New Hardware Announcement: Mobile Capture with Digital Foundry HDScope

March 22nd, 2009 |

Digital Foundry is pleased to announce its new entry-level unit, designed for ultra-mobile, quality-focused high definition capture. Primarily aimed at video games media outlets, HDScope is a portable computer with an integrated 7″ widescreen touchscreen display, measuring just 30.5 x 20 x 18.5cm and weighing around 5kg. Simply plug into the mains, connect to any component or unencrypted HDMI source and you’re instantly recording superb quality video.
HDScope works best with 720p, but also supports 480i/576i and 1080i. Video and audio passthrough allows you to use HDScope as an intermediate ‘bridge’. Connect your source to the unit, and the unit to your HD display and you have full realtime gameplay on the main screen while HDScope’s touchscreen is used for preview and recording functionality.
Digital Foundry’s customary support for CineForm HD is included, along with two lossless codecs - the freeware UT Codec Pack and the shareware AMV Codec.  AMV also includes multiple lossy options; not quite in CineForm’s league for ultra-precision capture, but still remarkable. All recorded clips can be played back in realtime on HDScope’s integrated touchscreen.

Digital Foundry HDScope, capturing Dead or Alive 4 on Xbox 360. All recording functionality can be carried out via 7″ LCD touchscreen, with AV passthrough options allowing you to retain gameplay on the big screen. Keyboard, mouse and monitor can also be attached, transforming HDScope into a powerful small form factor PC.

HDScope’s performance on 720p video is akin to TrueHD in its YPrPb 4:2:2 mode. The new hardware lacks signature Digital Foundry 24-bit RGB support, as this is an entry level product with a corresponding feature set, but the quality level is still exemplary. Here’s a quartet of Dead of Alive 4 shots. DOA’s lack of anti-aliasing, it’s mind-melting strobing colour schemes and ultra-fast v-locked 60fps gameplay make it a nightmare to compress - ideal testing material. Click on the thumbnails for full 720p screenshots taken directly from the captured video.

The top shots show CineForm compression at work, revealing that even in this ultra-stress test, it’s still the best quality vs filesize codec in town. The shots at the bottom are extracted from lossless captures acquired by the HDScope in the same session.

Some random HDScope facts: universal power supply means it’ll work anywhere worldwide… CineForm compression means optimum quality and at least 20 hours of 720p60 video at ultra-precision quality on HDScope’s 1TB hard disk… includes typical Digital Foundry variable frame rate selection - why capture a 30fps game at 60fps and waste valuable hard disk space?… use HD Fury 2 to capture from any HDCP encrypted source…  inexpensive adaptor available to capture Wii 480p… carry case also available!

Should HDScope prove to be popular, expect a TrueHD 1080p capable unit to be introduced.