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You Can Stream Video To Your MiSTer And It Rocks

The list of cool things I can do with my MiSTer grows every day.

A MiSTer and Flatbox controller streaming the Aftermath logo on to a CRT.

One of the many things you can do with your MiSTer: display the logo for a cool website.

The MiSTer, the all-in-one open source emulation box for retro gaming, is one of the best gaming purchases I have ever made. The sheer versatility of the device is unparalleled, mainly because developers keep adding new cores and features to it. And with GroovyMister and the recently released MiSTerCast, you can use it to stream videos directly from your desktop to your CRT over ethernet with very low latency. It rules.

If you don’t know about MiSTer, it’s a project to recreate old consoles, arcade machines and computers using FPGA instead of software-based emulation. This allows for close to native hardware performance and accuracy in many cases, and is compatible with an endless slew of hardware capping out on the current hardware around fifth generation consoles like the Playstation/Sega Saturn/N64. There are tons of compatible cores, and every time I update the machine new things are being added. It has gotten aggressively better every single day since I bought it. 

This brings us to streaming video directly to your CRT using your MiSTer. This actually involves multiple projects, but the core is using a piece of software called GroovyMister (related to the CRT fork of the MAME emulator GroovyMAME), which allows the MiSTer to ingest video from emulators like GroovyMame, RetroArch and Mednafen over wired ethernet at a very low latency. It’s still in the development phase, and the process requires you to replace the main MiSTer binary (just back the old one up, it’s fine), but once you get that going it works tremendously well.

The other half of this is a piece of very new software called MiSTerCast. Running this locally allows you to capture a portion of your PC’s desktop and send it directly to your CRT via wired ethernet, audio included. There are some limitations: It is currently Windows-only, and monitors have to be set to 60hz. It can technically work over WiFi but is so unstable that I would advise against it. But that said, once you input your MiSTer’s local IP address and get everything working, it’s shocking how seamlessly and low latency it can capture and display images on your CRT. 

I immediately used MisterCast to do the purest thing: post. I played that one video where the British lads hit each other with chairs. I set it up to play Balatro, which I then immediately uninstalled again for my sanity. After a while I was just using it to watch anime openings. 

If you have a MiSTer, trying this is a no-brainer. And if you don’t have a MiSTer and love retro gaming, look into it. The sheer depth of what can be done with the device is staggering, it’s one of the most welcoming communities out there, and every single day something brand seems to drop from the sky, the tireless work of countless developers working towards a common goal.

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