Magewell USB Capture HDMI Review

HDMI Magwell

What is the Magewell USB Capture HDMI?

In simple terms the device converts a HDMI stream into a USB input stream.

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This is particularly useful if, for example, you wanted to show video in a Skype for Business video call. As the Skype for Business client only picks up webcams and other USB devices this wouldn't normally be possible. This device can be used to connect you to another laptop streaming the video, converting it to USB. Skype for Business then sees it as another camera therefore allowing it to be used in video calls. I will show how this works in more detail soon. First lets look at the actual product.

Product Info

IMG_20160303_110951183The product comes in a plastic display case and includes a blue USB 3.0 cable. It doesn't come with instructions but it is all pretty self explanatory so you shouldn't need any.

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Once unpacked, you will notice that the devise is made of metal so feels pretty sturdy. In terms of size, it's 84.25 x 42.8 x 12.6mm.

There is a HDMI port at one end and a USB port at the other end. There are also two lights, a power light to show that you have power and an action light to show that the device is working.

Using the Device

Once the USB lead is connected to your laptop, both lights will come on. Your laptop will also recognise a new device. If you then go into Skype for Business, and go to the video device settings, you will see there are now two devices; the integrated webcam and the HDMI video, as seen below.

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If you select the HDMI video it will show what ever is running on the second laptop, therefore allowing you to share that content with other participants in Skype for Business video call.

Things to Note:

It is worth pointing out that the image you will see in the video preview is flipped. As we normally only see ourselves via the webcam you might not have noticed this. When we show other content, especially text this will become a lot more apparent. This is nothing to worry about though, it is only you that will see it this way. All other people on the call will see this the correct way round. It can however be slightly confusing, so worth being aware of.

The other point worth noting is that it cannot be used with certain products such as PlayStation, TV's etc. This is due to copyright laws to stop you streaming or recording live TV. I have tested with Netflix though and this does work.

It also worth pointing out that you can't switch video devise during a call. You can't therefore start a video call, then switch to the second laptop to show the video, then switch back to the video call. This is achievable but you would need to use a third laptop to facilitate the webcam. Although this isn't something that you would do day to day, it is very useful to know about, especially if you make a lot of larger video calls or broadcasts.


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