Sony’s PlayStation 4 can now stream games to Windows PCs and Macs with a feature called Remote Play. That means you can play your games right on your PC or laptop, without hogging the TV when your spouse or roommates want to use it.
Remote Play isn’t entirely new, as it’s always worked with certain Sony devices and you can use it to unofficially stream PS4 games to any Android device. Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox-One-to-PC streaming, the PS4’s Remote Play works over the Internet, not just your local network. And, it also allows you to stream games to Macs–not just Windows PCs.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need to be running firmware 3.50 or newer on your PlayStation 4 to do this. To ensure you have the latest firmware updates, go to the Settings screen on your PS4 and select “System Software Update.” Your PS4 will check for any available updates and allow you to download them.
Sony recommends an Internet connection with download and upload speeds of at least 12Mbps for optimal game streaming. You may want to test your Internet connection speed using the SpeedTest website if you’re not sure how fast it is. This only matters if you’ll be streaming games over the Internet, however. If you won’t, your Internet connection doesn’t matter–your network is probably fast enough.
On your computer, you’ll need either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10–sorry, Windows 7 isn’t supported, but you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Sony recommends at least an Intel Core i5-560M 2.67GHz processor and 2GB of RAM for optimal performance
If you have a Mac, you’ll need either OS X Yosemite or OS X El Capitan. Sony recommends at least an Intel Core i5-520M 2.40 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM.
Step One: Enable Remote Play on Your PlayStation 4
First, you’ll need to enable Remote Play on your PlayStation 4 if you haven’t already. Head to your PlayStation 4’s Settings screen, select “Remote Play Connection Settings” in the list, and enable the “Enable Remote Play” option.
Next, head to the main Settings screen and select “PlayStation Network/Account Management.” Select “Activate as Your Primary PS4” and use the “Activate” option. Remote Play will automatically connect to and stream from the PlayStation 4 marked as your primary PlayStation 4.
You’ll also want to head back to the main Settings screen and select “Power Save Settings.” Select “Set Features Available in Rest Mode”, and enable the “Stay Connected to the Internet” and “Enable Turning on of PS4 from Network” options. This will allow the Remote Play application to remotely wake your PS4 from rest mode so you can quickly connect and play games.
Step Two: Install and Configure Remote Play on Your PC or Mac
Next, head to your computer and download the Remote Play application for Windows or Mac from Sony’s website. Install it as you would a normal application.
Launch the PS4 Remote Play application once it’s installed, and you’ll be asked to connect a PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller to your computer via a USB cable. Unfortunately, Sony only officially supports controllers connected via a USB cable, despite the fact that you can pair PS4 controllers with your computer via Bluetooth. You can use the same USB cable you use to connect your DualShock 4 controller to your PlayStation 4 for charging.
Click “Start” and you’ll be able to sign in with your PlayStation Network account you use on your PS4. Open the Settings screen in the application, and sign in with the same PlayStation Network account you use on your PS4. This will connect the Remote Play app with your PS4. The application may take up to a few minutes to find your PS4, so be patient.
Once you’re connected, you can use the PS4 controller connected with the Remote Play app to remotely control your PS4. Launch games, and they’ll run on your PS4 and stream to the computer you’re sitting in front of. Everything works like it normally would, although you’ll have some amount of added latency and somewhat inferior graphics than if you were sitting directly in front of your PS4.
Mouse over the window and use the button that appears at the bottom-right corner to set it to full-screen mode.
Step Three: Tweak Your Settings
You can tweak graphical options by clicking the “Settings” button on the main screen. You can select a resolution of either High (720p), Standard (540p), or Low (360p). Standard is selected by default, but you should try using High for best graphical quality. If the video or audio skips, you can lower this setting to make the streaming work more smoothly. Remote Play doesn’t currently offer 1080p as a streaming option.
You can also select either Standard or High as your frame rate, with Standard selected by default. High will result in a smoother streaming experience, but you’ll need to have a faster connection to the PS4 for this. The PS4’s built-in gameplay recording options will also be disabled if you select High. High is ideal on your home network, assuming you have a fast enough Wi-Fi connection or wired Ethernet connection for your PS4 and computer. You can always try enabling High to see how it performs, and back off if it ends up being too slow.
How to Fix Connection and Streaming Problems
If the Remote Play app doesn’t find your PS4 automatically, you can manually pair the Remote Play application with a PS4. Just click the “Register Manually” button on the screen that appears while the app is trying to connect. You’ll then need to get a code by visiting the Settings > Remote Play Connection Settings screen on your PS4 and selecting “Add Device.” You’ll receive a code you’ll need to enter in the app.
If the connection isn’t very smooth, try going into the Settings screen and selecting a lower resolution or frame rate. The lower the resolution and frame rate, the less bandwidth you need and the better it will perform on slower Internet connections.
If you’re having trouble streaming within your home, you may have an older wireless router that doesn’t provide fast enough Wi-Fi. You may need to upgrade to a more modern router. You could also just connect your PS4 and PC to the router with a wired Ethernet cable. This will give you faster connection speeds and you won’t have to worry about Wi-Fi reception.
Sony’s Remote Play already works fairly well, and will hopefully continue to get better in the future. Support for Windows 7 is an unfortunate omission, considering how popular the operating system still is, and it’s a bummer that you have to plug your controller in with a USB cable. It would also be nice to stream games in 1080p, but the PS4 may just never have the hardware chops for that. All in all, even with the drawbacks, it’s a pretty cool feature–especially if you share your living room TV with other people.