During lockdown or not, it can be tempting to get into streaming. But the different platforms, software, settings can put some people off. To make everything as easy as possible, we detail the different solutions and our advice to start streaming on Twitch… or elsewhere.
For a few years now, streaming platforms have been on the rise. Reserved for a while to video games, they now open to other activities such as cooking, music or crafts. This allows everyone to share their different hobbies on countless platforms. Indeed, Twitch has quickly established itself as the reference in video game streaming.
For the general public, it can be complicated to know how to properly set up a streaming session. Depending on the platform on which you want to broadcast your live video, or the source of the broadcast (PC, console, smartphone), the settings and options can be quite different.
In this guide, we will explain to you how to set up your session depending on the device you plan to use.
HOW TO STREAM FROM YOUR COMPUTER
The PC was the first platform to be thought of for streaming, especially video games. In fact, many software has been launched in this field. This is the case of Xsplit and OBS Studio. Nevertheless, the first one looks now like a gas factory in front of the competition. As for the second one, its open-source nature meant that several branches, more didactic, could take over similar functions.
One example is OBS Streamlabs, which was acquired last year by Logitech. It is a platform that is quite easy to use, even for neophytes. Indeed, once the software is installed, it will propose you to connect to your Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or Facebook account. It is also possible to choose another platform, but the four previous ones have the advantage of having preconfigured settings. All you have to do is connect to your account on the desired platform to access the main Streamlabs interface.
This is where you can manage your preview (the window that appears at the top), but also your different scenes, your sources, your sound mixer, and your event stream. One of the interests of Streamlabs is to integrate several free scenes. No need to go through InDesign or Photoshop to create frames for your webcam or effects in your window frame, many options are proposed and some of them are free, for different scenes. To access them, simply go to the “themes” tab on the left-hand column, then choose the skin that suits you best. For those of you who don’t have a webcam, there are Android applications, such as Droidcam Wireless, that allow you to turn your smartphone into a webcam when connected to your PC. We also recently published a guide to the best webcams for PCs.
You can spend some time configuring your scenes, importing your webcam or adjusting the sound volume to make it as suitable as possible. As in most applications of this kind, the order of the sources matters. Think of it as layers in Photoshop: the highest positioned source will be displayed on top of the others.
Once everything is ready, you just have to click on “broadcast life” to start your streaming session, but not without specifying what kind of content you will offer. On Twitch, for example, you can specify not only the game but also the type of activity, the title of the session, or add automatic tags.
The main advantage of Streamlabs is its simplicity. You don’t need to worry about your audio or video bitrate, encoder type, or bitrate, everything is automatically calculated by the software according to the characteristics of your computer and your network connection. However, you can change them manually if you want by clicking on the globe icon at the bottom left of the window.
For those who intend to broadcast their sessions only on Twitch, we note that the streaming platform has its own software, Twitch Studio. However, it is currently only available in beta and, as its name suggests, only allows you to stream on Twitch. Nevertheless, it incorporates more scene customization tools and can be a good alternative for people who don’t want to import countless transparent PNG files.
HOW TO STREAM FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE
If you plan to stream a session on a smartphone, you have several options. Preferably, you will need to download the application of the platform on which you want to share your session. So download the Twitch, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter app, then look for the option to stream live.
Be careful though, these applications are generally designed for broadcasting your cameras only. It is not intended to share the screen of your smartphone. They are mostly recommended for live vlogs, cooking sessions, crafts or music, but not much for video games since viewers will not be able to see your screen.
To stream the screen of your smartphone, we recommend that you use, once again, Streamlabs, which has a smartphone application. It will allow you to use both your smartphone screen and your screen. Useful to simulate a stream on PC without having the right equipment or a fiber connection at hand. Above all, the connection is just as easy as on your PC, since you just have to connect to the desired platform and all the settings are made automatically.
As on the PC version, Streamlabs on the smartphone also allows you to display alerts in case of donation, subscription, or “follow”. This is a very useful feature to avoid being completely cut off from your viewers. The chat can also be opened with a small bubble link on the screen.
HOW TO STREAM FROM YOUR CONSOLE
The latest generation of consoles now directly integrates options to share your game sessions.
On PlayStation 4, the procedure is particularly simple thanks to the integration of a sharing button directly into the console’s controller. Simply press it, then choose “broadcast game” and select whether you want to broadcast the session on Twitch or YouTube. Note that Mixer and Facebook are not integrated. From then on, people watching your stream will be able to see the whole TV. You can also display the comments in a pane on the right, but this will also be visible to viewers.
On the other hand, the Xbox One allows you to download the Twitch application. In addition to the possibility of watching live streams, it will also allow you to broadcast your games on the Amazon platform. It is also possible to stream from the Mixer application. This is logical since both the console and the streaming platform belong to Microsoft. However, it is not possible to share live videos on YouTube or Facebook.
Finally, on the Nintendo Switch side, it is unfortunately not possible to stream game sessions. The console does offer a sharing function, but it’s only for recording videos or screenshots to share on Twitter or Facebook.
A solution to stream from your Switch – or to share a PS5 session on Mixer for example – can be to equip yourself with a capture card. This, connected to a computer, will allow you to use your PC to stream your games. However, this is a more complex technical consideration and, above all, much more expensive.
If you want to go a bit further in streaming, especially by investing in a little bit of hardware, we have also published a guide to the best streaming accessories for beginners.