Why Do We Need A Video Card?

Gene Avatar

I told you yesterday that we need a video card to begin streaming BlackLight Radio again.

A reasonable question would be, “why do you need a video card to stream radio?”

YouTube does not provide us a way to stream only audio to them; if we’re going to stream to YouTube, we’re going to have to stream audio AND video (even if that’s only a static image of our logo).

(This, BTW, is different than streaming audio, where even all you’re playing is pre-recorded files, you don’t even have to have a soundcard to encode and send to a server.)

The next reasonable question would be, “why do you need a different video card since you already said you might be using a static logo and 99% of computers come with video cards built in?”

The software we are going to be using, Open Broadcaster Software Studio, requires a video card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2.

I’m not 100% clear on what OpenGL 3.2 is or how it benefits OBS; I just know that without it, the software won’t run.

The computer I have to do the encoding for YouTube is old enough that the built in video card doesn’t run OpenGL 3.2.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m running Linux on it so the load is light enough to let it encode for YouTube.)

The next challenge with this computer is that it is old enough that it doesn’t have AGP or PCIe slots… only PCI.

There are several PCI video cards which can do OpenGL 3.2 on Amazon, but the least expensive I’ve found is the Sparkle PC 210 DMS59 512MB DDR3 PCI Graphics Card 700033.

It’s $50 plus $9.15 for shipping.

With this card in my current machine, I have every reason to believe we would then be able to use it as a dedicated encoder to feed YouTube with audio and video 24/7.

Although I’m still learning the OBS software, I’m thinking that there should be ways for me to set it up to display the 45 RPM single picture sleeves when songs are playing.

I’ve seen other live streams include all kinds of real-time information from the time of day to current donations to the current song playing.

I’d love to see us able to stream the music video for songs when we have them available… but that is several learning curves away. 🙂

We currently have $20 in our PayPal account, so we’re still needing $40 to get this video card.

If you’d like to help make this happen and help bring back BlackLight Radio, please consider donating through the button in the column to the right of this article.

I check PayPal every day, so once the money comes in I will be sure to let you know, and keep you updated on the delivery status and installation.

Were I not between jobs right now, I’d buy the card myself, and if no one donates the money, I will purchase it once I am employed again and caught up on bills.

Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for considering supporting BlackLight!

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