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Do You Need a Capture Card to Stream? Everything About Capture Cards

Streaming is a great way to share your gameplay with friends and family, but it can be hard to do without the right equipment.

Most people don’t realize that you need a capture card in order to stream. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started streaming, this article will show you how!

Capture cards are affordable pieces of hardware that allow gamers who want to stream their games online the ability to do so easily. They work by capturing video from your console or PC and then encoding it into a format that’s compatible with streaming services like Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

The best part? You can use them on any game system- Xbox One, PS4, Wii U- no matter what you’re playing, with most capture cards. This guide will help you know all about capture cards including why you need them the most and their alternatives. So, let’s dive in to learn more about capture cards.

Do You Need a Capture Card to Stream

What’s a Capture Card?

A capture card is a device that captures video. Depending on the type of capture card, it can also capture audio and even send out the signal to your computer monitor.

The most common use for an HDMI capture card is streaming live gameplay so others can watch. It’s used by gamers who want to share their experiences with the world.

The good news is that they’re extremely easy to use, and most models come with a one-click setup feature that makes starting your stream as simple as possible.

Benefits of Capture Cards

There are many advantages to using a capture card if you want to live stream, some of them are mentioned below:

  • It’s extremely easy to use.
  • It’s the best way to capture gameplay for YouTube or Twitch. 
  • You can record your videos using other methods, but it won’t be in real-time, which means you’ll need to edit the video before uploading it

When is a Capture Card Necessary?

A capture card is necessary for PC or Xbox One streaming. While there are other ways to capture game footage, they’re not in real-time and don’t work with every game you want to play.

Some apps can stream your gameplay live, but if you want premium features like the ability to switch between the player’s point of view and a map or to integrate video, audio, and chat into one screen, you’ll need to get a capture card.

How Can You Live Stream Without It?

There are a variety of techniques to live stream without using a capture card, depending on your live streaming setup. I’ve outlined some of the most popular methods below:

Live Streaming With a Camera Without A Capture Card

The easiest way around the lack of PC streaming is using your phone:

  • Install an app like Mobcrush, which works with Android and iOS. [1]
  • Using a USB cable, connect your phone to your computer.
  • Connect your device to Facebook, Twitch, or YouTube livestream platform and start streaming right from your camera.

PC Streaming Setup Without a Capture Card

There are several ways to stream PC games without using a capture card. Start by installing OBS, xSplit, or another live streaming software.

Then use an HDMI splitter to separate the game’s output between your monitor and the live streaming software’s input.

If you’re using a graphics card that supports dual monitor output, you can also use the screen-splitting feature as long as your computer monitor doesn’t support HDCP content protection.

Is Live Streaming Better With or Without a 4k Capture Card?

Live streaming is always better with a capture card. While you can send a well-calibrated feed to your streaming software without a capture card, the output won’t be as good as it would through an HDMI capture card.

The difference is fairly subtle, but there are noticeable quality improvements when using a 4k capture card. There are also audio and video synchronization problems without a capture card.

Final Thoughts

While it’s not necessary to have a capture card to live stream, it is still a critical piece of your streaming setup. Whether you need one or not, it completely depends on the type of game you want to play and what kind of content you want to share with the world.

If you want to live stream games on PC, Xbox One, or an Android/iOS phone, you’ll need a capture card. People who don’t have a capture card should consider other alternatives like Mobcrush (phone only), OBS (PC or Mac), or apps that stream directly to Facebook or YouTube.

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