You might be aware that some video game consoles allow you to stream from the console to a computer. But what about the rest of the consoles out there? Can you really stream a Nintendo Switch to a PC? How about an Original Xbox? Let’s find out!
All Consoles can benefit
Some consoles already support remote gaming in some fashion. Both the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 have native streaming abilities. With that said, even those can benefit from the information that we are going to share with you. While streaming from those consoles can work, they often sacrifice video quality and have high input latency. The method that we will discuss today can solve both of those problems.
Some Hardware Required
Streaming any console to a PC takes a little bit of work. However the results are well worth it if you enjoy playing a certain console. Some of you will quickly point out that you can use emulators to play games from many older consoles. Why not just stream the emulator?
This is absolutely true, but there aren’t reliable emulators available for every single system. And some emulators require a heavy-duty PC to act as the host. The method that we will cover today can be used with most PC’s. So let’s discuss the hardware that you’ll need in order to try this out:
- Host PC (doesn’t need to be high-powered)
- Client Device (another PC or Android Device)
- Capture Card
- TitanOne or TitanTwo USB Adapter
- Local Network
- [optional] Controller Conversion Adapters (needed for some consoles)
Putting it all together
Here’s an overview of how things work:
- Your computer gets a video signal from your console through a Capture Card
- Your computer sends/receives controller commands to/from the console through an Adapter
- You use a Streaming App to stream both the console’s video and controller to another device
To begin, you’ll need to connect your console to a capture card on your Host PC. This capture card can be internal if you’re dealing with a Desktop PC (the Elgato HD60 Pro is a great example). If your host is a laptop then you can use a USB Capture Card like an Elgato HD60 s. Both of these Elgato cards support HDMI video connections. And that’s fine if you’re trying to stream a modern console that supports HDMI (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Nintendo Switch). If you’re streaming an older console that doesn’t support HDMI, then you’ll need an AV/Component to HDMI Adapter to go along with your HDMI capture card. Capturing the video signal from your console is the first step towards streaming it to something else.
The second step is sending controller commands from your Host PC to your console. In many cases this is a straight forward process. You’ll need either a TitanOne or TitanTwo Adapter. These adapters have the ability to forward the controller signal from your console to your PC. They convert the signal, and your PC reads the adapter as a native Xbox One Controller. Think of these adapters as being translators between your gaming console and your PC.
Natively these Titan Adapters can only connect to USB controllers. If your controller doesn’t use a USB connection, then you may need to purchase a conversion adapter that allows it to connect through USB. An example would be this Playstation 2 Adapter that converts the proprietary PS2 connection to USB.
The last step is using Streaming Software to send everything to your Client device. The Client can be another computer or even an Android phone. It’s really your choice. We use a software called Parsec to handle the streaming. You’ll install Parsec on both your Host PC and your Client device. On the Host PC Parsec can capture the video signal from your capture card and the controller signal from your Titan adapter. It will then stream everything to the Parsec App on your Client device. On the Client device, it will feel like your console is directly connected.
So why would you do all of this? What’s the real benefit of streaming a console to something else? There are a few benefits that are worth mentioning. The first is that streaming allows you to enjoy your console on any device. You won’t be tethered to a TV anymore. This flexibility can make a big difference in your ability to enjoy your system.
The second reason is that Parsec allows you to invite people to stream your console and play with you. You can invite a friend to use a second controller on your system. Your friend will be streaming your console to their device, and you can continue to play with the controller that’s plugged into your console. It’s a great way of enjoying couch-coop games with someone over the internet.
Earlier in the article we mentioned that there are benefits even for systems that have native streaming options. Both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 allow you to stream your console to a computer. While this is possible, both systems are known to reduce your video quality and both suffer from input latency while streaming. Using our capture card system improves video quality and greatly reduces input latency. It’s the best way of playing a console on another device.
To be continued…
This article is meant to introduce these concepts to you. Think of it as being an overview of something cool that you can try. At Flickstiq we are working implementing this system for an Original Xbox. There are many great games on the Original Xbox that can’t be found on any other system. It’s exciting to think about playing them through a computer or smartphone. After we finish our Xbox project, we will teach the Community how to do it themselves step by step. So a more detailed tutorial will be coming soon.
EDIT: You can read Part 2 HERE
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.