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Review: AVerMedia Live Gamer EXTREME

Jun 29 // Jed Whitaker
Product: Live Gamer EXTREMEManufacturer: AVerMediaMSRP: $179.99 1080p, 60fps is the holy grail of console games these days and the Live Gamer EXTREME (LGX) handles those specs without issue. Footage looks exactly as intended by the game's developers. The LGX also has all the frills you'd expect a capture device to have such as HDMI input and output, its own recording software, but also includes some things I've never seen on other cards. Included in the box is an HDMI cable, a component cable, a 3.5mm cable, and a PS3 cable. The latter cable can be used to connect directly to a PS3 instead of connecting it with component cables, a feature only on the LGX, though I'm not sure how useful it is as it seems gamers and game publishers have mostly moved on from the previous generation. A component cable adapter is also included for capturing legacy consoles.  The included 3.5mm cable can be used to connect an external audio input source to be mixed into streams and captures alongside a 3.5mm microphone jack. Personally I opt to go with USB microphones, as they tend to offer a better sound quality overall, but for those on a tighter budget, a 3.5mm microphone might be a better fit as they are typically less expensive. The purpose of the 3.5mm jacks is to allow the LGX to be used in place of an external audio mixer, though most streaming software allows you to do this already. Also in the box is a manual, the Rec 2 -- AVerMedia's own capture and streaming software -- and a three-month subscription to the streaming software XSplit. I could go on for days about the various streaming software out there, but currently there is no one true winner. Rec 2 is pretty simple and great for beginners, allowing for picture in picture and layout designs with ease, while XSplit has more options and advanced features but runs a monthly fee. I personally use OBS, as it is free and covers most of my needs, though sometimes I still use Rec 2 or XSplit if they have a specific feature I need at the time.  The main feature that the LGX touts is ultra-low latency uncompressed video, meaning you see the game as intended with no real lag or delay between what you'd see on your TV. In my pseudo-scientific tests, I shot 240fps footage with my iPhone of my computer screen versus my TV screen with Mario Kart 8's timer on the screen, and found that AVerMedia's claim of under 0.05 seconds of latency is true. On average, it seemed be around 0.04 seconds, sometimes going up to .08 at worst and .02 at best. The latency is better than any previous capture device I've used and allows me to play off my computer screen instead of switching inputs, as I use a single-screen setup with my desktop in the living room connected to my TV. This allows me to react to my onscreen follower and subscriber alert without having an impact on my gameplay.  Also included is the ability to print your own cover image for branding and vanity purposes. It doesn't serve much purpose, in my opinion, but you can easily make what you'd like with the included cover creator software. I personally suggest a Red Bull can overlaid onto an image of Destiny for the coolest of covers. Overall, AVerMedia has made the Live Gamer EXTREME the capture device to beat. It is more feature rich than competitors at the same price point, and no other device has offered the minimal latency. [This review is based on retail hardware provided by the manufacturer.]
AVerMedia LGX review photo
Live streamer's delight
I've been making gaming videos and streaming for what seems like forever, and I've gone through my fair share of capture devices. My original card only did 720p and 30fps, required hard drives setup in a RAID, and only captur...

XSplit Gamecaster makes game streaming so easy

Jan 22 // Dale North
If you're really into the broadcasting game, you likely know the name XSplit. If you're new to it all, know that this is the go-to solution for streaming games and other events, as it provides broadcasting features that give the streams a professional look and feel. Users will tell you that XSplit isn't the easiest thing to use or configure. While it's still the best solution for broadcasting, it's not necessarily geared toward the gamer that wants to get a stream going quickly. Split Media Labs knows this, so they developed XSplit Gamecaster to meet the needs of these gamers.  They've worked to make this application as simple to use as possible. Simply start a game, hit Control + Tab to show the small XSplit Gamecaster overlay menu, and then hit stream to start streaming or recording. A settings menu lets you determine where you want your streams, video shares, and social network sends to go, but that's about it as far as setup goes. A couple more tabs give you access to your recordings or let you set hotkeys, but beyond this there's really nothing else you have to tinker with.   When your stream or recording has started, the small overlay menu gives you options for annotations and other visuals, as well as mic and camera settings. Even Twitch chat is available from this pop-up.  As you'd expect, there's a camera overlay feature for broadcasting. It's as simple as toggling it on for it to show up in your broadcast. There are settings for your stream speed and resolution, and a chromakey option lets you use green screen backgrounds if you'd like.  There are more in-depth options if you look for them. Get crazy with the annotations pen after turning it on. It will let you sketch right on top of gameplay. The Twitch chat box can be shown or hidden, as well as resized and moved. Even Be Right Back graphics can be preset to your tastes. They've even thought of the small stuff. Even offline, game recording is available, and if you'd like, you can bring up a FPS counter or use the annotations features. XSplit Gamecaster works with capture cards, as you'd expect. Through this, you'll be able to connect your PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360, or any other capture-able device for streaming or recording. At time of testing, it works with Avermedia Capture Cards, and Split Media Labs tells us that support for more is coming soon. My ExtremeCap U3 works now, and I'm hoping my elgato game capture HD will too. What I love about XSplit Gamecaster is that it's giving my gaming PC the same easy streaming and recording capabilities my new consoles have. It's just as easy to start a stream, but even more full-featured than the consoles, with more options for annotations and social media sharing. It has every feature that any streamer would need, and then some.  Split Media Labs says that this application will be made available to all existing and new XSplit Personal and Premium from February 18, with a free version to follow. I expect that this software will do big things for PC game broadcasting when it launches next month.   
XSplit Gamecaster photo
New software from XSplit makers
Are you streaming gameplay? Well, forget cables, configurations, multiple PCs, software hacks, and confusion. That's all gone when it comes to streaming and capturing gameplay on your PC, starting today. XSplit Gamecaster is ...


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