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, 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.