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. 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

Start by opening the Xbox App 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

Xbox native apps exist for Beam 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,Ā game audio and video may be offset (desynchronized) by over one second.

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.

TombstoneTV’s “Siege Engine” Build

TombstoneTV wanted to build a gaming rig primarily for Rainbow Six Siege. This was TombstoneTV’s first build: he received significant input from Rainbow Six Siege gamers on the /r/Rainbow6 Discord server.

He initially approached me with a build list totaling $921.21, inclusive of a Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex (Amazon.com)

I offered my feedback for his consideration, details of which accompany the final parts list provided below:

Final Parts List

CPU: Intel Core i5-7600

Intel’s Core i5-7600 (Amazon.com) is a Kaby Lake processor built on the 14nm manufacturing process. This part was retained from initial parts list to final build.

Motherboard: MSI B250 PC MATE

The MSI B250 PC MATE (Amazon.com) made it from initial parts selection to final build. I considered cutting it for a cheaper board if needed. Note that the Intel B250 chipset is designed for Kaby Lake processors

RAM: 8GB Kingston HyperX Fury Black DDR4-2133

Initially, TombstoneTV’s build was specced for 16GB (2*8GB) Team Dark DDR4-2400 with timings of 14-16-16-31 (TDGED416G2400HC14DC01, Newegg.com).

I advised TombstoneTV to right-size his build. I suggested 8GB (2*4GB) of DDR4-2133 with tight timings, and found a suitable kit from Kingston (HX421C14FBK2/8, Amazon.com, Datasheet).

He ultimately selected a single 8GB module (HX421C14FB/8, Amazon.com), losing the benefits of running dual-channel šŸ™ Live and learn, I supposeā€¦

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM HDD

TombstoneTV’s build sheet initially featured a PNY CS1311 120GB SSD (Amazon.com) in addition to a Seagate FireCuda 1TB 7200RPM Hybrid HDD (ST1000DX002, Amazon.com). I knew that he would be better-served by a higher-capacity SSD. The only question was finding the room to upgrade the SSD given budgetary constraints, and I eyed the Seagate FireCuda for the chopping block. I asked whether the FireCuda could go, given that TombstoneTV wasn’t intending to use the rig for media storage (he streams most of his content).

Fortunately, TombstoneTV told me that he already had a 2TB external drive hooked up to his Xbox One, and that he could pull the drive for use in his build. He was certain that his external drive was an SSD (I thought it highly implausible).

His rig is running on spinning disks only at this point, but so be it. An SSD and a clean OS installation can always come later.

Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

Not much to say on this one – the PNY GeForce GTX 1060 6GB (VCGGTX10606PB, Amazon.com) came recommended to TombstoneTV, and I left it alone. If I were selecting a graphics card for personal use, I’d research more deeply into which GTX 1060 6GB were best – at this time, I don’t know how PNY’s GTX 1060 6GB compares against the field.

Case: Deepcool TESSERACT BF ATX Mid Tower Case

TombstoneTV picked out the Deepcool TESSERACT BF (Amazon.com) in his initial parts listing. I’ve never used Deepcool in the past, but it looked alright from the pictures, so I didn’t push him towards any of the established players. I personally feel that a solid computer case is worth investing in, because it can always be recycled for a future build.

PSU: SeaSonic G 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular

The SeaSonic G 550W (SSR-550RM, Amazon.com) power supply made it to the final parts list. Given that the build is going into a mid-tower case, I didn’t push for a fully-modular PSU.

Post-Build

TombstoneTV reported, “I’m genuinely happy. This runs Siege in 100fps on high”

The machine is outputting to an ASUS VG248QE 24″ 1080p 144Hz monitor (Amazon.com).

I asked that TombstoneTV run 3DMark – he came back with 3DMark Time Spy results:

3DMark Time Spy Results

Graphics Test 1: 33.45 FPS
Graphics Test 2: 30.43 FPS
Graphics Score: 4027

CPU Test: 22.10 FPS
CPU Score: 3951