BlitzCast BlitzBox HD Capture Device Review
by Delf



Hey what's up, gamers? Still Waiting?


Introductions are never a forte of mine; whenever I (try to) write a review, the mere thought of writing the introduction brings my desire to write it rock-bottom, so I'll just make this quick: This is the simple tale of a (currently) 23-years old gamer who just wanted to join the pool of gamers who play their video games and broadcast it on the Internet.

Me and my friend figured we should join up on that, form our own little channel on Justin.TV. Actually, it was his idea, and I was honored to take him up on it. Then we started looking for a capture device we could afford and could use conveniently. And my friend found just that on his side of the search. It was a lil' product called the BlitzBox HD, sold on BlitzCast.com.

The convenience in question is that it was external and it let you broadcast in simple-definition while PLAYING in high-definition. Back then in June, 2009, this seemed like a very convenient thing to get. It wasn't extremely expensive or anything. I didn't do much research on other capture devices or much on this one either, so after a few weeks, I decided to buy one. Thus begins my little tale.

So! July. July 25th, 2009. That fateful day, I purchased my very first BlitzBox HD this fine evening. I am aware of the fact that its 2-3 weeks back-order. Fair enough.

Then we cut to over forty days later in early September. Between the time of purchase and early September, I asked a few times, two or three times I guess, about the status of my BlitzBox HD. I didn't receive any answer, so September 7th, I send them another status request e-mail, only this time I dropped a little "I'll cancel my order if..." bomb. The next day, I get an answer. I smiled, so naive. A helpful chap called Support asks me to provide the email address I placed the order with, or give the transaction number, so Mr. Support can check up the status of the lil' bugger. So now all I have to do is wait. I jokingly told myself, hey, that's fine, I spent over forty days doing just that, it's like I was practicing! Hah!

We then skip to eight god damn days later. September 16th. I felt the need to ask them again (read: remind them) about the status of my delivery. I'd like to remind you all of the 2-3 weeks backorder. Just saying, I'm aware and acknowledge it. In case you think I forgot. So yes, I ask them again, and the next day (17th) I received another answer. I was pleased that, now, they responded with haste. It's like I was getting a good taste of their customer service. Perhaps it was my threat of canceling my order?

Mr. Support unfortunately does not have a status check to give me. Well, I don't know how it goes over there at wherever they are. Maybe there's a good reason why nothing was accomplished in those eight days. Mr. Support assures me, however, that shipping was forwarded my request to Mr. Shipping, and will try to provide me with a follow-up "tomorrow."

I wait for nine days. Nothing. I contact them again to get that follow-up I was supposed to get eight days ago. They reply. Nothing. I don't actually remember which it was; them saying they'll check it out and tell me the next day, or them asking for my email/transaction number again. But at that moment, I more or less let my impatience loose, and immediately canceled the order. It took two e-mails for the order to be canceled. However, they did get good points in actually giving me a refund quickly nonetheless. So I didn't have to fight for it or anything.

The problem here is, now, I had to look for another capture device or something. And truth be told, this product was the most convenient one for me at the time.

We time skip now to November, 2009. The 21st, to be exact. For the sheer amusement of it, I search up "BlitzBox HD" on eBay. Hey, whaddya know? There's one there! Seems legit, too; not a bad seller, everything checks out. I buy it, I get it a few days later. I had a BlitzBox HD in my hands! Finally! Except, uh oh, I screwed up! It was an European model. I found out through my complete inability of plugging it (due to the different in plugs from US/Canada to Europe) and tech support and site administrator of BlitzCast, Cole, that the only thing I could and should do with it is take up his kind suggestion of sending this one in and have it traded with an American/Canadian model. I was very thankful that, even under the circumstances of me having acquired this one from eBay, they still wanted to do a trade. They did ask for a small fee of $15 for the exchange, though, but that's fine. Said $15 was apparently given right back to me later for absolutely no explanation, but I didn't raise any question about it.

The replacement unit was not sent before January 20th. Or rather, it appeared on UPS.com; it wasn't actually sent yet, but it was on its way. I was much less frustrated about that, though exhausted from the wait, if only because Cole did a good job back then at responding quickly and actually checking up on me (i.e. e-mailing me w/o provocation asking if I received info from shipping, etc.).

It was also delayed just a few little days from being sent post-20th because, and I quote from Cole,

"There were a few issues with triodes from the manufacturer in the most recent batch. Some are ok, and some are not. The entire batch was retested. You should receive the package in just a few days."

How pleasant. They were making sure that my BlitzBox HD was flawless before sending it to me. I was impressed. All the more to calm me down from waiting for quite a while. And then came February 1st, the day it arrived. After paying $40 cash-on-delivery, I took it out of its box and tested the fuck out of it. "Holy shit," I exclaimed. "I finally have it! I cannot believe it!"

Such happiness was crushed when I realized that I couldn't get it to work right. Cole spend the next few days trying to help me get it fixed; I was somewhat irritated that it seemed as though he was not even reading my topic on the tech support forums (i.e. asking me what my operating system was, even though the topic said it plainly; I even wrote it in massive details!), but to be fair, I wasn't the only one who made a topic about how to get the damn thing to work. I was among other folks who wondered when they'd receive their order, or how to get the damn thing to work. More on the subject of the forums later.

After testing out a few drivers and whatnot, Cole then tells me this:

"It looks like you have a unit affected by the triode issue. [...]"

This is where I'm actually getting angry and starting to feel more justified about it. I can't tell who to get angry with; Cole's probably not at fault. No, I'm angry at BlitzCast; the whole lot of it. Flash back to what I bolded before while quoting Cole. Scroll up. The ENTIRE BATCH was RETESTED. Yet somehow, I received a defective unit. It can't be a problem they overlooked while retesting the batch. I couldn't even capture any video at all, and could only capture crap-quality sound (when it did capture sound at all) from it when I tried to use it! How'd they retest it? Did they retest it? Did they send me a defective one that was not part of the batch they retested? Either way, at least agree with me: this shouldn't have happened. Right? It's not me, is it?

Fair enough, mother-puss-bucket, time for another god damn swapping. Fault of mine, I take a small break from the situation and wait a few days before sending this one in. As if to take a small breather. Before long, I go get the son of a bitch sent. A nice... what, around $10-15 or something to send it in? I wonder how much it costs for them to send it to me. But it doesn't make spending a single penny sending back their blunder any better.

By near the end of February, I had it sent back and filled a replacement form and whatnot. Now I was to wait for the re-replacement to arrive. I asked Cole ? probably the wrong person to ask, on reflection, since he's tech support and site administrator, but I took comfort from the fact that he was so responsive when I communicated with him this whole time that I felt I just had to ask him ? if I had to pay for shipping on this re-replacement. I never did get a CLEAR answer from him, however, but I point out my reflection again. I was most likely in my worst states from this entire mess. By the time I'm writing this article, I'm cooled off and I can't even figure out what the fuck.

March 19th, UPS, billing information received. Then the 24th, it's finally on its way. I feel somewhat dejected, as if I don't even care, at the time. As if on my guard. And then ? faster than the last I might add ? it finally arrives here the 30th, while I'm playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii with my three-years old nephew, actually having a pleasant time. You know those escort missions in video games where you have to make sure whoever you're escorting doesn't kick the bucket? This was probably the only time I had fun doing one of those. It was very enjoyable to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii with such cooperation in mind as I did my very best to make sure my little nephew made his way safe and sound to the end of stages. Last thing I wanted to think about while having this much fun was this little affair. The UPS delivery guy shows up with the package. Time to pay dat C.O.D., which went from how much it was last time ($45) to $60. Holy shit. How much money am I spending just to be able to get my hands on a little piece of plastic that lets me broadcast myself playing video games on the Internet? Christ, so, okay.

The eBay purchase was... £85.00 GBP, plus £10.00 GBP for S&H... the total converted to Canadian dollars... that's $171.09 CAD.

Sending back this European model to BlitzCast, somewhere around $10-15 CAD of shipping...

Paying C.O.D. For receiving the replacement, $45 CAD or so...

Another $10-15 CAD or so for sending that defective replacement...

Not counting the $60.97 CAD I have to pay C.O.D. for this one, that's somewhere around... around $242.09 CAD.

Somewhere around two fucking hundred fourty-my-two-balls dollars out of my ass and nine god damn cents. And I haven't broadcast a single god damn thing yet. That's almost a BlackMagic Intensity Pro or whatever the hell it is; my friend quickly showed it to me as an alternative. Lets you play your PlayStation 3 on high-definition via HDMI, while broadcasting on high-definition. Add in this $60.97 CAD C.O.D. for that new one, that's... that's $303.06 CAD or so. Hell, that's around the price of a PlayStation 3 system, isn't it? I know it's not BLITZCAST that's getting the whole $303.06, but that's not the issue; it's money out of my wallet, money I worked for. Nobody's problem, and admittedly not BlitzCast's, but I got to pay driver's classes soon; the whole course is going to cost me fifty bucks shy of a thousand dollars. My point is... I don't even know. Forget that tid-bit, I can't collect my thoughts.

When I sent the UPS guy back and told them to keep the package for now as I sort this out, I couldn't even think straight. After collecting my thoughts and talking this through with my friend, I came to the realization that I got two options, something I just ended up calling an impasse for me. Either I pay the damn C.O.D. and hope this damn thing works this time, in which if it doesn't I'd have to ship it back to them and ask for another replacement if I so wished, or I demand a refund in which they'll either refund me the fee of a BlitzBox HD or send me back the European one from eBay. To me, this is a gamble: either take it and hope it works, or ask for refund and hope I get money instead of original package back.

I'm so drained that I just took upon the suggestion of my friend and asked them if they could pay the import charges (those sixty bucks); even half of it would help. By the time I finished this article and had it sent in, it was April 4th. No response on that yet.

It doesn't even matter if this one works or not and what I'll do in the case it doesn't. The point is, I got into a long string of a situation that shouldn't happen to a customer, ever. Yes, some people got working BlitzBoxes, apparently. That's great. But some customers are plagued by a lot of waiting, and BlitzBoxes that don't work. Let's take that look at what some customers have to say, straight off of the BlitzCast forums, shall we? Please note that, in all honesty, I'm not those people, I'm not emulating them or being in their situation, regardless of how similar it is to mine, and I'm not pretending to know if they speak the full truth with no exaggeration or whatever. I'm just quoting 'em.

The following are customer testimonials from their forums. Click each image to make it larger and readable








Three of those should be enough. Go ahead and check the forums yourself if you want more. Here, I'll even link you.

So, the whole point is, I actually disagree to any claims that BlitzCast is a scam. I'm being fair, I'm not convinced they're scammers. I'm going to be flat-out honest about how I feel, and apparently a lot of people feel the same: the customer service they offer is poor. At times, very poor. Slow responses. Waiting; periods of waiting that delude the mind. Makes you feel like you're waiting for twice the amount of months you are. Makes you wonder if you did the right thing buying from there. You just wanted to capture, maybe broadcast, your video game footage. That's all. You didn't want any trouble, or struggles. That Krasus000 fellow from the third pic seems to have the good idea of how this business is like, albeit it includes nothing concerning defect models received in error like in my case.

What a shame all of this is. Some say it's a dying business due to how things are right now, but for all we know, it might improve. The customer service might improve, responsiveness might improve, delivery of products might accelerate. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement. But until it actually does improve, buy with caution. Naturally, though, to find out how/if the customer service has improved, one has to buy from them, so the question is, until then, do you want to be the guinea pig? And don't take this article as a biblical testament or anything. This is my experience and I just wanted to inform anyone interested about what might (or might not, even) happen. Take all this as you will.

Whew, this is a whole lot less aggressive and pissed-off than I originally planned this to be. Since I can't rate the product, I'll rate the customer service of the entire business. And from my experience and my experience alone. That sock is for Cole, for at least being responsive and even checking up on my situation.

What a shame.


UPDATE: "Pleasant news arrived to me; BlitzCast told me to have the re-replacement sent back to them, so they can ship it to me again as a "gift," thus removing any duty fees. While I don't necessarily forgive the situation as a whole and I still don't know if the re-replacement will work, this certainly is a good gesture as far as their customer service goes."

Overall:






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