How to Live Stream to Twitch on a PC

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Connecting your computer to Twitch enables you to stream online gaming sessions live. Broadcasting live over Twitch and partner site Justin.tv requires third-party broadcasting software and a sufficiently powerful computer to handle both the game client and the broadcasting program. Setup varies depending on the broadcasting software you choose to employ, with XSplit, FFSplit and Wirecast being some of the most popular.

Things You'll Need

  • Twitch.tv or Justin.tv account (Justin accounts should be set to the gaming category)
  • Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz CPU, AMD equivalent or better
  • 8GB DDR3 SDRAM or better
  • Windows 7 Home Premium or later
  • Minimum hardware requirements for game to be streamed

XSplit

  • Launch the game you wish to stream and XSplit.

  • Select "Add" followed by "Screen Region." Left-click the game window to add just the game window, or left-click the desktop/task bar to select the entire monitor.

  • Open the Windows Audio Mixer by clicking the speaker icon in the Task bar and clicking "Mixer." XSplit audio relies on your Windows audio devices, which means that anything heard over your speakers and over your microphone will also be heard by your audience. Adjust the volume sliders for all available audio sources to optimize the audio for your broadcast.

  • Click "Broadcast" followed by "Add Channel."

  • Click "Add" followed by "Justin/Twitch."

  • Enter your Twitch account's information where required in the text fields.

  • Configure the audio and video encoding options. Remember, higher quality settings will be more taxing on your computer and your Internet connection, which may result in diminished performance and stream quality.

  • Click "OK," select the channel from the Broadcast menu and click "Apply" followed by "OK."

FFSplit

  • After installation, proceed with download and installation of FFMpeg, a necessary component of FFSplit.

  • Launch FFSplit. You'll be taken directly to the service setup screen.

  • Click the "Streaming Service" drop-down and select "Twitch.tv."

  • Click "Connect with Twitch."

  • Click the "Authorize" button next to your Twitch account name from the browser window that FFSplit launches.

  • Copy the provided authorization code and paste it into the FFSplit pop-up window. FFSplit will automatically retrieve your stream key and suggest a server based on your location.

  • Click the "Encoder" tab, and select an encoder profile containing the letters "CBR." Make sure the bit-rate mode is set to "Constant (CBR)," as this setting is required for Twitch.

  • Configure the encoding settings as follows:

    Video resolution: 1,280 by 720 (720p) or 1,920 by 1,080 (1080P).
    Video Bit-rate: Maximum Bit-rate of 75-percent of your upload or 3,500kbit, whichever is lower.
    Recommended Video Bit-rates: 720 - 2,000kbit or higher.
    1080P - 3,000kbit or higher.
    Frame-rate: User preference, but 30 frames per second is recommended.
    Audio Format: User Preference.
    Maximum Audio Bit-rate: AAC - 160kbit, MP3 128kbit.
    Channels: User preference, but stereo is recommended.

  • Click the "Session" tab, and select the Twitch profile from the "Encoder Profile" drop-down menu. FFSplit will automatically detect if your settings are Twitch-compliant and inform you if they are not.

  • Click "OK" followed by "Start" to begin streaming.

Wirecast

  • Launch Wirecast and select "Master Layer 1" from the layers pane. If this pane isn't visible, click "Layout" followed by "Layer Panel."

  • Click the button shaped like a monitor, and select "Launch Desktop Presenter on This Computer."

  • Select "Main Display" from the "Source" drop-down menu followed by "Full Screen" from the "Selection" drop-down menu.

  • Click the monitor button again and select "Add New Desktop Presenter Shot." Click the thumbnail that appears in the layers pane to add it to the stream footage.

  • Open your preferred Web browser and go to Justin.tv. Even if you are linking a Twitch account, you'll need to use information from the Justin website for configuring Wirecast. As long as your account type is set to gaming, your stream will automatically redirect to your Twitch account.

  • Log into your Twitch or Justin account. Click "Broadcast Now" followed by "More Streaming Options."

  • Click the "Config File" button by the "Flash Media Encoder" heading, and then save the config file to your desktop.

  • Click "Broadcast" followed by "Broadcast Settings" in Wirecast.

  • Click the "+" button and select a heading from the box marked "rtmp://localhost/." Select "Flash High Bandwidth 16:9" from the Encoder preset drop-down menu, and make sure that the "Destination" drop-down menu is set to RTMP Flash Server.

  • Click "Open FMLE .XML File." Select the config file that you saved to the desktop, and then click "Save."

  • Click the "Broadcast" button from the main Wirecast menu. After a few seconds, your Twitch stream should begin.

Tips & Warnings

  • XSplit offers a free version as well as paid tiers with additional features. FFSplit is completely free for use. Wirecast is professional-level broadcasting software and has a purchase price after its trial period. Pick the right program to match your needs.

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