As you know, I record footage with a Vita TV since it’s a cheap way to capture footage. While it’s tricky to record footage since the Vita TV use HDCP, it has some downfalls, namely compatibility. It’s basically a hit or miss. Sure, it will work perfectly with most roleplaying games, but games that uses the touch screen such as Kancolle Kai will not work. It will just give you an error message saying it’s not compatible. Considering that I have a number of games that do not work on the Vita TV, it was a disappointment.
Since the Vita TV killed off by Sony earlier this year, it’s expected that the compatibility will get worse. In short, I pulled the trigger to mod my older Vita and here are my thoughts.
Note: It’s not possible to obtain a Playstation Vita with a capture mod since the company behind it, Katsukity went out of business. This review will remain for historical purposes. No, the capture kit is not for sale.
What is this Vita capture mod? It takes the similar idea of the Nintendo DS capture mod. You send it to someone to install a board that capture the display signal while passing through the display. This signal is passed through a USB port. This specific mod uses a Nisetoro board from Katy Co. Ltd. Depending on the model, it can cost $259 to $280 if you already have a console to send. They also have preassembled consoles as well. Since I got a Vita-2000, I simply sent in my original OLED Vita in.
While this mod is expensive compared to the Vita TV solution, if you don’t already have a capture card already and a device that strips HDCP, it’s about the same price. While I had a device that converts the signal to component, it died after a year. In other words, I had to buy another device, which got discontinued just last month. If you don’t want to go through the pain of playing with splitters and stuff (which is not necessary to record PS4 footage), the Vita capture mod is a no-brainer even if it cost a little more.
After sending the console, they installed the board, which surprisingly took only two weeks. This surprised me since I thought I would be waiting for months given the complaints the company received. Either way, the package will include a USB cable, the modded console and a sheet of paper that contains the serial number to run the software.
While the software is basic and does not play back sound, you need to plug a wire from the Vita’s headphone port into your line in on your computer. In addition, you need to change the Windows settings to playback the audio from the input. On a Mac, you need to use a program called Linein. After that, you can play your Vita on the big screen or record footage using a screen recorder like Fraps or nVidia’s Shadowplay. On the Mac, the built-in screen recorder in QuickTime will work fine
How is the quality? While the Vita TV upscale the display output to 720p, the Vita capture board only shows up to the Vita’s original resolution of 960 by 540. However, the window can be resized.
While the Vita TV looks slightly better, after resizing to the original resolution, there is not much difference. The picture quality depends on the settings in the viewer application. Since my computer is a mid-2012 Macbook Pro with a quad-core Intel Core I7, it ran flawlessly with no lag. This is something that is not possible with a conventional capture card like a Hauppague HD PVR and a Vita TV setup.
What are the drawbacks to this solution? Aside from being slightly more expensive, it can get a bit warm after a while. However, I didn’t notice any issues so far. Still, the software provided for OS X is somewhat flaky in terms of detecting the device. While it works on my Macbook Pro, it does not work on my Mac Pro 2008 in OS X without installing a USB 3.0 PCI Express card. Ironically, it works flawlessly in Windows 7 on the same computer.
The only bad thing is that they are slow to reimbursing the money to send the console to them so that they can install the capture board. While they say that they will refund you $30 when you provide a receipt, it didn’t happen yet. I provided them a copy and they have yet to reimburse me for nearly two months. If you decide to it, ship it through the Post Office via EMS. It won’t be as expensive compared to UPS or Fedex.
In the end, if you want to record or stream all the games in the Vita library, the capture mod is recommended. Hopefully with this, I can at least provide some gameplay footage for all games, not just Vita TV compatible ones.
With that, I want to show the video quality with a short footage of Kantai Collection Kai. I plan on sharing my impressions for this game in the near future.
The Bottom Line
Strengths: Ability to capture any Vita games and comparable image quality to the Vita TV.
Weaknesses: A bit more expensive than a Vita TV, Splitter and a Capture Card setup. The viewer application is a bit basic and can’t record without a screen recording application.