How to Dual PC Stream Without a Capture Card (works for Laptops too)

Using the same PC to game and stream can be pretty taxing on your rig.

Often times resulting in you having to lower your in-game settings, sacrificing graphics quality just so you can play at a decent frame rate

Or even having to stream at a lower quality, which allows your computer to run smoother, but comes at the cost of providing your viewers with a lesser experience (video quality wise).

So if you already have a decent secondary PC, or are planning on getting a dedicated streaming PC, and don’t want to spend the extra money on a capture card, then keep reading.

In this guide I’ll be showing how you can easily stream using 2 PC’s or even a laptop without needing a capture card.

The two programs you’ll need to be using are:

  1. OBS Studio
  2. NDI Plugin (for OBS)

Both gaming and streaming computers will need each of these programs installed.

To give you a visual overview of how this 2 PC streaming setup works, here’s an image below:

demonstration of a 2 PC streaming setup

Step 1. Download NDI Plugin

This dual PC streaming magic is all possible thanks to this kickass NDI plugin.

We need to install this plugin on both of our PCs, so make sure to do this step for each of your computers.

Head over to this link, then click the Download button.

You’ll get taken to a GitHub page where you can download the appropriate installer for your operating system.

I use Windows, so as of writing this guide the link I would click is the obs-ndi-4.5.3-Windows-Installer.exe

Download that, and install it on your computer. Nothing more needs to be done once you go through the installation.

Remember, make sure to install the NDI plugin on both streaming and gaming PCs.

After the plugin is installed, reboot your computers then open up OBS.

Step 2. Enable NDI Plugin (gaming PC setup)

In OBS Studio on your gaming PC click on Tools, then NDI Output settings. You should see a small window pop up.

Name your Output to whatever you like (like “Gaming PC” for example). Then make sure the Main Output box is checked.

Once you’ve enabled the plugin it’s time to set it up on our streaming PC.

Step 3. Add NDI Source (streaming PC setup)

In OBS Studio on your streaming PC right click inside your Sources box to add a new source.

Look for the NDI Source option, and click that, then name the source however you like, or leave it as default

In the next window that pops up you should see a Source name option. Click on the down arrow to pull up a list of available sources. You should see the “Gaming PC” source. Select it.

For the other settings in this window I just leave everything as default and it works perfectly. So you can most likely do the same.

Click OK, and after a couple of seconds you should now see the Gaming PC output being displayed in your Streaming PCs OBS window.

You’re now able to use your streaming PCs OBS to stream anything you output from your Gaming PCs OBS!

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NDI Source Not Showing Up?

If your streaming PC isn’t displaying your gaming PC’s NDI output when you set everything up correctly, then this black screen fix might help you.

For Windows:

1. Go to your Windows Control Panel, and choose the Network and Internet option.

2. Click Network and Sharing Center.

3. Click Change advanced sharing settings on the left side menu.

4. Click the down arrow to expand the All Networks settings, then click Choose media streaming options…

5. If you see something like the image below, then click on the Turn on media streaming.

Do this for both gaming and streaming PCs, then restart both OBS Studios and try the NDI source again.

That’s what I did when the source wasn’t showing anything on my streaming laptop (just a black screen) and now it works. So hopefully that works for you too!

So that’s how to setup 2 PC’s for streaming without using a capture card.

If you have any questions just leave a comment below and I’ll see if I can help you out.

Have a good one 🙂

27 thoughts on “2 PC Streaming Setup Without Capture Card

  1. Does this help the Gaming PC’s CPU usage? I don’t see how as i would still need to run OBS on the Gaming RIG.

    1. You’d have OBS open on the gaming rig, but none of the actual CPU intensive stuff would be running on it. It’s just used to create the video signal if that makes sense. All the CPU usage happens when you actually hit the “Start Streaming” button, which is used on your second PC/laptop. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean 🙂

      1. I have an obvious lower framerate when streaming Warzone of about 10-20%. But I already loose frame, when I open OBS without hitting the “Start Streaming” button, how can this happen?

  2. Heyo there. I did the steps right and there is no NDI source showing up for me on the streaming PC. I enabled the media streaming and restarted the OBS’s but to no avail. Any idea what else I can try?

  3. hey when i open the source is showing but there is no name in my streaming pc for my gaming pc how can i connect them ?

  4. Hi, I had everything working fine and then after messing with some settings i stopped seeing the main out put on my streaming setup. I changed everything back to default and made sure that both computers had media share allowed but I still don’t see it anymore.

      1. Hi, I realized that the problem occurs if the connection is interrupted, for example if my if one of my computers go into sleep mode, or if i close obs on one of them. I only see a black screen and I can’t select the main output of the gaming pc (unless i uninstall and reinstall the whole thing, and sometimes even that doesn’t work).

        sorry if this isn’t very clear, I tried my best 🙁

  5. If you’re using an external card like the Elgato* HD60 S, plug an HDMI cable from your gaming PC into the “in” connection of your capture card. Then, connect the capture card to your streaming PC via USB.

  6. I see there is a section for streaming with 2 PC’s without a capture card but is there anything for people who are interested in using a 2 PC setup with a capture card? I’m looking into building a 2nd PC for streaming and implementing a capture card into it, maybe the Elgato or AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2. What sort of specs would you recommend the PC to have in order to be able to stream at 1080p 60FPS with no issues whilst recording as well. Many thanks

  7. It keeps saying Failed to open NVENC code:Function not implemented
    Please check your video drivers are up to date

  8. Hi,
    Just basic question
    what min. requirement do you recommend for “streaming PC” for smooth experience?

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