How to Stream to Twitch on an Xbox One Console

You don't even need a capture card

Xbox One Controller
You need little more than an Xbox One to stream to Twitch. Tomohiro Ohsumi / Stringer / Getty Images News

Broadcasting Xbox One gameplay via the Twitch streaming service has almost become as commonplace as playing the video games themselves.

While some of the more-popular Twitch streamers invest in expensive gaming computers, capture cards, multiple cameras, headsets, and green screens, anyone can start a basic broadcast for free using little more than their Xbox One console and a few optional accessories.

What You'll Need to Twitch Stream on Xbox One

To stream to Twitch directly from your Xbox One video game console you don't need much beyond the following basics.

  • One console from the Xbox One family of devices such as the Xbox One, Xbox One S, or Xbox One X.
  • A wireless or wired internet connection. Either is fine however the faster the internet connection is, the better quality video you'll be able to broadcast.
  • One television set to connect to your console so you can see your gameplay.
  • An Xbox One controller to play your game and navigate the Twitch app.

If you wish to incorporate video footage of yourself and provide voice narration (both of which are optional), you'll also need to have the following items.

  • An Xbox One Kinect Sensor. This device is primarily used for recording video for your Twitch stream but can also function as a microphone. In addition to enhancing your Twitch broadcast, the Kinect also allows Xbox One owners to use voice commands, make Skype video calls, and play motion video games such as Dance Central Spotlight, Just Dance, and Fruit Ninja.
  • The Xbox Kinect Adapter. While the Kinect works directly with the original Xbox One console, owners of the Xbox One S and Xbox One X editions will need to purchase the Xbox Kinect Adapter for it to work properly.

The Kinect may have a microphone but for high-quality audio for your stream, it's highly recommended to use a separate device. There are two options available.

  • The Xbox One Chat Headset: Owners of the original Xbox One will have received Microsoft's own custom gaming headset in the console's box. The Xbox One Chat Headset connects directly to the Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter (also included) which plugs into any Xbox One controller. This headset records clear audio and is very easy to use and can also be purchased separately for those with newer consoles such as the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
  • Third-party headset or microphone. Newer Xbox One controllers will have a traditional audio jack built into the bottom of the device under the d-pad. This jack can be used to connect any regular headset, earphones, or microphone from a heavy duty gaming headset to basic Apple EarPods.

How to Download the Twitch Xbox App

To begin a Twitch broadcast on your Xbox One, you'll need to download the free Twitch app. Here's how to get it.

  1. Turn on your Xbox One and navigate to the Store tab on your dashboard.
  2. Click on the small Search icon under the featured games and media.
  3. Type in "Twitch". The Twitch app, with the purple icon, should appear as you type. Click on it.
  4. You'll be taken to the app's official listing within the Store. Click on the Get button to download it.
  5. Your app will install on your Xbox One console and can be found within the My games & apps screen found in your Guide (the menu that pops up when you press the circle Xbox button on your controller).

Connecting Your Twitch and Xbox Accounts

To make sure your Xbox One broadcasts to your Twitch account you'll need to perform an initial connection via your computer. Once your Twitch account is linked to your Xbox One, you won't need to do it again unless you replace your console or wish to change Twitch accounts.

  1. Go to the official Twitch website in your web browser on your computer and login.
  2. On your Xbox One, open the Twitch app and click on the Log In button. The app will give you a six-digit code.
  3. Back on your computer in the same browser that you logged into Twitch on, visit this special activate webpage and enter the code the app provided you with. Your Xbox One will now be linked to Twitch.

Starting Your First Twitch Stream & Testing

The first time you stream from the Xbox One, you'll be required to run some small tests to make sure everything is working properly and that the quality of the audio and visuals are as good as they can be. Here's how to get everything set up.

  1. Open the Xbox One game that you want to stream. You will not be able to stream to Twitch without a game being active. Tip: It's okay if you open it and just leave it on its title screen. You don't actually have to begin playing the game.
  2. Return to your Xbox One dashboard and open the Twitch app. Click on the Broadcast button on the lower-left side of the screen. This will reopen your Xbox One game and shrink the Twitch app to a small bar on the right side of the screen.
  3. Click on the Broadcast Title field and rename your Twitch broadcast. It can be anything you like. This is what your stream will be called on the Twitch website and in the apps.
  4. Select Settings. You should see a preview of what your Twitch broadcast will look like in a small window at the top of the Twitch tab.
  5. If you have your Kinect connected to your Xbox One, you will see a preview of what the Kinect sees within your stream window. If you wish, you can disable it by unchecking the Enable Kinect box. You can reposition the Kinect camera within your stream by clicking on the relevant layout box onscreen.
  1. The Auto Zoom feature makes the Kinect focus on your face while you stream. If you disable it, the Kinect will show everything that it's capable of seeing which will likely be the entire room. Keep this option enabled to keep the focus on you while you stream.
  2. Make sure the Enable Microphone box is checked. This will let the Kinect, or your connected mic attached to your controller (if any), pick up what you say while streaming.
  3. The Party Chat option refers to audio made by other users in a group chat or online match. If you only want your voice to be broadcast during your stream, keep the Broadcast Party Chat option unchecked. If you want to share all of the audio though, feel free to check this box.
  4. The last step you need to take in setting up your stream is selecting the stream resolution. In general, the higher the image quality you choose, the faster your internet will need to be. Click on the ​Quality drop-down menu and select Get new recommendation. This will automatically detect the optimum quality setting for your current internet speed for you. You don’t need to know what your internet speed is.
  1. Once all of your settings have been adjusted, press the B button on your controller to go back to the main Twitch broadcast menu and select Start Broadcast to begin streaming.

Tip: It's a good idea to ask a friend to watch your first stream and give you feedback on the broadcast quality and sound levels. If they experience a lot of lag (audio falling out of sync with the visuals), simply return to the Twitch settings and manually select a lower quality broadcast setting.

After your initial setup and broadcast, subsequent Twitch streams can be started simply by starting a game, then opening the Twitch app, clicking on Broadcast, renaming your stream, and then pressing the Start Broadcast option.