In the world of gaming and streaming, a video capture card has become an essential tool for anyone looking to capture and record high-quality content.
Whether you’re a professional gamer or a casual streamer, a video capture card can enhance the quality of your content, provide greater flexibility in your streaming and recording options, and ultimately elevate your overall gaming and streaming experience. Read on to discover why it is a must-have tool in your gaming and streaming arsenal.
What Is a Video Capture Card?
A video capture card is a hardware device that is used to capture video and audio signals from an external source, such as a gaming console, camera, or TV set-top box. It captures the video and audio signals and converts them into digital data that can be edited, stored, or streamed on a computer or other devices.
It acts as a middleman between your gaming console and your video player, allowing you to broadcast gameplay on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, and Discord.
Why Do I Need a Video Capture Card?
A capture card is highly recommended if you plan to record and stream on-screen content.
Although game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and 5, along with Xbox One, have built-in streaming capabilities, the current generation consoles are limited by computer power and data speed, which prevents them from rendering and encoding high-quality video in real-time. This is where video capture cards come in, making them popular among gamers.
Video capture cards have become increasingly popular due to the surge in live streaming and the production of freshly recorded content from different cameras. The ability to capture content and store it for later use, such as post-production editing on a PC, has become invaluable and is now a means of livelihood for many individuals in today’s tech-driven society.
3 Practical Uses of Video Capture Cards
The primary role of video capture cards is to record and broadcast on-screen content. These come in handy when you want to record a video signal from an external device and broadcast it from your desktop or laptop computer. Below are three ways you can utilize them:
Utilize a DSLR Camera as a Webcam
While most modern laptops and desktop PCs include webcams, some may not provide the finest video quality. You may utilize a high-quality DSLR camera as a webcam by connecting it to your computer via a USB cable.
Plug the DSLR camera into a capture card before attaching it to the computer to improve image quality and reduce delay. This will process the camera’s raw video signal for streaming on your computer.
Stream Video Games Played on a Console
Generally, video game consoles are connected to a TV via their HDMI output. If you want to stream the game while you’re playing, you’ll need a capture card. Connect the gaming console to the capture card, which generates two video feeds in this scenario.
It generates a converted video file for streaming and recording on your PC, as well as a signal to your TV, allowing you to play the game while streaming. This is compatible with any console that has a USB or HDMI output, such as the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, or Nintendo Switch. Older devices can also be retrofitted with an external port.
Stream from a Gaming PC to a Broadcast PC
A capture card is not required if you only use one PC to play and stream the game over the internet. Nevertheless, because both playing and streaming demand a large amount of computing power, many PC game broadcasters use two computers: one for gaming and one for streaming.
This method reduces pressure on each system while ensuring smooth streaming and gameplay. To use this two-computer strategy, you’ll need a capture card to send the video signal from the gaming PC to the broadcast PC.
Are Video Capture Cards Better than OBS?
Video capture cards and OBS are two different types of tools used for capturing and recording video. Which one is better depends on your specific needs and requirements.
Video capture cards are hardware devices that you install inside your computer or connect externally to your computer to capture video from an external source, such as a game console or a camera. They can provide high-quality video capture with minimal latency, making them ideal for live streaming or recording high-quality gameplay footage.
OBS, on the other hand, is software that allows you to capture and record video on your computer. It can capture video from your desktop, webcam, microphone, and other sources. OBS is a versatile tool that offers a range of features for recording and streaming, including scene composition, audio mixing, and video encoding.
If you are looking for high-quality, low-latency video capture for live streaming or recording gameplay footage, then a video capture card may be the better choice for you. However, if you need a versatile tool for recording video on your computer, then OBS may be a better choice, as it offers more features and flexibility. Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and use case.