How to unlock 'very high' quality in Windows 10's Xbox One streaming app

A simple PC tweak improves resolution and image quality.

Thanks to the detective skills of 'OomaThurman' on Reddit, the means now exists to improve image quality on Xbox One gameplay streaming via a PC running Windows 10. A simple text file is altered on the computer to open up a hitherto blocked off 'very high' quality preset. Utilising this mode places a greater strain on your home network in terms of data throughput, but increases the resolution of the stream.

So how do you unlock the hidden quality preset? Well, assuming Windows 10 is installed on the default C:\ drive, simply navigate to C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\Packages\ and then locate the folder starting with "Microsoft.XboxApp". From there, open the 'userconsoledata' file using the Windows Notepad app, and where the 'IsInternalPreview' variable is set to 'false', adjust it to 'true'. Save and close the file and the very high preset is now available within Windows 10's Xbox app when you fire it up.

We're currently working on a complete breakdown of the Xbox One streaming functionality in Windows 10, due for publication shortly, but we can confirm that the very high quality mode works just fine, though bandwidth utilisation across the network increases significantly, to the point where throughput hits a consistent 18mbps. The new preset appears to transmit full 1080p imagery - something that isn't achieved on the lower quality options, which scale up from lower resolution streams.

Despite the increase in bandwidth, there's no further impact to performance - but based on our tests, the streaming functionality still needs a fair amount of work. There's a high degree of inconsistency in performance that sees native 60fps games play at around 40fps via Windows 10 streaming, while 30fps titles suffer from obvious frame-pacing issues. The frustrating aspect is that there are occasional, completely clean moments of 60fps gameplay on games like Forza 5 - the tech is clearly capable of better consistency, and we hope to see this aspect substantially improved in a future update.

In the meantime, here's a set of comparison images derived from our forthcoming piece, demonstrating the range of quality settings available on Xbox One streaming via Windows 10, including the newly unearthed 'very high' preset.

Additional reporting and assets by John Linneman.

Xbox One (Source) Low Quality (Stream) Medium Quality (Stream) High Quality (Stream) Very High Quality (Stream)
An image quality comparison of Windows 10's Xbox One streaming - kicking off with the source image from the console, followed by low, medium, high and the newly discovered very high.
Xbox One (Source) Low Quality (Stream) Medium Quality (Stream) High Quality (Stream) Very High Quality (Stream)
An image quality comparison of Windows 10's Xbox One streaming - kicking off with the source image from the console, followed by low, medium, high and the newly discovered very high.
Xbox One (Source) Low Quality (Stream) Medium Quality (Stream) High Quality (Stream) Very High Quality (Stream)
An image quality comparison of Windows 10's Xbox One streaming - kicking off with the source image from the console, followed by low, medium, high and the newly discovered very high.
Xbox One (Source) Low Quality (Stream) Medium Quality (Stream) High Quality (Stream) Very High Quality (Stream)
An image quality comparison of Windows 10's Xbox One streaming - kicking off with the source image from the console, followed by low, medium, high and the newly discovered very high.

Will you support the Digital Foundry team?

Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.

Our videos are multi-gigabyte files and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads. However, that bandwidth isn't free and so we charge a small monthly subscription fee of $5. We think it's a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content. Thank you.

Support Digital Foundry

Find out more about the benefits of our Patreon

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (57)

About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

Related

You may also enjoy...

Comments (57)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments
Order
Threading
Eurogamer.net

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch