Elgato Turbo.264 HD Review

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A few years ago I bought an Elgato video encoder at Macworld. This little thumb device immediately became a regular part of my video encoding workflow. Recently Elgato released its upgraded HD version, the Turbo.264 HD which has improved upon the original in every way.

The Turbo.264 HD uses a new HD encoder that handles more formats and is faster than its predecessor. How fast? Really fast. I’ve been using the device a month and usually encoding goes twice as fast with the Turbo.264 HD than it does without it. Sometimes quite a bit faster.

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The science behind the Elgato Turbo.264 HD is its ability to take the video encoding work from your processor and do it with the Elgato’s own hardware encoding accelerator. In addition to accomplishing this faster than your Mac’s processor can, this also gives the added benefit of freeing up your processor for other jobs.

Elgato has also improved upon the software. The new version has easy to use presets but also allows you to tweak away.There is also a lightweight editor that allows you to trim and merge clips. The merge function is particularly useful for joining tracks. The QuickTime settings, not present on the older device, give you a ground zero way to export your video. You can set up multiple projects at once and the Elgato will rip through them without further interruption.

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Import and export are also easier with baked in support for AVCHD camcorders which converts what used to be a very tedious process into lickety split drag and drop. You can also directly export and upload to YouTube from within the Elgato software.

The device itself still looks like an oversized USB thumb drive. This time there is no cap for the USB plug but it does include a short USB extension cable that is handy when using it on a laptop with close set USB ports.

At $150, this product is not a necessity but it is wonderful luxury. It is good at what it does, consumer level encoding acceleration. It is fast and the final product is good. I don’t see it getting used for any feature films but for the stuff I make, it is just fine. The tipping point is if you are having troubles with video encoding or the process of encoding is interrupting your work. If you encode video once a month and start it off before heading to bed, you can move along. If, however, you are all too familiar with a sluggish Mac and endless encoding of files, you owe it to yourself to take a look at this product. The Elgato Turbo.264 HD can pay for itself in saved time.

You can listen to this review on Surfbits #213.

45 Comments Elgato Turbo.264 HD Review

  1. osxinfo@yahoo.ca

    the turboHD is a gem — when it actually works: which is rarely! 🙁

    the reviewer failed to mention that elgato products are notoriously flaky & unreliable (just look at their message boards!).

    the turboHD will stall (usually without an actionable error message) on a wide variety of source media (DVD rips or windows/divx codecs) — and here’s the rub — that otherwise proceed just fine without exception when processed through Handbrake!

    elgato’s slow pace for fixing bugs & adding vital features over the years suggests that they simply do not have the engineering resources to produce 1st class kit.

    the lack of any robust telemetry engine for reporting/analysis of operational data is especially astonishing in light of the pervadve gremlins which afflict elgato produce! —

    basically, when you submit a bug report to elgato, there is a cursory scratching of the head & then a shrug of the shoulders: there is no systamatic attempt to get to the root if the problem & there seems to be no institutional interest or motivation to fix problems.

    if the turboHD worked as advertised -reliably – then it would be an ndespensible companion for digital workflow.

    … at least then elgato could be free to turn it’s attention to dealing with despite some of the key missing features such as no subtitles, no multiple audio tracks, and excessive CPU useage (no user-selectable resource allocation level), no editable queue manager (task-list is locked down after the first job is started), etc

    By far the most disappointing silence from elgato at wwdc is the complete omission (?) of support for OPENCL in snow leopard! 🙁 …

    one would have dearly hoped that elgato would have produced an sdk & plugin architecture so that tge user’s non-trivial investemnetof $150 could be leveraged for producing graphics FX in iMovie, iPhoto, or for OCR, or for high-end speech processor (TTS/vox reco), or any other frame-based data processing (obviously this level of generalization would require elgato to actually add some real value by working with it’s chip supplier to have defined a slightly more flexible FASIC design, rather the the generic merchant chip that elgato seems to be perennially content to make do with).

    Reply
  2. osxinfo@yahoo.ca

    the turboHD is a gem — when it actually works: which is rarely! 🙁

    the reviewer failed to mention that elgato products are notoriously flaky & unreliable (just look at their message boards!).

    the turboHD will stall (usually without an actionable error message) on a wide variety of source media (DVD rips or windows/divx codecs) — and here’s the rub — that otherwise proceed just fine without exception when processed through Handbrake!

    elgato’s slow pace for fixing bugs & adding vital features over the years suggests that they simply do not have the engineering resources to produce 1st class kit.

    the lack of any robust telemetry engine for reporting/analysis of operational data is especially astonishing in light of the pervadve gremlins which afflict elgato produce! —

    basically, when you submit a bug report to elgato, there is a cursory scratching of the head & then a shrug of the shoulders: there is no systamatic attempt to get to the root if the problem & there seems to be no institutional interest or motivation to fix problems.

    if the turboHD worked as advertised -reliably – then it would be an ndespensible companion for digital workflow.

    … at least then elgato could be free to turn it’s attention to dealing with despite some of the key missing features such as no subtitles, no multiple audio tracks, and excessive CPU useage (no user-selectable resource allocation level), no editable queue manager (task-list is locked down after the first job is started), etc

    By far the most disappointing silence from elgato at wwdc is the complete omission (?) of support for OPENCL in snow leopard! 🙁 …

    one would have dearly hoped that elgato would have produced an sdk & plugin architecture so that tge user’s non-trivial investemnetof $150 could be leveraged for producing graphics FX in iMovie, iPhoto, or for OCR, or for high-end speech processor (TTS/vox reco), or any other frame-based data processing (obviously this level of generalization would require elgato to actually add some real value by working with it’s chip supplier to have defined a slightly more flexible FASIC design, rather the the generic merchant chip that elgato seems to be perennially content to make do with).

    Reply
  3. osxinfo@yahoo.ca

    the turboHD is a gem — when it actually works: which is rarely! 🙁

    the reviewer failed to mention that elgato products are notoriously flaky & unreliable (just look at their message boards!).

    the turboHD will stall (usually without an actionable error message) on a wide variety of source media (DVD rips or windows/divx codecs) — and here’s the rub — that otherwise proceed just fine without exception when processed through Handbrake!

    elgato’s slow pace for fixing bugs & adding vital features over the years suggests that they simply do not have the engineering resources to produce 1st class kit.

    the lack of any robust telemetry engine for reporting/analysis of operational data is especially astonishing in light of the pervadve gremlins which afflict elgato produce! —

    basically, when you submit a bug report to elgato, there is a cursory scratching of the head & then a shrug of the shoulders: there is no systamatic attempt to get to the root if the problem & there seems to be no institutional interest or motivation to fix problems.

    if the turboHD worked as advertised -reliably – then it would be an ndespensible companion for digital workflow.

    … at least then elgato could be free to turn it’s attention to dealing with despite some of the key missing features such as no subtitles, no multiple audio tracks, and excessive CPU useage (no user-selectable resource allocation level), no editable queue manager (task-list is locked down after the first job is started), etc

    By far the most disappointing silence from elgato at wwdc is the complete omission (?) of support for OPENCL in snow leopard! 🙁 …

    one would have dearly hoped that elgato would have produced an sdk & plugin architecture so that tge user’s non-trivial investemnetof $150 could be leveraged for producing graphics FX in iMovie, iPhoto, or for OCR, or for high-end speech processor (TTS/vox reco), or any other frame-based data processing (obviously this level of generalization would require elgato to actually add some real value by working with it’s chip supplier to have defined a slightly more flexible FASIC design, rather the the generic merchant chip that elgato seems to be perennially content to make do with).

    Reply
  4. osxinfo@yahoo.ca

    the turboHD is a gem — when it actually works: which is rarely! 🙁

    the reviewer failed to mention that elgato products are notoriously flaky & unreliable (just look at their message boards!).

    the turboHD will stall (usually without an actionable error message) on a wide variety of source media (DVD rips or windows/divx codecs) — and here’s the rub — that otherwise proceed just fine without exception when processed through Handbrake!

    elgato’s slow pace for fixing bugs & adding vital features over the years suggests that they simply do not have the engineering resources to produce 1st class kit.

    the lack of any robust telemetry engine for reporting/analysis of operational data is especially astonishing in light of the pervadve gremlins which afflict elgato produce! —

    basically, when you submit a bug report to elgato, there is a cursory scratching of the head & then a shrug of the shoulders: there is no systamatic attempt to get to the root if the problem & there seems to be no institutional interest or motivation to fix problems.

    if the turboHD worked as advertised -reliably – then it would be an ndespensible companion for digital workflow.

    … at least then elgato could be free to turn it’s attention to dealing with despite some of the key missing features such as no subtitles, no multiple audio tracks, and excessive CPU useage (no user-selectable resource allocation level), no editable queue manager (task-list is locked down after the first job is started), etc

    By far the most disappointing silence from elgato at wwdc is the complete omission (?) of support for OPENCL in snow leopard! 🙁 …

    one would have dearly hoped that elgato would have produced an sdk & plugin architecture so that tge user’s non-trivial investemnetof $150 could be leveraged for producing graphics FX in iMovie, iPhoto, or for OCR, or for high-end speech processor (TTS/vox reco), or any other frame-based data processing (obviously this level of generalization would require elgato to actually add some real value by working with it’s chip supplier to have defined a slightly more flexible FASIC design, rather the the generic merchant chip that elgato seems to be perennially content to make do with).

    Reply
  5. osxinfo@yahoo.ca

    the turboHD is a gem — when it actually works: which is rarely! 🙁

    the reviewer failed to mention that elgato products are notoriously flaky & unreliable (just look at their message boards!).

    the turboHD will stall (usually without an actionable error message) on a wide variety of source media (DVD rips or windows/divx codecs) — and here’s the rub — that otherwise proceed just fine without exception when processed through Handbrake!

    elgato’s slow pace for fixing bugs & adding vital features over the years suggests that they simply do not have the engineering resources to produce 1st class kit.

    the lack of any robust telemetry engine for reporting/analysis of operational data is especially astonishing in light of the pervadve gremlins which afflict elgato produce! —

    basically, when you submit a bug report to elgato, there is a cursory scratching of the head & then a shrug of the shoulders: there is no systamatic attempt to get to the root if the problem & there seems to be no institutional interest or motivation to fix problems.

    if the turboHD worked as advertised -reliably – then it would be an ndespensible companion for digital workflow.

    … at least then elgato could be free to turn it’s attention to dealing with despite some of the key missing features such as no subtitles, no multiple audio tracks, and excessive CPU useage (no user-selectable resource allocation level), no editable queue manager (task-list is locked down after the first job is started), etc

    By far the most disappointing silence from elgato at wwdc is the complete omission (?) of support for OPENCL in snow leopard! 🙁 …

    one would have dearly hoped that elgato would have produced an sdk & plugin architecture so that tge user’s non-trivial investemnetof $150 could be leveraged for producing graphics FX in iMovie, iPhoto, or for OCR, or for high-end speech processor (TTS/vox reco), or any other frame-based data processing (obviously this level of generalization would require elgato to actually add some real value by working with it’s chip supplier to have defined a slightly more flexible FASIC design, rather the the generic merchant chip that elgato seems to be perennially content to make do with).

    Reply
  6. dr_david@mac.com

    It was a welcome speed upgrade. But one thing is missing.
    Converting from DVD to MP4 is fast but i cannot select subtitle’s so for dvd i still rely on HandBrake, but that is so slow.
    How about a software update to included the subtitle selection.

    Greetings

    David

    Reply
  7. dr_david@mac.com

    It was a welcome speed upgrade. But one thing is missing.
    Converting from DVD to MP4 is fast but i cannot select subtitle’s so for dvd i still rely on HandBrake, but that is so slow.
    How about a software update to included the subtitle selection.

    Greetings

    David

    Reply
  8. dr_david@mac.com

    It was a welcome speed upgrade. But one thing is missing.
    Converting from DVD to MP4 is fast but i cannot select subtitle’s so for dvd i still rely on HandBrake, but that is so slow.
    How about a software update to included the subtitle selection.

    Greetings

    David

    Reply
  9. dr_david@mac.com

    It was a welcome speed upgrade. But one thing is missing.
    Converting from DVD to MP4 is fast but i cannot select subtitle’s so for dvd i still rely on HandBrake, but that is so slow.
    How about a software update to included the subtitle selection.

    Greetings

    David

    Reply
  10. dr_david@mac.com

    It was a welcome speed upgrade. But one thing is missing.
    Converting from DVD to MP4 is fast but i cannot select subtitle’s so for dvd i still rely on HandBrake, but that is so slow.
    How about a software update to included the subtitle selection.

    Greetings

    David

    Reply
  11. toddsmail2@gmail.com

    Pardon me for a possibly stupid question. Is this product just for converting from a home DVD or camcorder to your computer, or is it a “handbrake replacement that will help in downloading commercial DVD’s to the computer? Handbrake takes FOREVER on my MacBook Pro. I’d buy this thing in a second if it worked for DVD’s that I’ve bought. Would like to back up my commercial DVD’s to a media center and also into an iPhone version.

    Reply
  12. toddsmail2@gmail.com

    Pardon me for a possibly stupid question. Is this product just for converting from a home DVD or camcorder to your computer, or is it a “handbrake replacement that will help in downloading commercial DVD’s to the computer? Handbrake takes FOREVER on my MacBook Pro. I’d buy this thing in a second if it worked for DVD’s that I’ve bought. Would like to back up my commercial DVD’s to a media center and also into an iPhone version.

    Reply
  13. toddsmail2@gmail.com

    Pardon me for a possibly stupid question. Is this product just for converting from a home DVD or camcorder to your computer, or is it a “handbrake replacement that will help in downloading commercial DVD’s to the computer? Handbrake takes FOREVER on my MacBook Pro. I’d buy this thing in a second if it worked for DVD’s that I’ve bought. Would like to back up my commercial DVD’s to a media center and also into an iPhone version.

    Reply
  14. toddsmail2@gmail.com

    Pardon me for a possibly stupid question. Is this product just for converting from a home DVD or camcorder to your computer, or is it a “handbrake replacement that will help in downloading commercial DVD’s to the computer? Handbrake takes FOREVER on my MacBook Pro. I’d buy this thing in a second if it worked for DVD’s that I’ve bought. Would like to back up my commercial DVD’s to a media center and also into an iPhone version.

    Reply
  15. toddsmail2@gmail.com

    Pardon me for a possibly stupid question. Is this product just for converting from a home DVD or camcorder to your computer, or is it a “handbrake replacement that will help in downloading commercial DVD’s to the computer? Handbrake takes FOREVER on my MacBook Pro. I’d buy this thing in a second if it worked for DVD’s that I’ve bought. Would like to back up my commercial DVD’s to a media center and also into an iPhone version.

    Reply
  16. patrickwfletcher@hotmail.com

    Awful … every avi that I have attempted to convert so far (more than 10) has resulted in horribly out of sync audio. This thing is a $150 paperweight 🙁

    Reply
  17. patrickwfletcher@hotmail.com

    Awful … every avi that I have attempted to convert so far (more than 10) has resulted in horribly out of sync audio. This thing is a $150 paperweight 🙁

    Reply
  18. patrickwfletcher@hotmail.com

    Awful … every avi that I have attempted to convert so far (more than 10) has resulted in horribly out of sync audio. This thing is a $150 paperweight 🙁

    Reply
  19. patrickwfletcher@hotmail.com

    Awful … every avi that I have attempted to convert so far (more than 10) has resulted in horribly out of sync audio. This thing is a $150 paperweight 🙁

    Reply
  20. patrickwfletcher@hotmail.com

    Awful … every avi that I have attempted to convert so far (more than 10) has resulted in horribly out of sync audio. This thing is a $150 paperweight 🙁

    Reply
  21. info@newspics.com

    Yup we too have the terrible audio out of sync problem. And that is not with a “malformed avi file” as elgato like to call them.

    The very first video we converted after buying the product today started off with the audio slightly out of sync and by the end of the movie was many seconds out.

    If you look online its not a few people with this problem its many many people.

    We dont want to bash Elgato as they have some very nice TV tuners and the EyeTV software is great but they need to get this fixed.. or we for one will be returning the product.

    Reply
  22. info@newspics.com

    Yup we too have the terrible audio out of sync problem. And that is not with a “malformed avi file” as elgato like to call them.

    The very first video we converted after buying the product today started off with the audio slightly out of sync and by the end of the movie was many seconds out.

    If you look online its not a few people with this problem its many many people.

    We dont want to bash Elgato as they have some very nice TV tuners and the EyeTV software is great but they need to get this fixed.. or we for one will be returning the product.

    Reply
  23. info@newspics.com

    Yup we too have the terrible audio out of sync problem. And that is not with a “malformed avi file” as elgato like to call them.

    The very first video we converted after buying the product today started off with the audio slightly out of sync and by the end of the movie was many seconds out.

    If you look online its not a few people with this problem its many many people.

    We dont want to bash Elgato as they have some very nice TV tuners and the EyeTV software is great but they need to get this fixed.. or we for one will be returning the product.

    Reply
  24. info@newspics.com

    Yup we too have the terrible audio out of sync problem. And that is not with a “malformed avi file” as elgato like to call them.

    The very first video we converted after buying the product today started off with the audio slightly out of sync and by the end of the movie was many seconds out.

    If you look online its not a few people with this problem its many many people.

    We dont want to bash Elgato as they have some very nice TV tuners and the EyeTV software is great but they need to get this fixed.. or we for one will be returning the product.

    Reply
  25. info@newspics.com

    Yup we too have the terrible audio out of sync problem. And that is not with a “malformed avi file” as elgato like to call them.

    The very first video we converted after buying the product today started off with the audio slightly out of sync and by the end of the movie was many seconds out.

    If you look online its not a few people with this problem its many many people.

    We dont want to bash Elgato as they have some very nice TV tuners and the EyeTV software is great but they need to get this fixed.. or we for one will be returning the product.

    Reply
  26. dr_david@mac.com

    Yes i too have the out of sync problem. The product is not as reliable as i thought at first.
    The speed is nice but after the conversion i have to doit all over again with handbrake or visual hub. (so slow)
    Shake those programmers awake and give them more vitamins to get the update out.
    David

    Reply
  27. dr_david@mac.com

    Yes i too have the out of sync problem. The product is not as reliable as i thought at first.
    The speed is nice but after the conversion i have to doit all over again with handbrake or visual hub. (so slow)
    Shake those programmers awake and give them more vitamins to get the update out.
    David

    Reply
  28. dr_david@mac.com

    Yes i too have the out of sync problem. The product is not as reliable as i thought at first.
    The speed is nice but after the conversion i have to doit all over again with handbrake or visual hub. (so slow)
    Shake those programmers awake and give them more vitamins to get the update out.
    David

    Reply
  29. dr_david@mac.com

    Yes i too have the out of sync problem. The product is not as reliable as i thought at first.
    The speed is nice but after the conversion i have to doit all over again with handbrake or visual hub. (so slow)
    Shake those programmers awake and give them more vitamins to get the update out.
    David

    Reply
  30. dr_david@mac.com

    Yes i too have the out of sync problem. The product is not as reliable as i thought at first.
    The speed is nice but after the conversion i have to doit all over again with handbrake or visual hub. (so slow)
    Shake those programmers awake and give them more vitamins to get the update out.
    David

    Reply
  31. coulls@gmail.com

    I used to have the audio-sync problem as well, but then when I uninstalled Perian on Elgato’s support advice, the problem went away.

    Reply
  32. coulls@gmail.com

    I used to have the audio-sync problem as well, but then when I uninstalled Perian on Elgato’s support advice, the problem went away.

    Reply
  33. coulls@gmail.com

    I used to have the audio-sync problem as well, but then when I uninstalled Perian on Elgato’s support advice, the problem went away.

    Reply
  34. coulls@gmail.com

    I used to have the audio-sync problem as well, but then when I uninstalled Perian on Elgato’s support advice, the problem went away.

    Reply
  35. coulls@gmail.com

    I used to have the audio-sync problem as well, but then when I uninstalled Perian on Elgato’s support advice, the problem went away.

    Reply

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