What AVerMedia's HDMI 2.1 Capture Cards Mean for Streamers
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What AVerMedia's HDMI 2.1 Capture Cards Mean for Streamers

Aug 21, 2023

AVerMedia's HDMI 2.1 capture cards will allow streamers to play their modern consoles and PCs in uncompromised visual glory.

HDMI 2.1 has become an increasingly common standard, especially since 2020 with its inclusion in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Streamers can now rejoice as the very first capture cards supporting HDMI 2.1 were announced by AVerMedia and ASUS. We'll discuss the news and what this means for streamers moving forward.

AVerMedia, one of the longest-running capture card companies, announced the first-ever consumer HDMI 2.1 capture cards at the Computex event in Taiwan. These devices are the Live Gamer ULTRA 2.1, which uses USB 3.2 connectivity, and the Live Gamer 4K 2.1, which connects over PCIe.

These cards share the same key specs: HDMI passes through up to 4K144 with capture up to 4K60. Additionally, the Live Gamer ULTRA 2.1 is the first USB capture card to support 4K60 capture—this was a capture spec previously restricted to PCIe and Thunderbolt connectivity.

ASUS also announced an HDMI 2.1 capture card, though they are a more recent entry in the world of capture cards. This card is the TUF Gaming Capture Box-4KPro, which shares the same notable specs as the ULTRA 2.1.

Additionally, both ASUS and AVerMedia's capture cards may receive updates and improvements to their specs via firmware updates.

Most modern gaming—the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and most modern GPUs—supports HDMI 2.1 and video specs of up to 4K144. But up until now, most capture cards did not. If you wanted to capture these devices, you only had HDMI 2.0 capture cards, which capped at 4K60 inputs.

Thus, even if you had a console like the PS5 and an HDMI 2.1 monitor that allowed gaming at 4K144, you were required to limit everything to 4K60, 1440p144, or lower to fit into your HDMI 2.0 capture card's pass-through specs.

Your HDMI 2.0 capture card was unable to pass through the 4K144 video signal from your console to your display, but an HDMI 2.1 capture card can.

In other words, HDMI 2.0 capture cards used to be the HDMI signal bottleneck streamers had to accommodate in their broadcast, limiting their gameplay. With HDMI 2.1 cards from AVerMedia and ASUS, there is no longer a bottleneck.

Streamers can finally play their modern consoles and PCs at full visual specs thanks to 4K144 pass-through and still go live. Remember to upgrade your HDMI cables to ones that support HDMI 2.1 as well!

Your viewers likely won't notice a difference, as Twitch remains limited to 1080p60 streams at a relatively low bitrate. That said, you now won't have to make any compromises with your gameplay while streaming anymore. Enjoy the full specs of your console and monitor in your gameplay.

HDMI 2.1 is an impressive achievement for a capture card's specs, but it still remains overkill. HDMI 2.1 TVs and monitors are still fairly niche and expensive, so most people still cannot even make use of these new devices due to lacking a suitable display.

However, as tech constantly improves and HDMI 2.1 becomes more common, we’ll be glad to have this level of capture card around.

Andy is a creator, marketer, and writer. His most recent employment was with AVerMedia as community manager for creator operations, handling all things social media, influencer relations, and more—if you have any questions related to webcams, capture cards, or similar devices, he's the one to ask! Technologically, he is passionate about making the most of his gear, including his full-fledged Apple ecosystem (with a Windows gaming PC), and finding new, unexpected ways of using his devices, such as streaming tools for productivity. Some of his additional interests include making content on his YouTube channel, improving his photography skills, learning languages, running, and making music, specifically the Ocarina, with his ensemble Ocabanda.