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Why wait for Twitch? Here’s one way you can stream from your Xbox One today

Above: Capturing Killer Instinct using the HD PVR Rocket's included Hauppague Capture software.

Image Credit: Jeff Grubb/GamesBeat
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The Xbox One will soon have the capability to stream games to Twitch. Microsoft plans to add this to its next-gen hardware in early 2014. But if you want to broadcast Xbox One gameplay to the web any time before that, you’ll need some extra hardware.

One of the devices capable of enabling that is the HD PVR Rocket from Hauppauge, which runs $170. This is the newest capture device on the market, and it is hitting right at a time when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are launching with built-in features to handle gameplay recording. We decided to test out the Rocket to see if something like this still makes sense and how it compares to Xbox One’s built-in GameDVR.

The results were mixed.

Setup

Setting up the Rocket is fairly straight forward. Hauppauge designed the box so that gamers could drag it to something like a fighting game tournament, plug it in, and quickly record gameplay without much hassle. It’s ideal for that situation.

The Rocket has a USB port so that it can capture footage without even needing a PC present. The device even has a microphone jack so that players can record voice over while the action is happening.

Unfortunately, I’m trying to use it with an Xbox One, and that’s a problem. The Xbox One only has HDMI ports, and the console uses HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection). This prevents me from recording television or Netflix movies from the Xbox One using the USB port or the included Hauppauge Capture software. For some reason, the HDCP was also preventing me from recording the Xbox One game footage. That shouldn’t happen, and we’ve contacted Hauppauge to figure out a solution.

So I had to figure out a bypass solution. I ended up using the Hauppauge Capture’s viewing port (which shows a live feed of the Xbox One) with a recording program like Xsplit (or Open Broadcaster Software). I set up Xsplit to capture the Happauge Capture monitor and turned on the streaming.

It’s not an ideal solution, but it works. I could also use Xsplit to make a local recording instead of broadcasting to my Twitch channel.

Video quality

I got the Rocket working well enough. I even used it to stream to Twitch.

Here is a recording of my Twitch broadcast that I uploaded to YouTube. You can see that it doesn’t look great, but a lot of that is due to Twitch itself:

For comparison, here’s a clip of that same race I grabbed using Xbox One’s built-in GameDVR:

GameDVR is great, but it has limits. It can only record up to the last 5 minutes of gameplay. That’s less than a third of what the PlayStation 4 can record at a time. With the Rocket, I have no such limits. I capture the following clip directly to my PC using Xsplit’s local-recording feature:

I again used GameDVR to snag 5 minutes of the same race, and I think the Hauppauge does a much better job:

Conclusion

The Rocket is a fine device, but the HDCP on Xbox One is a big hassle. I did find a way around it, but most people are probably going to be happy to use GameDVR and the upcoming built-in Twitch app rather than struggle with workarounds.

However, if you want longer recordings or want to add a voice-over track while you’re gaming, the Rocket is a good solution — especially if Hauppauge can figure out a

Rocket is obviously meant for individuals who are traveling light and want to record video they’re going to later upload to YouTube. If your target platform doesn’t use HDCP (Wii U, Xbox 360, classic consoles), Hauppauge’s tiny device should keep you in business.

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