Beam app on Xbox One is barebones — and better for it

Microsoft's Beam service for streaming your video game antics — or podcasts — online is now available on the Xbox One for select Insiders. Not only can you stream directly to the service from the console, but the standalone app lets you watch others as they stream.

Along with Twitch, which has been around forever, Beam is only the second such service that allows direct broadcasting from the console. And while it's a little rough around the edges, we're mostly impressed so far.

The app on Xbox One is a stripped down affair compared to the website, and many common features aren't currently accessible. This is probably for good reason, but you can't get at the inner workings of your account or manage your stream or profile settings from the app.

It's essentially a viewer for Beam and little else. But it doesn't necessarily need to be much more when it's on the TV. Navigating is pretty straightforward, and even joining chats is easy, though a Chatpad (opens in new tab) is going to be your savior here. By the time you've used the on-screen keyboard, the moment will be long past!

A chatpad will be your friend if you actually want to use the chat room. Seriously.

You can view all your followed streamers, browse by game type or just see everyone who's online at any given time, and you still earn sparks and XP for watching. You also get options for video quality, and you can hide the chat entirely and go full screen.

It's a barebones Beam experience, but it's well done. By separating the streaming side into the console's main OS, it leaves the application as a no-frills affair for consuming content. And that's OK.

It's also very much still a work in progress. It's prone to freezing, general "jank" and crashing altogether. But those sort of bugs will (hopefully) be ironed out. Check out our video hands-on above for a closer look at the new app in action.

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Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • So far I'm liking beam it does need work some games aren't recognized by broadcasting software like rock band 4 and few others. Twitch will stream these games so that needs to match up. If you don't have a chatpad and I really recommend one then just plug in a sub keyboard and go with it. Both are very accessible and work great. Stream quality is higher and as far as I can tell twitch won't be support 4k for a while and if you have Scorpio plans beam is your best bet as YouTube has become the land of def management and many abuse dmca rules just to extort money. It's how I bumped into beam.
  • Every time I try to broadcast to Beam from Xbox One, I select the 'camera' to be on, but the camera inset never shows up. The Twitch app was nice in Snap Mode because you could use the Kinect to view your camera inset, in addition to the chat. (On a side note, what will happen to the Twitch app, which relies on Snap mode, once Microsoft forcibly rolls out their update killing Snap mode--that essentially kills the Twitch app, forcing the developers to either update it or let it die).
  • I love Beam but I wish the overlay had a transparency option.