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How to get the best Xbox game streaming experience on PC

Being able to stream Xbox One games to any Windows 10 PC is a neat thing, especially if your console isn't always accessible (hello, family watching TV!). You can use this fine feature to play Xbox games somewhere else in the home. Here are some of the things you need and some tips to get the best experience.

How to stream your Xbox One games to your Windows 10 PC

If you've never done it before, or you need a little refresher, check out the video above. It walks you through the process step by step. If you'd prefer a written guide, hit the link below.

How to stream Xbox One games to a Windows 10 PC

Controllers

Xbox One controller

Xbox wireless controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

It goes without saying but without a controller, you won't get very far. Xbox One doesn't support keyboard and mouse input (yet), so you'll need to connect a controller to your PC to play games. If there's no controller connected to your PC when you start streaming it will remind you.

Whichever controller you're using, the simple way to use it is to hook it up to your PC with a micro-USB cable. If you have the newer style controller that launched with the Xbox One S you can play wirelessly with Bluetooth. But if you want the best, most reliable connection you should use a cable. Bluetooth can be flaky at the best of times and you don't want a dodgy connection at that critical moment.

Xbox Wireless Adapter

If you have an original Xbox One controller or an Elite controller, you'll need the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10, which costs an additional $20.

Networking

When it comes to networking, wired is best. That's a fact, and a wired network will give you the best experience streaming your games to your PC. The speed of your internet connection is irrelevant for game streaming, and it's all about the strength of your local network.

Netgear S8000

Inside the Xbox app on Windows 10, you'll be able to adjust the quality of the stream to suit the strength of your network. If you want to get maximum quality, you really want to be thinking about a wired connection.

It doesn't have to be complicated. If you're using a managed network switch like the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 (opens in new tab), you have the ability to control which devices get priority bandwidth, meaning you can make your Xbox-to-PC connection as strong as possible. Honestly, just running a cable from the back of your router will be noticeably better than relying on Wi-Fi.

If you're not using a properly wired connection because it's just not practical, there are ways to maximize your network capabilities to get the best streaming experience. Powerline adapters are one alternative that can provide a more consistent network connection using the copper wiring in your home. They just plug into any wall outlet, and then you pop an Ethernet cable into the bottom and you've got an impromptu wired network.

Best Mesh Wi-Fi Kits

Best Mesh Wi-Fi Kits

You won't get the bandwidth you do from using direct Ethernet from a router or a switch, but in many cases, it will certainly outperform your Wi-Fi. These are particularly good if the PC you're streaming to is on the very outer reaches of your wireless network.

If you'd rather strengthen your wireless connection, there are other options. If you're only interested in a better game streaming experience, try and get hold of a decent repeater (opens in new tab). They will give you a better wireless connection further away from your router, and they're available at all price points.

If you're also looking to get the best network for the sake of having the best network you can, a mesh Wi-Fi system might suit you better. Netgear, Linksys and many others make great mesh systems that could make a big difference to your overall home network.

The best mesh Wi-Fi systems

Your tips

Those are some of our suggestions to help you get a better Xbox One game streaming experience. If you have a hot tip we didn't talk about, or a specific product recommendation, jump into the comments and let us know!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. 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 covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

18 Comments
  • This works but depends on the layout of your house and the distance between your Xbox and PC. Because my PC and Xbox are in different rooms but only separated by a wall, the distance between XB1 & PC is only 6ft. I leave the controller paired to the console & just dismiss the "no controller connected" warning on the PC. This helps to reduce any potential lag from sending the controller input through the PC and network. Haven't had any issues yet.
  • Dat green 1520, good times.
  • I've yet to try this. Didn't realise it was so simple. Does your PC/laptop need to be of a certain spec?
  • I don't think so, just the network. That said, I have trouble getting it to work stably for some reason, and I have a good network and PC.
  • If it can play HD YouTube videos then it should be fine... the Xbox is still doing all of the grunt work. It works flawlessly on my network, and I've tried it with a desktop PC, smaller tablet, and Surface Pro 3.
  • I was hoping to read more about PC settings/hardware that would improve the experience rather than just network tips. What are minimum requirements? Do any settings in gaming mode help?
  • Avoid if you're on insider builds - I get serious lag when streaming to my PC (all wired 1gig), some games that need internet access stutter like mad and when I get an achievement it goes worse.  Works fine on my kid's PC which is not insider.
  • It's been a while since I've read about this...but have they added the ability to stream to PC while someone else is watching Hulu/Netflix?
  • Yes... Hulu/Netflix is using your internet connection, while this is not. Sure it's using your WiFi/LAN but any network equipment should be able to handle that at the same time.
  • I just tried it and it streams my Xbox screen for screen to my PC...so as soon as I tried to pull up the Hulu app it said I couldn't stream that app. Am I missing something so as to allow one person to watch Hulu while I stream a game?
  • Sorry, I misunderstood... I didn't realise you meant Hulu + Game on the Xbox at the same time. I thought you meant trying to stream a game while someone is watching Hulu on the same WiFi network... not from the XB1. I'll stream a game while the wife is watching TV, but if she wants to use Plex (or Hulu in your case) then she has to use the PS3 or Xbox 360 while I'm streaming from the Xbox One. It can be inconvenient, but I have enough devices around the house to make it work.
  • Unusable via wireless. I tried it once and gave up, too much lag. I may need a better router.
  • It worked fine for me... desktop PC on LAN with WiFi AP connecting to Xbox at other end of the house that uses another WiFi AP (the AP's are wirelessly bridged together). I've also used it sitting on the couch in front of the Xbox (wife was using TV) on my SP3 using WiFi while the Xbox also uses WiFi
  • I have big trouble getting this to stream stably. It will work for the first few seconds and quickly develop lag and stutters. It's better now I've connected both PC and Xbox via network cable, but still far from perfect. I should add, Steam Link suffers no such trouble with the same setup.
  • What I want is to be able to stream from a PC to the Xbox, so that I can have a PC in the closet and play all my games without having it set up with a desk and everything.
  • Sounds like you need a Steam Link instead
  • Have you tried using your Miracast app on Xbox one? You should be able to stream your PC to Xbox that way. Check it out: https://www.google.com/amp/www.pocket-lint.com/news/133650-microsoft-s-w... It's like a screen mirror but it should work.
  • If you do not have controller connected to the PC it will warn you. But you do not need the controller connected to the PC. You can use the controller connected directly to Xbox and it just works fine.