Looking for a portable PC-less HDMI device to record your live video game play? The AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable (LGP) lets you do just that.
The other day I was looking for video recording hardware to capture my game play so that I could post it to YouTube. I went to Amazon and looked around to see what I could find. One of my requirements was that the recorder doesn’t require to be attached to a desktop PC. I didn’t want an internal PCI card solution either. I wanted an external recording box.
This due to my gaming consoles (XBox One, PS3, PS4, Wii) being physically located in different places in my house. I also wanted to record game play on my desktop PC.
Fortunately, I happened to run into the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable and saw that it could record onto a SDHC card. Wonderful! Better yet, the customer reviews were very good and the price was just right at around $150.
The great thing is, you don’t need to have your personal computer sitting next to you. The last thing I want to do is tote a laptop or carry a desktop computer to each location just to capture video. Instead, I just unplug the cables and carry this very lightweight portable unit from room to room.
Its a very nice convenience that you have to experience for yourself to appreciate.
The AVerMedia Live Gamer Pro has a SDHC slot so you can take a card and pop it in. Then, remove the SDHC card and take it to your desktop PC to do video editing. You can also disconnect the LGP console from an existing setup and take it to a computer to do online streaming and capturing too.
AVerMedia LGP Specifications
- Optional SD Card storage without a PC (dubbed PC Free mode)
- 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p resolution support
- Max capture resolution is 1080p at 30fps; bitrate of 60Mbps in PC Mode, 16Mbps in PC Free Mode
- Digital HDMI connectors for XBox 360, XBox One, PS4, WiiU
- Analog component connectors for Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU
- H.264 codec
- Broadcast to Twitch, YouTube and Ustream
- Direct USB power from game console
Performance and Image Quality
Although a convenience in storage and portability, there is some drawbacks if running in PC free mode.
In PC free mode where the LGP is not attached to a personal computer, the bit rate is much slower at 16Mbps. You will get your 1080p at 30fps but there will likely be a drop off in quality of the image. This is because the encoder compression processing is not done on your faster multi core PC through ReCentral (AVerMedia’s capture software), but rather on board the slower LGP. To keep up at that frame rate and resolution, something has to give. If you play games that have lots of fast action and a lot of detail with effects, you will see the drop off in video image quality compared to your screen. Effects, colors, and motion may be affected.
If you want to capture at a higher image quality, you are going to have to attach a personal computer to the LGP and sacrifice the portability.
Ideally, if you play action games like Call of Duty, Forza, or anything of that kind of level, you want 1080p+ resolution, fluid 60+ fps motion, and higher than normal 30+ Mbps image quality. AVerMedia LGP is not going to get you there. You will need to find a much pricier solution. It is, however an affordable video capture recorder that gives you acceptable results at an affordable price.
Minimum System Requirements
You need a pretty powerful computer if you plan on streaming and editing your video content. A multi core CPU is recommended. When it comes to memory, the more RAM, the better. I would recommend having at least 8GB with 16GB preferred.
- Windows 7/8/10; Mac OS 10.7 and above
- USB 2.0 5V/1A
- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8Ghz
- AMD Athlon 64×2 Core 3.0Ghz
- 2GB RAM
- DirectX 10.0c
- SDHC Class 10 card
AVerMedia Live Gamer Pro Contents
Here’s whats in the box.
Left to right, top to bottom:
- Packaging box
- LGP console
- Carrying pouch
- PS3 component cable
- USB power cable
- 3.5mm audio cable
- HDMI to HDMI cable
- Card to direct you to their website for user manual and software
- XSplit signup card
- Quick install guide
Software is not included in the box. You must go to the AVerMedia website to download the RECentral application and drivers. You can also download any firmware enhancements, and a much more complete user guide.
RECentral is a Windows application that lets you capture and stream your videos to the Internet. You can use the application to capture game play on your Windows computer. It is not used for PC Free mode (the storing on SDHC).
This is the one area that AVerMedia needs to improve on. I understand that they are trying to reduce costs by not creating hard copy manuals and CDs. But in this case, what is missing makes for a somewhat frustrating installation experience. While at times it may look like you got the cables in the right ports, your TV may not oblige and kick in. So it can be a little delicate of a matter requiring patience and noting the sequence of steps to take to get the LGP running properly.
There is only one small pamphlet that comes with the package – the quick install guide. To be honest, it is not that easy to understand with the diagrams being confusing. The user guide didn’t help much either, especially when I was trying to hook up my LGP with a PS3. When you get blinking red and blue lights denoting an error, there is nowhere to go other than their website and Google for more information.
Although they have a card that tells you to go to the gamerzone site, it just says to get the user manual. They should tell you that there are videos for setup configuration in the tutorial section to make this much easier on the user. If you go to the tutorial menu, it has YouTube videos that show how to connect to the various game consoles and how to use ReCentral.
If you have lots of gaming consoles you want to use this on, I’d recommend taking notes and stuffing it into the carrying pouch to read later. Buy extra matching cables so you don’t have to keep disconnecting and connecting them, wearing out the plug ends. It will save you time in reconfiguration as well.
When it comes to the SDHC card, I would avoid buying a 64GB+ SDXC card because in some cases, they will be formatted in exFAT. The LGP only reads and writes in FAT 32 file format.
If you are running on Windows 10, FAT 32 format isn’t available and you will have to find a formatting utility to do this. I wasted a lot of time having purchased a SanDisk 64GB SDXC card that didn’t work and couldn’t find a FAT32 utility that would work with it. So I had to return it. Note that the SandDisk SDXC may have been defective.
I remedied this problem by buying a 32GB SDHC card that is already pre-formatted with FAT32. The Kingston 32GB Class 10 card I purchased works well and without any hassle. Kingston 64GB SDXC cards are formatted exFAT and will not work by default. Again, it will need to be FAT32 formatted.
Unless you are going to post very long game footage to YouTube, you’re probably not going to need anything larger than 32GB. Depending on the bit rate set in the LGP (4, 8, 12, 16 Mbps), a one hour capture at 16 Mbits/sec will take up about 7GB of file size. So save yourself some money and get a 32GB SDHC pre-FAT32 formatted. Very few people are going to want to watch hours of game play on YouTube anyway.
Converting from TS to MP4
LGP stores its video data in compressed H.264 encoded format and saves it as a MPEG transport stream (TS file). You will need to convert the TS file into a file format suitable by your video editing tool like Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro. AVMedia has a converter available on their website.
AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable is a very good way to record video game play from your gaming consoles. The setup, which can be frustrating at times, is straightforward after you figure everything out. Do expect some time in getting things to work and watch those tutorials.
Aside from the configuration hiccups, LGP is an easy to use video recording device to capture and stream your game play. Using the traditional PC mode, you will be able to get 1080p at 30fps. In PC free mode, 1080p at 30fps but with a little loss in image quality. If you aren’t concerned about high detail in your videos, AVerMedia LGP is suitable for your YouTube presentations.