How does a Capture Card work?

Capture cards are prevalent in the current technology. The funniest thing is that some people have no clue about the capture card and how it does its work. It is an essential component for people who love streaming content.

Gaming is also not left out by the capture cards. A capture card becomes essential if you use a PS4, Wii, or even Xbox One. So gamers and video recorders are the biggest users of the capture cards. Today you will learn about the capture card and what it does.

What is a capture card?

Elgato capture card for Nintendo Switch: How does it work and Is investing in it worth it?

A capture card is a device that serves the input role. Its major work is to convert the video signals to digital formats. After the conversion, the outcomes can be uploaded for access through the internet.

Additional reading: What is a Capture Card for Streaming | How do I use a PCIe or USB Interface Capture Card?

Content creators, video makers, gamers, and producers are the primary users of the capture cards. Different types of capture cards are available, with each doing a specific role. It is good to know that there is a difference between a capture card and the game recording software. One is a program, and the other one is a device.

How does a capture card work?

The work of the capture card is to capture the signals and then convert them. It uses the HDMI connection to connect to external devices so that it facilitates data transfer. A good example is when the user has two computers.

One is likely to be playing the games, while the other is likely to be recording the oncoming content. A capture card comes between the two computers and helps to have them working together.

One will be doing the actual work, and the other will do the recording with the help of the capture card. After the other computer does all the recording and conversion work, the user will easily upload the content.

Terms that relate to the working of the capture card

There are specific terms that relate closely to the process and the work that a capture card does. Some good examples include;

Record– this is the actual process of having the idea of getting to the computer or the recording device. It involves the processing of the audio of the video.

Encode– after you have done the recording, you must make sure that what you have recorded is in digital format. The process of conversion is the encoding process. If you are doing a video, the H, 264 CPU is what comes to use with the capture card.

Stream– another name for streaming is broadcasting. It is the process that makes sharing and distribution possible. You will make the content that you have recorded available for use by many people. The capture card is gaining fame in the digital technology that video game streaming has become the favorite to many people.

Setting up the capture card

You cannot do anything with the capture card if you have no clue how to use it. You have to know how to. Set the capture card. Below is a process that will help you to set up the capture card quickly.

  1. Make a connection between the capture card and the gaming device using the HDMI cable
  2. Use the HDMI cable to connect the out port to the streaming device
  3. Use the USB cable to connect the mac device with the capture card
  4. Now continue with your work

How to record on Nintendo switch

Recording on the Nintendo switch works in two ways. You will choose to use screen recording or use the switch itself. Recording using the Nintendo switch screen requires you to use the switch lite, a recording button.

Additional reading: Best Capture Card for Nintendo Switch

If you don’t use the switch lite, you will have to use the capture device. Tapping and holding the capture option allows you to do the recording. The recording process goes as follows.

  1. Play the game that the switch has. If there is no existing game, you will have to load one.
  2. Press then hold the capture button the moment you want to record something.
  3. After pressing, you will see a spinning icon that helps in saving. It appears on the screen and tells you the recording progress.
  4. You will note a message on the screen once the recording capture is complete. The recording takes 30 seconds, and once complete, it stops.

How to screen record on Nintendo switch

Screen recording on the Nintendo Switch is the same as taking screenshots on the Nintendo switch. It is an easy task as you will use the following steps to do it.

  1. Press the capture button. This button is on the left joy-con. In most cases, it has a square shape and features a circular indent. Check, and spot it as it has directional buttons
  2. Press the capture button to let it take a single screenshot
  3. For multiple screenshots, press the button many times

If you intend to use the Nintendo switch lite, you will press the button below +control pad, which activates the functional features.

Additional reading: How to Remove Write Protection from USB Drive in Windows 10

How to put the memory card in the switch

If you need additional space on the switch, you will need the storage devices. One of the best is the memory card. You need to note that the switch comes with a storage of 32GB. You must begin by buying the SD card that will deliver the service you want with the button.

Now flip the switch back so that the screen is upside down. On the base of the switch, you will find the SD card slot. Insert the SD card on the slot, and you will see the switch detecting it.

How to download switch games to SD card

The SD card allows you to have many games, depending on its capacity. You will access the games from the Nintendo e-shop, and once you buy the games, the downloading option activates. Downloading will take place with the press of the downloading button.

When you download, the content goes straight to the switch storage. From the switch storage, you can now transfer the games you have downloaded to the SD card. You will begin by launching the system settings and then tap the gear option.

On the data management option, you will locate the data movement option. It tells you to move data within the system. You will pick the option that says move data to the microSD card.

Additional reading: Best Internal SSD For PS4 and PS4 Pro

Selecting the option brings the devices that are within the system. You will now move the data to the SD card after a confirmation. An indicator will show you the progress of the transfer. Once complete, the indicator will disappear. 

How to stream switch without a capture card

One effective way of saving cash is to stream without a capture card. It is an easy task which you don’t need any technical help to do. Several scenarios come that make the streaming work easier.

How to stream using Xbox one

  1. Assemble the Nintendo switch and dock it at the base position.
  2. Now connect the Xbox one and the switch using the HDMI cable and the respective ports. Xbox One also has to connect to the monitor or computer.
  3. Launch the one guide via the Xbox One and immediately turn on the switch.
  4. Once step 3 is successful, you will launch the applications on the Xbox One. You will then go back to the computer and pick the Xbox one console
  5. The next task involves downloading the OBS, which you will launch on the computer. After launching, you will straightaway go to streaming over the monitor.

Streaming using the streamlabs application

The streamlabs application is another effective one that serves the gamers. With it, you can manage interactions with the viewer, chats and also do some editing. It is also a good option because it allows you to use youtube, twitch, and other social media platforms without much problem.

  1. In the beginning, you will download the streamlabs on the smartphone
  2. Now launch the application and then go to the social media account. This can be youtube, Facebook, or twitch itself.
  3. After selecting where to stream, you will click the “next” button. You can now start streaming as the widgets get displayed on the screen.
  4. Taking preferences at this stage is essential as you will pick the ones you want to access first and place them on the screen. You can do some editing or more designing.
  5. Pick the alert profiles from the home option. From the settings, you will pick the broadcast option and change the resolution.
  6. Locate the red button on the screen and pick it to start streaming your games.

Nintendo switch hard drive

The Nintendo Switch comes with a hard drive. It is an external device that you must connect to the switch. Connecting it requires you to have a USB cable.

It is essential as it helps in the storage of the games and other contents. Anytime you have to use it, you will locate its ports and then use the USB ports to connect.

How to stream Nintendo switch to pc

The PC is essential when you begin to stream from the Nintendo switch. You will start by connecting all the devices so that they can share the content. The Nintendo switch will connect to the capture card and then to the PC.

From the Nintendo Switch to the capture card, you will use the HDMI cable. It is an excellent option as it does not need any form of configuration. From the switch to the computer you will use the HDMI cable too. If other ports can allow you to use other options, then it is better.

Immediately connecting them, you will switch on the devices and then continue enjoying the various gaming sessions. You have to ensure you have made a good connection and everything gets set.

How to stream switch on twitch without a capture card

Elimination of the capture card is good as it minimizes the cost of doing the work. The best way to stream is by the use of Streamlabs. Streamlabs is an application that you download and install on your devices.

Once you have done the installation, you will connect the switch to the device you want to stream. The Streamlabs you will do the launching on the device you have installed that allows you to connect to various social media sites. You will pick twitch in this case.

You can now begin the streaming process as everything you do will appear on twitch.

Related article: Best SD Card for Dash Camera | Dashcams Micro SD Cards

How to stream Nintendo switch without a capture card

The easiest way to stream from the Nintendo Switch to twitch is without using the capture card. An Xbox one is the most effective way to stream without the capture card.

You will need an Xbox One, a PC, Streaming software, and the internet to do the task. You will use the process below to achieve the streaming mission.

  1. Prepare the switch by connecting it to the dock using the HDMI cable
  2. Now connect your monitor to Xbox one to allow you to access the streaming monitor.
  3. From Xbox, start the OneGuide and then start the switch too. When starting, you must see the picture of the switch on the monitor.
  4. Use the ethernet cable to connect the computer to Xbox one. You can opt for a wireless connection, but the stability lowers.
  5. Start the streamlabs and the OBS to start streaming your content. You can now continue playing your games are you are live now.
  6. If the process is complete and you cannot stream, you will redo the connection again and ensure that you have followed all the steps.

It is a good thing to do regular booting of your devices as it boosts their performance. Reliability and the simplicity in streaming and connection also improve.

Additional reading: Is Nintendo Switch Worth It?


We have seen the work of the capture card is straightforward. It is the device that comes between the gaming device and the streaming device and converts the signals. You also have most of the things you desire to learn about the capture card and its functions.


Which is the best capture card for Nintendo switch?

The best card for Nintendo Switch is the Elgato Capture Card 1080p. It gives you Ultra-low latency, is compact and portable, compatibility with ps4, X-box, and Nintendo. Moreover, it has a 3.0USB switch, HDMI output, and supports resolutions from 480-1080p. However, there are other excellent capture cards in the market too.

What is the point of a capture card?

A capture card is an input device (expansion board) that converts video signals to digital data that you can easily upload to the internet. Thus, it is helpful for gamers, content creators, and video production teams for capturing and saving their content in a digital format compatible with your computer. Thus, you can use it to stream your favorite footage on the internet

Are capture cards worth it?

Yes, capture cards are worth it since they produce beautiful videos without you having to learn anything. You are able to load your video signals on the internet by converting them to digital content. The price currently is affordable for most gamers, content creators, and video production teams.

What do you connect a capture card to?

Using HDMI cables, you connect one end of the HDMI cable to the GPU and the other HDMI cable end to the TV or monitor. Both HDMI cables are connected to the capture card on the HDMI OUT for the TV or monitor and HDMI from the GPU. Thereafter, connect the capture card to your PC using a USB cable