Hey hey, folks! Lumpz the Clown here, and recently, I was able to get ahold of a Monoprice component cable for my Wii. I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether it makes a difference or not, and I had to see with my own eyes what it was all about.
Where many folks would opt to play something more universally appealing like Super Mario Galaxy 2, I went with a much darker sequel: Manhunt 2! What better way to see a purported boost in graphical quality than seeing a would-be hunter’s brain matter smacking off the wall.
Out of the SD Stone Age and Into the Light
Shortly before this purchase, I had also taken the leap from my aged Elgato Video Capture to the Game Capture HD, which also came complete with a component adapter aside from its onboard HDMI input. The component cable was then attached to this adapter and outputted to my 1080p HDTV.
Below are the results of this test, captured in 480p (which so happened to scale fullscreen nicely with my HDTV):
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the gumption to capture the Wii’s native 480i output and do a side-by-side comparison with the above test for fear of upsetting my new capture card. Now that I’ve had some time to tinker with the Game Capture HD some more, I’m almost certain that it can support hotswapping cables, which will help those who want to create a single video file.
Believe me: your editing program will thank you!
Changing settings between inputs within Game Capture’s software is pretty straightforward, and detailed instructions for your particular setup can be found here. There’s even support for older systems, going all the way back to the NES!
For OBS Users: After adding your capture card to the scene, right-click and select Properties. Ensure your card is selected in the dropdown menu and click Configure, and a new window will open. Select Component, confirm your other settings, and hit OK.
See the Difference for Yourself
When I first started my channel, I was recording gameplay using an Elgato Video Capture, which is primarily used for converting VHS tapes to a digital format. This initially worked great for capturing my first Let’s Play of Dragon’s Lair, but now looks absolutely horrible when displayed on an HD monitor.
Back then, my recording setup was connected to a CRT television that I picked up for free on Craigslist. CRTs are still the optimal display to use for casually playing and/or recording gameplay when using an SD capture card like the Video Capture (Atari, anyone?), but it quickly became obsolete when I made the leap to the Game Capture HD, which only has a single HDMI output.
Luckily for me, my local pawn shop had the HDTV that I currently use for under $40. To avoid any potential problems with PS3 and PS4 capture, I strongly suggest that you use an HD monitor to see what’s happening onscreen. There are adapters available that can convert an HDMI signal to a CRT-friendly RCA signal, but you may find yourself playing in the dark, even if you mess with the Game Capture’s TV Compatibility setting.
How Gameplay Capture Looks Now
Recently, I began my 3rd annual run of Summer Brutality, where I was able to put the Component Cable and Game Capture HD to the ultimate test by streaming Castlevania Adventure ReBirth for over 4 hours. The results of this stream are below. (Warning: strong language ahead that’s definitely NSFW).
Compared to what I had, this is miles ahead from where I started. Unfortunately, my video history does not include any instances of Wii footage recorded with my Video Capture. As part of my research, I pored through countless tech forums and YouTube videos to see if I was really getting my money’s worth.
At this point, I was about $90 in, so it made sense to see if it was a good idea. For completionist’s sake, here’s some side-by-side footage of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Wii’s Virtual Console by Jeltser64:
And Super Mario Galaxy 2, as presented by Steven Rivera:
Quite an improvement, huh? Images are less blurry, edges are sharpened, and colors are more vivid than their 480i iterations. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to see the difference if you were using anything other than an HD monitor, but that seems to be more of a lack of support than anything else.
Remember when I said that the Elgato Game Capture is able to record footage from older consoles? The included component adapter supports RCA output, but each console has its own separate set of instructions that allows the Game Capture to recognize it.
Below is a comparision of technical specifications between the Elgato Video Capture and the Elgato Game Capture.
Elgato Video Capture
- Video resolution: 640×480 (4:3) or 640×360 (16:9)
- Video format Mac Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/sec or MPEG-4 at 2.4 MBit/se
- Video format PC Software: H.264 at 1.4 MBit/se
- Audio: AAC, 48kHZ, 128 kBit/sec
Elgato Game Capture (view PDF of owner’s manual here)
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Input: PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Xbox 360, Wii U (unencrypted HDMI), PlayStation 3 (A/V In)
- Output: HDMI (pass-through)
- Supported resolutions: 1080p (simultaneous 60 fps pass-through and 30fps capture), 1080i, 720p (60 or 30 fps capture), 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i, 288p, 240p.
Here are some offer page links where you can pick up either the Elgato Video Capture, Elgato Game Capture, or Monoprice Wii Component Cable if you need them. The image links below will refer you to three of eBay’s top sellers.
Yes, the Elgato Video Capture is able to capture the same resolution that the Wii natively outputs (480i), and would work great for those who capture gameplay while exclusively using a CRT monitor. However, do bear in mind that capturing from newer consoles would not upscale to 480p at minimum, even with HDMI-to-RCA converters.
The effects of this can be reduced by setting the Video Capture’s aspect ratio to 16:9 before recording, but will still appear blurry when viewed on an HD monitor or smartphone.
For the best all-around functionality, I would recommend an Elgato Game Capture HD or higher used in conjunction with component cables where available. There are even mods available for the NES and others that allow for an HDMI signal that may be compatible with this capture card, but there’s no guarantee beyond what is natively supported by each respective console.
All in all, it all comes down to what works best for you and your needs. Even with the best capture card, an older signal can only be upscaled so much before they break. Look at what you have and make up your own mind.
Thanks for stopping by, and Lumpz the Clown OUT!
Wanna know how the Raspberry Pi can make emulating older consoles at 1080p even easier? Check out the article here!
Curious if lightgun NES games like Duck Hunt will work with your HDTV or flatscreen CRT? Check out the results of our test here!