The TV is taken, but you’ve organized a PS4 session on COD with your mates, all you have to hand is your laptop and you’ve Googled if there is any possible way to play your games console from the screen on your laptop.
You’re in the right place, because it is completely possible, and we’ll talk you through a variety of different methods on how you may be able to do this, some slightly better than others. We do hope as well that these methods moving forward will work with the PS5 (we feel that at least two of them will be brought to the new console), but at this point, until we get our hands on one, we can’t confirm!
Overview of Methods To Play PS4 on Laptop Screens
PS4’s as you likely know are ordinarily played on TV screens or computer screens. They aren’t the easiest thing to connect to other devices, and when they initially were released it was really tricky to actually connect your Playstation 4 to your laptop and play, but over time with growing demand, Sony have managed to find ways that you can play your PS4 from your laptop and even in recent times your phone as well (which we won’t go into now!).
There are actually 3 different ways in which you can play your PS4 through your laptop screen that we’ve been able to research across the web and test (please share in the comments if you know of any more!). The methods are as follows:
- Using an HDMI cable & Video Capture Card
- Using the Playstation Now service (subscription) (recommended)
- Using Remote Play (recommended)
In the below guide we will detail exactly how you can get your PS4 to work on your laptop using any three of these methods, and if there’s one you’re more interest in than another, you can use the links above to click to the individual guides.
Connect PS4 To Your Laptop Screen With HDMI & a Video Capture Card
The reason we’ve listed this method first is that some of the other methods require certain system specifications for your laptop, this is just a method that requires a few items – although if you don’t have them already, it can be a little pricey to get your hands on.
Using an HDMI & a video capture card you can connect your PS4 to your laptop screen fairly easily. You should hopefully have a HDMI cable to hand as part of connecting to your TV, but if you don’t here is one you can buy for a relatively small cost (PowerBear 4K HDMI Cable) which at the current time of writing this is priced at just $12.99.
Video capture cards are a little bit pricier, but they don’t exactly break the bank. Here are good quality and well-reviewed capture card that’s priced at just $29.99 (Readyxio Game Capture Card, 4K Audio Video Capture Card with HDMI Loop-Out 1080P 60 FPS Live Streaming Game Recorder Device for Gaming).
Once you have those, the only other two things you will need is an internet connection and to enable file sharing on the PS4, which is easily done and we’ll talk you through.
Now hopefully you have those two items, here’s a step by step guide on how you can get your PS4 working on your laptop screen:
- As mentioned, the first thing that you have to do is activate file sharing on your console. You can do so by going to the settings menu of your Playstation. This is not to be confused with Game Sharing.
- You then need to go to your network settings to connect your PS4 to your router if you haven’t already done so.
- Now you have to connect the video capture card you have to your laptop, which is easily done, you just connect it via the USB.
- You will then often be prompted to install the drivers, this might be done automatically upon the connection.
- Now it’s time to connect the video capture card to your PS4, which you can do via the HDMI on the capture card connecting to the console.
- On the laptop, open your capture cards software, and it should allow you to display the PS4 screen on your laptop.
Conclusion of This Method
This method is easy to do and costs a relatively low amount, you also don’t need to have a subscription of any kind or a powerful laptop. Unfortunately, however, due to it being video capture, you can often get what appears to be a laggy screen, so it may not be the most ideal method if you are playing a game which requires a high FPS, the capture card that we have detailed above does state that it runs at 60FPS which would be more than enough, however, we’ve not always found this to be completely accurate.
Connect PS4 To Your Laptop Screen Using Playstation Now
Here’s quite an exciting alternative if it’s more than just a one-off occurrence that you aren’t able to get on the TV and you don’t even actually have to have your PS4 console in front of you. It’s also not just limited to your laptop, you could play PS4 on a whole host of different devices using this technique.
Sorry Mac lovers, this is only for the Windows people!
What is Playstation Now?
It’s Sony’s subscription service, that you may have heard of, Playstation Now. It allows you to live stream upwards of 800 games across the Playstation network, which includes PS4, PS3, PS2, and hopefully in the very near future the PS5 of course, you can also download upwards of 300 of them to play offline.
This subscription service will set you back, however, which if you pay over a 12 month period is $59.99 or on a rolling monthly subscription it’ll set you back $9.99. Here’s what you need in order to get started with PS Now:
- PS4 or a compatible PC
- PSN account
- A PS4 controller
- An active PS Now subscription (if this is temporary issue, they do offer a free 7 day trial)
- An internet connection that runs 5mbps+
There are also minimum requirements when it comes to running PS Now on your PC which you should be aware of before subscribing to the service. Which we’ve detailed as follows:
- Windows 7 minimum (8 & 10 will work fine)
- At least 2GB RAM
- 300MB storage (we’d like to think anyone’s PC has way more than this!)
- The processor needs to be fairly decent, after all, you’re running games. It’s recommended that you’re running at least 3.5GHz+ on an i3 at a minimum, or for you AMD fans any Ryzen processor should work fine.
How Do I Set Up Playstation Now On My Laptop?
Installing Playstation Now on your laptop or PC should be a relatively straight forward process, and if you get stuck there’s a complete guide on how to do it on Playstation.com in which you can also find further details about system requirements and compatible controllers. some guides out there over-complicate this, but getting PS Now on your laptop or PC is a really easy and straight forward process, here’s the step by step:
- Donwload the application on your PC / Laptop from the Playstation website.
- Launch the application and run through the steps to install
- Now you need to connect your controller
- To connect the Dualshock 4 controller to your PC you can do so by using a micro USB cable, or through Bluetooth. For a Dualshock 3 controller however, this will only work via a micro USb cable
- Now launch the application if it’s not already on your desktop & use your Playstation Network ID to login
- Find a game & play (or download)!
Conclusion of This Method
This is the best method, it will allow for high FPS gameplay as long as your system meets the requirements. The obvious downside however is that you do need a relatively high specification laptop and of course you will have to fork out $£9.99 monthly, although this can be brought down if you pay for a year. It does however mean you can take your Playstation with you literally everywhere, as laptops of course are far more portable than carrying around your TV & Playstation.
Connect PS4 To Your Laptop Screen With Remote Play
Here’s a further alternative, which is useful if you don’t have the system requirements or the monthly money spare for the Playstation Now, another application by Sony which allows you to play your PS4, in a slightly different way, on your laptop.
This one works for you Mac people, hurrah! It also works on android devices, iPads & iPhones
What is Remote Play?
Remote Play is another way that Sony has allowed people to essentially stream their PS4 games on compatible devices. It allows you to play a game on your TV with your normal Playstation but then immediately switch and access it on another device, or for the purpose of this, you can simply play the game on your laptop. The difference to Playstation Now is that your Playstation 4 needs to be turned on and running, you can simply mirror or control it from your Laptop, or even phone if you wanted, and you don’t need to switch on a TV at all.
To gain access to Remote Play you need a few things as detailed on the Playstation website. Here are the requirements:
- A PS4 or PS4 Pro which is running and connected to your home broadband
- Your laptop or another compatible device, which is connected to the same network
- The Remote App (we’ll talk you through how to get this later)
- A Dualshock 4 controller
- At minimum a 5Mbps broadband speed, although they recommend more than double
- Finally, a compatible PS4 game
There are also minimum requirements when it comes to playing remote play, which varies between devices, so we’ll go through them:
- Android: Your device needs to be running Android 5.0 or higher.
- iPhone or iPads: You need iOS 12.1 or higher
- PC: Works with Windows 8 or Windows 10
- Mac: You need MacOS 10.12 or higher
How Do I Get Remote Play?
Setting up Remote Play is straight forward and easy, you can also find a guide on the Playstation website. There are just a few steps (and a few “sub” steps) to follow in order to get Remote Play sorted on your laptop, and don’t worry, it’s not too confusing! Here goes:
- Go on your PS4 to the settings > remote play connection settings option
- Check the box to enable
- In settings again, go to account management, activate primary PS4 & activate
- Staying in settings, go to power save & set features available in rest mode then tick the boxes that say stay connected to the internet & enable turning on PS4 from network
- Now you need to donwload the Remote Play app on your laptop, which you can do here
- Follow the installation instructions
- From your computer start the app and sign in with your Playstation Network details and if the PS4 is set as your primary system, it should now automatically allow you to play
- You’ll then have to connect the Dualshock controller to your laptop, which we mentioned how to do so earlier in this post under the Playstation Now section (Essentially through a Micro USB or Bluetooth!)
I know that sounds like quite a bit of setup, but once you’ve got it up and running, and that’s out the way, it’s easy to start remotely using whatever compatible device you want which includes Windows, Mac, Androids & iPhones / iPads. All you will have to do is launch the application, you don’t need to go through the setting changes each and every time you want to play, that’s just for the initial set-up.
Conclusion of This Method
This method is great, but you need a TV screen to initially do it with the changes required in the settings of the PS4. You also need to be able to have your PS4 on your home network and powered, so it might not be the easiest if you are planning on being away from home or if for whatever reason you can’t turn the Playstation on. Aside from that though, it’s a great option because there is no charge to it, like Playstation Now, yet it runs just as seamlessly and at a high enough FPS that you won’t be frustrated with the gaming. A further benefit to this method is that you can use your mobile to play as well, it doesn’t have to just be your laptop.
Which Method Would We Recommend?
The method we would recommend for you really depends on your situation.
If this issue is only a temporary one, and it’s only going to be a few days you aren’t able to access your PS4 on your TV, then the best solution is likely to go with a trial of Playstation Now which is completely free. this is the easiest and most lag-free way to get access to pretty much all PS games and it only requires an internet connection. The downside of this of course is that if you surpass the trial period then you can expect to be charged $9.99 on a monthly basis.
If it’s going to be a more permanent one, of course, if you can afford it we would recommend subscribing to PS Now. If however, you don’t have the system requirements or the money, then Remote Play can be a fantastic option, as long as you are on the same network as your PS4 and are able to have it running whilst playing.
The one we wouldn’t recommend it if at all possible is the HDMI + Video Capture Card, as you’re much more likely to get a more frustrating gaming experience with a lower FPS, however, we’ve put it on the list in case this is the only option available to you.