Nintendo Switch is a popular gaming console that allows gamers to play their favorite games on the go. However, sometimes you may want to enjoy your games on a larger screen, such as your laptop’s display. Fortunately, connecting a Nintendo Switch to a laptop is possible, allowing you to enjoy your favorite games on a bigger screen or record your console gameplay.
You must use a video capture card that can transmit the signal from HDMI to USB. This method has several drawbacks, such as increased video transmission latency and possible visual artifacts and glitches when recording and transferring video to your laptop or another computer. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
How to connect the Nintendo Switch to the laptop using a capture card
The instructions may vary slightly depending on what kind of video capture card you have. You should read the instruction manual that came with your capture card. The signal from the Nintendo Switch will be treated like any other incoming video signal, so the instructions will be exactly the same as when capturing video from another computer or console. The list of steps you need to take to do this:
- Connect the capture card to your laptop: Follow the instructions that came with your capture card to connect it to your laptop. Typically, this involves plugging the capture card into a USB port on your laptop.
- Put your Nintendo Switch into the Dock: The capture card receives the image using the HDMI port. So you must use the Nintendo Switch in TV mode with the Dock.
- Connect the Nintendo Switch Dock to the capture card: Plug one end of an HDMI cable into the Nintendo Switch dock and the other end into the capture card’s HDMI input.
- Install capture card software: Install the software with your capture card onto your laptop. This software lets you capture the video and audio output from your Nintendo Switch.
- Configure capture card settings: Open the capture card software and configure the settings to match your desired recording or streaming settings. This typically includes selecting the capture card as your video and audio source, adjusting video quality settings, and setting up overlays or other features.
- Start recording or streaming: Once your capture card and software are set up, you can start recording or streaming your Nintendo Switch gameplay on your laptop.
That’s it! Following these steps, you can connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop using a capture card and start recording or streaming your gameplay.
Is it possible to connect Nintendo Switch to Mac or PC?
In case you have a PC or Mac (MacBook or iMac), the instructions won’t differ from what you find above. The fact is that almost all modern computers are not equipped with an HDMI-in input so to output the image to your computer you will need to use a capture card.
When selecting a capture card you need to pay special attention to whether it supports the system you are using and the Full-HD extension (1920×1080). Since this is the resolution used in the TV mode of the Nintendo Switch, so if you want the best quality, you need the right capture card.
Why you may need to connect Nintendo Switch to a laptop
Usually using a capture card with your Nintendo Switch and a laptop to record gameplay from your handheld. That way you can get the best possible quality recording and edit it to suit your needs. This is especially useful when creating videos and youtube playthroughs.
You also need a capture card to start streaming with the Nintendo Switch. You can edit your stream and stream from your computer’s big screen with a capture card. You can also put elements such as a webcam window or a donation announcement on the stream.
Suppose you want to use a laptop as a monitor for your Nintendo Switch. In that case, this may not be the best idea, as you are bound to encounter relatively high latency when using a capture card due to double video stream processing.
What capture card could you buy to use with Nintendo Switch
Many capture cards on the market are compatible with the Nintendo Switch. Here are a few popular options:
- Elgato Game Capture HD60 S: This popular capture card offers low-latency recording and streaming at up to 1080p60 resolution. It connects to your laptop via USB 3.0 and includes software to capture and edit your gameplay footage easily. It costs about $250.
- AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus: This popular capture card offers low-latency recording and streaming at up to 1080p60 resolution. It connects to your laptop via USB 2.0 and includes a built-in LCD screen that allows you to preview your gameplay footage. It costs about $150.
- Razer Ripsaw HD: This capture card offers low-latency recording and streaming at up to 1080p60 resolution. It includes software that allows you to add overlays and other effects to your gameplay footage. It connects to your laptop via USB 3.0 and supports console streaming to popular platforms like Twitch and YouTube. It costs about $150.
- Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2: This capture card offers low-latency recording and streaming at up to 1080p60 resolution and includes a plug-and-play design that doesn’t require any drivers or software to be installed. It connects to your laptop via USB 3.0 and is compatible with various operating systems. It costs about $300.
These are just a few examples of capture cards compatible with the Nintendo Switch. When choosing a capture card, consider your budget, the features you need, and any compatibility requirements with your laptop or other equipment.
It is also worth mentioning that in addition to the capture card you also need an HDMI cable to connect the console and the capture card and a USB-A or USB-C cable to connect the capture card and your laptop. Some cards also require an external power supply. An HDMI cable should come with your Nintendo Switch, and a USB-A or USB-C cable should come with the capture card. However, you can order any suitable cable on Amazon for a few dollars. Just make sure you order the suitable cable with the suitable connector (USB-A or USB-C) and interface (USB 2.0 or USB 3.0)
Is there a high delay when using the capture card?
A potential disadvantage of using a capture card is that it can introduce a delay between your gameplay and the video output on your laptop screen. This delay is sometimes called “capture card delay” or “streaming delay.”
The delay can occur because the capture card needs to process the video signal from the Nintendo Switch before sending it to your laptop. Depending on the quality of the capture card and the settings you use, this processing can take some time, resulting in a delay of several seconds or more.
This delay can be problematic for some types of gameplay, such as fast-paced action games or games that require precise timing. If you’re using a capture card to record or stream your gameplay, you may need to adjust your play style to compensate for the delay.
Some capture cards offer features like “low latency mode” or “instant gameview” that can reduce or eliminate the delay. However, these features may come at the cost of lower video quality or increased system requirements.
Suppose you use a capture card to record or stream your Nintendo Switch gameplay. In that case, it’s important to be aware of the potential for delay and to choose a capture card and settings that minimize the delay as much as possible.
What other the disadvantages of using a capture card
While using a capture card to connect your Nintendo Switch to your laptop can be a convenient way to record or stream your gameplay, there are some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Cost: Capture cards can be expensive, with some models costing hundreds of dollars. If you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford a capture card.
- Setup time: Connecting a capture card to your laptop and configuring the software can take some time, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. This can be frustrating if you want to start recording or streaming immediately.
- Performance impact: Depending on your laptop’s specs and the settings you use for your capture card, you may experience a performance hit while recording or streaming your gameplay. This can result in lower frame rates or other gameplay experience issues.
- Audio and video quality: Depending on your capture card’s quality and settings, you may experience some degradation of audio and video quality. This can be particularly noticeable if you’re recording or streaming at a high resolution or frame rate.
- Compatibility issues: Some capture cards may not be compatible with your laptop’s operating system or hardware, which can be a frustrating issue to deal with.
While capture cards can be a helpful tool for recording or streaming your Nintendo Switch gameplay, they come with some potential drawbacks that you’ll need to consider before deciding whether to use one.