Whether you want to do it for fun, or try to get in on the YouTube Partner Program, streaming gameplay is quickly becoming a popular hobby for many. With a variety of hardware and software options available on the PC it’s relatively easy, even with consoles the ability to record and stream gameplay is something nearly anyone can do. The GC1000 by Diamond Multimedia is one of those devices that allow you to capture and stream video from nearly any PC or console with compatible outputs, and even turns the PC it is hooked up to into a DVR, allowing you to record TV directly to your PC.
The GC1000 does not have a lot of bells and whistles, and trust me that is a good thing, consisting of little more than the software disk, the device itself and a few cables, the GC1000 needs nothing else. Spec wise, the device allows you to capture video via HDMI or A/V cables on any compatible console or PC, and store it on your Hard Disk or broadcast via a third party app such as XSplit. The video capture quality rates as high as 1080i (more on that in a bit), and supports up to H.264 hardware compression. It supports not only HDMI but also YPbPr, Composite and S-Video and is even able to capture Blu-Ray. Other features include the ability to set record times for scheduled Television shows and the Loop Through interface allows you to play your game or watch TV with zero delay. The GC1000 is fully compatible with Windows XP, 7 and Vista, and can even directly upload videos to a YouTube channel via the included software.
The Diamond Video Capture software is relatively simple, and with big pictures I was able apply my Grunt IQ and figure things out without having to resort to fits of rage, screaming, throwing things or using it for target practice. Everything is plainly labeled, and the most difficult was setting the input on my TV from PC to the console, even that is easy to figure out since they are labeled.
The GC1000 requires a USB connection to a the computer it will be recording video on. You can use either a laptop or desktop to capture the video, but my suggestion would be to utilize a different rig than the one you will be gaming on as to not bog down your resources. Light as the GC1000 may be, you still want all you can get when fragging. For my purposes, I utilized my HTPC used for Netflix and what not to capture and broadcast the video, as it is already suited for streaming.
You really can’t argue with simplicity. The GC1000 is a relatively low profile device that is easily concealed behind your Television or tucked away out of sight. It is small and doesn’t make obnoxious noises or have pulsating lights to let you know it is there, and a single blue LED will be your only indication the thing is on.
The only real downside in design for the GC1000 is one that is unavoidable, that is you must have the PC it is connected to powered on while you are gaming on the connected platform, even if you are not recording. The GC1000 uses the USB cord for both power and to transmit the video to the PC, without the computer on you will see no video. The other thing I would like to see is perhaps additional inputs, to allow one to connect multiple consoles without having to first disconnect the current. Still, these are relatively minor and easily ignored.
While the GC1000 will indeed capture video at up to 1080i, I found the result to be a little choppy. Bringing the quality down a bit allows the device to capture smoother frame rate, but at the expense of all the eye candy. Still, one has to wonder at the absolute necessity of the 1080, since primarily you will be using it to capture video or stream it is unlikely that the requisite drop in quality will be missed unless you are planning on becoming an internet celebrity.
My past experience with other video capture devices has yielded a variety of catastrophic results, ranging from overheating on my PC, causing Blue Screens, to flat out not working once installed. After 30 minutes of tweaking and playing with the settings on the GC1000 via the included software, I was ready to roll and saw no issues whatsoever.
The GC1000 is also light on the required specs, unless you are trying to run it off your mobile phone, you should be good. You’re going to need at least a 1.6 GHz CPU, 256 MB of RAM, a USB port and about a gig of free space on your hard disk.
This is a hard one. You won’t want to drop the GC1000 off a roof or roll over it in your truck. If you abuse it, it will break, but under standard use is sturdy enough and put together well. I mean it is a flat box; there is really nothing to screw up. If anything you might want to trade up the included cables for something a little better, but I have used the ones that came with the unit with no problem. When it is not used, it sits there, when it is used, it sits there, so there is not much in the way of moving parts that can go bad.
The GC1000 is priced competitively at approximately 130 USD, varying depending on the specific outlet from which you purchase. This places it in the mid-range for cost, but it definitely stacks up well against higher priced models, one of which is currently a rather unattractive paperweight on my desk.
The GC1000 is not the perfect device, but it gets the job done quite nicely. I would like to see a later version of this device that offers multiple HDMI ports for input, as well as an increase in performance with the higher quality video, but as things stand Diamond did a nice job.