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How to set up your computer for streaming?

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  • 3 min read

Often people that watch online video game streamers wonder how they are able to do so. Streaming has been surrounded by a bunch of myths since forever. In this post, we demystify the streaming setup for you so you can get going too.

In this article, we will follow the procedure for streaming to Twitch. Other platforms like YouTube have a similar procedure as well.

How to prepare your computer for streaming?

Step 1: Download OBS Studio, otherwise known as Open Broadcasting Software. OBS is a free, open source software that allows you to stream your computer screen, a stream from a camera and several other sources to multiple web platforms.

Step 2: Create a Scene. In the scene, add a screen capture. As soon as you do that, you’ll see your screen on the screen. Alternatively, you can also add a game capture so that the screen only starts capturing when you start a game.

You can also add other media sources such as a webcam, a photo and anything else you might need to create a scene. You can create multiple scenes and switch between them during streaming.

Also read: Cinematography 101: How speed ramping can take your videos to the next level

A bare bones scene for streaming in OBS

Once you’re happy with your scene, it’s time to set up some settings.

Step 3: First up, hit the ‘Output’ tab

In the video encoding, make sure ‘Enable CBR’ and ‘Enable CBR Padding’ are both checked. Under Max Bitrate, Twitch recommends setting to 3300 or 80% of your upload throughput, whichever is lower.

The Output screen

Then go on to the Stream tab. Select ‘Streaming Type’ to Streaming services and in Service select Twitch. Now you’ll see a field called Stream Key. Log into your Twitch account and head over to the settings to find it. Just copy and paste the stream key as it is.

The Output screen

P.S Make sure you keep your stream key confidential. Anyone with your stream key can stream to your account.

Step 4: Hit the ‘Start Streaming’ Button and you’re live!

Some tips to make your streaming experience smooth

Streaming generally requires a good internet connection and a strong computer. You might be able to get away with a weaker PC, but that really depends on what you’re streaming or which game you’re streaming as your computer will have to struggle for resource allocation.

Here are some tips to better your streaming experience.

  • Make sure you allot as much internet bandwidth as you can while streaming
  • Streaming is a CPU intensive task, so make sure you close all running programs while streaming.
  • If possible, upgrade your CPU, RAM etc to maximise the streaming performance.

Also read: What does the Response Time of a monitor mean? Should you buy one with Low Response Time?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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