Are you a fan of retro gaming and looking for a way to stream or record your gameplay? The OSSC (1.6) may be the solution you’re looking for. In this review, we’ll take a look at how the OSSC performs when used with original hardware and how it fares in terms of streaming and recording footage. We’ll also discuss the necessary equipment and cables needed to get the best results. Whether you’re a fan of the PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, or any other classic console, read on to see if the OSSC is the right choice for you.
Despite the many emulators out there, there’s nothing quite like original hardware in my opinion. But, the older they get the worse they play nicely with modern TVs leading to a terrible stretched picture and worse yet, they can’t be streamed as they are not compatible with most if not all capture cards.
I’ve had the OSSC (1.6) for quite a while now but not a capture card – there are plenty of people who have reviewed the OSSC before me and most people know what it looks like and down, so I wanted to review the OSSC specifically in the context of using it with original hardware and streaming/recording footage.
If you would rather just watch the video of me going through it, here it is. But, I have also written up my thoughts on the cracking device.
My set up
For transparency, to achieve what I think to be a stunning end result I curated some of the best equipment for this purpose and an OSSC on its own will get mixed results. An OSSC line doubles and upscales but how your TV or monitor handles that signal is up in the air, some may not like anything over 2x, some might struggle with one console or another, so bare that in mind.
Some of the signals the OSSC sends out is foreign to modern monitors, 240p (Mega Drive, PS1), 480i (PS2), 480p (Dreamcast), 576i, 900p just to name a couple. As the OSSC is a line doubler, the signal it doubles into isn’t something many television know what to do with, the same goes for capture cards. Line 4x and Line 5x are some of the highest but with the lowest comparability in my eyes.
For me, my AOC TV doesn’t play perfectly with the OSSC higher than 2x, same with my Sharp. So, I researched the web to get some recommendations and a common one was the ViewSonic VX3276-2K-mhd-2 31.5 inch IPS Monitor – this beauty more or less accepts every signal the OSSC throws at it and it looks amazing.
Then, I needed to get a capture card that plays nicely with some of these signals, and the one I chose and have yet to find an issue with is the Elgato HD60 S+.
Your results with the OSSC will be different to mine, but if you are starting from scratch I would recommend getting the optimal equipment, especially if you’re going to be streaming with an OSSC.
Lastly, to get the best results invest in the best cables – all the cables should be component cables – 3 for video, 2 for audio, and then you’ll need a audio jack to get into the OSSC. For Dreamcast use VGA and Mega Drive it must be SCART and NOT an AV to SCART adapter.
All of this results in a set up that isn’t cheap and therefore a great experience should have been the minimum for all that money.
Review of the video quality streaming original retro hardware with an OSSC
I am extremely impressed with the quality of the video which is displayed in a stream or a recording (check out the video for the example). Due to the video size on the OBS canvas being smaller, it is not stretched and looks better than the video I am seeing myself on the monitor. If you choose to use the OSSC to stream like I do then your viewers will get a quality picture.
This is because the entire canvas in OBS (or whatever you use) is 1080p (usually) and the video capture is smaller, to make room for chat and so on. Essentially, OBS is showing a perfect aspect ratio and it is the monitor your playing on which might be stretched or imperfect.
Not all games got equal benefit
Some games do end up getting a lot more polished than others, The Thing wasn’t amazing on the PS2 but Metal Gear Solid 2 was fantastic. The quality of the game you are streaming through an OSSC does matter. Another example is the PS1 version of Resident Evil 2 looks worse than the Dreamcast version, because it just was worse.
For speed runners and hard core gamers, I noticed zero lag when playing making games which require frame precise movements happy.
I streamed Mega Drive, PS1, PS2, Dreamcast and GameCube in total and every single time the quality was great. I made some mistakes at first inside OBS but once I got the hang of it and understood what I was doing it was fantastic.
If I had to criticise the quality of the video while streaming it would be the occasional darkness. This is easier fixed using the pre-ADC gain setting in OSSC than your monitor. Sometimes there is some jittering which I encountered with The Thing and the Mega Drive, it is slight but it is there.
On the Mega Drive is where I found OSSC did more, the games looked perfect and as good as on a CRT if you ask me. Sonic 3 and Streets of Rage 2 looked as good with an OSSC as it does with a Mega SG which is designed specifically for that console. If you plan to stream Mega Drive/Genesis then the OSSC is a perfect 10.
The Thing looked pretty poor and stretched whilst Metal Gear Solid 2 looked wonderful. The Thing also left an awful lot of artefacts on my monitor whereas the others didn’t. GTA3 looked as good as ever.
For the PS1, Silent Hill is unusable as is any game which changes resolutions in game, there is a 2-3 second delay when it happens and during that time you can get damage and so on. Silent Hill does it going into the inventory and back. However, Resident Evil 2 looked brilliant and the pre rendered backgrounds streamers fairly slick. MK Trilogy looked brilliant and smooth, also.
With my Dreamcast a lot of magic happened with every game streaming gorgeously, especially Ecco Defender of the Future. Highly recommended and if you’re in PAL regions you can stream 60hz.
Lastly, check out just how good the original Resident Evil Remake looked when I streamed it, you would need to look twice to notice it wasn’t the HD remaster I was playing it looked that good. That was playing on a Wii.
It’s impossible to review the OSSC without bringing up the myriad of settings to get the perfect picture, I am not going to contribute to that discussion because I used the settings from this Reddit thread and this Google Drive repo. When I first got the OSSC I messed with the settings and wasted hours getting nowhere, the settings I downloaded and then uploaded via a microSD card did the trick.
Whenever I asked streamers who I knew used the OSSC if they changed any settings their answer was always no, they used the default settings and I’ve never complained about their video quality on original consoles.
I believe there are just too many settings given as a default and instead there should be the option of advanced mode for casual users. Line doubling is the option which really makes the difference and anything beyond that is nit picking. Alternatively, someone should release a lite version of the OSSC with settings built in at a discount.
In conclusion, the OSSC (1.6) is a valuable tool for streaming and recording original retro hardware. While it may not work optimally with all TVs and monitors, pairing it with the right equipment and cables can result in high quality video. It’s important to note that the quality of the game being streamed can also impact the final result. Overall, while the setup may not be cheap, the end result is worth it for those who want to enjoy and share their favorite retro games with modern audiences.