new. Back to the old!
Refunded the PVR 2 just this afternoon. Got back my money in full despite Canada Computers stating a 5% restocking fee. The guy could tell I was frustrated and felt ripped off, so he waived the fee. Thumbs up to Canada Computers.
I’ll consider rebuying PVR 2 if Hauppauge release new drivers to BOTH:
- Allow automatic HDMI pass through from 360 without needing to first hook it up to your PC and boot up ArcSoft, and
- Allow 5.1 audio pass through when playing 360 (a bonus if it records in 5.1 audio too)
If Hauppauge doesn’t do both of these, my suggestion is avoid PVR 2 and stick to PVR 1. What’s the point of HDMI if it can only do 2-channel stereo output and you have to go through the hassle of laptop handshaking every time you want to just play 360 (not necessarily record)?
Update (Oct, 24, 2012):
After messing with the Hauppauge PVR 2 more, I ran into some issues. I couldn’t get a 360 signal despite the PVR 2 being powered on. I tried to do the old way of matching my old PVR 1 in terms of getting 360 running, but I’d get a black screen on my plasma saying it can’t find the signal. The PVR 2 looks powered on with a blue blinking light. Hmmm….
It turns out, you have to first connect the PVR 2 to your PC (laptop in my case) at the beginning of every gaming session in order for the software to recognize the PVR 2. Reading more about this issue on message boards and Amazon’s own comment section where a Hauppauge rep answers questions, the ArcSoft software has to determine if it’s component or HDMI, then the 360 gaming shows on my TV where I can just play games normally (without wanting to record anything). As soon as it recognizes, it works going forward for that session. You can even disconnect the USB or turn off your PC. But as soon as you turn off your TV/360 and let’s say play again tomorrow, you have to re-hook your PC to the PVR 2 to re-recognize it again.
Apologies, but I guess I got mislead by this as I tested the PVR 2 the other day and it worked. After I finished installing it and taping that brief test video, I disconnected my laptop from it and kept on playing 360 a bit more. Seemed fine. It doesn’t say anywhere in the instruction guide that the PVR 2 must first get booted, loaded, or whatever you want to call it by ArcSoft before you can simply play 360 without worrying about recording.
See below response from Hauppauge rep from Amazon’s Comment Section to someone:
Ken – Hauppauge Customer Service says:
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2012 4:32:41 AM PDT
Next, inside HD PVR 2 are two CPUs: one which operates as a system controller and one which handles the H.264 high definition encoding. Once the PC “tells” the system controller which video source is being used (HDMI or Component video), you can remove your PC and the passthrough will continue to operate. One of the things we are working on, based on feedback from customers such as yourself, is to make this video source selection automatic so that you do not need to have your PC connected in order to set up the passthrough. Keep in mind that capture devices which are USB bus powered do not have any ability to run without a PC at all (since the passthrough power comes from the PCs USB port).
Also, despite PVR 2 being HDMI it only outputs 2 channel stereo. Not a huge deal as my old Hauppauge did the same when recording, but the difference is that the old way I hooked up my PVR 1 vs. the new PVR 2 is more cumbersome.
Old way I hooked up PVR 1 (component) to my Xbox 360 slim (which has component and HDMI)
- To record games (maybe 5% of the time I play) = 360 slim –> PVR 1 –> TV
- Using component (stereo audio)
- To play games not recording = 360 slim –> home theatre system
- Using HDMI (5.1 audio)
- Flipping back and forth is easy. Yank out the HDMI cable from the 360 and put in the 360 component cable and the USB from the PVR 1. All the cables are right there beside each other in the 360 section of my TV stand.
New way I hooked up PVR 2 (HDMI) to my Xbox 360 slim (which has component and HDMI)
- To record games (maybe 5% of the time I play) = 360 slim –> PVR 2 –> home theatre system
- Using HDMI (stereo audio)
- Must first connect laptop to PVR 2 via USB so it works
- To play games not recording = 360 slim –> PVR 2 –> home theatre system
- Using HDMI (but only stereo audio as output from PVR 2 is only 2 channel)
- Also, must first connect laptop to PVR 2 via USB so it works
- Flipping back and forth is a pain as I have my home theatre unit and 360 in different sections of a TV stand with cable holes in the back. I’m not going to unhook HDMI cables, re-thread them through the holes, and reconnect 360 + home theatre for 5.1 audio, and then mess around again to do an HDMI connection between 360 and PVR 2.
Given these two major issues, the previous 4.5/5 score I gave gets knocked down to a 2/5. If you can live with always needing to hook up the PVR 2 to your PC/laptop before playing 360 games then you might not care, especially if your PC is close to your gaming hub and you’re the kind of guy whose computer is always on anyway. The audio issue may also be less of an issue if your 360/home theatre system and PVR 2 are all close to each other with easy access to cord swapping for 5.1 audio… or you simply don’t care if you listen to 2-channel stereo. Not in my case.
There are currently no software updates or workarounds I see, so I’m refunding this gadget this week. If fixes come later, I’ll rebuy it. Thank god nobody has bought the PVR 1 I listed on Craigslist!
What I previously wrote (Oct 21, 2012):
For the past 3 years, I’ve been making game videos using Hauppauge’s older HD PVR recorder. Model 1219 here in Canada. I believe it’s the same as the US model 1212. It works fine except one thing. It doesn’t do HDMI! That was fine when I had an old model 360, but during the summer my 360 finally bombed, so I bought a slim model.
I hook up my 360 slim using HDMI to my home theatre system, but for recording games I have to yank out the cables and put in the component cables from the Hauppauge 1219. A pain in the ass. I also had to buy a 360 component cable, since the slim model doesn’t come with any cables. I sold off my broken 360 to EB Games. Suckers.
With my slim 360 and new Hauppauge PVR 2, I can get rid of all the component cables and not have to bother switching back and forth.
Out with the old. In with the new!
It’s a matter of time before Hauppauge should release an HDMI model. I saw some recent gaming articles about it, so I checked it out. Yup there is one… Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition (model 1488). It must be a new gadget because no major electronic stores here in Canada even sell it yet. I had to scope out Canadian internet sites and saw a few computer stores selling it. Only one carries it in-store! Future Shop and Best Buy at this time don’t carry it (October 21, 2012).
Comparing the old PVR to new PVR 2
There’s lots of differences in hardware comparing the old PVR and the new PVR 2. The old one has lots of inputs/cables for old tech… component, composite and S-video. PVR 2 is HDMI (with HDMI cables) and has a record button on the top corner. PVR 2 does not include a remote control. PVR 2 is much smaller.
The new PVR 2 is much more attractive than the old edition. Not only is it smaller and thinner, but everything is matching black. The old PVR is a bulkier unit that is silver with dark trim and whose cables seem thrown together with whatever is lying around Hauppauge’s warehouse. Some cords are black, some are bright white. Odd.
What you get with PVR 2
- Power supply
- Two HDMI cables
- Component/AV cables with some kind of PS3 dongle thing
- USB cable
- Disc and instructions
I saw 3 Canadian places online selling it. NCIX for $155 (online only, and on deal from $190), Canada Computers for $169 and some place I’ve never heard of in Quebec called PCCZONE for $146. NCIX doesn’t have any in-store, but when I called the nearby location he said I can stop in, order one and pick it up another day. I’d get it for the web price of $155 which is a fair deal. PCCZONE was the cheapest, but had ridiculous $16 shipping to here in Ontario. Screw that. I stopped in at Canada Computers today and they price matched NCIX’s $155 + tax. Done!
Hooking it up (Xbox 360)
- Power supply from PVR to electrical outlet
- USB cable from PVR to laptop
- HDMI cable from Xbox 360 to PVR’s “HDMI In”
- HDMI cable from home theatre system to PVR’s “HDMI Out”
- For PS3, you have to mess around with component cables as it can’t do twin HDMIs or something
- If you can’t figure it out, here’s a video I found on Youtube
- After everything is hooked and ready to go, I attach the USB cable to my laptop
- I put in the disc and try to install…. (it says to make sure everything is hooked up and powered on). Two things to install: Drivers and ArcSoft media software
- Drivers first. It’s searching for some .INF file indefinitely. I had to CTRL-ALT-DELETE as it hung. Tried it again. Hung again. I thought I got ripped off with a shitty unit. Rebooted my machine and tried it again. It worked in about 10 seconds. Now the blue flashing light is a solid light
- ArcSoft software installed fine
- Everything done. Asks for a reboot
- I reboot and now it asks me to go to download the latest software updates. Two more files. About 190 mb worth. Downloaded and installed them and rebooted again
- Throughout the entire installation process where there’s pop-up boxes asking to prompt, it seems to need you to press the confirmation/finish buttons 3 times before it works
- I may be wrong, but there is a chance the delayed response of the menu buttons resulted in double the number of installs happening? There was a time when I closed all the boxes, there were duplicate pop up boxes still there. Maybe that’s what made the system hang? I don’t know
- Painful. Just to get everything up and running took 30+ minutes. I’m positive the old Hauppauge set up was smoother
How does it perform?
Booting up ArcSoft, I didn’t bother messing with all the settings. There’s Device and Format settings you can adjust all kinds of things with sliders. I’m no tech wiz, and default download settings are good enough for me. But for you tech wizards I’m sure you’ll like all the video and audio settings.
It ran fine. You can see whatever is on your Xbox 360 streaming to the software window with a slight delay. Simply press the Capture button to start. And press Stop when you want to finish. Easy.
The Old Guy in me Says
Like the last Hauppauge I got, this new PVR 2 is solid. It’s HDMI, smaller and sleeker and has a record button built right into the unit. This thing actually cost me less than my old one which I bought for around $180 + tax. I got the PVR 2 for $155. The drawback is the painful installation process, which I have to knock it down a half point. I’m a console gamer at heart now and I cringe at things like that. Maybe you gamers who still mess with PC won’t mind, but I do.
Hauppauge’s HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition is a solid piece of hardware.