How to manage Xbox DVR

Xbox DVR has a few meanings and applications depending on what you’re after. We explore them all.

Nathan Lawrence
Oct 23, 2020
Icon Time To Read4 min read
Xbox game DVR capture

Tech terms can be confusing. Take DVR for instance. It’s short for digital video recorder but, slap that acronym after ‘Xbox’ and things get a wee bit obfuscated. In this context, Xbox DVR can refer to turning your Xbox into a TV-recording device for those seeking to take advantage of the Xbox One’s non-gaming multimedia capabilities.

For gamers, though, Xbox DVR is a term that refers to capturing gameplay footage, which is slightly different depending on whether you’re capturing that game footage on an Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC.

Read on to find out about the differences between the three.

What is Xbox DRV for TV?

If you’re looking to turn your Xbox One into a DVR for capturing TV, forget about it. This was absolutely a planned feature way back in 2016, but it was officially put on hold at the time and, seemingly, has not been resuscitated. Back then, the plan was to record free-to-air TV – assumedly by using Xbox One Digital TV Tuner (a product released in Australia in March 2015) – to complement the initial TV-focused push of the Xbox One (OneGuide was part of this).

Long story short: Xbox DVR for TV doesn’t exist and you shouldn’t look to your Xbox One as a replacement for other DVR solutions.

Xbox One DVR for gameplay

Xbox Game DVR on an Xbox One console is used to capture gameplay clips. While it used to be restricted to 720p resolution at 30 frames per second (fps), that was updated to support 1080p. If you’re using an Xbox One X, you can record at up to 4K resolution at 60fps.

To record, simply tap down the Xbox button on your controller to bring up the share screen. From here, you can either start recording manually to capture what you’re about to do, or use it after you’ve done something cool to retroactively record what just happened. Hit Y to capture a screenshot. Tap X to record what just happened. Hit the View button for more capture options. Or press the Menu button for more options.

Capture options let you select whether you want to record the last 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, one minute, or two minutes.

To manually record, tap the Xbox button then use the bumpers or joystick to tab over to the ‘Capture & share’ tab on the far right. This has familiar options for capturing screenshots and the duration for recording what happened, but it also lets you manually ‘Start recording’. From here, you can also ‘Share last capture’ to your activity feed, send it as a message, or post it on Twitter. Additional sharing options let you share to a Club or upload it to your OneDrive.

You can also select ‘Recent captures’ to see all of your captures, sorted by most recent, with the resolution listed next to them. At the bottom of this page you’ll find a ‘Capture settings’ option that acts as a shortcut to tweaking more Xbox Game DVR settings.

How to turn off Xbox Game DVR on Xbox One

To disable Xbox Game DVR on your Xbox One, hit the Xbox button and head to Settings. Joystick down to ‘Preferences, then select ‘Capture & share’. Toggle the first option, ‘Allow game captures’, from ‘Captures by me or games’ to ‘Don’t capture’ to disable Xbox Game DVR. Alternatively, you can toggle this option to ‘Captures by me’.

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Windows 10 DVR for gameplay

Xbox Game DVR for Windows 10 is a lot more fully featured than the version available on Xbox One consoles. It’s activated by default and you can tweak shortcut settings by opening ‘Settings’, then selecting ‘Gaming’. For those gamers with the 2004 build of Windows 10 installed, it’s absolutely worth clicking on ‘Graphics settings’ up the top right of this screen and toggling on ‘Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling’, which should help your in-game frame rates across the board.

Xbox DVR Captures

On the left of the ‘Gaming’ screen in Settings you’ll find four options: Xbox Game Bar (more on that below), Captures, Game Mode, and Xbox Networking. The Captures screen lets you select where screenshots and game screenshots are saved to, as well as whether you allow background recording, the duration of the clip, and other manual recording settings (including audio quality). If you use other recording software like Nvidia’s ShadowPlay, you should consider disabling Xbox Game DVR background recording to free up system resources.

Game Mode and Xbox Networking

Clicking on the Game Mode option lets you toggle it on or off. The Xbox Networking option offers a connection status, both for your internet and Xbox Live services. Whenever you click on this tab, it’ll also provide latency values (measured in milliseconds, or ‘ms’), a packet loss percentage (you want 0%), as well as your NAT type and server connectivity for Xbox Live multiplayer.

Xbox game DVR capture

Xbox Game Bar settings

The main keyboard shortcut you want to set, though, is ‘Open Xbox Game Bar’. Use this shortcut to bring up an overlay with a number of information tabs that can be interacted with, closed, or pinned. Drag and drop any of these tabs to reorganise the layout to suit your personal preferences.

Up top is a bunch of shortcuts for showing which screens are active (indicated by an orange underline); just click to add or remove the tabs or click on the Widget Menu to see additional options. There’s also a settings menu with even more options.

The Capture tab tells you what you’re capturing and also lets you take screenshots, record footage, mute your microphone, or view all captures. Below that is the audio mix, which lets you pick the audio output (Mix) device, as well as the different levels for each, and input (Voice) device, which is handy for those with multiple microphones.

At the bottom left of the default overlay is a Performance tab that gives you at-a-glance information on CPU, GPU, video RAM, and memory usage, as well as an FPS counter. There’s a graph to show fluctuations based on each clickable entry. Following along on this theme, the centre of the default layout has a Resources tab that displays top tasks and ranks them in terms of impact: red for high, yellow for medium, and green for low.

Finally, on the right by default is the Xbox Social channel which, if you’re logged into your Xbox account, will display your online status, as well as your online friends, as well as text and voice chat options.

How to disable Xbox DVR on Windows 10

This is a cinch. Open ‘Settings’ (hit the Windows key and type ‘settings’, or click on the settings cog) and click on ‘Gaming’, then toggle off Xbox Game Bar at the top of the window.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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