How to Use the Kinect as Webcam

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Updated September 12, 2022

The centerpiece of any fantastic live-streaming setup requires finding the best webcam possible. But unfortunately, most computers come with shoddy webcams that are grainy, unstable, and of low quality. For whatever your visual purposes, getting your hands on the right webcam is vital to success and enjoyment. And many don’t realize that that perfect webcam may already be in your possession. If you own an Xbox 360, stick around as we explain how to use the Kinect as a webcam.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • An Xbox 360 Kinect camera is an excellent high-resolution device for streaming and video calls.
  • Users must have a Windows computer to access the Kinect SDK device driver.
  • A special adapter is required to plug the Kinect into a computer’s USB port.

And don’t fret if you aren’t an Xbox owner because we have many similar articles, like how to use a GoPro as a webcam.

Insider Tip

Streamers can download an additional plugin to use their Kinect as a camera on the Twitch platform.

Using the Xbox 360 Kinect as a Webcam

Knowing how to use a webcam of any type requires some technical knowledge. And setting up a Kinect is no different. By introducing Kinect SDK, Microsoft allowed computer owners to hook up their gaming cams and expanded their use into other means, like webcams. And for a good reason. The Xbox 360 Kinect is a tremendous high-resolution webcam that works with most major video conferencing apps.

Unfortunately, the SDK software development kit is only available on Windows OS. But we have many other resources that cover a range of products. For example, we have a helpful guide on how to use a phone as a webcam. And more specifically, Apple users can check out our guide on how to use an iPhone as a webcam.

STEP 1 Get the Right Adapter

Because the standard Kinect cable isn’t compatible with a USB port, you’ll need to purchase a special adapter. It’s called the Microsoft Kinect v2 Sensor, which allows you to convert to a USB cable connection.

STEP 2 Find Kinect SDK Download Page

Go to the Microsoft website and find the page with the “Kinect for Windows SDK” software download. Then, look through the system requirements to ensure your computer has the proper memory storage, processor, and graphics adaptor to support the software.

STEP 3 Download Kinect for Windows SDK

Read through the installation instructions to ensure your computer is ready for download. After confirming, install the Kinect SDK 2.0. Ensure the Kinect is not plugged into your computer while downloading.

STEP 4 Plug in the Kinect and Check Driver

After the download is complete, plug in your Xbox Kinect. Doing this will install the drivers on your computer. Go into your start menu. Then search for and open the device manager. There should be an option for “Kinect sensor devices.” Open the drop-down, right-click on the Kinect driver, and press “Update Driver.” After completing any updates, reboot your computer.

STEP 5 Open the SDK App

Type “Kinect” into your start menu and open the “SDK Browser v2.0.” Find “Kinect Configuration Verifier” in the new window and press “Run.” This will let you know if there are any webcam issues.

STEP 6 Open a Videoconferenceing App

Bring up an app for video calls. The app may recognize your computer’s built-in camera as the default. Enter into the app’s settings to switch the default camera to Kinect.

Warning

Kinect SDK will only work with the Windows OS.

STAT: The Kinect device comes with 1080p HD resolution. (source)

How to Use Kinect as Webcam FAQs

Is Kinect no longer being sold?

As of 2017, Microsoft no longer manufactures the Kinect camera.

What version of Windows is required for Kinect SDK?

Users need at least Windows 8.0 to use Kinect SDK.

How long does it take to install Kinect SDK?

Usually, the download takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
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