HD PVR Rocket records video game play from PlayStation, Xbox and PC gaming systems in high definition resolution up to 1080p using H.264 video compression, and here is our review.

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The most notable feature of the Rocket is that it functions independently of a PC, powered by USB from the console or PC.

A press of the red button on the device will begin instant recording onto any size USB flash drive or powered external HDD over HDMI or component in H.264. The same format used by Blu-ray discs providing a crisp image and amazing digital sound. H.264 uses 1/3 of disk space compared to the popular MPEG-2 format – so when a 16 Gbyte USB thumb drive is plugged into the HD PVR Rocket, 4 hours video game play is recorded in full HD.

HD PVR Rocket is the ultimate portable video recorder: it is small enough to fit in your hand and weights just 130 grams and complementing the next generation console’s in-built gameplay sharing features by adding a huge amount of recording flexibility

What’s more, the HD PVR Rocket also has a built-in audio mixer so that gamers can record game commentary along with game audio. The in-built audio mixer will allow the addition of live commentary or background music over game audio by simply attaching a microphone, headset or mp3 player. A touch sensitive control panel situated next to the recording button adjusts the input volume and also features audio-level monitor, bass boost, audio-level lock and mute button.

Technical specifications

  • Hardware encoder:
    • H.264 AVCHD high definition video encoder, video encode up to 1080p30 from HDMI or component video.
  • No delay HDMI pass through:
    • HDMI or component in to HDMI out.
  • Recording data rate:
    • 1 to 18 Mbits/sec.
  • Recording formats:
    • MP4 in standalone mode, TS in PC connected mode.
  • USB thumb drive compatibility
    • USB 2.0 or USB 3.0
    • Size: from 1GB to 32GB
    • Minimum transfer rate: 2.5 Mbytes/sec
    • External hard disc compatibility: any self powered external storage drive with at least 2.5Mbytes/sec transfer rate
  • Audio mixer:
    • Mixes game audio with microphone audio
    • Supports both powered and unpowered microphones.
    • Microphone volume adjust, +20db boost and mute.
  • Input/output connections:
    • HDMI from Xbox, PC game systems or other HDMI sources without HDCP.
    • Component video in from a PS3 with stereo audio.
    • 3.5mm microphone jack.
    • USB thumb drive connector.
    • HDMI output.
  • Size:
    • 4.75 inches x 3.5 inches x 1.5 inches.
  • Power:
    • 5v @ 0.9 amps
  • Weight: 4.6 oz
  • Bundled with Hauppauge Capture software application:
    • Record your game play to your PC.
    • Record game commentary with game audio.
    • Fast trim.
    • Upload to YouTube.

A Closer Look

The rear of the Rocket has the USB power connector, both HDMI In and Out, and an A/V IN for use with a PlayStation or other component device.

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The front has a microphone socket and a USB port for connecting the flash drive. It also has an LED band going around the device which glows depending on the state of the Rocket. So for example, if you try to capture HDCP protected content it will blink green, and it will be a solid red when recording.

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On the top of the Rocket is the big red button used to start and stop the capturing. There is also a volume control, a mute button, and boost button to add +20dB and an unlock button to enable you to make selections. All are touch sensitive.

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Using the HD PVR Rocket

Using the HD PVR Rocket is really easy – you just connect it up to whatever you are capturing from using the supplied cables, plug in the USB flash drive, then press the big red button to start the capture. It’s that simple!

Here is a video of it in action:

 

Final Thoughts

As you can see from the photo at the start of this review, the HD PVR Rocket fits into the palm of your hand. Now of course you also need a USB flash drive and the relevant cables, but the most important feature is that you don’t actually need a computer to actually capture the footage to.

You can use a computer along with the Rocket by using the Hauppauge Capture software, but for me I am happy to just capture the gameplay footage and then drop it into Final Cut Pro and do everything else I need to do there.

Everything you need is included in the box, including an HDMI cable.

Setting up the Rocket was very simple – there are a few more steps if you want to use it on a PlayStation, but those steps are actually on the PlayStation itself, where as using it on an Xbox is as simple as connecting it up and pressing the button.

If you want to do a lot of capturing you need to ensure you use a large USB flash drive. I captured about 9 minutes of footage from an Xbox One running at 1080p and it used a little under 600MB, so I was very happy.

The quality of the capture is perfect, I was actually surprised just how good it was considering the size of the Rocket and that you just plug it in and go!

If you want to do any capturing at all, especially if you want to do that capturing outside of your home, I cannot recommend this highly enough, it’s a fantastic little device that will now be in my bag whenever I go to events, just in case I need it!

The Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket is available now priced at £139.99.

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Learn more from the Hauppauge website.