Recently I had the perfect opportunity to test out Pinnacle's PCTV To Go wireless multicasting feature. Multicasting refers to the delivery of content from one source to many over a network, in this case a wireless network. So, why would anyone possibly want to do that?
I thought it would be interesting to multicast a football video game that people were playing on a Gamecube console. This way not everyone would have to crowd around one TV but instead could watch various monitors of the game located elsewhere in the house.
In order to do this project I needed a Gamecube with an easy to play football game, a Pinnacle PCTV To Go, and a couple laptops. To start with, I used Blitz 2002 which was the last Blitz made before Pro on the Gamecube. This game allows the quarterback to point and pass towards the receiver so there is a minimal learning curve to play the game. Also, I used four wireless Wavebird game controllers so I could hide the console and not worry about wires. Additionally I used a couple of laptops with the Pinnacle PCTV To Go client installed and a Pinnacle PCTV To Go unit.
Using the Gamecube to component cable, I plugged in the component cable to the Pinnacle PCTV To Go unit. If you can physically hook up a DVD player you can easily accomplish this. Once physically connect you must configure the device to recognize the component ports which is accomplished through the PCTV To Go Setup Wizard.
Next, download the latest client software from Pinnacle Systems on all the machines you want to use as monitors and install using the PCTV To Go Setup Wizard on each machine again making sure that you use the video from the component source.
Finally, turn on the Gamecube or other gaming console, your extra monitors and then get your game on. Pinnacle System's PCTV To Go supports source video over component, composite, S-video and coax and does support HD. Once setup turn the sound down or off on the extra monitors due to a noticeable delay (shown below in the video) and expand the Pinnacle PCTV To Go clients to full screen. Now you are ready to get your game on!
One really nice feature with using the Pinnacle PCTV To Go clients is that you can record your entire gaming session to a local hard drive using one of the clients. I recorded the entire starting sequences for the Blitz 2002 game and that took up over 100MB, so make sure you have enough hard drive space.
Below is a low quality video I shot using my digital camera of the test setup. The Pinnacle PCTV To Go is located within a foot or two of both laptops. The laptop on the right is a Dell Latitude D820 which is a Intel duo core machine while the laptop on the left is a Dell Latitude D810 which is a slower machine with only a single core processor. The TV at the top is directly plugged into the PCTV To Go which is plugged into a Gamecube.
As you can see, even with the Pinnacle PCTV To Go unit located directly next to the laptops, there is a delay. Another observation I made with this test setup is that a better computer does not get as far behind as the less powerful laptop. I noticed that there could be as much as a twenty second delay before video shown on the TV was showing on the wireless clients.
The fact that the Pinnacle PCTV To Go can wirelessly multicast to at least two full screen clients is impressive even if the stream does not keep up with the source video. The fact that you can record a gaming session directly on a laptop is a huge bonus as well. Overall this was a beginner level project and the guests really enjoyed the setup.