How to Listen to PC and Console at the Same Time

For the longest time, I’d been switching my headphones from PC to my Xbox One. At times I’d join into an Xbox party, then exclaim that I couldn’t hear because I’d forgotten to swap outputs.

I recently fixed all of that by putting use to the Line In jack on my motherboard. Now I can listen to my Xbox One and my PC through the same pair of headphones.

This will come in handy in the event that Xbox party app acts up, in which case I can switch comms over to Discord without a hitch.

To accomplish this, I simply ran a 3.5mm male-male cable from the headphone output of my Turtle Beach EarForce DSS to my PC’s line in jack. The remaining setup takes place on the PC:

  1. Open Sound in Control Panel and select the Recording tab, or right click on the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Recording devices
  2. Right click on Line In and select Properties
  3. Select the Listen tab
  4. Check Listen to this device
  5. (Optional) Select which playback device to put to using the drop-down menu

Problem
What if I want to output Discord audio to stream? Wouldn’t they hear Xbox audio twice?

Solution
Clumsy solution: Mute the capture card from within OBS – requires downtime, may forget to do so
OR VB-Audio Virtual Cable (more details to come)

How to Design a Dedicated Gaming Setup

Every serious gamer invests time and money into building a dedicated gaming setup. Separate work from play, and build a gaming setup that will give you a slight edge over the competition

Each dimension below warrants at least some consideration.

Display

Beyond impacting what you see and how you see it, your choice of display affects how quickly you can see new information through its refresh rate and response time.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate is defined as the number of times per second (hertz [Hz]) that the display is able to update.

60 Hz is the norm. Console gamers will do fine to choose a monitor with a 60 Hz refresh rate, given that console video output is capped at 60 FPS.

Gaming monitors with refresh rates in excess of 60 Hz are available. While these may benefit PC gamers, console gamers will not see any tangible improvement by investing in these monitors. Refresh rates above 60 Hz are a somewhat controversial topic – can users even perceive refresh rates greater than 60 Hz?

Response Time

Response time is defined as the amount of time in milliseconds (ms) that it takes for the pixels to change. It is usually reported as gray-to-gray response time.

Input Lag

Input lag is defined as the amount of time in milliseconds (ms) that it takes for new information to be displayed.

If you’ve gamed on a TV, you’ve probably experienced this. Switching your TV to Game Mode can help reduce input lag. In this mode, the TV disables some post-processing features, reducing input lag. Consult your TV’s user manual to learn how to set it to Game Mode.

DisplayLag | HDTV & Monitor Input Lag Database

Calibration

Ensure that you’re seeing the game world as the developers intended.

Basic settings (brightness and contrast) should be tuned with the help of patterns. I use AVS HD 709.

Consult TweakTV http://www.tweaktv.com/tweak-my-tv/ for a baseline.

Peripherals

Get your hands on a variety of different peripherals until you find the ones that fit you best. Research yields dividends in this department, as quality peripherals will last you a long time, and will continually bring you joy.

You can take a look at my page on gaming peripherals to see what I’ve explored.

Audio

Headphones are the standard for gaming audio because they offer an immersive experience and work well in most situations at lower cost than speakers. Headphones are less fatiguing than earbuds, allowing them to be used more comfortably during extended gaming sessions.

Word to the wise: shun gaming headsets. You can do much better for the same coin by adding a microphone to a pair of headphones that you like. Buy a gaming headset only if you absolutely need one.

Comfort & Ergonomics

A well-designed setup reduces impact on your body over time. Do yourself a favor and evaluate your setup for ergonomics.

Prolonged gaming sessions on poorly-designed setups will cause you to suffer, reducing your ability to perform. You may not notice this while you’re young, but cumulative stress will catch up to you over time. Don’t let poor ergonomics hinder your ability to perform, or end your gaming career before it takes off.

For gaming at a desktop environment, a solid task chair works wonders. Lumbar support helps maintain the natural curvature of your spine. If you don’t have the funds to pour into a new task chair, consider investing in a lumbar support (Amazon.com) to save your lower back.

For the most ergonomic setup, consider a sit-to-stand desk.

Local Area Network

A wired connection will outperform a wireless one.

If you have a cable drop nearby, invest in a network switch (Amazon.com) to share the love with your various devices.

If you can’t run a cable, consider either powerline network adapters (Amazon.com) or Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) adapters (Amazon.com).

Use wireless networking for your gaming setup only if you must.

How to Start Streaming Without a Capture Card

Stream Xbox gameplay even if you don’t have a capture card by using Xbox native apps (good) or OBS Studio and the Xbox App (better)

You can start your own high-quality stream using a Windows PC that is on the same network as your Xbox.

For best results, you will want both your Xbox and your PC hardwired to the network. This ensures the a stable, low-latency connection between the two devices. If you’ve invested into building out your battlestation (see how to design a dedicated gaming setup), you’ve already completed this step, and should be good to go.

We’ll focus first on the higher-quality method: using the Xbox App’s Game Streaming function

Using Game Streaming with the Xbox App to Capture Xbox Gameplay

Pros: You can continue to use Xbox Game DVR to capture clips and highlights of your gameplay for native sharing

Start by opening the Xbox App on your Windows 10 PC and connecting to your Xbox. Select Test Streaming.

Xbox App Test streaming results
Test streaming from your Xbox to the Xbox App

If you need more guidance, Microsoft has a support page describing how to use game streaming at support.xbox.com/en-US/games/game-setup/how-to-use-game-streaming.

OBS Studio

With the Xbox App still open, add a new Game Capture source with the following settings:
Mode: Capture specific window
Window: [XboxApp.exe]: Xbox

OBS Studio Game Capture
OBS Studio Game Capture setup for capturing the Windows 10 Xbox App

Whenever you want to begin streaming, you’ll first have to start game streaming to the Xbox App. The Xbox App defaults to full-screen when game streaming is started, but you can exit full-screen mode by using the arrow icon in the top menu bar. From there, you can resize the window as much as you like to regain screen real estate with zero impact on output quality.

That’s really all there is to capturing Xbox gameplay in OBS Studio without a capture card! There’s a lot that you can do with OBS Studio, but that is neither here nor there.

In order to pick up your own mic chatter in OBS Studio, you’ll either need to connect a microphone to your PC, or use the onboard mic (if available).

Using Xbox Native Apps to Stream

Pros: Easier to set up

Xbox native apps exist for Mixer and Twitch. While these apps are easier to set up, they rely on the processing power of the Xbox One to encode video, and have their own host of issues. For example, game audio and video may be offset (desynchronized) by over one second, though this may improve with updates.

Closing Remarks

You can easily set up a high-quality stream with minimal investment in hardware. Xbox native apps can be used to set up a stream as well, but they won’t offer you as much control as you would get using a PC-based streaming setup.

How to Record Your Twitch Broadcasts for Later Review

Take advantage of Twitch’s Videos On Demand (VOD) system and automatically archive broadcasts

By default, Twitch doesn’t save your previous broadcasts. To enable automatic archiving of broadcasts:

  1. Visit your “Channel & Videos” tab
  2. Tick the checkbox next to Archive Broadcasts

Twitch will retain your past broadcasts at https://www.twitch.tv/USERNAME/videos/past-broadcasts

Regular broadcasters will have their broadcasts saved for two weeks, while Turbo subscribers (Twitch Prime included!) and Partners enjoy 60-day storage. During this time you can create highlights from your broadcasts and export your VODs directly to YouTube by visiting the Video Manager at https://www.twitch.tv/USERNAME/manager/

and/or record locally

Beware that working with video is resource-intensive.

Sources
https://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/1575302-videos-on-demand