Whether you’re well-versed in live-streaming, or looking to start, jumping into a continually evolving community can prove to be daunting. Seemingly continual hardware and software updates can sometimes make livestreaming feel like a mountain with no top: it’s difficult to know where to start, when to update your gear, or how to optimize what you’re already working with. In this blog, we’ll go over ASTRO Gaming’s guide to getting your very first stream off the ground and running on an Xbox One.
Streaming on a console is a rather different process from streaming with a PC. While more complex console setups involve the use of an Elgato capture card (via a PC) in conjunction with the deeper features of OBS, this guide is geared more towards a very simple setup and those buildable features will be covered in a more in-depth guide at a later date. With an Xbox One, the process is streamlined: there’s a smaller initial investment, which is great for beginners. Less gear is also required to get up and running. Streaming on an Xbox One also streamlines voice communications: built-in team and group chat eliminates the need for an extra office or space to set aside for streaming. Streaming on a console isn’t for everyone, however, so it’s important to know what goes in to setting up and launching the initial broadcast.
First, we’ll go over some basic hardware we feel every streamer needs to be successful, and why it works to your advantage.
Good sound is vital for good gameplay which makes having an audio solution that can deliver a competitive edge ideal for streaming. Aside from the Xbox itself, naturally the first piece of the puzzle is a good headset. We suggest the standalone A40 TR Headset. The A40 TR Headset is precisely tuned for gaming audio: less bass and more low- and mid-tones for clear, accurate in-game cues like footsteps and weapon reloading. The A40 TR can also deliver Dolby Atmos or Windows Sonic spatial audio, for a more immersive, cinematic audio-scape. For details on how to set up 3D audio with the Xbox One, check out our blog post about it here.
The A40 TR’s uni-directional boom microphone delivers on voice communication to both teammates and audience members. For additional features such as Game:Voice Balance, custom EQ settings, and a Spotify playlist for viewers, a MixAmp Pro TR can be added to the setup. The MixAmp Pro TR gives gamers more control over custom audio settings including noise gate and side-tone. Connect a smartphone to the MixAmp Pro TR via a 3.5mm cable in order to enable the playlist functionality.
Another critical component of successful streaming is your webcam. Simply providing a visual as to whom is playing along with what is being played has been found to be instrumental in a streamer’s success. When people see another person talking and reacting, engagement with the streamer and surrounding community increases. Why is being seen so important? In a word: branding.
Branding is vital to streamers. The defining feature streamers rely on to stand apart from other streamers is their very own personality. A streamer’s face is a large part of their brand: they’re recognizable by sight. In a sea of the same video games, a streamer’s brand makes that same game everyone else is playing unique. A superior quality webcam is foundational for building a distinct brand in an ever-expanding community and stand out from the crowd.
Our parent company, Logitech, has delved deeper into this subject with its blog here.
We recommend the C922 Pro Stream Webcam from Logitech as a 3rd-party USB video solution for streaming with an Xbox One. The Logitech C922 allows true-to-life streaming and recording with a choice of 1080p or fluid HD 720p at 60fps. We like this webcam because it’s available in major retailers and online, it’s affordable, it’s high quality, and it’s easy to set up. Because it’s so widely available, information on setup and optimization is readily available as well.
While 4K is still on the rise, we anticipate it will become increasingly more popular as hardware evolves. That said: 4K is currently not optimized on Xbox One. Any 4K-supported webcams will still only process 1080p through the Xbox One, considerably limiting the webcam’s full potential. If you plan on upgrading to PC capture at some point, the Logitech BRIO 4K Pro Webcam webcam is an excellent solution.
Ensuring proper illumination is an oft-overlooked component of streaming, and one which, if missing, is a source of frustration for audience members. More than one lighting source is recommended, as more light increases a webcam’s ability to pick up clear video and remove unwanted shadows. If you’re planning on using a green screen, an additional light source would be needed just to light it: the goal is complete uniformity in color and free from wrinkles. This blog from CNET has a great guide for stream lighting on a budget, and where to focus lights for the best outcome with a webcam.
Finally, while not hardware, setting up an account with several streaming service platform options enable people to livestream. Twitch.tv, Mixer, YouTube, and Facebook offer streaming services, however, for native Xbox users, these platforms are not as intuitive as Twitch and Mixer. While both platforms offer live-streaming services, Mixer offers “faster than light” streaming whereas Twitch bakes in a short delay. Currently, 3rd-party USB webcams are not compatible with Twitch, which is why we only discuss setting up a livestream with Mixer, below. Mixer is Microsoft’s answer to Amazon’s vastly more popular Twitch, is relatively new, and currently only supports Windows 10 and Xbox One broadcasts. There is currently no support for Mixer and PlayStation consoles.
In this section, we are going to go over the setup instructions for audio and video, as well as cursory setup instructions for both Twitch and Mixer.
To set up a standalone A40 TR Headset with the Xbox One, simply connect a 3.5mm cable from the A40 TR Headset into the Xbox One. This setup works with any 3.5mm port headset.
To set up the A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR:
- Take the micro USB cable and connect one end of the micro USB end to the back of the MixAmp Pro TR, and plug the other end into the back of the Xbox One.
- Plug in one end of the Optical cable to the back of the MixAmp Pro TR then connect the other end of the cable to the back of the Xbox One.
- Connect one end of the inline cable to the A40 Headset, and the other end into the inline port to the front of the MixAmp Pro TR.
You’ll need a webcam that has a YUY2 or NV12 format to broadcast with it. Most Logitech and Microsoft LifeCam webcams have this format. If you’re unsure which format your webcam has, check with the manufacturer. To broadcast with a webcam:
- Plug your USB webcam in to your Xbox.
- Check to make sure you’ve allowed sharing content with Kinect or another camera in Privacy & online safety > Xbox Live privacy > View details & customize > Game content.
- Press the Xbox button to open the guide, then go to Broadcast & capture > Set up your broadcast.
- Switch the camera toggle on.
- Select Change camera settings to crop your camera feed picture and to choose where you want your camera feed to show on the screen.
Note To broadcast mic audio as well, you’ll need to use a headset. See the A40 TR section above.
Mixer Setup on Xbox
When you broadcast for the first time on your Xbox console or with the Game bar on your Windows 10 PC, we’ll automatically create a Mixer account for you (and the Mixer account name will likely be similar to your Xbox gamertag).
- To start managing your Mixer account info and other settings, go to mixer.com, select Sign up > Microsoft, enter your Microsoft account info, and then select the profile icon in the upper-right corner.
- To broadcast with an existing Mixer account, you’ll need to link it to your Microsoft account (the one you use to sign in to Xbox or the Xbox app). For more info, go to support.xbox.com.
Check out this incredibly useful article that gives you details on how to use Mixer with your own webcam.
We hope this has been useful for anyone out there who has been thinking of taking the plunge into streaming.
Best of luck out there, ASTRO family!