Live streamer's delight
I've been making gaming videos and streaming for what seems like forever, and I've gone through my fair share of capture devices. My original card only did 720p and 30fps, required hard drives setup in a RAID, and only captured massive RAW video files. Boy how things have changed.
AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME makes the whole process simple and offers enough extra features to make it worth your attention whether you're looking to become a big-time Twitch streamer or just capture silly videos to share with friends.
Product: Live Gamer EXTREME
1080p, 60fps is the holy grail of console games these days and the Live Gamer EXTREME (LGX) handles those specs without issue. Footage looks exactly as intended by the game's developers.
The LGX also has all the frills you'd expect a capture device to have such as HDMI input and output, its own recording software, but also includes some things I've never seen on other cards. Included in the box is an HDMI cable, a component cable, a 3.5mm cable, and a PS3 cable. The latter cable can be used to connect directly to a PS3 instead of connecting it with component cables, a feature only on the LGX, though I'm not sure how useful it is as it seems gamers and game publishers have mostly moved on from the previous generation. A component cable adapter is also included for capturing legacy consoles.
The included 3.5mm cable can be used to connect an external audio input source to be mixed into streams and captures alongside a 3.5mm microphone jack. Personally I opt to go with USB microphones, as they tend to offer a better sound quality overall, but for those on a tighter budget, a 3.5mm microphone might be a better fit as they are typically less expensive. The purpose of the 3.5mm jacks is to allow the LGX to be used in place of an external audio mixer, though most streaming software allows you to do this already.
Also in the box is a manual, the Rec 2 -- AVerMedia's own capture and streaming software -- and a three-month subscription to the streaming software XSplit. I could go on for days about the various streaming software out there, but currently there is no one true winner. Rec 2 is pretty simple and great for beginners, allowing for picture in picture and layout designs with ease, while XSplit has more options and advanced features but runs a monthly fee. I personally use OBS, as it is free and covers most of my needs, though sometimes I still use Rec 2 or XSplit if they have a specific feature I need at the time.
The main feature that the LGX touts is ultra-low latency uncompressed video, meaning you see the game as intended with no real lag or delay between what you'd see on your TV. In my pseudo-scientific tests, I shot 240fps footage with my iPhone of my computer screen versus my TV screen with Mario Kart 8's timer on the screen, and found that AVerMedia's claim of under 0.05 seconds of latency is true. On average, it seemed be around 0.04 seconds, sometimes going up to .08 at worst and .02 at best.
The latency is better than any previous capture device I've used and allows me to play off my computer screen instead of switching inputs, as I use a single-screen setup with my desktop in the living room connected to my TV. This allows me to react to my onscreen follower and subscriber alert without having an impact on my gameplay.
Also included is the ability to print your own cover image for branding and vanity purposes. It doesn't serve much purpose, in my opinion, but you can easily make what you'd like with the included cover creator software. I personally suggest a Red Bull can overlaid onto an image of Destiny for the coolest of covers.
Overall, AVerMedia has made the Live Gamer EXTREME the capture device to beat. It is more feature rich than competitors at the same price point, and no other device has offered the minimal latency.
[This review is based on retail hardware provided by the manufacturer.]
reviewed by Jed Whitaker