You may be able to self-diagnose your issue by looking at the Hardware Level.


To find the Plays.tv Client Log file:

1. Open up a File Explorer Window and navigate to: C:\Users\(yourname)\AppData\Roaming\playsTV (If C: isn't your boot drive, replace the C: with whatever letter your boot drive is)

However, a simpler way to get there is to use the ‘run’ command from the start menu and type in this path: %appdata%\playsTV


Once you are in that folder, find the file playstv.log.  Open it in Notepad, or other software for opening documents, by right-clicking on it and choosing “Open With”  and then the software you want to use.


The log entries at the top of the file are older, and towards the bottom they are newer.

You’ll need to do a search with the Find command.  The hotkey should be ‘Ctrl + F’, or just choose it from the Edit Menu.

In the Find window, Search for: “HW Level=” (without the quotes.) The search will highlight a line of text, and you’ll see a number in that line. This is the Hardware Level.


What is the HW Level? This is the number designation that Plays.tv is detecting based on your GPU and Drivers. Usually it will indicate what the manufacturer's technology is, and thus how it will encode the video.

Here’s a list of each known Hardware Level and what it means:


Positive Values for HW Level:


HW Level=1.  If you have an AMD Radeon graphics card, this is a successful test that shows that AMD VCE is present and is available to encode video. Recording should be possible without burdening the CPU of your computer to encode video.


HW Level= 3. If you have an Nvidia Geforce graphics card installed, this level shows a successful test for the presence of NVENC hardware to encode video. Recording should be possible without burdening the CPU.


HW Level= 4.  This denotes Software Encoding. In this level, no hardware encoder such as VCE or NVENC could be found. As a fallback measure, we use the CPU to encode the video. This process is more CPU intensive, and as a result, some frames may not be recorded depending on the available CPU processing power. This results in a laggy, stuttering video. This lag in videos is an expected outcome of Software encoding. Read more about it here.

However, if you are receiving Hardware Level 4 despite having a GPU that meets Hardware Encoding System Requirements, you may need to reinstall or update your video drivers.


HW Level= 5.  This level means that a CPU that can use Intel Quicksync is present and passes test for recording. Even though it uses the CPU, it's able to grab frames with similar performance to Hardware Encoding.



Negative values for HW Level:


HW Level= 99.  This denotes Unknown Device. This can often happen when display drivers are missing or damaged.

This level usually coincides with your dxdiag listing the video card name as "Microsoft Basic Display Driver", instead of what your card actually is.



For this hardware Level, you should seek out the drivers that your card needs until the dxdiag shows the proper video card listing.

If after that, the dxdiag changes to shows the correct card, then you will probably get a better HW Level that you want.


HW Level= -1. This shows a Detection Failure.  For this hardware Level, you should seek out the drivers that your card needs and update them or reinstall them.


HW Level= -2.  This rare level denotes an error of “Uninitialized”. You should try to reinstall your video card drivers.


HW Level= -3.  Missing Media Foundation DLLs. This level is shown when you use Windows 8.1 N or Windows 10 N. This version of Windows needs to have the missing Media Foundation DLLs installed. This Windows Media Pack includes some video encoding files that we rely on to do recording.


For more support on this issue, go to this article for links to the various versions: LINK


HW Level= -4. OpenCL interop not supported. OpenCL is a part of video card drivers and typically means that drivers need to be reinstalled. 


HW Level= -7.  This level is very similar to HW Level=99. The dxdiag will most likely not list the correct actual video card. The video card drivers need to be reinstalled. See HW level 99 above.


This list can help you to self-diagnose some common problems with Plays.tv. If you are still in need of assistance, please contact our Customer Service and include your log files. How to Send Client Logs