Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Genki ShadowCast

 Welcome to the first review of a product I've purchased from Kickstarter or any crowdfunding site really. This one was heavily advertised on Facebook back along in February time and actually even then from the price was pretty reasonable at $54 including shipping (£39.31) , but this was going to be interesting to see how it works as a budget streaming device, since HDMI has so many uses it really can be worth while to see which consoles are supported and which are not. The Review is below which is over  9 months since purchasing it and also 6 months since it arrived with me. 

The Packaging: 

Lets be clear, this was actually in a nice retail looking box and not in the side of a budget cardboard brown box like some other ebay sellers have been for capture cards in the past like the Tbox Mini. Which that gives it an attractive look to it, that s shown on a shelf in a shop. The details are on the back of it as well, so its not a unusual thing but it makes sense for it to have their nice red and white design like the genki logo. 

The front of the Box 

One side of the box to show how short the device actually is 

The Top of the box with the Genki Logo

The Other side of the box with the ShadowCast name 

The bottom of the box with the Trademarks 

The Back of the Box with the info about the shadowcast and how to use it. 

Now it gets to the part of how to open the box and its a nice way of it, its a motion of, once the film has been removed, you can slide the box then its a flap at the bottom, which the box lid lifts up. 

The way the box slides open

The box lifts open

Now then it shows whats inside: 

A Look inside the box: 

Now this is where the nice part of the packaging which you can see how its laid out inside. Now the contents of the shadowcast is. 

  • 1 x ShadowCast HDMI Dongle wth a Translucent Black and Yellow
  • 1 x Braided USB Type C 2.0 (Not 3.1 Gen x) Cable 1.8m longer
  • 1 x Genki Logo Sticker 
  • 1 x Odd design sticker 
  • 1 x User Manual in different languages 

The best of this is actually its nicely planned out.  So its going to now be the case of looking at each part. 

The Capture Card. 

Its actually tiny, like, one of the smallest I've seen, shorter then other cards i've seen and the colour scheme is actually cool, I picked that one back when I ordered or funded it in JANUARY.  But its got the HDMI connector on it as well as its a bit wider than other HDMI connectors, but there is a workaround. There is a TYPE C port on the other side of that which means its universal and also a more robust connector as well. 

The Yellow side of the HDMI which is the top 

The bottom 

The side of the shadowcast with the top and bottom 

The other side of the shadow cast 

The back of the shadowcast 

The nice bit of cardboard insert for where the shadowcast sits 

The USB Type C Cable: 

Now this is not so much of a shock but actually a surprise on the quality of the cable and how clear they explain it in the label. Its a braided USB 2.0 Type C. Type C does not instantly mean speeds of up to 60gbps to handle video and heck even eGPUs. Now that means its not for the high end part of charging a Macbook or heck running a 4K display using it, but for this purpose its ideal, the nice touch is one side is Right angled as well, and since Type C is reversible, you can use it either way, that goes for the shadowcast port as well. Genki even has the name engraved on each side too.

The cable inside the bag 

The engraved Genki Logo on the straight side 

The engraved Genki Logo on the angled side 

Now that makes it a bit easier to deal with and for most newer devices, yes it gives a fair bit of issues for those that are using laptops without a USB Type C port but as you'll realize, that is  not a limitation if you have got a decent Type C to usb A Cable , which I do have, so we will see if that helps it on its journey to test this capture card. 

The Stickers and the Manual: 

So the last parts that are left inside are the points of that it can be the case of the appeal and also a thank you for the support when funding the project in the first place too. So they give you 2 stickers, the first is some alien strange shape and the other is the plot of the Genki Logo. 

The Genki Logo 

The odd sticker looking one that was included as well 

Now then it leads to the manual, which means it can guide you on what to do, which in this case there were some surprises for the way it actually mentions the support for it. Like an i5-3rd Gen is a minimum requirement, which is a nice realistic one, sure many have upgraded since then since that is the 2012 era but later on I will notice that it might seem low when you read that but for those that just want to play without streaming, then it makes sense. 

The Front of the shadowcast manual

Inside the manual on how it connects 

The last page of the english side of the manual 

Which that can help to plan out how to use this, also remember that with this, there is no CD that lets you install drivers and is plug and play for the most part too. So that is clearly explained. 

Now with most of that out of the way, its time to finally use it. 

A look at all that was in the box 

The Setup and Testing: 

Now this is going to be some sections, on how this works, they are below: 

  • Connecting up to my Desktop + Drivers 
  • Installing Genki Arcade 
  • Setting up OBS
  • Connecting a PS4 to it 
  • Connecting a PS3 to it 
  • Connecting a PSTV / Vita TV to it
  • Connecting a Laptop to it 
  • Connecting up to Laptop Running Mac OS 

So lets get started: 

Connecting it up to my Desktop: 

This was easier than i originally thought, since of the face i have a Type C cable plugged in on the USB A end to the desktop already.

The Morphie Cable plugged in 

So then it was time to see how it installs. There was no issue with drivers since it was plug and play for this and well it means its going to be ready to use. But for those that want to know, the details below for the Drivers in Device manager. 

The Status of the Shadowcast Digital Audio 

The Driver versions in the Audio Side 

The Hardware IDs

The installation of the Audio Side 

The Status of the Actual capture side 

The Driver Details of the camera

The Hardware ID of the Video Side 

The Events of the installation of it 

Then it was time to install the App, Which is either on Mac, Windows or there is a Web version too for Chromebooks and I thought Android but that is for later to guess on. But once that was installed, it was on a splash type screen for it and then was waiting for the card to be connected, it does not show a blue screen unlike the Prif streambox. But then it was time to get the Cable Connected. 

The App

The settings on the app after using the konami code

Connecting a PS4: 

Now this is the one that might be a tricky one without an Extra Cable, since the edges of the Shadowcast can be tricky But I planned out this workaround, with a 1m HDMI Extension Cable and with a nice expectation, it worked out as planned and then there is a picture on the app. 

The HDMI Extension Cable 

Connected it to the Shadowcast

The PS4 screencapture from the Genki App 

Now I did notice some lag in even the menus in that way, especially with the setting which chooses higher resolution compared to higher performance. Which even in the higher performance, i did notice some tiny bit of lag, maybe its from the fact its on a 7-7400, maybe its from the face I was recording with OBS and did not have a working mic due to only reinstalling windows a week or so ago from the night of filming. 

ScottPilgrim as a screenshot 

Side Note: No  Game/DeviceAudio in the Genki Arcade app 

Now one thing I did notice was that there is no audio support in the Genki App but there is the classic workaround of using the Listen to this Device in Sound Control Panel, Which is on 7,8.1,10,11. So there is little excuse, remember even first versions of OBS non studio did not support the monitor of audio so over time it will be fixed. But the steps to get this enabled are below (Windows 11).

The Sound Settings on 11

The Properties of the Shadowcast 

First to set it as default 

The Properties of the Digital Audio Shadowcast 

This Setting is the easy workaround  to get the sound working from the shadowcast with the genki arcade app

So with that part out of the way, it was time to continue on. 

Recording on the Genki Arcade: 

So its was actually quite smooth with recording on this using the app itself, I managed to get some things played out and the bit-rate is pretty good, The resolution is not as crisp when using the better performance but there was some jutter and lag when sing the better resolution when recording. There sis a setting mismatch which makes it hard to explain with the mic being used when recording and actually it means it does not pickup the sound in recordings but it does get heard in the app, this might be part of the bug of no in game volume but We can see how it goes in future updates. The Recording itself is 30fps and 17mbps bit-rate along with 96kbps mono audio.

The Details of the recorded file 

OBS and The Shadowcast: 

Now this part is again a plug and play part of things, which part of this is to use OBS Studio and well it makes it good to work with it, but the settings are nice and actually are shown unlike the hidden feature of the konami code in the Genki Arcade app. 

The Settings for the Shadowcast in OBS as a Video capture device 

The Resolution selection which actually shows a fair bit 

The PS4 Works on OBS via the Shadowcast

Then it was the recording, and oh my it was laggy, even with x264 on superfast and it was a surprise at that, but then I've only just installed it and the drivers might not be as optimized as others, I've still got some tweaking to do on it, but it does show and play, but it was 30fps on the Shadowcast as the default. 
Note:  The same applies for the rest of the tests in this so be aware. 

Connecting A PS3: 

This was the most surprising of the results, since actually this plugged straight in and GAVE a PICTURE which means this device is HDCP compliant as far as i can tell, since plug and play for the PS3 is a big bonus, So it was time to get it setup.

Seeing the time and date in OBS 

The Console showing on the Monitor 

The Installing the 4.88 update via Genki Arcade

But the recording was not as bad as i Thought, there was lag in OBS but the Arcade app did not have too much lag but was noticeable with some corners in the maze Score Attack.

The title screen for loading 

So that means it works out to be anle to be seen, the GPU will be useful to make performance easier. But it was now time for a real taste of this card to see what it can support. 

Connecting a VITA TV. 

Well this was the exciting surprise, since other devices like the PS3 connected to other boxes, do not work. but this did. So it means i can play PSP games for streaming soon. So it was time to plug it in, with no extension needed. 

Settings up the time in the Genki Arcade App

The Vita TV Connected up 

A Shown of it in the Dark 

This only goes up to 720p for it but it still is clear and easy to use, so that helps for performance, Even with the PSP emulator included there. 

Connecting a Laptop: 

Now this does works as well, out of no issue since it was plug and play, Windows 11 saw it and used it to extend the monitors nce told to, since it was on duplicate before. If you do use prefer resolution then it will be a bit clearer for it to work. But either works. 

The Laptop connected to it 

Windows 11 lockscreen works 

So does it with duplicating 

The way to extend the screen with the Shadow Cast

So that is a useful trick in this way indeed. Especially this was a plug and play mantra. So now it was time to test it with MacOS. 

More of the Clip details 

Using Shadowcast on MacOS. 

So this one is a tempting bit of fate, but it did work on MacOS but there was a lot of lag on OBS and part of the Genki Arcade app but some small lag in that one, But it does make it easier for streaming on MacOS, especially now the laptop is ready for dualbooting, it does help. 

The laptop connected up 

It was showing on OBS (Preview turned off) 

But there was alot of noticeable lag on that side of things which recordings and even playing without it was not good at all, maybe its the use with the metal graphics causing the delay due to openGL or other parts i've not looked into, it could be that reason. But if that was sorted, then I could get streaming done easier to then it could be nicer and more productive.

Using Shadowcast on Android: 

Now it actually is supposed to work on chrome via the Type C but it had a issue with 

The Conclusion: 

So actually this dongle has ALOT of potential in this regard, since its a tiny capture card that is simple to connect to both older PCs and newer devices via the Type C cable which works on both Type C to Type C and Type C to Type A.  Yes there are bugs with the Genki arcade App but can be worked around for the most part, it works with OBS for streaming in the simple ways, there are performance hits on some cases. Delivery was 3 months but that was kickstarter, apparently there is a UK warehouse so it might be quicker but they do charge for UK delivery I hear.  With All that said. 

omracer's Rating: 9/10

The Good Points: 

  • Incredible value for the device
  • Type C cable included which is braided
  • Works with OBS and other Apps, heck even Chrome (Not on android) 
  • Supports 1080p 60fps on all apps
  • Nice design and documentation
  • Supports HDCP devices like PS3 and Vita TV 
  • Works even with Extension Cable

The Bad Points:

  • The only cable is a Type C to C cable for older devices that cannot use that 
  • The Genki Arcade app does need some work 
  • Android support is not there but apparently iOS support is there
  • No Passthrough support for HDMI via the Type C (Not testef but confirmed in a comment from the staff at Human Things
  • Delivery can be a fair time away 

And there you have it, its taken a FAIR bit of time for this and there are more reviews to go, there is some more reviews to come before 2022. There are other parts and videos to plan on what is to be done. But for now it comes to see how things go. 

See you soon