The Best Capture Cards of 2022 for All Content Creators
If you’re looking to upgrade your streaming setup to a more professional camera or to bring console gameplay into your stream this year, you’re going to need a capture card. But with new products and technology upgrades hitting the market each year, choosing the right card can be tricky. Fortunately, in this blog, we’ve got our expert breakdown of the best capture cards of 2022 for a variety of streaming needs.
The best external capture cards for console gamers
A name you’re going to see show up a lot on this list is Elgato – and for good reason. They’ve been making cards since 1992 and are considered the top brand by most streamers. Their current model aimed to console streamers is the HD60 S, widely hailed as one of the most reliable 1080p 60fps (frames per second) game capture cards on the market.
Another card to check out for console streaming is AVerMedia’s Live Gamer Portable 2 PLUS. This is an excellent card with an easy setup and some interesting features, including an audio jack to capture console party chat directly from the game itself. It also tends to price out lower than the HD60 S.
The best external capture cards for cameras
Elgato also makes a dongle-sized capture device called the Cam Link 4K. Cheaper than their HD60 S, it lacks the HDCP decryption chip required to pass through but can pass a camera signal at resolutions up to 4K at 30 fps (frames per second). The Cam Link uses the UVC or Universal Video Class driver, meaning that cameras plugged into the device will be compatible with nearly every app, allowing for stress-free integration into any streamer’s setup.
Also of note in this category is Blackmagic Design, a company that has for years created professional-grade studio equipment and cameras. Recently they’ve channeled that knowledge into a pocket-sized combination HDMI and SDI capture device, the Ultrastudio Recorder 3G. Combining impressive capture quality with a competitive price, this card should be on every streamer’s list to consider. But be aware that to get the most out of this device, you’ll need to have a USB-C input on your computer.
Why not both?
Many content creators will need to add both a camera input and gameplay capture as they level up their live streams. For those who do, we recommend checking out the first internal card on our list, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo. Combining two inputs with 1080p60 capture capability on a single PCI Express card, the Live Gamer Duo provides a reliable way to bring both the stream’s talent and gameplay together in full HD, all while providing 4K60 fps pass-through to your monitor. This means that even while streaming at a lower resolution, you’re still enjoying the game on your own monitor at max settings.
The best 4K capture cards
While you’re probably not currently streaming in 4K, you might want to be ready to flip that switch when the time comes. To do that, you’ll need a card that can not just display but actually capture your gameplay at the highest possible resolution.
Also from Elgato is the second internal card on our list, the 4K60 Pro. Taking full advantage of the blazing speed of an onboard PCIe slot, the 4K60 Pro provides steady reliability and incredible capture quality with almost no latency, even with HDR (high dynamic range) video at the highest resolutions. Because of the speed and processing power advantages, we highly recommend going with an internal card for 4K capture.
But if internal cards aren’t a fit for your setup? Meet the Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+, an external card that can capture at resolutions up to 4K at 60 fps, and also supports HDR video. This card is about as future-proof as you can get at the moment and supports onboard recording to an SD card. It can be a little tricky to set up, however.
You don’t need to add physical inputs to get more cameras on your stream. XSplit Connect: Webcam lets you wirelessly integrate your phone’s camera within any software like XSplit Broadcaster – an inexpensive option to increase production value. Now your capture card is sorted, find your next upgrade in our guide to the top streaming upgrades.