How to stream PC games and movies to your Xbox console with a free app

If you have a PC with Windows 10 or 11 and an Xbox One or Series X/S console, you may not know that those devices have some interesting cross-functionality. Microsoft’s Wireless Display app makes it easy to run the games from your Xbox to your Windows PC screen. Conversely, it’s possible to stream what’s on your PC to the TV you’re using with your Xbox – you can even control it from the console, and setup is surprisingly easy.

One note: This is a wireless feature only. Since the app uses Miracast to stream your PC’s content, make sure that both the Windows PC and the Xbox One or Series X/S are on the same Wi-Fi network.

How to Stream Your PC to Your Xbox One or Series X/S

Any PC running Windows 10 or 11 that can connect to Wi-Fi will support casting to a wireless display, but you’ll need to download a free app for the Xbox.

  • On the console, navigate to the Microsoft Store (or just click on this link) and download the Wireless Display app to your Xbox.
  • Once the app is installed on the console, open it. A message is displayed that your console is now ready to be connected to your PC. The app also mentions a very handy tip to keep in mind: the controller can switch between gamepad and keyboard/mouse control modes by pressing the menu and display buttons (the two buttons below the illuminated Xbox logo on the controller) .

The landing screen of the Wireless Display app, active and ready to connect on an Xbox console.

  • Go to your PC. Once you are ready to stream some content, press the Windows + K keyboard combination. You can also press . click Connecting to a wireless display in the Display menu of the System Settings. Anyway, the next screen will show the name of your console.

Make sure to select this button that allows input if you want to play streamed PC games from your Xbox using a controller.

  • From here, you can choose to expand what’s on your PC monitor, duplicate it, or set the display on the Xbox as your second screen. For our purposes, we set it up as a duplicate so that the Xbox screen mirrors our PC monitor.

This small taskbar gives you easy access to streaming modes and disconnection.

  • Once connected, you’ll see a small, movable taskbar at the top of your PC monitor and your wirelessly connected TV. Allows you to adjust the quality setting (accessed by clicking the gear icon) between game, work, or movie modes. During testing, it was difficult to distinguish the difference in visual quality between the three. We found that the game setting is best if you only play PC games as it has the least noticeable latency while using a controller.

The option to stream the audio to your Xbox is in the list of playback devices when you click the volume icon in the system tray.

A tip: if you have better sounding audio connected to your TV, you can have the audio output there instead of to your PC.

  • Tap the speaker icon on the Windows taskbar.
  • Select Digital output [your Xbox’s name here]

Finally, Microsoft claims that you can’t use the Wireless Display app to display what it considers “protected content.” So any encrypted video content from apps like Netflix or Hulu won’t work. However, we were able to stream anything we wanted through the Google Chrome browser. If you’re having trouble trying to get your movies or TV shows from Netflix or Hulu, we recommend downloading those apps from the Microsoft Store on Xbox instead.

www.theverge.com

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