Getting a stream on Twitch is fairly easy, but there are some additional things to know before you jump straight into going live. Here’s how to get started.
Think you can be the next xQc, or even see yourself headlining Dexerto over a controversy? Well, step right in, and let’s get to talking about going live on Twitch.
Streaming is a huge industry since the early days of BlogTV, JustinTV, and Ustream. You can go live on just about anything and anywhere, with new forms of streaming shaping every day.
However, when you consider going live on the internet, there’s a lot you need to consider. Not only yourself but the old adage of “you get what you put into it”.
That’s a nicer way to say, the more time, effort, and money you put into your streaming, the better you’re going to see results. It’s not an overnight thing either, as some popular streamers took years to get to where they are, and some who have been around even longer, are still working to ensure they don’t lag behind.
As we said above, there are multiple ways to go live for almost any purpose. We’ve split these up into their own sections and you can easily find them using our handy list:
- PC gaming streams
- Console streams
- Mobile gaming streams
How to stream on a PC
Streaming on a PC will require you to have a capable computer, as well as software like OBS or Nvidia Broadcast.
Going live on Twitch with a PC is maybe the easiest way to do things, especially if you prefer control over your content. Using it directly means you can access all types of software and hardware, allowing you to take your streams to the next level.
Gaming on PC is one of the most popular ways today, with its esports and massive titles dominating Twitch’s pages. To go from loading up to streaming in seconds is easy, but you’ll need to take into consideration what software you want to drive things.
We’ll be using OBS as an example, but most of the other software will require the same thing. OBS can now actually integrate directly into Twitch, so we’ve no need to grab a stream key.
A stream key is essentially Twitch’s way to authenticate that it is you accessing their servers. Make sure you never share it, as you don’t technically need to log in to Twitch to start streaming.
How to get your Twitch stream key
To get your stream key, if you want to use another piece of software or hardware that hasn’t got direct Twitch integration, you’ll need to do the following steps:
- Head to your account’s creator dashboard
- Then go to Settings and choose Stream
- You will then be presented with a stream key, which is blocked out and can be copied without revealing it
- Continuing to use OBS as an example, you will then go to the settings page and paste it in
Setting up OBS
Continuing to use OBS as an example, you’ll then need to set up your ‘scene’. This will be where you place things like your webcam, game, and any overlays. To keep things basic, we’ll use a full screen for the game and a webcam.
Plug in the webcam if you haven’t already, and launch your game. In OBS you want to choose ‘video source’ and find your webcam, and then Game Capture to hook into the game and have it display in OBS.
If for whatever reason, your game doesn’t support OBS doing this, you’ll have to consider playing in windowed mode, or borderless fullscreen. Older titles and bad PC ports are notorious for this. In this case, you’ll want to use Window Capture, which will just grab everything on screen – so beware of what you have up.
Audio is a little confusing on OBS. Once set up, it’s fine, but that initial process can be a little hard.
You’ll have to add an “audio input capture” for each source you want to capture. If you want two capture cards, for instance, you’ll have to add two individual input captures. Once they’re added, they’ll be included in the audio mix and you can begin to alter them as you see fit.
After you’ve finished moving things about and importing source materials that you want on your screen, you can pretty much begin streaming. Remember to keep monitoring OBS if you can, as it will give you a less-than-detailed view of what’s going right or wrong as you stream. In the bottom right corner, there will be two boxes.
One indicates your frames lost and how much of a strain OBS is taking on your PC.
Games with streaming integrated
Certain games, like Path of Exile, actually have streaming embedded into the game and will take the footage straight from the game without the need for any external software at all.
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Though streaming on the same PC can cause some minor issues in regard to potential performance impact, if you have the right build, you’ll find this isn’t an issue.
Recommended PC build for streaming
For a PC capable of streaming, as of right now, we’d recommend something along the lines of:
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 4080 or 3070 Ti
- Using the 40-series will give you access to AV1, a new format that requires less bandwidth with better quality
- CPU: Intel 13600K, or AMD 7600X (and above)
- RAM: 32GB of DDR5 or DDR4 RAM
- Storage: At least 2x 1TB NVMe SSD
- This is one for your game, and software of choice and one for the potential recording of VODs
- PSU: Corsair PSUs over 750W
Surprisingly, you don’t need a high-end, ultimate-build PC to begin streaming on your desktop. While it’s better to have the most you can afford to stream, it’s all about overhead. On our home system, with an RTX 2070 and Ryzen 7 2700X, we rarely see much of a performance hit.
The only games that do see a massive performance hit are true heavy hitters or CPU-bound games like Civilisation that require resources.
Our top recommendation with streaming PCs is to ensure you have enough RAM and a CPU with decent multithreading. As modern PC components get much better at handling this level of multitasking and intense requests (running games and a stream isn’t easy!), you should consider going for the most up-to-date stuff.
Streaming on consoles to Twitch
Going live on Twitch with consoles isn’t as hard as it used to be. The days of grabbing a capture card aren’t necessary. However, that’s not to discount them entirely.
Both PlayStation 4, 5, and Xbox One, S, and X all support integrated Twitch streaming with some decent options for those on a tight budget. While it isn’t our preferred way to stream or produce content, for those just starting out, it’s absolutely a viable way to get going.
How to start a Twitch Stream on Xbox
- Head to the store and download the Twitch app
- Log in to the Twitch app
- Connect your Twitch and Xbox accounts together and follow any on-screen instructions for pairing
- Next, close the app and press the guide button
- Head over to the capture menu and choose live streaming
- Plug in a USB microphone or your favorite headset
- You can start streaming once you’ve chosen the Twitch destination
Using a webcam on Xbox streams
Microsoft recommends Logitech or their own brand of webcams, but we’ve found success with non-branded ones too. As long as it supports the YUY2 or NV12 format at 1080p, you should be good to go.
All you’ll need to do is plug the webcam straight into the console and in the guide menu, Camera options should be there. Just set it to on and make any adjustments.
How to start a Twitch stream on PlayStation
- Go into Settings and then Users and Accounts
- Then press Link with Other Services, select Twitch and follow any on-screen instructions
- Back out and press the Create button on your controller
- Choose Twitch in the menu and enter any information required
- Broadcast options will let you choose a camera and audio from your party if you’re playing with others
- Press ‘Go Live’ and you should be on Twitch in seconds
If you want to alter where your camera is placed, or any other settings, you’ll need to go to Settings and then Captures and Broadcasts.
Do you need a capture card for streaming?
The thing about both consoles’ options for streaming, is that they’re severely limited in creativity. While popping a webcam and game footage on the screen is great, it’s nothing over the flexibility that comes with a dedicated capture card.
Using a capture card for consoles means unlocking your entire console collection. From PS2 to Xbox, to the Nintendo Switch. You’ll also be able to hook it into your chosen software as well.
Streaming on mobile
Mobile streaming has come a long, long way since it first crawled out of the ooze. iPhones, iPads, and Android devices all pretty much have one way or another to either stream the camera or the screen.
On iOS, there’s not a tonne of flexibility with screen streams as of right now. However, as long as you have the app installed, you can go live straight from the screen recording option in the control center.
Twitch has embedded this within their app and all you’ll need to do is download it, log in, and switch to creator mode by tapping the button in the top corner.
Follow any on-screen instructions and take heed of the warnings about iOS’ particular weirdness (there are a few options that might end up stopping a stream). Press the big purple button and away you go.
It’s similar on Android too, providing you with an integrated way to get to streaming your favorite mobile titles on the go.
Of course, if you want to stream at home and have the right equipment, you can always use a USB-C to HDMI or Lightning cable to HDMI adapter to get the device on your PC and ready to stream as you would with any other device.
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