Practical test of the capturing box for video uploads

Elgato 4K60 S + capturing box

El Gato – that is Spanish for hangover, but can also mean thief colloquially. Anyone who has a hangover from thinking about how they can record their gameplay for YouTube, Twitch and Co in the highest quality without sacrificing performance could – and this comes full circle – help from the manufacturer Elgato with "stealing" the image data of a PC or a game console.

Because Elgato, once founded in Germany and owned by the US company Corsair since 2018, has for a long time been primarily offering products that steal the image of a PC or even a game console in a figurative sense. This is not about data theft, but about products that tap the image signal in order to capture it in the form of a video on a data carrier.

The Elgato 4K60S + and its scope of delivery

The Elgato 4K60S + and its scope of delivery

Source: Elgato

Video capturing is the magic word when we adapt to the PC vocabulary again. We took a closer look at a current Elgato product, namely the Elgato 4K60 S + capture box, which can be had in stores from a proud 370 euros. The manufacturer kindly made a copy of the box available for a practical test. The Elgato 4K60 S + is just as big as an internal 3.5-inch hard drive, just a little shorter and a tad higher. There are still a power supply unit and several cables (HDMI, power supply cable and a USB cable) – nevertheless, the box is very suitable for taking it with you to events or friends and creating planned or spontaneous recordings, but also for that you can tap your gameplay as a video from your PC or game console at home. We explain the details in our hands-on test.

Supported resolutions and connection

As the name suggests, the Elgato 4K60 S + is suitable for recording the image signal of a PC or a game console with up to 60 FPS (images per second) and a resolution of up to 4K (3840×2160 pixels), and if necessary, in HDR, whereby the box only supports the HDR10 format. The resolutions are 480p, 720p, 1080p and 2160p. 1440p, i.e. WQHD (2560×1440 pixels), is saved in 4K. The box cannot bypass the HDCP copy protection for the recording, otherwise it could save forbidden copy-protected films as video files.

Elgato 4K60 S + from behind: Connections for USB, power supply and HDMI input and output.

Elgato 4K60 S + from behind: Connections for USB, power supply and HDMI input and output.

Source: Elgato

For use, you connect the Elgato 4K60 S + to the power supply as well as to the HDMI output of a game console or the graphics card of a PC. The HDMI output of the box then goes to the monitor or TV set. The box is simply switched between the console or PC and display. You don't have to worry about latency, because the box simply picks up the HDMI signal and processes it internally.

Video storage

The videos are saved on a memory card for which there is an SD card slot on the Elgato 4K60 S +. The recording can be started and stopped via an LED touch button on the box, which also indicates the current status. The Elgato 4K60 S + works with an HEVC chip which, thanks to its coding, transfers the videos very efficiently to the SD card. The capture box recognizes the source material and adapts the recording accordingly, whereby you can also make your own settings and specifications via the Settings.txt file stored on the card – for example, MP4 or MKV as the target format and AVC / H264 or HEVC as the encoding format / H265 and more.

However, you have to do this with the help of a PC with a card reader, where you can format the card before using it for the first time. However, the settings file on the card is only created after it has been inserted into the box for the first time – if you do not want to leave the settings to the factory settings, you must then adjust them via PC. Elgato mentions a 256GB memory card as an example of the recording time: Up to seven hours of 4K recording with HDR are possible. This also seems realistic: A one-hour 4K test video without HDR took up around 30 gigabytes of storage space – around eight of these videos would have fit on the card. The SD card must have at least UHS class U3 and video speed class V30 for the highest quality level. Corresponding cards cost from 27 euros for 256GB and from 60 euros for 512GB. 1TB variants are still rare and, with prices starting at 185 euros, are so expensive that it is better to buy several smaller SD cards if necessary.

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