back to article What the frag? Earn millions as the world watches you SLAY rivals

After learning how much Swedish gamer PewDiePie earns in a year from his YouTube channel (reportedly $7m for 3.7 billion views), I recommend everyone buys an HD capture device and starts uploading gaming videos. You never know, perhaps you too can cash in before the filming-your-reactions-while-gaming bubble bursts... But …

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JDX
Gold badge

Performance?

From trying to do this in the past, you ran into issues that recording slowed everything down. Does external hardware remove that problem... how exactly does it get what's on your screen though?

Maybe this is a 2002 problem and display architecture is different now.

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Re: Performance?

Both units run HDMI passthrough, so you plug the output of your content generating device into the recorder, and then the recorder into your display. This obviates the need for either dedicated capture software (e.g. Fraps) or for Twitch / other service being built-in to the game client (which I'm starting to see on some PC titles), both of which have a processor overhead.

Given that most current-gen units are HDMI, how do either of these units deal with HDCP content streams presented on the HDMI interface? I doubt any contemporary gaming software will think of doing that, but if people like YouTube / Twitch decide they need to do an MPAA to "protect their revenue streams", you may start seeing developers pandering to them by flagging gaming output as HDCP to try and block inline recording (I'm assuming current GPUs are capable of creating HDCP output, of course). There's also the actual MPAA to think about, as some people may (illegally) try to use one of these to record the output from their BluRay player or something similar.

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Re: Performance?

I would have thought the mechanism was obvious from the images in the article if not the text, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just missed it.

"Configuration is much the same on both units, consisting of simply connecting HDMI or component cables from the console into the gaming PVR. The HDMI output from the gaming PVR goes into the TV. "

Both devices operate as a man-in-the-middle on the HDMI cable, passing though the signal to the TV in real time while simultaneously passing a copy to it's onboard video encoder. Since your computer is only acting as a storage medium (optionally, since the Rocket can operate without a PC, with storage directly attached) there is no slowdown. These things are mainly designed for use with consoles, but there's nothing stopping them being used with PCs as well or indeed anything that uses HDMI (but not HDCP, so that rules out your STB or Blu-ray player).

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JDX
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Re: Performance?

I missed that bit - I saw a photo of a USB port and mention of USB and thought it was some funky USB device.

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Anonymous Coward

http://www.youtube.com/user/penguinz0/videos

http://www.youtube.com/user/videogamedunkey/videos

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HDCP

Well PS4 has a disable HDCP button... But otherwise there are things that decode HDCP and pass out plain HDMI.

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Bronze badge

Recording Software

@Lucy Orr

Well, there are better software alternatives to Fraps. DxTory being the best one I've come across. No noticable drop in framerate, you can record in a different framerate than the one you play with, you can record in a different resolution than the one you play at (for example playing at 1440p and recording at 720p), you can choose your own codec (for example Lagarith Lossless), you can select multiple audiostreams as audio sources (for example Standard Audio Output, Microphone, whatever else, there's no limit imposed), you can record to multiple storage devices simultaneously (for example if you have 4 HDDs that only do 50mb/s write on their own, you could select all of them as target devices and dxtory would split the frames between the drives according to their speed, so that you'd get close to 200mb/s total (this requires the video to be reconstructed after recording tho))

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Re: Recording Software

Nvidia's bundled Shadowplay also does a pretty good job with not-too-bad a hit on the FPS.

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Silver badge
WTF?

How the world has changed!

I can remember visiting my mate and watching him play the latest releases on his BBC Micro - not sure I'd have stood for it if he'd charged for the privilege!

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Bronze badge

Re: How the world has changed!

He wouldn't have had to if he'd got paid showing you ads for beer or something ;)

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FAIL

Not a good review

This review is a fail for a number of reasons:

1) You are capped at 1080p, and probably also limted to 16:9 aspect ratios.

The last Roxio box I checked out did not support:

1920x1200

1680x1050

Any refresh rate > 60FPS

Audio support unless you piped your audio via HDMI (I do not). If you use a DVI port for your main display - no audio.

I dunno about you, but for me, 60FPS is a MINIMUM, not a MAXIMUM!

And 1080i for the Rocket? Please, don't make me laugh. You even need to "export" to get an H264 file???

2) Again, the last roxio box I checked out did not play well with multi monitor.

3) Inaccurate information / Bias

"The reason why these boxes are so great is that there’s no lag – unlike if you were to run Fraps". What the fuck are you smoking? How does a video capture utility cause "lag"?

Input lag? Apart from potentially lowering FPS, nope, not interfering here.

Network lag? Not doing anything on network, so no.

The plain fact of the matter is that this is obsolete tech for PC gamers.

Why the hell am I going to pay money and re-wire my PC, when all I need to do is enable ShadowPlay in Geforce Experience?

Shadowplay gives me, for FREE:

ANY resolution or aspect ratio recording.

No noticeable FPS hit.

"Record from the past" functionality so I can decide to capture AFTER the event.

Video files dumped as an H264 MP4 right to your hard disk. Do you really want to be bothering to transfer Gigs of files via USB??

The added bonus that with an Nvidia card it will also enable game streaming, so I can use a thin client steam box in the front room to play full-fat games from my main PC.

For under £130 you can get an nVidia GPU that will do all this - these boxes are utterly useless for a PC Gamer and only any use for console peeps.

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Interesting idea for an article / BOFH epsiode?

"Privacy implications of ShadowPlay"

Is ShadowPlay the ultimate "Anti-Boss-Key"?

If your sysadmin could walk up to your computer and dump the last 20mins of desktop activity as a video, how do you feel about that?

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Re: Not a good review

I realised what I wrote above is maybe not clear in point (1)

What I mean is that these devices can stop your main display from functioning to it's full abilities.

If you use one of:

Resolution != 1080p (eg higher res such as 1920x1200, 2K/4K, non 16:9 res such as 1680x1050)

Refresh rate > 60hz (100/120hz display, 3D shutter glasses etc, or you simply demand 60FPS as a minimum not a maximum)

Then you are stuffed. You will simply get 1080p 60FPS on your main display.

Even if you are willing to put up with this for recording, it means re-wiring your PC each time you want to record. Compare that to ShadowPlay where I can decide to record something AFTER it happened and it is just no contest.

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Re: Not a good review

"You even need to "export" to get an H264 file???"

Sigh. No, you need to export to get an MP4 container. The default encoding is H.264 in a standard MPEG-TS container - the type used for blu-ray, DVD, many cameras and broadcast TV. If you're still confused I suggest you google for the difference between a video codec and a container.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not a good review

Nvidia shadowplay isn't for everyone. I'm using a 2x R9 290X setup and guess what: AMD doesn't have shadowplay ;)

On the other hand I bought a 500GB SSD just for recording Lagarith Lossless @ 720p so yeah.

Also Shadowplay isn't impacting your frames noticably because it is recording constantly, you would notice your framerate going up if you turned off shadowplay entirely.

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Re: Not a good review

AFAIK there is an equivalent to ShadowPlay available for AMD devices. Google for "RadeonPro". The author recently joined Raptr, so functionality is going to be folded into "Gaming Evolved" I guess?

As for the FPS hit...

It depends on where the bottleneck is.

If your GPU is the bottleneck, you may see some loss of performance, but seeing as it is dedicated chippery that does the encode (Which is not used for normal gameplay) then probably not much.

Also, losing a little GPU performance is easy - you can just turn down the detail a little, I never want full detail anyway, stuff like bloom and motion blur make the game harder and so are the first to go. All I care about is draw distance and FPS.

In the main game I play at the moment, I the bottleneck is CPU (Engine is CryEngine) and I notice zero difference in shadowplay mode or manual mode.

You would certainly see a significant amount less CPU usage between a GPU encode and a lossless encode - even simple Run Length Encoding is going to be more CPU intensive than any of the hardware based solutions. Not to mention your disk I/O being hammered by all those writes.

If you had an Intel chip (>= haswell?) then there is also Intel QuickSync. If you have a GPU limited game, then you can switch from the hardware GPU encoding to hardware CPU encoding if using a capture app that supports it (Such as Mirillis Action).

So yeah, that 500GB HDD was a pretty pointless buy also.

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Re: Not a good review

Also, you spent £800 odd on GPUs and then ALSO paid £200 so you could do CPU encoding?

A grand, and you didn't even research a better way of getting hardware encoding?

The mind boggles.

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Silver badge

Youtube Money

Evidently you also have to act like you're stork staring mad to make money on Youtube.

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