Feb 25, 2015

Troubleshooting: Retro consoles don't send HDMI passthrough to TV via Elgato Game Capture HD

Elgato Game Capture HD can accept video from a number of retro game consoles, display it on your computer, and capture it.

A retro game console is a game console from the early years of console gaming, such as the Nintendo NES. These systems often produce a non-standard video signal which modern TVs may not be able to display. The Elgato Game Capture HD can convert this non-standard signal into a signal which it can record, but your TV may be unable to display that signal.

Below, we show several ways to work around this issue.

Use another TV or Display

Elgato Game Capture HD processes the video from retro game consoles, some of which are over 25 years old, so they can be used by the Elgato Game Capture HD software. 

In some rare cases, a TV or Display may not be able to handle that processed video, and no image will appear via HDMI passthrough.

Currently, there is no adjustment that can be made to force all TVs to accept the processed retro game signal via HDMI passthrough.  Therefore, affected users can try a different TV, to see if that resolves the problem.

Use a Composite video splitter or Composite distribution amplifier

You can use a Composite video splitter or Composite distribution amplifier - the signal will be split and sent to both Elgato Game Capture HD and the TV.

Composite video splitters are very inexpensive, but may reduce the signal by a small, but perceptible amount.

Composite distribution amplifiers are powered devices that will maintain the full signal over both Composite output segments.

Use this solution if your TV can display the signal direct from your retro console. It will not help if your TV is unable to display video direct from the console.

Use the Video Output of the TV or Display, if available

Some TVs or Displays may offer video output, as well as input.

If your TV has a video output, connect Elgato Game Capture HD to that output.

Use a Composite to HDMI adapter

You can also use a Composite to HDMI adapter, like the Mini AV2HDMI:


The Mini AV2HDMI can convert Composite input to 720p or 1080p HDMI output.

Connect the Mini AV2HDMI to the game console, and to the HDMI input of Elgato Game Capture HD.  This will ensure that Elgato Game Capture HD can display and capture the video, and that your TV or Display can use the passthrough HDMI signal.