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How to Stream PC Games on Twitch

How to Stream PC Games on Twitch

Sean Whaley
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Tired of watching other streamers rake in heaps of cash for playing your favorite games? Are you eager to get in on the action? You’re going to need a state-of-the-art gaming PC to get started and a whole lot of persistence and strategy.
Much like a carpenter is only as good as his tools, a streamer is only as good as his tech. Anyone who’s ever watched Ninja, Tfue, TSM_Myth, Shroud or any of the other titans of Twitch knows that it takes some high-end recording and streaming equipment.
If you think you have the charm, knowledge, and skills to be the next big thing in the world of streaming, here is an extensive guide on how to stream on Twitch.

Broadcasting software

Part of learning how to stream on Twitch is becoming a master of broadcasting software.
Splitting your stream between the gameplay on your monitor and a camera pointed at you - to capture all the gaming goodness - requires a specific kind of program. Fortunately, there are a variety of broadcasting software available for free.

Some of the most popular ones are:

Open Broadcast Software (OBS)

XSplit

Gameshow

vMix

Wirecast

Ultimately, choosing the best streaming software is going to be a matter of choice and preference. Almost every streaming software will meet the requirements that Twitch has in place. If you’re unfamiliar with the streaming software requirements, check out Twitch.tv’s streaming specifications [1].

Video

Encoding Profile: Main (preferred) or Baseline

Mode: Strict CBR

Keyframe Interval: 2 seconds

Framerates: 25/30 or 50/60 frames per second

Recommended bitrate range: 3-6 megabits per second

Audio

Codec: H.264 (x264)

Codec: AAC-LC. Stereo or Mono

Recommended Bitrate (for maximum compatibility) 96kbps

Maximum audio bit rate: 160 kbps (AAC)

Sampling frequency: any (AAC)

Length

The maximum broadcasting length for any Twitch stream is 48 hours. There are currently no minimum requirements for streaming length; however, you aren’t likely to find success as a streamer if the time on your videos are shorter than two hours.
Once you’ve downloaded your streaming software, there will likely be a tutorial to guide you through the process of using it. Learning how to use OBS can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice and direction, it gets easier.
Typically, the first steps will be to get your software to recognize and connect with your camera and microphone. After a few tutorials, troubleshooting, and test runs, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next streaming sensation.

How to create an account to stream on Twitch

Perhaps the easiest part of becoming a legendary stream monster is creating a Twitch account. If you already have an account to watch other streamers, feel free to use it. Just make sure you don’t have any bad street cred and that your gamer tag packs a punch.
Signing up for an account is easy and free. Simply go to Twitch.tv, click the signup option, and follow the instructions. The website does a great job of walking you through how to stream on Twitch. You can also link your Facebook account to make setup even easier.

Account set up

After you’ve created your Twitch account:

Go to your dashboard or channel page

Enable your account to broadcast

Click "Channel" on the left

Select "Twitch Stream Key"

You’ll be provided with a code to copy and paste: your key to getting started.
Be sure to invite a few of your friends for a practice stream so that you can work out any potential kinks before launching into anything major. This can serve as a great opportunity to learn about private streams and dual stream on Twitch.

Check your connection

If your friends notice a significant lag in that first video stream or in the chat, you might want to check your internet connection. Having a fast connection is vital to a successful stream; failing to secure a dependable connection could result in a loss of followers and credibility.

How to save broadcasts on Twitch

If you really want to get your bearings before fully launching your channel or if you want to save your first video (you can use it to help improve your game face!) simply go to your settings and check the box next to archive broadcasts. All of your streams will be saved for a limited period of time. If you want to keep them forever, save them in your OBS.

Equipment

Learning how to broadcast on Twitch while running a game at maximum graphics can be difficult if your settings are too high, since this puts strain on your computer.

Gaming PC

If you want to ascend to the status of legendary stream monster, you’re going to need a powerful PC, especially if you want to pull off a multi-stream on Twitch.
It would be a shame if your computer started to give out on you right when you hit the 1,000 viewer mark for the first time so make sure your PC is up to the task of juggling a stream and a triple-A (AAA) title at the same time.
One option to explore is an HP OMEN gaming desktop, more than equipped to tackle the task of streaming on Twitch. However, you’ll find you need more than just a good PC with some muscle as you learn how to stream on Twitch; after all, it’s the little things and fine tuning that separates successful streamers from the rest of the pack.

Headset

Pick up a quality headset and microphone. Although most headsets these days are equipped with impressive microphones that make a dedicated microphone unnecessary, if you want to do any kind of creative side projects, guest speaking, or pre-recorded videos, having an extra microphone is a good idea.
Don’t overlook comfort. If you have to spend an extra $50-100 dollars to ensure that your headphones fit just right, do it. You’re going to be wearing your headset for hours on end after all.
And don’t forget that you’ll be on camera. You’ll want to make sure the headset you pick looks cool! As you gain fans and views, your image becomes part of your brand.

Webcam

While many laptops and monitors have fairly decent cameras built in, you should seriously consider buying an external camera to link up to your PC.
Believe it or not, your viewers will want to see you in crystal clear precision so make sure every facial reaction can be seen with pristine detail. It’s the details that matter in the world of Twitch streaming.

Pro tip

Invest in some foam padding to soundproof the room where you film your streams. If there’s one thing that will diminish the quality of your production, it’s unrelated ambient noise that distracts from your content.

Revenue

Now that you understand how to start streaming on Twitch, it’s time to consider how to profit from your work. Even if you aren’t in it for the money, ad revenue is something you should understand and be aware of [2].

1. Bring in your own advertising

Once you’ve built up a respectable following, you may be able to convince companies to pay you for directly mentioning, reviewing, or playing with their games and products on your stream. Note: Any ad revenue you make directly from your stream will have to be shared with Twitch.

2. Bring in viewers

Twitch provides streamers with ads from clients who have contacted them directly. In your broadcast dashboard, you can adjust the number of ads that play per hour of streaming. If your content brings in enough viewers, Twitch will give you a cut of the money they receive to advertise games and products.

3. Provide links

If you would like to add links to your page or videos that direct people to where they can buy games and products, this is a viable avenue. Keep in mind, because Twitch is owned by Amazon, your purchasing links will have to lead to Amazon.com.

4. The partner program

Viewers pay $5 dollars a month to subscribe to your channel in exchange for exclusive broadcasts, emoticons to be used in the chat, and unrestricted access to your videos.
As a partner, Twitch will help you market your brand and merchandise, in addition to their assistance with video quality. However, very few get selected for partnership and the competition is quite fierce.
Any money that your stream makes will be deposited directly into your PayPal account.

Build a persona and be patient

Very few become overnight successes in any endeavor, and streaming is certainly no exception. All of your favorite streamers have spent countless sleepless nights building up their following, pouring their heart and soul into their brand.
Simply knowing how to stream on Twitch won’t be enough; like anything else, dedication and persistence are key to success.

Study the competition

Pay close attention and study your favorite successful streamers. What is it that makes them so charismatic and successful? While you should never copy other streamers directly, there is something of a formula to be learned from each and every one of them.

Be yourself

Offer something unique and creative to your viewers. If you want to develop a brand - and a successful one at that - you need to offer something no one else does. One way to do so is to stream games that have a respectable following but don’t have many streamers involved.
Many successful streamers have implemented this strategy to launch themselves. If you try to break into major titles like Battlefield 1 and Fortnite without already having a serious following, don’t expect much success.

Start off general

Cast a wide net at the beginning of your streaming career before you hone in on a specific niche. Let’s face it: the only people who are aware of your virtual existence right now are your buddies online.
You need to focus on drawing in and captivating as many interests as possible. Over time, you will be able to get a grip on your audience and start tailoring your content to please your followers.

Listen to your fanbase

Most importantly, you need to engage with your following. You can’t determine what’s working and what isn’t without feedback and commentary from the chats on your streams. Stay engaged with your loyal followers and they will do the same in return.
Now that you know how to stream, it’s time to get started. Take Twitch by storm, and broadcast your first stream today!
About the Author: Sean Whaley is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Sean is a content creation specialist with a literature degree from SDSU. He has a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to computer hardware and programming.

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