How to Stream on Twitch

Live streaming has become a wildly popular pastime and revenue stream in the last few years. So popular, in fact, both Amazon and Microsoft acquired streaming empires while Google expanded into the market with YouTube. And while there are some high profile streamers who bring in some serious cash, this massive rise in streaming is built on the backs of average users who stream and watch just for fun.

If you’re curious about dipping your toe into this brave new world, putting out a simple stream is surprisingly easy. Of course, as you pile on more layers of production, the complexity snowballs quickly. Today, we’d like to use this basic guide to show you how to get started, and point you in the right direction if you’d like to work towards a more professional high-effort setup.

We’ll assume you know how to do things like create accounts, log-in, and install apps. So if you’re having trouble with any specific link in the chain, consulting the relevant help desk (Sony and Microsoft for example) will likely help solve your problem. For this guide, we’ll focus on Twitch, although it also works for YouTube and Mixer. Now let’s jump in, and start streaming.

Streaming from a PS4

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First off, you’ll need to log into your service of choice on your console. Head to Settings > Sharing and Broadcasts > Link with Other Services, and select Twitch (or Dailymotion or YouTube). Follow the instructions to log into your account.

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Now, simply launch whichever game you’d like to stream. Press the Share button, and then select Broadcast Gameplay.

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On this screen, select the service you’d like to stream on.

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Finally, configure your stream to best fit your needs. You can toggle on and off your camera/mic, allow chat to show up on-screen, and change the resolution and frame rate depending on your connection speed. When you’re done, press Start Broadcasting.

Streaming from an Xbox One

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If you’d like to stream to Mixer – Microsoft’s own streaming service – the process is simple on the Xbox One. Make sure you’re logged into your Microsoft account, and then press the Xbox button on your controller. Navigate to the Broadcast & capture tab, and press Broadcast.

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From here, you can set-up your stream exactly as you see fit. If you’d like your audience to hear and see you as you play, be sure to turn on your mic and camera. And if you’d like a more interactive stream, turn on your chat. When you’re ready to begin, press Start broadcast.

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Prefer to stream with Twitch anyway? Unfortunately, it’s slightly more complicated now partly thanks to Microsoft’s vertical integration with Mixer. To get going, you’ll need to download the Twitch app, and make sure you’re logged in.

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Launch your game, press the Xbox button, and switch over to the Twitch app. Scroll down, and then press Broadcast.

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Now you can name your stream, and go to Settings for additional options for the camera and chat. When you’re all set, press Start Broadcast.

Streaming with El Gato

Of course, not every device has the ability to stream directly. Nintendo’s Switch and last-gen devices don’t directly integrate, so you’ll have to use HDMI capture. The simplest way forward is by buying an El Gato HD60, and downloading the Game Capture software for Windows or Mac.

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Once you’re all plugged in, launch the Game Capture app. Press the Show Device Settings button to configure your capture setup to match the device running the game. Your color range, resolution, picture settings, and audio settings will most certainly vary, so don’t hesitate to run some tests with local capture until you’ve found your sweet spot for streaming.

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Next, press the Add Account button under the Live Streaming section. If you plan on streaming to Twitch or other baked-in services, select them from the menu, and follow the log-in instructions. If you’re using other services like Smashcast, you’ll need to select the RTMP option to manually add the stream URL and authentication.

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Name your stream, and then press Show Advanced Settings. You’ll be able to set the resolution, max frame rate, and archiving preferences before you get going. And the dial on the left side? That controls the bit rate of your stream, and that has a huge impact on the quality. Use our sister site SpeedTest.net to see just exactly what kind of upload speeds your pipe can handle, and set it accordingly.

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If you plan on doing any commentary as you stream, you’ll need to configure the device and volume level in the Live Commentary section. Once you’re ready, press the Stream button at the bottom of the window.

Streaming with OBS

Would you rather stream PC games? The Open Broadcaster Software is the first place to start. You can download it for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it’ll work with darn near any streaming service.

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Once you’ve launched the OBS app, go to Settings > Stream, and sign into the streaming service of your choice. Nine different services are pre-configured, but you can always use custom streaming servers as well.

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On the main window, head to the Sources section, and add the video and audio you’d like captured for your stream. For video, you can pick between specific windows, your whole desktop, or sections of your screen – all of which have pros and cons. And if you’re capturing from a Mac, you’ll need to jump through some extra hoops to get audio working.

Video Config OBS

Depending on your streaming goals and recording gear, you might need to tweak your audio and video settings as well. There are troubleshooting guides available, but here’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t change anything unless something isn’t working properly. It might take a few attempts to get any mics or cameras working as intended, but a bare-bones stream for your friends shouldn’t require much fiddling.

Streampro

And if you want a bunch of extra widgets and themes to customize your Twitch stream, you’ll definitely want to use StreamPro. It’s fairly straightforward, and they even maintain a guide on how to get it working with OBS. It’s certainly not mandatory, but it’s a good option if you’d like a more engaged audience.

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Back on the main window, go down to the Controls section. If you’re still testing out your setup, we’d recommend recording locally. But once you’ve got the tech nailed down, you’re ready to Start Streaming.

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