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Botbird208

How Do You Stream Atari 2600?

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I've wanted to be able to stream me playing atari 2600 on Twitch TV without doing any mods to the console. How do I record my atari's video from my tv screen and get it to twitch and how do I record video from my computer so I can show the console and the controller as well?

 

Another question is can I use my ipod to record live video as well?

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Well, if you're not doing any mods to the 2600, you're best bet would be to get your hands on an old VCR and run the RF out from the Atari to the RF input on the VCR, set the VCR and Atari to channel 3 or 4, whichever channel is not used in your area, then run composite output from the VCR to the TV. At that point, you could record whatever you played to a VHS tape.

 

I'm assuming you mean iPod touch, and you can record live video with it by pointing the camera at the screen and recording, but there's no video input where you could take the output from something else and run it into the iPod.

Recording a TV screen from an iPod isn't going to produce very good results though.

 

I don't quite understand the last part about recording from the computer so you can show the console and controller. You need to explain better what you're trying to do.

 

You can record anything that appears on your computer monitor using Cam Studio, it's free and easy to use.

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I want to be able to get my console and controller on stream in case I break any records and need to send the evidence to a website called 2600 connection.

 

Basically what I want to do is to capture footage from my TV and also have my computer take a video of the console and controller at the same time.

Edited by Botbird208

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Well, you could video the console/controller with the iPod, transfer the video from your iPod to the computer using iTunes.

 

Then, you could do as I said before and go from Atari RF out -> VCR -> VCR Composite out to TV. That way, you could play the game, record the console/controller with the iPod, and record the game play with the VCR, then use something like this

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=626680&gclid=CjkKEQjw5-OdBRDW3ceD9fL0r4QBEiQAW7htXTmqSXdj_XlyzDfpYmXo5-IoEQtL_tTKOp897OFlvXXw_wcB&Q=&is=REG&A=details

 

To run from the VCR Composite output into the above converter, then into your PC's USB port where you can get the video, At that point you'd have both videos on the PC. It would be up to you to do some sort of picture within a picture type setup and sync up the timing. That could be done in the video sequencer portion of Blender 3D, but you'd have to know that software pretty well to do it.

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get an NTSC tuner for your computer, something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-Tuner-Capture-Remote-Control/dp/B0007LBMR2

 

There are a couple potential problems to be aware of:

  1. The Atari's signal is out of spec. Whether or not the tuner will work with the Atari can be a crapshoot - this is the same reason a lot of HDTVs won't work with the Atari.
  2. If the tuner works, there will probably be some lag induced. That might make it impossible to play some games if you're only sending the signal to your computer. For that try splitting the signal so you record on the computer, but play while watching a real TV.

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I don't do online streaming, but I think this might work.

 

1. Get a game capture device that supports AV connection and will work with what software you use to stream on Twitch.

2. Take your Atari 2600, hook it up to an old VCR that has RF-in and AV-out, and tune the 2600 and the VCR to channel 2 or 3.

3. You'll want to have 3 AV splitters and two AV cables. The splitters should look something like this:

post-34393-0-51928400-1404686375_thumb.jpg

Take the splitters and plug them into the AV-out section of your VCR. Have one of the AV cables lead to the TV, and the other lead to the capture deice.

 

With this setup, you should be able to play your 2600 on the TV without lag and also be able to stream your gameplay to Twich.

 

EDIT: Here is a picture of the setup in action, sans capture device (I don't have one).

post-34393-0-73860300-1404688923_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by BalloonFighter

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The VCR is a MUST. A lot of capture devices/tuners really dislike old console video signals, but generally play nice with VCRs - although this is not always true, you're still much more likely to have success with a VCR than without.

 

I'd also recommend doing a buttload of testing under various conditions before "going live". It's remarkable how many streams and Youtube videos I've seen over the years where people spend half their time apologizing for poor video quality, or bad sound, or what have you. It only takes a few minutes to do a dry run and iron out any bugs in your setup. Capture devices can be finicky, but once you get it going to your satisfaction it's pretty simple to operate a fairly complex rig as outlined above.

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The VCR is a MUST. A lot of capture devices/tuners really dislike old console video signals, but generally play nice with VCRs

 

The question is if the VCR is able to capture all the frames without visible framerate and image quality loss. I tried recording my PAL Atari using built in TV DVD recorder but the framerate was so low and the image was so distorted by compression that it did not look like on the real screen anymore. I was not satisfied with the result at all.

 

It would be more than helpful if there would be someone who tested various devices to find out which one can capture Atari's non standard RF signals just fine, at 50/60 frames per second if possible.

Edited by maiki

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All you need is a USB TV tuner, a splitter, and Xsplit or that free broadcast software OBS. I use Xsplit cuz I could never get OBS to work.

 

I bought a USB tuner for $10 off of eBay.

 

Here's the exact one I bought only mine cost $10: http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-2-0-Universal-Cable-TV-Tuner-MEPG-DVR-Video-Recorder-For-CATV-Satellite-/231060913727?hash=item35cc4dbe3f:g:askAAOSwymxVMB87

 

Don't ever use a WinTV USB tuner - it sucks for retro consoles.

 

Connect your 2600 to the splitter, and from there one coax connection to the TV and another to the USB TV tuner. Fire up Xsplit and add the USB TV tuner as a camera. From within Xsplit you can stream live to Twitch.

 

You can use Xsplit for free or pay $15 quarterly to get rid of the watermark.

 

Use a webcam and point it to your controller and console. You can add this as a second camera to Xsplit.

 

Here's a sample using that setup. Only thing is I had to reduce the resolution and fps on my HD Web cam cuz I don't have enough machine to broadcast that camera in HD. Otherwise it works flawlessly. No need for a VCR.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMvXAJITt60

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I like VectorGamer's idea the best so far and recommend it. But for the sake of variety, here's my (more expensive) setup that I've used, that will also allow you to do composite & S-video systems later on if you want to.

 

1. Atari 2600 spits out RF

 

2. RF goes into a TV tuner (this can be a VCR) - this converts it to composite video. I use/recommend this one (only $10!) http://www.ebay.com/itm/SONY-SINGLE-ANTENNA-TV-TUNER-TU-1041U-/222122527149?hash=item33b788c9ad:g:fX0AAOSwADNXPQf8

 

3. Composite video goes to a distribution amp. I use/recommend this one https://www.amazon.com/1x2-Composite-Splitter-Distribution-Amplifier/dp/B003D0FC52

 

4. Output #1 from distribution amp goes to your TV

 

5. Output #2 from distribution amp goes to your capture card - typical option these days is Elgato HD (do NOT get HD60, only regular HD does composite) but since you're doing SD content, you might be able to get away with this: https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-SVID2USB2-S-Video-Composite-Capture/dp/B000O5RIWO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1468373447&sr=8-6

 

6. Capture card video is piped into your broadcasting software of choice - I use/recommend OBS

 

7. For video of your hands, just get any decent webcam. All you have to do is add it to OBS, it lets you put in multiple video inputs and arrange them however you want. This is the most popular webcam on Amazon, I've used it and loved it in the past (and it's $50 during Prime Day if you hurry!) https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Widescreen-Calling-Recording-Desktop/dp/B006JH8T3S/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1468372706&sr=1-1&keywords=webcam

 

So you're looking at about a $120ish investment for what could amount to a really nice looking stream, which is a pretty fantastic deal. Lord knows I've invested at least 8x that so far for my setup. Some words of warning:

 

- I do NOT recommend skipping the distribution amp and trying to play the game while looking at your computer screen. The amount of delay it adds makes competition-level play like you're talking about impossible. Also do NOT skimp on the brand of amp, that Shinybow is about as cheap as you can get for something that is guaranteed to work perfectly every time with no headaches or tweaking required. I love mine

 

- If you can, don't use wireless to stream, plug in an Ethernet cable. It can make a huge difference.

 

- You're going to have to tweak OBS to have optimal settings based on your connection speed. No matter what, resist any temptation to stream at 30fps! I'd rather watch a 240p 60fps Atari video than a 1080p 30fps one. Those games are 60fps natively and they look totally wrong if you skip half the frames.

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Can you not just use a camera? That is what they do with arcade machines...

 

Using a USB tuner or other capture device is going to give the best picture

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For pre-third gen stuff a easycap is also another option. You can get them for under $10 and they support Composite and S-Video so all you would need is a VCR to convert RF to composite.

 

Here's a quick capture of my S-Video modded 2600 captured through one. pitfallII.mp4

Edited by thecrypticodor

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You or someone you know probably has a VCR that works great, but they don't use it. Connect the 2600 to the VCR, and capture the composite video from the VCR.

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You or someone you know probably has a VCR that works great, but they don't use it. Connect the 2600 to the VCR, and capture the composite video from the VCR.

Goodwills usually have stacks of them.

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From your first post it sounds like you just need a camera. I use a Dvd recorder myself though some don't like the ataris video resolution. I've tried various video capture cards but most do poor jobs from failing to grab an image to poor or no colors.

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I usually don't stream while playing 2600 unless it is Taco Tuesday.. Whats wromg with you guys?

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OP says he doesn't want to mod the 2600 so he is using RF. Using the TV tuner I linked along with a splitter will do the job.

 

To record consoles that use composite out, I just use an RF modulator (or demodulator - whichever one is used to convert composite to RF) with coax running from that to the splitter.

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All you need is a USB TV tuner, a splitter, and Xsplit or that free broadcast software OBS. I use Xsplit cuz I could never get OBS to work.

 

Here's the exact one I bought only mine cost $10: http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-2-0-Universal-Cable-TV-Tuner-MEPG-DVR-Video-Recorder-For-CATV-Satellite-/231060913727?hash=item35cc4dbe3f:g:askAAOSwymxVMB87

 

Don't ever use a WinTV USB tuner - it sucks for retro consoles.

 

Thank you man. You saved my day. Although that device seems not to work perfect for composite connection (crippled mono sound input instead of stereo from Xbox) - for RF Atari 2600 authentic 50/60 fps capturing goodness it just works perfect. Although that software that is bundled with it quite sucks - it can only capture half the frames of the 2600 output - just try with Pac Man and you should get what I mean since some sprites are just quite missing in the video renderer... Anyway that is the issue of that software recorder not the device itself.

 

Yes, no need for a bulky analogue VCR... 10 dollars USB device is just the right choice!

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Thank you man. You saved my day. Although that device seems not to work perfect for composite connection (crippled mono sound input instead of stereo from Xbox) - for RF Atari 2600 authentic 50/60 fps capturing goodness it just works perfect. Although that software that is bundled with it quite sucks - it can only capture half the frames of the 2600 output - just try with Pac Man and you should get what I mean since some sprites are just quite missing in the video renderer... Anyway that is the issue of that software recorder not the device itself.

 

Yes, no need for a bulky analogue VCR... 10 dollars USB device is just the right choice!

 

Since I got a new laptop, I bumped up my fps in Xsplit from 30 fps to 60 fps. Here's one of my latest videos capturing at 60 fps:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYie8Mzaom0

 

 

Here is a capture of going PS composite out to RF modulator. This is an older video capturing at 30 fps. Both of these videos used the USB TV tuner I linked to previously.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9YVdsvuSL8

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Sorry to necro this thread, but I'm trying to figure out how to capture Channel F to my laptop. I figured it is similar enough to the 2600 that one method should work for both.

 

I'm running a Macbook Pro with Catalina (which seems to be the big problem, as it no longer supports 32-bit programs). System is unmodded.

My setup is Channel F -> VCR -> HD PVR -> split to Trinitron and my computer. Video capture program is HDPVRCapture, but they haven't answered any of my emails regarding my issues. I'm running the demo of the software until I can figure out how to make it work. I set it to record for 2 mins, but every time I run it, it only records between 6 and 11 seconds, and then the conversion from an .m2ts file to .mp4 ruins the video.

 

I've looked into other options such as a simple EasyCap but the EasyCap For Mac software also seems to be unsupported by Catalina.

 

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Video processors with Faroudja chips are particularly good at handling changes in frame rate and signal--at the expense of some frame drops/studder.  You'll want to chain through one of those to your capture card/box.

 

Don't sweat the lack of frame lock, because every other solution I see here will have the same issues.

 

Also, you might look into one of the Datapath Vision RGB capture cards on eBay.

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If someone is wanting to create a streaming channel where they show game footage and a cam of the players in action, you may want to use OBS Studio, a free solution, to handle multiple feeds:

 

https://obsproject.com/

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