Article first published as Product Review: AverMedia HD EzRecorder Plus on Blogcritics.
My first experience with AVerMedia was at the Show Stoppers event at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, earlier this year. Probably best known for their PC game capture devices, the Taiwanese company recently released a capture device for gaming consoles. Often used for capturing the action in games or for walkthroughs, the game capture device, which came with adapters for the three major consoles, received mostly positive reviews. Building on that success, AVerMedia has now released a DVR device, the HD EzRecorder Plus.
AVerMedia’s HD EzRecorder Plus is a standalone video capture box which allows users to preserve HD TV shows, or record your own content in 720p or 1080i. As an added feature, the recorder also allows the user to take snapshots with the press of a button. Standalone however does not mean that it is usable straight out of the box. The EZ Recorder Plus does not include storage however, there are a few options. If you flip the box over, there is a door where a standard 2.5 inch SATA hard drive can be installed. The box also has a front USB port where a flash drive or external USB hard drive can be plugged. The device also allows transferring from the installed hard drive to the USB device.
Once you have your storage situation straightened out, you can hook the device up to your system. While not designed for gaming applications, anything with component video outputs can be plugged into the device and recorded. What the HD EzRecorder is designed for, is working as a DVR. The package includes an infrared blaster to control whatever set-top box you own. Though only a couple of devices are preloaded, the EzRecorder will learn your remote well enough to turn on and change the channel on your set top box. The HD EzRecorder Plus offers a cyclic schedule recording function so, it can independently handle the whole video recording task without using a PC. You can of course just use the included remote to record on the fly.
At the max resolution of 720, the HD EzRecorder Plus did an impressive job of capturing video. Leaving the setting at optimal or 15 Mbps will allow recording a little over an hour on an 8GB memory stick or 125 hours on a 1TB hard drive. The still pictures will be captured at the same resolution of 1280 X 720. Dropping down to 480p will nearly double the recording capabilities. Besides the six resolution options of: 1080i, 720p, 480i/p, and 576i/p, the bit rate has two lower settings, as well. With a 1TB hard drive at the lowest resolution and bit rate, users could record 650 hours. If you want your TV shows for your phone, that setting is probably fine.
The pretty straightforward menu makes pulling the files off of the HD EzRecorder fairly easy. The problem most users will have is that the avi file format is incompatible with most other software and devices. The AVerMedia website does contain links to file converters so that the media can be played on mobile devices. The native H.264 compression is also incompatible with Real Producer and Sony Vegas or Vegas Pro and will need to be converted before editing, which is bound to result in some loss. It is also worth noting that as good as the captured video looks, the audio is only captured in stereo.
I must confess that I like the HD EzRecorder Plus more than I thought I would. The box is nice looking and the menu system is straightforward and easy to use. The remote, while basic is better than others I have seen and used too. The biggest problems that I found with the device are a terrible adhesive for the IR blaster and an HDMI input would have been useful. Actually considering the cost and additional equipment necessary, HDMI really should have been included. That being said, the component pass-through works fine. Most users most likely have a DVR in the living room, on the main TV in the house and this would be used on a secondary setup because the STB must be playing whatever it is you want to record. With that in mind, the HD EzRecorder Plus works very well in that type of usage and produces great video and sound quality for smaller TVs and mobile devices. The AVerMedia HD EzRecorder Plus can be found on Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0091CFBBG
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