FAQs - Magewell Capture Devices

Written by Super User on 28 March 2017


Magewell USB Capture devices

1. Can I use SDK if I use Magewell PnP USB Capture devices?

Magewell PnP USB Capture devices includes USB Capture HDMI (Gen 1 and Gen 2); USB Capture AIO (replacement for XI100XUSB-PRO), USB Capture Plus family (for HDMI, SDI, DVI, HDMI 4K and SDI 4K). All these PnP versions cannot use Pro capture SDK (Version 3.0 and above), as this SDK is fully developed by Magewell itself. Users can use very limited features available in SDK for Windows (Version 2.X), but they can only use features of capturing and recording. We consider to provide SDK for Plus dongles in the future without a precise timeline.

2. If the user uses Skype or Facetime, and need recommendation of USB Capture devices, what model is recommended?

We recommend them to use USB Capture HDMI Plus. We offer a software tool called USB Capture Utility so users can set the feature of “Flip” which is very useful when people use Skype or Facetime.

3. Can I connect multiple USB capture devices on one PC?

Yes, you can. But you shall make sure the multiple USB devices are connected to independent USB 3.0 controller (not USB interface) to make sure the bandwidth is not shared with each other.

4. Will you provide PnP version for VC200XUSB? (VC200XUSB)

Currently we don’t have such a plan as technically it is very difficult to do.

5. Are Magewell USB capture devices compatible with USB 2.0 interface? And can I use USB 2.0 cable with the capture devices?

They are compatible with USB 2.0, but the performance will get affected due to the bandwidth of USB 2.0. We recommend the user to use an extension card to extend a USB 3.0, which will be better. But you are not recommended to use USB 2.0 to use together with Magewell USB capture devices. Because we use a customized USB 3.0 cable for USB Capture family and USB Capture Plus family. For other USB capture devices, they adopt regular USB 3.0 cables.

6. How can I set the de-interlace of PnP USB capture devices?

You can use the USB Capture Utility software to make such settings. Currently there are two versions: one for USB Capture Gen 1 and XI100XUSB-PRO, and the other version is for USB Capture Plus family, USB Capture Gen 2 and USB Capture AIO. The latter version provides more settings. We are working on a firmware update for Gen 1 users so they will be able to use the Utility for Gen 2 as well. There is not timeline for that, but we have been working on that already.

7. If I want to make settings for input and output signals when I use Magewell PnP USB Capture devices, how can I achieve that?

It is not available on USB Capture Utility for Gen 1 products, but in the latest USB Capture Utility for Gen 2, you’ll see the UI for various settings, just like our driver panel.

8. Do I need to upgrade the firmware? And what shall I do?

The USB Capture dongle is Like PCIe cards, if your device is working well, usually you don’t need to upgrade the firmware, unless Magewell tells you to do that. The USB Capture Utility will help detect whether a new firmware is available and it will help you upgrade it if you choose to do that. –this feature is not released yet.

9. My device is becoming very hot. Will it be a problem?

Usually it is not a problem, unless in few cases the dongle is defective. We test and compared the power consumptions of other similar products, and it is safe to say the USB Capture family consumes the least power, although the device feel hotter than others. The reason for that is because we use metal housing to get the heat inside out quickly. It helps to provide a more reliable product while others keep the heat inside, which may affect the reliability. The true 4K capture dongle consumes more power than USB Capture family as they deal with 4K signals and having more features for USB Capture family. But it should be OK based on the chips supplier’s specification and chip tests.
Magewell PCIe Cards

1. What is the latency of using Magewell capture cards (Pro capture family)?

It depends on what software and resolution (&frame rates) you use. If the software integrates the Pro capture SDK (V3.0), the latency caused by input video, capture card, and application can be all reduced down to 64 video lines. For example, when you capture 1080p60 YUY2, the latency is about 1ms. The following picture shows how it works in different modes.
If your software hasn’t integrated the SDK, we recommend customers to tick the 'low latency mode' in the driver panel properties. 

2. What Linux distribution does Magewell driver support?

We provide Linux drivers based on both x86 and ARM. If the customer can sign a direct NDA with Magewell, we could provide source code to the customer. In this case, there won’t be limitations of Linux distribution. If the customer cannot sign a direct NDA, they can download any Linux driver from our website, mainly for Ubuntu, including x86, ARM TK1 and ARM TX1.

3. Can we use multiple cards in one system?

Yes, as long as you have enough PCIe slots. You can even use multiple cards of different models. When you do that, make sure your CPU is powerful enough as Magewell products depends on software compression. We recommend you to choose a server or workstation to do that, which usually has a powerful CPU. H

According to our test, we can use 6 PCS 4K cards on one PC to capture signals (eg. For preview), but if the software you use cannot deal with so many inputs, you are still not able to stream or record all of them.

4. When using Magewell HDMI card, why I cannot capture signals? The video can be displayed well in a monitor?

It may be because the input HDMI signal is not standard or even corrupted. Magewell products adopts different chips from regular monitors and have higher requirements towards receiving signals. So if customer encounters this problem, we recommend them to use the mini repeater made by Magewell (http://www.magewell.com/hdmi-4k-repeater ). The repeater does more than extending the transmitting length of HDMI signals, and it can help fix the corrupted HDMI signals. (Note: if the signal is seriously corrupted, it cannot be captured even by the repeater). 

5. Do Magewell products support HDCP?


6. Do I need to upgrade the firmware?

We have firmware updates from time to time. But if your device is working well, usually you don’t need to upgrade the firmware, unless Magewell tells you to do that.

7. Can I remove the heat sink or fans from the card?

No, we don’t recommend you to do that as it will affect the reliability of the devices. If you use mini PCIe cards, you need to take special care of the heat radiation. Because mini PCIe cards are usually used in small chassis, the heat is harder to get out compared to regular PCs.

8. The temperature of the working card is very high. I want to reduce the power consumption, and what can I do?

You can check the core temperature in the info panel of the driver. If it is around 100 degree centigrade (212 F), it is normal. We adopt Xilinx chips to achieve better performance, so the power consumption is higher than our previous products. If you want to reduce the power consumption and don’t mind if certain features are not available, we recommend you to upgrade the firmware (low power consumption version) at our download page. It is applicable for two mini PCIe models as well as Pro capture dual HDMI and Pro capture dual SDI.

9. Are Magewell cards hardware compression cards?

Images are captured by hardware while the compression is done by software when saving the data. Magewell cards are not hardware compression cards
What is software compression? Capture of image and video data is done by hardware, but the compression is done by software when saving the data (without compression, the data volume will be very large, so usually it needs compression). The process of compression will use some CPU and memory.

What is hardware compression? Capture of image and video data and the compression are done by the capture card, and will not occupy much CPU.