CD-RKing Gaming Capture Box. It works.
If you live in the Philippines, just from seeing “CD-RKing” in the title is enough to dishearten you away from this post but fear not for I actually have a lot of good things to say about this particular product.
We here at TMG are trying to do live streams of our video game antics and aside from the consoles and video games, broadcasting equipment is quite an investment in itself. Some of us have gone the cheap method by using those USB TV capture ‘sticks’ an to be honest, though they work, these are not very good. With most quality capture devices ranging from 100-200+ US Dollars, it can be hard to save up.
I have had my eye on the Roxio Game Capture, the AVerMedia HD DVR, and the Hauppauge HD PVR but the Hauppauge is a tad too expensive so I ruled that out. As for the Roxio and AVerMedia, the Roxio is the cheaper of the two but lacks features that the AVerMedia HD DVR does. From what I’ve read, the AVerMedia HD DVR is pretty much the same as the Hauppauge HD PVR in terms of features and quality while sporting an overall sleeker design and even an HDMI out port (of which the Hauppauge HD PVR only has component out). The Roxio Game Capture goes for $100 on their site but you can find one for $70-$80 if you look in the right places while the AVerMedia goes for $140-$160. Now just the Roxio itself is quite a feat for me to work up the money for right now and I haven’t found any local shops that have it so the only option for me is an online purchase. Add to that the bogus-ness of our country’s postal system which could add more than half the price of the product itself so yeah, not easy at all.
Then during a trip to CD-RKing to stock up on DVDs and whatnot, while waiting in line I saw pegged on the wall a box that said “Gaming Capture Box” and from the picture on the box it looked pretty much the same as the Roxio. I asked to have a closer look and while they didn’t have a price for it at the time (the shop seemed to have an early shipment) it got me very curious as to what features it could have and how well it performs. If you didn’t know, CD-RKing is sort of like our version of BestBuy, they have their own branded electronics most of which are on the ridiculously cheap side so they are usually the alternative to getting a lot of gadget and computer accessories. The catch is, since the products are cheap they usually breakdown a whole lot sooner or don’t exhibit the same amount of quality as a big branded item of the same kind. There is always a certain amount of risk when buying a CD-RKing product. To sum it up, it’s quantity over quality.
Even with all that in mind, curiosity overwhelmed me when it came to the Gaming Capture Box. It’s a little pricey compared to the other CD-RKing products that I’m used to buying but it is a hell of a lot cheaper than the over capture devices that were on my list. It also seems that I am the only one who knows about this product and have found no other reviews of it at the time of writing this post. I just had to man-up, get the damn box and try it out for myself.
To my relief it actually works. The image I get on the TV is a crisp as what one would expect using component cables and it does feed a decent video image to your computer. The box claims that it can play up to 1080i on your TV which is the same as the other capture devices since they all have component out but only records in a maximum resolution of 720x480 which is similar to Roxio claiming that their box records in 480p.
The device has a set of Component In jacks and Component out jacks. It also has S-Video In and S-Video Out ports which I didn’t notice the first time. Audio jacks are limited to the Red and White RCA style so no optical audio for surround sound. It connects to your PC via USB 2.0 and comes with quite a lengthy USB cable which is good. It also comes with a set of Component cables that connect the box to your TV. For a CD-RKing product, it was packaged pretty neatly too. The device itself was encased in bubble wrap and the cables were in sealed in little plastic baggies. Also included were some pretty boring and mostly useless instruction manuals and the much needed driver disc which had the device driver and a program called VivaStation. The colors are a little weird by default when you try to us the device on programs directly like XSplit and Flash Media Live Encoder but you can probably find a sweet spot if you mess with the sliders long enough. It seems to work fine on VivaStation though but I haven’t fully explored that program yet.
Bottom line is if you are on the fence about getting this cheaper capture box then don’t fret because it works. Given our country’s caveman live internet, we can’t really stream in HD either so it fits the bill unless you want to record footage in HD but that’s another story.
The CD-RKing Gaming Capture Box goes for 1880php and I have (as of this post) only seen this product in the GreenHills VMall branch on the 3rd floor near Datablitz. No other branch seems to have it and every employee I’ve asked have all said “ha?” or “ano yun?” when I asked them about it. You have to point it out yourself otherwise they won’t even look for it.