CES 2010: AVerMedia

by: John -
AVerMedia is a company that’s been around producing various multimedia items such as TV tuners. I’ve never used one of their products but I’ve heard good things about them from others. I stopped by their display at the Hilton to check out a product that compares to a Hauppauge device I reviewed not too long ago.

The AverTV USB HD DVR allows you to capture high definition video from various sources. Like the Hauppauge HD DVR, the AverTV USB HD DVR has some components in to allow you to record up to 1080i video with the box plugged into a computer via a USB cable. Featuring hardware encoding, the AverTV USB HD DVR allows you to do these recordings on the go since it’s portable and can be plugged into a notebook or netbook.

What’s different about the AverTV USB HD DVR is that it includes an HDMI output. Say you record some content using the device. You can plug it into a large screen TV via HDMI and output it back easily using just one cable. While some laptops do have an HDMI connection, this is an option for those without this feature on their laptop or computer. It’s just too bad it doesn’t have an HDMI input and is limited to 1080i but for around $199, it seems like a solid recording device for those that want to capture video from say an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Various software such as those from ArcSoft will be included to help with recording and playback. Look for the AverTV USB HD DVR in March.

Available now though is the AVerTV HD DVR which is a PCI card featuring an HDMI input and an HDMI output. Again, this product is limited to 1080i recording but the ease of plugging in one cable to capture HD content makes it a little better. I’d still rather opt to see 1080p being supported.

It is limited by HDCP so some content will not be able to be recorded with this device. The Xbox 360 seems to be free of this limitation but Sony’s PlayStation 3 cannot be used with the HD DVR. I’m not surprised considering the built in Blu-ray player involved but fear not as the AverTV HD DVR also features a dongle with various inputs and you can use the component connections to record from the PlayStation 3.

One thing I am concerned with though is the fact it doesn’t have hardware encoding built in. This does make the price of the product more affordable but I’ve always had subpar experiences with cards without it. The folks at AVerMedia told me that a Quad-core CPU should suffice but I won’t know until I get one to test out. While recording HD content is great, I would hope that the lack of hardware encoding won’t hinder the recording performance of the card.

Available now, the PCI express card will run you $99.

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