It’s release day for a game you’ve been dying to play, something you’ve been following for a very long time. It’s in your hand, the plastic wrapping torn apart and thrown all over the floor, and you revel in the sound of that green case clicking open. The hour is upon you – then you hear it. The television turns on, not by your doing. With the remote in their hand, another member of your household has single handedly squashed your excitement.
Though you may not have access to your TV to play, there’s an alternative method so that you can get in the game time you’ve been pining for, and no, it doesn’t involve a pillow fight for dominance or bribery.
Every Xbox One, from the original model to the One S, was built with the capability to stream to your PC. You will be able to bypass the need for a television and can game seamlessly onto your computer so long as it:
- Is running on Windows 10
- Is connected to the same network as your Xbox One
For optimal performance, your computer should have:
- At least 2GB of RAM
- 1.5 GHz CPU
Microsoft recommends a wired connection for game streaming, but a 5 GHz 802.11 N or 802.11 AC wireless connection will provide for suitable performance.
Setting it up will require initial access to the television, but the setup is quick and once it’s done, you shouldn’t have to go through the hassle reconnecting the console to your computer.
Enable Streaming on Your Xbox One
Let’s start with setting your Xbox One or Xbox One S up for streaming. This setting must be enabled for your PC to connect to your Xbox for game streaming.
With your Xbox powered on, access the Game DVR & Streaming settings through Settings All Settings Preferences, then:
- Under Game DVR & Streaming, select “Allow game streaming to other devices”
- Return to Preferences Xbox App Connections and enable “Allow connections from any device”
Now that your Xbox is prepped for connection, you’ll need to ensure you have the Xbox App installed on your PC.
Downloading and Installing the Xbox App
Maybe the easiest part of this whole process is downloading the Xbox-specific application. It’s a first-party app designed by Microsoft that does so much more than let you stream as it also gives you access to your Xbox HUB, just as if you were on the system.
On it, you can send messages, access your photos and videos stores on Xbox Live, check your notifications, browse the store – just about anything you can do on your console you can do on the app. Even if you weren’t looking to stream, it’s a great resource to have, especially when it comes to messaging friends as you can chat back and forth without interrupting gameplay.
If it’s not already installed on your Windows computer (found in your Start Menu), downloading the app is as easy as:
- Open the Microsoft Store
- Search for “Xbox Live”
- Click on the Xbox App
- Click on Get
- Click Install
Now launch the application and, when prompted to sign in, use your Xbox Live Gamertag information. What pops up within the app should have some familiarity, especially the icons in the left sidebar.
It’s time to connect your PC to your Xbox.
Connecting Your Xbox and Your PC
Assuming you followed the instructions under “Enable Streaming on Your Xbox One,” you should be good to connect the two devices; but before we do that, you’ll want an Xbox One controller connected to your PC to navigate the app and for gameplay once connected.
Since the controller connects via Bluetooth, ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your PC by:
- Accessing Settings Devices
- Ensure the Bluetooth slider is set to “On”
To connect, from the “Bluetooth and other devices” screen:
- Click “Add Bluetooth or other device”
- Select “Everything else”
- Choose “Xbox Wireless Controller”
- Click Done
On your PC:
- Launch the Xbox App
- On the left sidebar, look for the option to Connect and click it
- The app will then scan your home network for your Xbox One or Xbox One S console
- When “MyXboxOne”* pops up, click Connect
- Once connected, the Xbox App home screen will change to show options for “Streaming,” “Power,” and “Media Remotes”
*Note: You can customize the name of your xbox by going to Settings System Console Name. This comes in handy especially if you have more than one Xbox One connected to your home network.
Getting into the Game and Streaming
Setting the app to start streaming is as simple as finding the “Stream” option and clicking it. So long as your network connection is strong enough, you’ll see whatever screen your Xbox One was on. From here, you can use your Xbox One controller to launch your game.
You can also launch streaming through a game’s hub. Say you want to play Gears of War 4 – access the game hub and, in the top right-hand corner, select “Play from Console.” The game will launch and streaming will start.
Once you’re in a game, you can also use the in-game chat and party chat features simply by plugging a USB headset into your PC or your Xbox One headset into your control before streaming. You may need to set it to the default playback and recording device on your computer, which can be done by:
- Open your Control Panel Select Hardware and Sound Click Manage Audio Devices
- Make sure the appropriate headset is selected for playback and recording
Why is Everything Fuzzy?
Not getting the quality you’re used to while streaming or is the game running slow? Don’t worry, it may have nothing to do with your network connection and the connection between your PC and your console.
To troubleshoot, let’s toy with the streaming quality setting. In the app, click Settings Game Streaming
Under Video Encoding Leve, select the streaming quality:
High: This is optimal for a wired connection and will give you the best video quality and gameplay experience. Computers and consoles in the same room as the wireless router should also run well on “High.”
Medium: If your wireless network is 5 GHz and your PC and console are in different rooms, this is your best option.
Low: If you’re running off of a low-end PC or tablet or a 2.4 GHz wireless network, low is the optimal setting.
And there you have it! Streaming from your Xbox One or Xbox One S console onto your Windows 10 PC!
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