Using a Video Capture Card for game streaming
February 19, 2023
If you plan to make your debut in the streaming world with your own gaming content, you’ll need to know about video capture cards. Find out what a video capture card is, and how you can use it for your Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch-streaming shenanigans.
What is a video capture card, and how does it work?
Basically, a video capture device (often just called a video capture card) is a piece of hardware that’s the must-have tool for any game streamer. And well, its job is simple: to convert in-game footage of you pwning n00bs into digital data that your computer recognizes.
As its name says. it captures the on-screen action and encodes it for playback on your stream, or a high-quality video file for you to meddle with and post later. Besides, it’s the broker between your gaming console and video player, allowing you to broadcast gaming on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and Discord.
How to use a video capture card
Even though a video capture card is an external piece of kit, it’s not very fiddly. For ease, we’ll refer to OBS Studio/Streamlabs OBS as your streaming software of choice. Now, it’s time to show you how to set up a capture for some of the main consoles in the market: Xbox One, Ps4 and Nintendo Switch!
How to use a capture card for Xbox One
Requires Xbox One, computer, capture card, OBS program, 2 HDMI cables, TV/monitor, and a USB cable.
- Download all the necessary software required for your capture card when setting up your computer card. So you won’t have to leave all this running once you are transmitting, as the PC will do all the work for you.
- After that, connect the Xbox’s HDMI output to the capture card’s HDMI input with your first HDMI cable. Then, with a second HDMI cable you must connect the HDMI output of the capture card to the TV or monitor you will use to play.
- Then, connect the capture card to your computer with a USB cable, then turn the Xbox on and open your OBS program.
- Click the ‘+’ button in the ‘Sources’ box in OBS, then select ‘Video Capture Device.’ Name the device something memorable (just punch in the capture card’s model, so you remember it,) then select that from the following dropdown menu. The Xbox automatically handles the audio, so you’re now hooked up and ready to stream or record your game!
How to use a capture card for PS4
Requires PS4, computer, capture card, OBS program, 2 HDMI cables, TV/monitor, and a USB cable.
- Please repeat steps 1 and 2 above for the Xbox.
- Then, connect the capture card to your computer with a USB cable, then turn the PS4 on and open your OBS program.
- Disable the HDCP setting on your PS4. This setting prevents gameplay from being recorded by external capture devices, so you need to turn it off to get your stream going. If you leave it on, your capture card can’t read and convert your gaming to your computer. The HDCP setting is super easy to find on the PS4, though – it’s just under ‘Settings,’ then ‘System.’
- Click the ‘+’ button in the ‘Sources’ box in OBS, then select ‘Video Capture Device.’ Name the device something memorable like with the Xbox, then select that from the following dropdown menu.
- Finally, hook up you audio, as it’s not automatic like the Xbox, so you need to click the Audio Mixer in your OBS program, next to the ‘Sources’ box. Click the little cog icon next to the Mixer, and select the dropdown menu next to your Capture Card.
- There, click ‘Monitor Only’ to mute the output when it streams, or select ‘Monitor & Output’ if you fancy having your viewers hear everything going on in the game. These options depend on what kind of content you stream, and what type of relationship you have with your viewers.
How to use a capture card for Nintendo Switch
Requires Nintendo Switch, computer, capture card, OBS program, 2 HDMI cables, TV/monitor, and a USB cable.
- Please repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 above for the previous consoles.
- And then, click the ‘+’ button in the ‘Sources’ box in OBS, then select ‘Video Capture Device.’ Name the device something memorable like we did with the previous consoles, then select that from the following dropdown menu. The Switch sorts the audio out for you, so you’re good to go!