Work in Progress
Sorry this isn't complete yet, but I figured it's been a few weeks and it would be best to post what I have in the meantime.
Part 1 - Basic Twitch Streaming
This guide will be the introduction to streaming. If you think Twitch is an involuntary muscle movement and YouTube is where that keyboard playing cat lives, this is a good place for you to start. For this guide I will be focusing on Twitch.tv, a partner of Extra Life. That’s not to say you couldn’t use YouTube Gaming, Hitbox, Beam, or another service. Twitch.tv is available on all three platforms I will cover in this guide and is supported by every streaming software I have worked it.
Know Your Connection
If you don’t know what type of internet connection you have, research that first. For a stable and healthy stream I suggest using a land-based service with at least 5 megabits per second (Mbps) or 5,000 kilobits per second (kbps) upload. Keep in mind that streaming is bandwidth intensive and will limit additional uses of your connection.
If you plan to stream multiplayer games and/or use voice chat (like Curse, Discord, TeamSpeak, Mumble, or Ventrilo), I recommend your connection be at least 10 Mbps upload. A quick aside, I highly discourage the use of Skype for voice chat. Many incidents have demonstrated it can be
exploited by others to violate your privacy and can lead to Doxing and/or Swatting.
Using a cellular (3G, LTE) or other wireless service can work, but reliability fluctuates and they often have throttling and data caps. DSL, cable, or fiber are recommended. Use of an ethernet connection to your console or PC is also recommended.
Take some time to insure you are getting the speeds you expect with your connection. Often you’ll find you are not getting those speeds due to line conditions, bad modem configuration, poor home network connection, and/or service provider error. Below are some online test to help determine your download speed and upload speed (the important one for streaming). Make sure you or anyone else is not using your connection when you run these test, otherwise results will be inaccurate.
SourceForge’s Internet Speed Test
Google’s Speed Test Should be the first result, “Run Speed Test”
If you discover that your speeds are not what your expected, consider:
Repeating test(s) and ensure nothing else is using your connection.
If you are on WiFi, try using an Ethernet (aka wired) connection instead.
Reboot your modem and/or router.
Make sure your modem and/or router are up-to-date.
Contact your service provider
Streaming services often will have a method to monitor your connection to them, such as Twitch’s Inspector. Unfortunately, you’ll typically already have to be streaming to be able to use such tools.
I will discuss bitrates and resolutions as we address each streaming method later. In the meantime if you just want to do a basic stream from a PS4 or Xbox One 5 Mbps upload should be adequate.
Now that you have a satisfactory internet connection, go sign up for a Twitch account. Once you have created an account and confirmed it, login and find the Dashboard. The “Live” menu is your streamer hub. Even if you are streaming from a console, I recommend having the Dashboard open on a computer.The important sections are:
Please note the following: Under the “Settings” menu, you will find an option for Stream Key. This is used in setting up some streaming software. Never, ever share this key with anyone or display it publicly. If another person gets hold of your stream key, they can stream as your account, which is something you do not want.
For now I will just address the “Live” menu
Stream Information is where you will title you can set your stream’s title, language, community association (such as OfficialExtraLife), and game being played. When you make changes here, make sure to select the “Update Information” button.
On PS4 and Xbox One you can set the stream title in their Twitch app and the game will be automatically set for you.
When you are streaming, Stream Health will show a histogram of your streams bandwidth and a general description of the stream health.
It’s common to have fluctuation in the histogram. This is due to how compression works with the content on screen. For example, a blank and/or static loading screen can be highly compressed and requires little bandwidth, so the histogram would lower because of this. By contrast, a panning shot of a detailed vista or racing your car down a scenic road will be less compressed and require more bandwidth causing the histogram to rise.
Less than ideal stream health signified by erratic fluctuations like spikes and drops will result in a stuttery or muddy stream for your viewers. If your are experiencing less than ideal stream health with Twitch consult the Guide to Broadcast Health and Using Twitch Inspector.
This small window is a representation of what your viewers see and hear. You should monitor the preview when starting your stream and intermittently during your stream to make sure everything appears and sounds correctly. No one wants to watch a stream of dead air. When you are not monitoring, make sure to pause and/or mute the preview. Muting will prevent the preview from being picked up and causing an echo and/or feedback. Pausing will actually stop the steam you were watching, freeing up that download bandwidth.
Stats is a simple display of how many viewers your current stream has, how long your current stream is, and other some additional items related to your channel.
This is your basic method of engaging viewers. Viewers can send text messages and emoticons in chat and you can respond on your stream or via chat.