Streaming: What are the hardware and software basics?

#1 Edited by Asmo917 (356 posts) -

<p>I'd like to try streaming some gameplay, with an eye on being a part of next year's October fundraising team and just doing it for the hell of it. I have a GTX 560 TI that I could upgrade if needed and a dual monitor set up. I've got a set of Astro headphones/mic coming this week. I'm assuming I'll need a camera plus streaming software. What should I be looking for, what should I avoid, and should I consider another mic beyond the one with my headset? Ate there any indispensable guides that don't assume too much prior knowledge?</p><p>Thanks!</p>

#2 Edited by Example1013 (4749 posts) -

if you have poverty internet give it up now. Other than that all you need is OBS or xsplit and a twtich account. Oh, and a PC.

#3 Edited by AlexW00d (6061 posts) -

Yeah to make the stream look like more than 15 pixels you'll need a half way decent upload speed. Maybe 10mb/s at the least, depending on how much of a quality nazi you want to be.

That said, I dunno why you bought a horrendously overpriced fashion headset for streaming.

#4 Edited by Asmo917 (356 posts) -

@AlexW00d Is it so inconceivable that I might be using the headset for more than just streaming, like voice chat? Sorry my peripheral purchases don't align with what you deem acceptable, but thanks for the advice on upload speed. I was considering a different cable package and this might help make the decision easier.

#5 Edited by AlexW00d (6061 posts) -

@asmo917 said:

@AlexW00d Is it so inconceivable that I might be using the headset for more than just streaming, like voice chat? Sorry my peripheral purchases don't align with what you deem acceptable, but thanks for the advice on upload speed. I was considering a different cable package and this might help make the decision easier.

Well I assumed the whole microphone business would come under streaming, especially if you were wanting to put your face on the stream (webcam) but you could buy much better for much cheaper. No need to get pissy.

#6 Edited by rebgav (1429 posts) -

Asmo, for streaming you will require a good, reliable internet connection with reasonable upload speeds. You will need appropriate encoding software like Xsplit or OBS (that one is free, I think). You don't need to worry too much about your GPU as your CPU will be doing the heavy lifting here. If you plan on streaming console games you will require a capture card. A good headset mic and a good webcam are essential if you want to attract and keep viewers, though that's "good" in terms of the quality of the image and sound, you should experiment with what you have before buying new hardware.

There are troubleshooting guides on twitch.tv which would probably help with optimizing your set-up and bitrates. Your needs will vary according to the image quality that you want to produce, a 720p/30fps stream will look good at 2500kb/s while a 1080p stream will need three or four times that bitrate to maintain quality in fullscreen, for example. The current twitch layout accommodates a 720p video window and the chat on a 16x9 1080p res monitor and it's been the case in the past that most twitch users will stick with the default layout, so that's something to consider when experimenting with settings.

#7 Posted by Asmo917 (356 posts) -

@alexw00d: Sorry - overreacted. I do appreciate the feedback on speed since you've apparently done some streaming and I don't want to put out shit quality in terms of the technical end. May not be any fixing the content end, but that's on me.

@rebgav All good to know. As for a webcam - I don't have one currently so any recommendations there are appreciated. I'll have to poke around and see what's recommended, because I've got no experience with cams. I've got to assume they're idiot-proofed by now.

#8 Posted by Enns (353 posts) -

OBS for using the least amount of your CPU. Xsplit for a little more production and a ton of load on your CPU.
2-3 MB is good enough for a 720P stream, you don't need 10 MB up. What matters the most is actually your CPU. It needs to be doing a whole lot. Also even if you're around 1MB-1.5MB up you can still have a good stream, just depends on the type of game and your settings.

I dunno what works for you but here are some random things that I think are pretty helpful.

Having a private test channel to check the quality in an archive is a good idea.
Most people don't actually maximize the screen, so having a lower resolution at 540p isn't a bad idea to save on CPU.
Double check your resolutions on everything. Bad scaling leads to funky text and blurry stream.
Never have your own channel on while streaming. At the very least mute yourself.
Try to balance your audio before streaming.
If playing an online game mind the upload bottleneck you have.
Get use to the idea of people being jerks for anything.

#9 Edited by Mirado (948 posts) -

@asmo917: Why do you need a webcam for streaming, assuming you are streaming video games? Maybe I'm in the minority, but seeing a person's face on a stream usually detracts from my enjoyment of it. 99% of the time you'll be looking at your monitor anyway, and unless you get the lighting right, you won't look any good while you do it. Plus, there's the complexity angle; since this seems to be your first go at streaming, perhaps just focus on getting the quality of the game and your audio to be acceptable? Again, that's assuming you are doing a straight video game stream; it makes far more sense if you plan to do a Q&A or something like that.

Speaking of audio quality, hoo boy do I hate headsets. I haven't heard your particular model per se, but something tells me a $100 standalone mic would probably blow that >=$200 thing out of the water. Any particular reason why you went with a headset over a standalone mic + headphones? A good rule to remember: separates that total up to the price of a combo item like that will usually have better quality overall. Usually. Sadly that ship has sailed, I guess, but it's something to consider if your headset mic winds up being subpar.

Also, upload speeds. Depending on your resolution, you'll need anywhere from a bit (1 Mb/s for decent 360p or so) to a good amount (I'd imagine 6 Mb/s will handle action packed games at 720p without shitting the bed). Keep in mind that what you are rated for on your line isn't necessarily achievable; plan on utilizing no more than 80% of your given maximum upload at any one time, which is a good way to ensure the quality stays up.

#10 Edited by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@asmo917 said:

@rebgav All good to know. As for a webcam - I don't have one currently so any recommendations there are appreciated. I'll have to poke around and see what's recommended, because I've got no experience with cams. I've got to assume they're idiot-proofed by now.

The only webcam that I've used in years is a Microsoft LifeCam Cinema, which was $45 for 720p/30fps/16x9. For streaming purposes you'd probably be fine with a cheaper webcam.

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