The ultimate Twitch.tv streaming guide

Of course, we have not missed the impact of the e-sports scene meanwhile, which is noticeable mainly by large streaming platforms such as Twitch.tv and Youtube. The profession of streamer is more tangible and lucrative than ever, which is why daily new channels and personalities emerge.

Therefore, today we would like to address important questions about twitch streaming and at the same time create a guide for newcomers and aspiring streamer.

1. What is Twitch.tv or Twitch Streaming?

Twitch.tv is a live streaming broadcasting platform. In the early days of the streaming service, the Gaming section was still part of a separate section of Justin.tv, but this has changed rapidly due to the popularity and steady growth of new channels. Finally, Twitch.tv was marketed as an independent streaming platform.

The then competitor “own3d” was almost completely replaced by Twitch.tv within a few months and popular streamer changed daily to today’s Broadcasting of Amazon. In 2014, Amazon quickly took € 1 billion into its hands and completely took over the service.

twitch.tv logo

1.1 What is streaming on Twitch.tv?

Mainly on Twitch.tv video game content is streamed. The players you watch here may be simple people or even professional e-athletes who just interact with their community and play a game. Not only individuals have the opportunity to show themselves and their skills in games on Twitch, but also major events such as the Major of CS: GO or the League of Legends LEC are released through the platform.

Basically, there are no limits here. In the meantime, there is even a section called “Just Chating”, in which streamer talk to their community, play an instrument or present other things of their lives. Only excessive sexuality or violence violates the guidelines of the platform.

1.2 Is streaming as a main job possible?

Yes, as a streamer you can certainly replace a main occupation. However, the success depends on many factors and also the money does not come by itself. A streamer usually works like in a full-time job, if he wants to replace a main occupation with it. As a hobbyist, the workload is only a fraction of it.

We would even say that the setup and the first steps on the platform are among the hardest and most intense working hours. If the setup is perfect, a click is enough to start or stop the stream.

How much money does a streamer one at all? That depends on the size of the community and the level of awareness of the streamer. For example, if we take “Shroud” or “Ninja,” making them achieves 7-digit sums. So if you want to try as a streamer, you need the necessary tools first.

Second Requirements – What does it take to stream to Twitch.tv?

2.1 A good internet connection

When we talk about streaming content into the Internet, the most important thing is the upload rate. This determines with which bitrate the contents are streamed and accordingly the quality of the contents is. This mainly affects the resolution, which requires a higher bit rate with a higher resolution.

Twitch.tv has the following guideline values ​​for bit rates and resolutions:

RESOLUTION

RECOMMENDED BITRATE

1080p

3000 – 3500

720p

2800 – 2500

480p

900 – 1200

360p

600 – 800

240p

> 500

However, these values ​​are only rough guideline values ​​that do not have to apply. Often, for example, a 1080p transmission requires an upload of at least 6 Mbps. In addition, these are the values ​​for Twitch accounts that have no partner status. The so-called partner program prioritizes users in the sense that registered partners first receive the full bitrate and the highest quality standard. Only then are the “non” partners served.

Basically, it is not recommended to stream under 720p with 30 FPS . Everything below is qualitatively insufficient and not only scares the most, but almost all spectators directly. Of course, there are people who watch a stream with less FPS and poorer quality. However, these are clearly in the minority and rarely found.

Here is a short example for determining your bitrate:

Converted are 1 Mbit = 1000 kilobits (Kbit). The bitrate now corresponds to about 80% of this value and in this example would be 1.000 x 0.8 = 800. This would be the required bitrate for a smooth stream to 360p.

With 6.000 Kbit (6 Mbit) the bitrate would be at 4,800, which provides a trouble-free stream with 1080p. On www.speedtest.de the upload speed can be tested for free.

2.2 A twitch account

To transfer your entertainment to Twitch.tv you need an account or a twitch account. This is absolutely free and can be created within a few minutes. As already mentioned, there is a free version and a paid membership that includes many benefits. Some of these would be:

  • More individuality of the channel with emots, badges, etc.
  • Saving the stream for 60 days as VOD
  • Prioritized customer support
  • Special Promotions for Twitch Partners
  • Increased broadcast delay (useful for competitive mode games)
  • Priority for bit rates and streaming quality
  • Monetization through subscriptions, advertising and bits (virtual currency of Twitch)

2.3 Your primary Twitch Stream key

The Stream key is required for the connection between the Twitch servers and the software used. For example, you can not start your stream without this stream key through the software because there is no connection between account, software and server.

Here’s how to find your stream key:

  1. Log in to Twitch.tv with your account.
  2. Switches to the setting. You can see the button when you mouse over your portrait.
  3. Now switch to “Channel and Videos”.
  4. You can now see the stream key directly in the first line under “Primary Stream Key”.

You do not need a stream key to transfer through a console such as the PS4 or Xbox One. Here it is enough if you log in successfully in the Twitch app.

2.4 A good to very good calculator

The streaming quality is primarily provided by the internet connection. But in order to get the necessary framerates, to be able to process them, a good to very good gaming PC is required.

If you want to stream with 1080p, you must even have a high-end PC, so you do not have to accept any demolition in the form of frame drops and FPS lags. Suffers the stream or the game experience under ailing hardware, it is firstly not fun and secondly it deterred viewers.

In the next part, we therefore explicitly go into the necessary hardware and reveal how to bring a decent quality to the screen of a viewer even with a middle class or budget computer.

Third What hardware do I need to stream to Twitch.tv?

There are no clear answers, because the hardware depends on the game.

However, there are different streaming methods that affect the choice of hardware as well as the price issue.

3.1 Twitch Stream with a Calculator

In principle, you need a computer that has enough power to be able to display the streaming game fluently. Additional power reserves are necessary to provide the streaming software with enough power. Unfortunately, there is no exact specification that is appropriate for each stream – unless you have a full budget – because in the end, the game is a major factor.

For example, League of Legends does not require as much processing power as Battlefield 5. Typically, a mid-range CPU is not enough for optimal streaming and gaming experience. A decent Core i7 of the younger generation should have enough computing power to cope with the high load. In the meantime, the Ryzen CPUs from AMD are also ideally suited for streaming.

Furthermore, a decent graphics card is not wrong, which incidentally also represents a core component in terms of hardware. We would not go under an RX580 (8GB) or a GeForce 1060 (6GB) unless you’re thinking about streaming games from 2010 or Minesweeper. Games like Hearhstone can be easily transferred with a middle class computer in good to very good quality.

3.1 Twitch Stream with two computers

First and foremost, you do not need a second computer with Capture Card if you use a powerful computer. But if I take my own setup (Core i7-4790, 16 GB DDR3, RX 580) and then like to stream games like Battlefield 5 with good quality, things will get tight. But my computing power is not enough in the whole without avoiding input lags.

With a second computer, you can split the required workload and thus increase the overall quality. Thus, the gaming PC for pure gaming and basic applications and the streaming PC would be responsible for the processing and transmission of content. Based on this diagram, the structure of such a setup can be understood:

For streaming with two computers you need a so-called capture card. One of the best entry cards for the recording is certainly the Elgato HD60 S , which is also perfect for consoles. The card is promised 60 FPS to 1080p, with even free additional software provided by the manufacturer.

For advanced and professionals, a card with internal PCIe slot is better: Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro . One of the biggest advantages is the integrated x264 hardware coding, which provides extra relief for the computer.

Meanwhile, the market for capture cards is huge and there are many different vendors offering good products. However, Elgato is one of the “founding fathers” in this segment and is known for producing good capture cards.

3.3 Stream to Twitch.tv with a current console

If you want to stream over the console, it’s easiest because the stream is set up quickly and requires no additional hardware or software. As with the PC, there are also certain accessories for consoles, such as a cam for the Facecam in the stream and a headset with a microphone.

In the following we will discuss the settings options and show you the most important steps to start your stream within a few minutes.

3.3.1 PS4

Before you can broadcast your entertainment live on the net, sign in to the Twitch app on your Playstation 4. You will be asked to do this when starting for the first time, or at the latest when the sharing of game content has been selected via the “Share” button. This is also the way the stream is started.

After logging in, the default options can be adjusted. Here you determine the transmission quality, whether the microphone, the camera or both should be transferred and if you want to show the comments of your viewers. After that, your personal stream can already go live. It will be stopped again via the “Share” button of the PS4.

3.3.2 Xbox One

Even the Xbox One needs anything but technical affinity and basic understanding to start a stream. Again, all you need is the app, which you can conveniently drag into the Xbox Store.

If you have successfully logged in, it is necessary to check a few basic settings of your Xbox in order to start and finish your broadcast without any defects. Check the following settings:

  • Set your profile to “show as online”.
  • The privacy settings must be set to “Everyone”.
  • Ensures that the broadcast of games is “allowed”.
  • Check in the settings whether “Allow broadcasts and DVR uploads” is active.
  • To transfer the microphone and the camera, the “Kinect Sharing” feature must be allowed in the “Kinect” setting.

The Kinect voice command “Xbox, Broadcast!” Starts your broadcast within a few seconds.

Within the Twitch app you have as with the Playstation 4 other settings that allow you, for example, to edit the overlay or the microphone and camera settings.

In this simplified diagram, the individual connections and setup can be read:

What is a capture box?

The Capture Box works the same as a Capture Card , but it usually has several USB ports and audio interfaces. Compared to the card, the box is not permanently installed and works as a spacer with its own power supply. The card, however, is firmly plugged into a computer to the PCIexpress interface.

3.4 Streaming with older-generation consoles

Here we talk to retro enthusiasts on all consoles from Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintento Wii U and even older consoles. Even Nintendo 64 Games can be streamed. As? Again the practical Capture Cards are used.

To transfer to Twitch, first connect a computer to the capture card and the console. Then all the necessary settings such as image quality, FPS, resolution etc. must be set and optimized on the PC. The Capture Card finally gets the image from the console to the monitor and then into the network to your viewers!

With these Capture Cards you are Good-To-Go:

3.4.1 AverMedia LiveGamer HD

The card has an integrated x264 hardware encoder and is put into operation via the PCIe interface in the computer. Although it performs well in terms of value for money, there is one drawback that will not suit everyone: it can not handle HDCP signals and is therefore not readily available for HDMI recording on the PS3 or Xbox 360. Casual streamers are more than sufficiently served with the functionality and additional software.

3.4.2 Elgato Game Caputre HD60 Pro

We have already mentioned the map at the top of our guide. Click here to go to the section

3.5 Stream Emulators with ROMs

One or the other will probably wonder why the cumbersome way through the capture card must be gone, if there are quite a few emulators for consoles of the old to very old generations. Here you can obviously save a large amount of money and at the same time, without having a cramped gaming PC, conveniently stream over a single device.

The idea is basically correct and under certain circumstances a stream of games via an emulator is also legally allowed. Here are the legal requirements for ROMs:

DETERMINATION

LEGALLY

ILLEGALLY

The copy protection of a ROM must not be bypassed

X

The acquisition of foreign ROMs is not allowed

X

The archiving or backup of a game as ROM is allowed if the console is neither manufactured nor available on the market.

X

Buy a ROM from the rights owner

X

The owner declares the game as a public domain

X

The copyright of a game expires

X

Games that you own as original titles may be used as ROM

X

If this legal basis is secured, then a journey into the past of gaming can be started at will via an emulator. Maybe you want to broadcast your next speedrun in Super Mario 64 Live?

3.6 Other accessories for your Twitch.tv stream

One of the most important aspects of a successful stream is video quality, but also the sound of the language and the ingame sound. Many viewers want to interact with the streamer, which is why the sound is even one of the most important elements.

3.6.1 Microphone

In most cases, the microphone of a good gaming headset is sufficient to get a decent sound of the voice in the transmission. However, those who rely on an integrated microphone in a webcam or a defective headset will find it difficult to find the necessary settings in the settings.

stand microphone gaming
To the microphones

3.6.2 Webcam

A webcam is by no means a must for every streamer. There are enough examples like “Hi i’m Gosu” or “Nightblu3” in former times, who did not use Facecam and were still very successful. Here the focus should be completely on the gameplay and a little linguistic support in the form of explanations. For example, a stream with the motto “from bronze to challanger” focuses on the gameplay.

Nevertheless, a webcam has a certain appeal, because as a viewer you would like to observe the emotions and behavior of the live agents.

Best Gaming Webcams 2017
To the webcams

3.6.3 Green screen

The greenscreen pays off in a sense of great professionalism. It is also a good roundup to re-emphasize and refine the visual representation of the overall surface.

With the help of a green screen, it looks like the player is floating in the game. How to use the green screen best and set the “Chromakey filter”, we explain in the software section of this guide.

3.6.4 Elgato Stream Deck

elgato stream deck

The Stream deck Elgato is a control that by pressing a button scenes changes, launches media or simply fades only emotes and other elements or reproduces sound. The deck can be integrated directly into the software, so you can not switch to the second screen or the desktop to switch the scene. Thus, for example, highlights that happen just in the stream can be cheered.

4. What livestreaming software do I need to stream to Twitch?

As streaming on Twitch becomes more popular and this branch of e-sports has taken on huge dimensions, there are also more and more software solutions for the optimal twitch stream. Here, the programs differ from open source applications such as OBS (Open Broadcast Software), to extremely expensive variants such as Wirecast and free applications from AMD and GeForce.

In this section we would like to give you a little insight into the available software options. There are significant differences in user-friendliness and general software management.

4.1 OBS – probably the most used streaming software

As open source live streaming software, OBS is a free program to manage your stream and the entire overlay. OBS is available for both Windows and Mac, and even Linux. Since the program can be extended by a variety of plug-ins, the functionality of OBS is difficult to limit. Basically, there is a complete solution here, which, however, requires training and time until everything runs smoothly. For example, there are no bitrate or audio presets, so many settings need to be tested before the perfect set-up with all the scenes.

In the OBS forum you can download free plug-ins for the software and thus increase the functionality.

4.2 GeForce Experience and AMD ReLive

Of course, in the meantime, OBS is not the only free software that can be used for streaming. In-house solutions of the two graphics card developers Nvidia and AMD are their respective software AMR ReLive and GeForce Experience.

The functionality was limited to the essentials of both options, which does not approach the versatility of OBS. There are presets here which are adapted to the entire system. This means that you do not have to mess with the encoding. A disadvantage, however, is that no overlays can be included. It is quite possible that Nvidia and AMD will extend the functionality of their software in the future and that scenes will be possible as well.

4.3 Xsplit

Xsplit has been playing live gameplay games since childhood. At that time, the software was even available free of charge, but you could enjoy only a limited range of functions. Meanwhile, the program costs either $ 5 or $ 30 a month, depending on the subscription.

The special feature of this program is that it does not need any additional plug-ins to display 3D animations or replace the green screen. In terms of quality, many even claim that these high-quality television broadcasts are the same. With Xsplit, for example, several video sources can be displayed simultaneously, so that an interview with several people via Skype can be perfectly recorded and staged without great effort.

Again, there are no presets for encoding or bitrates. Here you are back at work and have to find out the perfect settings for you personally.

4.4 Newcomer: Bebo All-in-One Streaming

Bebo tries to make streaming as easy as possible. The software combines all the important elements on a single interface. Incidentally, the design and all the icons are reminiscent of Discord. However, I have not found a proof that it is from the same creators.

Here are some key components that make Bebo special:

  • All functions in a single window
  • Low utilization of the CPU (reduction by almost 50% compared to OBS)
  • Integrated alerts
  • Text box (chat)
  • Many sources (monitor & game recording, sound, microphone and browser)

Recap: advantages and disadvantages of each program:

SOFTWARE

BENEFITS

DISADVANTAGES

OBS (Open Broadcast Software)

+ free

+ great functionality thanks to many plug-ins

+ is being developed daily

– a lot of training necessary

XSplit

+ high quality streaming software

+ great functionality

– chargeable

– basically only suitable for full-time streamer

GeForce Experience & AMD ReLive

+ Free (included in the driver)

+ very easy operation

+ Encoding and bitrate presets available

– only basic settings available (no overlays, alerts, etc ..)

– expandable

Bebo

+ easy operation

+ Union of all elements on a picture

+ Great functionality

+ Relief of the CPU

– new and unknown software, which is why bugs can occur again and again

5. How do I succeed on Twitch.tv?

For success on Twitch.tv there are many factors that play a role. However, there is one thing in common: each streamer has a personal branding or concept and certain habits, such as fixed stream times. Of course, there are absolute exceptional talents, such as a “Shroud”, which simply sets up a new record for most subscribers in just a few months from the pro scene and thus also earns 6 digits.

To succeed on Twitch as a streamer requires a certain amount of entertainment, but also organizational aspects that can be fulfilled by everyone. In this section, we’ll talk about the key factors you can use to become a successful Twitch Streamer.

5.1 concept / idea

As a hobbyist, you probably will not have a direct concept about your content. Nonetheless, there are a few basic thoughts and ideas that can boost the potential of your channel. The best way to find your own concept is to try it out. Especially in the initial phase or the so-called test phase, you should use the time and above all the low level of awareness, to create a self-fulfilling streaming experience as it is possible. Because if you feel comfortable during the live broadcast, your content and performance will be better at the same time.

However, this principle should not be taken throughout the entire career as a streamer, but rather serves to find his style in order to ultimately bring followers and subscribers on board. Constantly experimenting it is difficult to keep viewers or even gain new ones.

Especially in the initial phase sometimes other, more well-known channels can be immitated a bit, to see if you have success and feel comfortable. Finally, however, the own style must be established and brought to the audience, because copy and paste is just not seen in e-sports and the streaming community like.

5.2 Interact with your viewers

Starting as a streamer is not exactly easy, because there are many established channels that expand their followers daily and inspire new viewers for their content. Therefore, it is important that you interact with your initially few viewers and maybe even build them into your stream through a common game.

Spectators love to be noticed and this is the big advantage over big channels. For example, if you have a large channel with an average of 2,000 viewers, it is extremely difficult and almost impossible to see most of the comments in the chat. With 20 or 30 viewers, however, the whole thing is relatively clear and at the same time creates a binding factor if your viewers feel noticed.

So it’s important to stay active and create rootviewers. As a rule, the community already has enough time, for example when there are games with followers in a lobby or even gambling against each other.

5.3 Professional appearance – design, overlay, alerts, streaming quality

If you’re browsing the Twitch channels or maybe watching your favorite, you’ll notice a lot of things. Each channel is individually designed, has different alerts, different sounds and a fundamentally different design or overlay. That is also important because it identifies with you, at least in part.

In addition, a good and clean overlay pays off quality and makes you enjoy watching. For example, if the overlay hides too much of the content, it’s rarely fun to watch the streamer. Another example of improper behavior would be if the alert boxes were to appear somewhere in the middle of the screen, obscuring the game again and again.

Pay attention to your setup for perfect settings for the transmission quality. For example, when broadcasting an event or looking at an established streamer like “Shroud,” live broadcasts deliver consistently good frames and good resolutions. This is largely due to the settings, which were perfectly coordinated. Ask yourself if possible the question: Would I look this stream, if there are Framelags or constant changes in the resolution?

5.3.1 Where can I get alerts, overlays, and complete themes?

There are enough websites that offer a variety of free overlays and designs. One of the better known sites would be www.twitchoverlay.com . Otherwise Google will help with a quick search. The best way to filter the results for the games to be streamed, because there are often overlays and designs that are adapted to the interface of the game.

5.4 The Intermission Screen

If you’ve ever watched a LoL stream, then you already know this particular screen or special overlay. It is always between the rounds, so used during the breaks.

Here all the elements for communication on a screen are combined, with the streamed content withdrawing into a small box. Broadcasters use the breaks between rounds to interact with the chat or just breathe. In addition, the Intermission Screen has another special task: it gives the feeling that the audience is directly in the stream and participate in it, as the chat is clearly displayed. He also makes sure that no one misses something, because the actual transmission is shown at the same time.

5.5 Start and Ending Screen

As a rule, all followers of a stream or a person are either informed via the social media channels about a starting broadcast or they receive a notification via e-mail. As a result, viewers will gradually slip in, who should be greeted with a “stream is starting soon” screen. This will let your viewers know that things are about to start and they are not late. New visitors will also be impressed.

The Ending Screen is mainly used to re-advertise your streaming times. Especially viewers, who may have recently become aware of your channel, will often welcome this small and useful information with thanks.

5.6 Meaningful Twitch Profile

The Twitch Profile is metaphorically the calling card of your appearance. Here you can read a lot of information about you and be presented. The background of why, what and when you stream should be clearly visible.

To professionally spice up the profile there are so-called “panels”. Here’s an example of how such panels can look like:

The picture also shows the “must-have” panels that should be present in each profile. Because you cover all the relevant information about your stream and you as a person. In addition, an organized profile is professional and inviting.

5.7 Bring your social media channels into play

Instagram, Facebook and Youtube are almost the “must-have” of every streamer. Of course, you do not have to talk to your viewers or your fanbase on these portals, but you stay in touch together.

Many established broadcasters use their social media channels to announce, for example, an anticipated stream. In addition, a large following on Insta, Facebook and Co. are quickly attracting potential sponsors.

If you want to take your success to the next level, or if you want to make more potential viewers more attentive to your channel, you should also run a Youtube Channel that shows, for example, highlights of your last streams. This will make the viewer curious and possibly switch directly to the livestream next time.

6th How can you earn money with Twitch?

Whether as a hobby starter or prospective full-time broadcaster, I think we all agree when we say that a small extra income from a stream will not hurt you. But it’s not that easy, because you do not get paid for money – or do you?

In the next section, we will focus on the main ingredients of the stream money recipe. While we can not guarantee that you will get rich by doing so, at least we can help you to lay the foundations for your success and merit.

6.1 Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing is a very widespread industry and can potentially bring in a lot of money. The principle is quite simple: you use your special affiliate links to promote products that make a small commission on your purchase via your “referral” link. The trick here is that the items will not be more expensive for your viewers!

Most broadcasters present in a panel on their Twitch channel the hardware that they use for gambling or transferring, and at the same time link them via their Ref links on Amazon.

Amazon’s Affiliate Program offers a variety of ways to take advantage of your audience’s purchases. For example, in our detailed monetization guide for Twitch, we’ll talk about the Amazon Wish List.

6.2 Subscriptions

A subscriber is a viewer or member of your community who has subscribed to your channel for a fee. In fact, a subscription costs $ 4.99, of which the broadcaster receives about 50%.

How can I unlock subscriptions for my Twitch channel? To do this you need to join or apply for Twitch’s Affiliate Program. The process from simple profile to partner can be done quickly, but certain requirements must be met.

Here is a short list of criteria:

  • An existing and steadily growing number of viewers and communities must be verifiably provable. Twitch determines this point based on the average number of viewers. With 500 spectators on average this point should be cut off (according to the guidelines of Twitch)
  • Regular streams. The guidelines here require three broadcasts and more per week. The duration is important in the first place.
  • Compliance with content broadcasting guidelines. Please note the rules of conduct, terms of use and DMCA guidelines.

With the exception of the rule, why you can try an application even if you do not meet all the points to 100%. Twitch is known for generously juggling tolerance limits.

6.3 Donations

If your viewers donate something to you, it’s called a donation. There is no exact recipe here for how to get your viewers to tip you a bit. However, a bit of advertising can and should still be done.

As? Some streamer use the “My next target” method. You set yourself a challange, which is displayed publicly in the broadcast and is subject to a live update. For example, the goal might look like this:

“30 € from 150 € reached”

This will help you to visualize your current goal and perhaps give some incentive to your viewers to contribute to the fulfillment of your challenge.

6.4 Sponsors

If you’re in the early stages of your broadcaster career, you’re not interesting to sponsors. However, this can change quickly due to increased viewer numbers. Many sponsors are already over 1000 regular viewers willing to support you financially or with hardware.

So here it says: build a follower and viewer base. Otherwise, you will not have any negotiation room when talking with potential sponsors.

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