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Why Do Streaming Capture Cards Need an Output Cable?

Video capture cards have been popularised by streaming; being able to record and broadcast your PC, games consoles, cameras and more all in real-time. To make sure the recordings are made efficiently and your experience as the streamer is as smooth as possible capture cards include an HDMI in, HDMI out, and USB 3.0 or other data connection to your PC / Laptop.

But what does the bypass really achieve? Why not simply plug the console or camera in to the PC and stream away like that? Avoid this common streaming error and make sure your outputs are set up correctly!

The Ins and Outs of Capture Cards

Firstly, let's identify the components here:

Video Input - Your video input is the data you want to capture, and in turn stream. This can be a camera or games console for example

PC Data Connection - This is a USB or other data connection which allows the video input to move from the card itself on to your PC! Now that video has moved from the console, to the card, to the PC.

Video Output - This is the elephant in the room, what is it achieving when the video has already moved from the console / camera to the PC? The output isn't required for the recording and streaming process but acts as a passthrough.

Why is a Passthrough Capture Card Important?

This ability to passthrough video in real time through your capture card is vital for reactive, comfortable streaming. If you stream with a card without passthrough you will have the recording going to your PC, and being streamed, but you yourself will have to play the game / record the video through the recording software!

Think of it this way:

A person at a concert records the stage, looking at their phone screen rather than the real concert

Not having a video output from your capture card is like watching a concert through your phone screen. You see the same concert, but you're looking at a digital recreation on a tiny screen when you could just peek over at the actual original performance!

That's the same with capture cards.

In the case of video capture, your recording software is the video data after being send through HDMI, into the card, and then to the PC via USB 3.0 on to what is probably a windowed preview.

You can't play full-screen without blocking your other PC functions and streaming panels, and you aren't seeing the "real" gameplay from the console, just like with the phone at the concert.

VGB500 Shows an HDMI Output Passthrough in a Labelled Diagram. A PS4 going IN while a monitor goes OUT.

By using a HDMI output from the capture card the video footage has the opportunity to be sent to a monitor or TV without having to go into the PC first. This means you can sit and play your games console just like normal, with the console connected to the TV as standard.

The console HDMI port is being used, but the video output of the capture card allows you to still keep your connection from the console to the TV or monitor! You get all the super-fast HDMI gameplay on your favourite screen while your PC does the heavy-lifting of the stream.

Easy To Use Capture Cards

Once you understand the important of the passthrough and video output, and how it works, you can pick up a great HD capture card for less. Some go for over £150 but making high-end tech affordable is a quality of Daffodil working direct with UK suppliers. Check out the VGB500 capture card with video output cable to experience easy, cheap streaming yourself be it for gaming or sharing any other hobby

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