The Live Gamer Duo Works With No Hassle Like All Tech Should

The Live Gamer Duo Works With No Hassle Like All Tech Should
Image: Kotaku Australia

You know what I like the most about tech? When it does its job with absolutely zero fuss. It’s why I love the AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo so much.

The Live Gamer Duo is a new internal capture card from AVerMedia, offering the next step from the company’s Live Gamer HD 2 offering or their external cards like the Live Gamer Extreme series. Retailing for around $389 locally, the Live Gamer Duo’s big selling point is the dual HDMI inputs: one for capturing gameplay via a console or second PC, and a second for DSLR’s/camcorders.

On top of that, the Live Gamer Duo supports 4K/60fps HDR passthrough, and 1080p/60fps HDR recording. (It’ll even handle the HDR to SDR tone mapping automatically if you’re going through OBS, which is awesome.) There’s H.265 recording, AAC and 5.1 channel support through the RECentral software, otherwise you’ll have to rely on old-fashioned H.264. The primary HDMI input will also support 1440p/144fps, 1080p/240fps too, whereas the second HDMI input only takes up to 1080p/60fps.

That second port is meant primarily for DSLRs, although you could quite reasonably run a Switch through it. Both inputs appear as separate capture devices in RECentral, OBS and Windows. That’s immensely handy if you wanted to record and control those inputs individually — particularly if you’re editing videos down afterwards and you want to be working off the highest possible quality.

The side of the card has an LED strip, if your PC is in a place where you have the internals nearby.

AVerMedia Live Gamer Duo

WHAT IS IT?

AVerMedia's latest capture card

PRICE

From $389

LIKE

A capture card with in-built camlink. Basically everything streamers have been asking for. Simultaneous capture and control of both inputs, including in separate programs.

NO LIKE

RECentral software still a bit too fiddly. No HDMI 2.1 support for next-gen consoles.

Image: RECentral in action.

The cost obviously makes it clear who the Live Gamer Duo is for, and that’s for serious streamers. It’s a great option if you’re going all-out on a single streaming rig, and especially for those who stream a lot of console games. HDR capture cards have been available before, but they’re generally external devices requiring Thunderbolt 3 ports — like AVerMedia’s own Live Gamer Bolt. Elgato’s 4K60 Pro MK2 supports 4K/60fps HDR10 capture.

But that doesn’t have an extra port for HDMI capture, so if you wanted to capture a second console (maybe for splitscreen/co-op gameplay) or a second HDMI input for your camera, you’d need to invest a couple of hundred extra into an Elgato Camlink. Now that’s a great device, but the Live Gamer Duo supports all of it at once, which is a great lifesaver.

If you want to see an example of what the footage looks like below, I used it for our most recent stream where Leah and I chatted all things next-gen.

There are a few caveats, of course. The Gamer Duo only supports HDMI 2.0, not HDMI 2.1, although from a recording perspective that shouldn’t be a major problem. Most Australian streamers wouldn’t be streaming beyond 60fps anyway, and not at 4K. I also couldn’t get the Live Gamer Duo to play nicely with Nvidia Broadcast, which meant no fancy AI-powered backgrounds or insta-green screen effects with the footage from my stock Sony A7.

Another potentially bigger caveat is that the Gamer Duo won’t support Dolby Vision HDR. That makes sense for gaming in 2020, but with Dolby Vision coming to the Xbox Series X next year — and most likely the PS5 from 2022 onwards — it might be something to consider.

AVerMedia’s RECentral software — particularly the installation process — could use a bit of simplification too. Instead of just downloading one piece of software, you have to get AVerMedia Assist Central, which is a separate launcher. There’s two separate bits of software, RECentral (AVerMedia’s in-built recording suite) and “Gaming Utility”, which lets you customise what resolutions/frame rates can be supported.

Also, the AVerMedia servers take ages to update from.

Still, that’s nitpicking at the edges considering what most Australian streamers require in 2020. As a fun bonus, you can happily use the second input for things like retro consoles, or streaming something like an iPad/mobile (if you want to go through the hassle of that).

Setup was supremely easy, even with the internal installation. The Live Gamer Duo is a PCIe capture card, so you have to go through the process of opening up your PC.

And when it’s installed, all you need to do is download the AVerMedia drivers and give it all a restart. (You might still have to disable HDCP if you’re going through certain consoles, but that’s the case with any capture card.)

Image: Kotaku Australia

But beyond that, it’s really hard to lay too much fault here. The Live Gamer Duo is what a ton of streamers and content creators have been asking for: a capture card with the capacity of a Camlink/second HDMI output built into it.

It does the job. The software is relatively hassle-free and it plays perfectly with OBS, Streamlabs or whatever other streaming software you want to mess around with. The passthrough support (versus what you can actually capture) makes total sense given the needs of Australian streamers and internet connections. Even the HDR issue I don’t think is a major deal when you think about what devices viewers would be watching back on (and the HDR support on those devices).

It works just fine with consoles and it certainly copes with my DSLR well, although you’ll want to invest in some kind of dummy battery for your camera so it stays charged throughout.

There’s not really a whole lot else to say. Capture cards aren’t flashy devices with a ton of bells and whistles, and they shouldn’t be. They’re bits of tech that are meant to quietly, but efficiently, do their thing.

The Live Gamer Duo does that and it makes life easier. Sure, it’s pricey, but it’s cheaper than paying for a 4K/60 internal (or external capture card) and then paying for a separate USB camlink. It’s internal and not reliant on your USB 3.0 bandwidth, so you’re not dealing with the latency issues than the 4K external capture cards have. It doesn’t have any annoyances around Thunderbolt 3, and it’s capable of passing and capturing at 4K/60.

What more could you want?

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