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FAQ: What Is a Capture Device and Why Do I Need One?

capture device (also referred to as a capture card) is a hardware device that you connect to your computer that converts the video signal from your camera's output into a digital format your computer can recognize. If you intend on using a camera that outputs HDMI, HD-SDI, component, etc., then you will need a capture device in order for Livestream Producer or Livestream Studio to recognize your camera(s). 

Common Questions:


Do they work on laptops?


Yes. While many cards are PCIe (i.e. must be installed into a PCIe slot on a desktop computer), many other devices connect via USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt. Be sure to check your device's technical specifications prior to purchasing!


Can I use any capture device?


Livestream Producer and Livestream Studio both officially support products in Blackmagic Design's Capture and Playback product family. Livestream Studio additionally supports capture products by Magewell.


Since there are some discrepancies, we have provided individual lists of supported devices for:


I have a Blackmagic Design capture device. What version of Desktop Video should I download?


We generally recommend that customers download the most recent version of Desktop VideoHowever, if you are running Windows 10 Pro version 1709, we recommend using Blackmagic Desktop Video 10.9.5 instead.


See here for installation instructions.


What about Magewell drivers?


Magewell drivers for their Pro Capture Family update automatically; there are no known issues with their drivers currently. Magewell's USB family of products are driverless.


I have a Livestream Broadcaster product. Do I need a capture device?


No - The Broadcaster products have video capture built-in, so you can just plug and play.


What about the HD550, HD51, HD31, and other Studio hardware units?


Blackmagic Design capture cards are already built into those units and their drivers are pre-installed. The Studio One has Magewell capture cards pre-installed.

You only need to separately purchase capture devices if you purchased Livestream Studio software for a computer you already own or have built yourself.

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