I'm making this topic because of all the times this has been brought up.

Whether it's for streaming, making an LP, or just to record your favorite video game moments, the idea of recording your console games in a way that has better quality than a webcam often comes up. Hopefully this topic will clear things up for you.

In order to record/stream a game to look the same as it does on your TV, you will need something called a capture card. These work by plugging the video/audio inputs into the capture card which takes the video the same way your TV does, but shows it on your computer instead. It also allows you to record your video/audio. All the walls of text below are information about the 2 most commonly known capture cards, Dazzle and Easycap. images will be put in spoiler tags so that you don't get spammed to death.

1. Dazzle

1a. Description
The Dazzle Capture Card is probably the most famous capture card out there. Since it incredibly easy to use and comes with it's own recording and DVD making programs, it is probably also one of the most user-friendly capture cards available. There are two different Dazzle Capture Cards: The cheaper SD one and the more expensive HD one. The HD one is not actually HD. It does have increased quality, but not HD quality. It also comes with an extra "HD" program.

[spoiler="A Dazzle Capture Card":sqsxs7bp][/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

1b. Installation/Usage FOR RECORDING:
The Dazzle capture card is plugged into your computer via USB port, and connects to your console the same way your TV does. Because the computer auto installs drivers from things that are plugged in via USB port, not much needs to be done by you to get the Dazzle working. By simply plugging in the jacks from your console and plugging the Dazzle into your USB port, you're ready to record. The Dazzle also comes with a CD that has the installation information for the recording program.

The Dazzle recording program is also very user-friendly. If your Dazzle is plugged in it will auto-detect it so that all the recording settings are already set up. All you have to do is click the "capture" tab and press "start record". Record as long as you'd like, then stop the recording. It will auto-save your video wherever you select, with the default being your videos folder for Windows Vista/7 (Not sure where it auto saves to for other computers.) This program makes for very easy recording.

[spoiler="A look at the recording program":sqsxs7bp][/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

1c. Installation/usage FOR STREAMING:
Streaming using the Dazzle is a bit different. To stream using the Dazzle you won't be using the programs provided with the capture card. Instead, the stream site you are using (most likely either ustream.tv or justin.tv) will auto-detect the Dazzle as a video source, allowing you to simply select it from the list of video sources you have available. If you plan to stream using either capture card, please look at section 3b (Streaming game audio).

The only things you need to stream video games using a Dazzle are the Dazzle itself and an account to stream with. After you have the Dazzle set up, you're ready to stream!

1d. Where to get a Dazzle
The Dazzle is not the cheapest of capture cards, and it will cost you either $50 for the SD one (typically white) and $80 for the HD one (typically black). The Dazzle can be bought on many online sites (Amazon, Ebay, etc.), but can also be picked up in stores. The best place to get a Dazzle Capture card by actually going to a store seems to be Best Buy.

[spoiler="The box for a Dazzle Capture Card in its pretty red color":sqsxs7bp][/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

2. Easycap
2a. Basic Description
The Easycap is a much simpler Capture card, but still will allow you to record/stream your games. Because it is much simpler, it is also much cheaper. The decrease price also brings a decrease in quality however, so be warned.

2b. Installation
The Easycap works the same as the Dazzle. That is, it connects by USB. Because of this all of the Easycap's drivers will be installed for you. Once the drivers are installed, plug in your video/audio jacks into the Easycap. Then comes the recording....

[spoiler="An Easycap Capture Card":sqsxs7bp][/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

(From here on out, all information is provided by other people/websites. If you own an Easycap and know something in the upcoming Recording/Streaming sections are wrong, please let me know.)

2c. Recording
One of the major downsides to the Easycap is that it does NOT come with any software to help you record. You get only the Easycap. Because of this, you will have to either have another recording software available to you OR you can download software for Easycap via the internet. The Easycap also does NOT provide you with a screen for recording like the Dazzle does (even if their screen is only 3".). In order to see your video using the Easycap you would have to buy a splitter cable with your Easycap. (Information on splitter cables can be found in Section 3: Useful Information.)

2d. Streaming
Streaming using the Easycap is much easier than recording as you can see the video of what you are trying to stream on the stream. This means that you do not need a splitter cable to use the Easycap in this case. Just like the Dazzle, streaming sites such as Ustream.tv and Justin.tv will auto-detect Easycap as a video source, so as soon as the drivers have installed, you're ready to stream! If you plan to stream using either capture card, please look at section 3b (Streaming game audio).

2e. Where to buy an Easycap
Easycaps can be purchased all over the internet for a much cheaper price than the Dazzle, the average being roughly $10. It is not purchasable in stores, or if it is, it's probably not worth the time to go out on a search for it.

3. Useful Information about Capture Cards

3a. Splitter Cables
Splitter cables are cables used to take your one video/audio jack and turn it into 2 separate jacks. It is very useful for Capture Cards as it allows you to both record your game and have your game still show up on your TV. A splitter cable will usually have one end with one input jack, and one end with 2 output jacks. By plugging your video/audio into the input jack, you now have 2 different jacks to use, both of which will show your video.

[spoiler="An example of a splitter cable":sqsxs7bp]

If anyone can get me a better quality picture of something like this, I'd appreciate it. Google Images has a lot of images similar to it, but not it...[/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

Mostly commonly, splitter cables are used for the video input since the audio input already has 2 cables.

3b. Streaming game audio
If you plan to stream your game's audio along with the video, this becomes an entirely different process. If you are trying to record your gameplay, your capture card should record your game audio as well. If you are trying to stream your game audio, however, the Streaming website will NOT pick up your Capture Card as an audio output! In order to stream audio, and entirely different cable must be used.

This cable will take your audio output and turn it into a version of audio output that your computer/the streaming sites will be able to recognize. This cable, known as a stereo cable, looks similar to a splitter cable. It will usually have an input on one side and 2 outputs on the other. In some cases, it may have 3 outputs without an input. If this happens, You will need to get a cable converter (Actual name required, unless that's right.). See the paragraph below for information on Cable Converters. If you have a stereo cable that have 1 input and 2 outputs, simply plug your console's audio jack into the input and plug the output audio jack into your Computer's speaker input. When you have done this, the computer will register your console's audio as a microphone. Streaming sites such as Ustream and Justin.tv will also recognize it as an audio source, so you can now stream game audio!

[spoiler="An example of a stereo cable (3-output version)":sqsxs7bp][/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

If you happen to get a stereo cable that does not have an input on one side, you will need a cable converter to change an output into and input. These are very simple and cheap pieces of equipment. Once you get one, simply plug the cable converter into the output side you wish to change and set up your audio in the same way as stated above.

[spoiler="An example of a cable converter":sqsxs7bp]

If anyone can get me a better quality picture of something like this, I'd appreciate it. Google Images has a lot of images similar to it, but not it...[/spoiler:sqsxs7bp]

3c. Purchasing these things
I know these things can be purchased both online and at Best Buy. It may be purchasable through other stores, but again, these aren't items that everyone is rushing to go get.

Hurray! I finished typing my what looks strangely similar to a lawbook! Sorry for any low-quality pictures/not 100% true statements. I used descriptions and what I know about the Easycap to create the best information I can. If anything (especially in the Easycap section) is incorrect, and you know it's incorrect, please help make this topic better by telling me what I need to fix. Thanks!

Hopefully this information is at least 93% correct. :P and hopefully it will help those who would like to record/stream their games for people to watch. Doing recordings or streams opens up a whole new set of possibilities for gaming, and can be a lot of fun. Good luck on getting your capture cards working!

If anything needs to be added to this, feel free to let me know!