Windows 10 Tip: Stream an Xbox One Game to Your PC

Posted on March 6, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10, Xbox One with 12 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Stream an Xbox One Game to Your PC

The Xbox app in Windows 10 lets you play Xbox One games remotely from your Xbox One console on your home network. In other words, you can stream a game from the console to your PC.

Note: This tip is derived from the Windows 10 Field Guide, which is now being updated for the Windows 10 Creators Update.

While streaming a game, the game runs, as normal, on the console, but it displays on your PC, which can be in a different room in your home. The primary advantage here is portability: If someone else is using the TV which is connected to your Xbox One, you can still play Xbox One games from elsewhere in your home, using your Windows 10 PC.

As you might expect, this capability comes with a number of caveats:

Both devices have to be on the same network. You can stream games over a wired or wireless network, but your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One must be on the same home network. And the faster the network the better: On slower networks, you will experience both performance and visual quality issues.

You must use the same account on both devices. You must be signed in to the Xbox app in Windows 10 using the same Microsoft account that you use (as your Gamertag) on the Xbox.

You can’t use your Xbox One for other tasks. While you are streaming a game, the console can’t be used by someone else for other activities like watching Netflix or playing another game. Game streaming is basically a remote display/audio (and, optionally, a remote controller) experience only.

You can use an Xbox One controller that is attached to your console or your Windows 10 PC/device. If you are going to stream an Xbox game, you’ll need a controller. This controller can be connected to either device. Obviously, if you are going to play from a different room than the console, the controller will need to be connected to your PC, not the console.

It’s not just for games. You can also use this feature to stream an entertainment app and can use built-in software-based controls, instead of a controller, to control the on-screen action. But it’s best used for games.

If this is the first time you’ve done this, you will need to add your Xbox One to the Xbox app before you can continue. The app will prompt you to do so: Just navigate to the Connect to Your Xbox One page by selecting Connection in the menu on the side.

Here, simply choose the correct Xbox from the list to continue.

Note: If you have more than one Xbox One console, you can later add the other console(s) to your Xbox app via a handy “Add a device” link that appears at the top of the Connect to Your Xbox One page.

The Xbox app provides four level of streaming, and each offers its own unique combination of performance and visual quality, while coming with its own requirements:

Low. Best for low-speed 2.4 GHz wireless networks and low-end PCs.

Medium. The default choice, this setting is optimized for decent 5 GHz wireless networks where your PC and Xbox One are in different rooms.

High. This setting is recommended for wired connections only, on both the Xbox One and your PC.

Very High. This highest setting can deliver 1080p (1920 x 1080, or Full HD) streaming at 60 fps (frames per second), and pretty much requires a high-speed wired connection on both devices.

You can manually configure which setting to use while streaming, as described later. But you should test and configure streaming before proceeding.

To test the quality of game streaming on your network connection, display the Xbox app’s Connect to Your Xbox One page and then select the “Test streaming” link next to your Xbox One console in the list. The Xbox app will run a fairly lengthy test and then explain what type of performance you can expect. As you can see, a wireless connection doesn’t provide for a very good experience.

To stream a game from the console to your Windows 10 PC, connect to the Xbox One if necessary and then select the “Stream” link next to your console in the Xbox app’s Connect to Your Xbox One page.

After a short connection screen, your Xbox One console will remotely display to your PC in a full-screen experience. If there is no Xbox controller connected to your PC, the app will display a window explaining that you will need to use the controller attached to your Xbox One console instead.

From here, you can simply interact with your Xbox One normally. You can launch games, or apps, and do whatever you might normally do on an Xbox One.

Note: If the Xbox One’s display is on, you will see a notification there that game streaming has started. You can now turn off the Xbox One’s display or use that display with other attached devices.

On the Windows 10 PC, you can move your mouse around, tap a key, or, on a touch-enabled display, touch the screen to display a set of Streaming controls, and the window control buttons like Minimize, Restore, and Maximize.

These controls include:

Go Home. This button works exactly like the Xbox button on your controller: Selecting it will display the Xbox One Guide.

Chat mute/unmute. This button toggles the chat capabilities of the app. If you wish to chat with others on Xbox Live using your PC’s microphone, you can enable this option.

Stop streaming. This button works as expected and will stop the streaming session.

Streaming statistics. This button toggles an interesting live display in the lower-left corner of the screen that shows indicates the strength of your bandwidth as you stream.

Stream quality. This button lets you manually change the quality of the stream.

You will most likely need to experiment a bit with the stream quality setting in particular, but if your connectivity is good, you should be able to stream games around your home successfully with reasonably high-quality visuals and performance.

Enjoy!

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Windows 10 Tip: Stream an Xbox One Game to Your PC”

  1. Avatar

    maethorechannen

    "You can also use this feature to stream an entertainment app"


    As long as the entertainment app doesn't switch on HDCP. Last time I tried, you could even stream the HDMI input, as long as HDCP wasn't active.

  2. Avatar

    xapache

    So the real question is will Scorpio be able to allow users to watch TV while someone is streaming a game to their PC?  That is where this would be really useful in my household.

  3. Avatar

    Pargon

    This is useless with the xbox connected the way Microsoft intended, using HDMI pass through. Without being able to watch TV on the TV AND stream a game to another computer, the feature is a failure and not a feature at all. It seems like it should be pretty easy to allow the HDMI signal to pass through the Xbox without touching it....yet 3+ years in they can't enable this functionality? Even if they had to say "you can't use one-guide while streaming a game", it would be an improvement as everyone has 5 controllers for the living room TV anyways to change channels.

    • Avatar

      moorpipe

      In reply to Pargon:

      So what Thurrott is saying "If someone else is using the TV which is connected to your Xbox One, you can still play Xbox One games from elsewhere in your home, using your Windows 10 PC." simply isn't true?

      • Avatar

        Pargon

        Correct, it only works if your cable box or antenna is connected NOT through the Xbox and you'd have to switch inputs on the TV to watch television or to play xbox. Why microsoft included an HDMI pass-through functionality without being able to let the TV signal "pass through" and let the xbox use it's resources to play a game streamed to another computer is beyond me.

        I hate switching inputs on the TV all the time, which is a *major* reason I bought the Xbox one. This feature does nothing for people like me, that bought into Microsoft's vision it proudly exclaimed long ago and forgot about.
      • Avatar

        chaad_losan

        In reply to moorpipe:

        Pargon is right. If you have your cable box plugged into the xbox one you cannot watch tv and stream a game at the same time. The cable tv video uses an app. It's not a pass through. Only one video output can be used over streaming to a PC. Also as was said no video apps stream to a PC. Just games.

  4. Avatar

    Tallin

    One interesting thing that is not mentioned explicitly is that you can also use an Xbox 360 controller connected to your PC. This can also be handy if you need extra controllers temporarily.

  5. Avatar

    DaveHelps

    I've used this feature extensively, albeit across my limited game choices. Here are my findings.


    Original setup: Xbox using wired gigabit ethernet, PC using 300Mb 802.11n (2.4GHz)


    Forza Horizon (Xbox 360 backwards compatibility) - almost flawless, even on Very High

    Halo 5 - very sensitive to wireless interference, usually dropped the quality down to High

    Formula 1 2016: Unplayable


    Revised setup: PC and Xbox on wired gigabit ethernet


    Halo 5 - flawless

    Formula 1 2016 - runs smooth, but not always sharp

    Hitman - flawless

  6. Avatar

    SRLRacing

    I've had a hard time getting this feature to work reliably on my Xbox despite having some top notch consumer networking equipment. Still love it though.

  7. Avatar

    hardhatkatt

    Been doing this for some time now and I love being able to tab between my pc and Xbox, though it could get you in trouble with your work lol. most helpful when needing to research for gameplay. Some apps, like Netflix, will not allow you to use while streaming.

  8. Avatar

    pauldain

    FWIW, It works pretty well on macOS running Parallels (Parallels' "game mode" helps).

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