🏅 Why Stream Quality Matters
(And How To Achieve It)
When people are searching for new content and clicking through streams, they have very short attention spans. Buffering, lagging, freezing, and noise are likely to be reason enough for them to move on to the next one. Having your stream dialed, on the flip side, is going to send them a signal that you take this seriously and are likely to be worthy of their time.
Simply put, having a high-quality stream is going to help with viewer retention, and consequently, growth. This doesn't mean you have to break the bank and get the most expensive gear, just read through these best practices and tweak those settings.
1. Reference the platform-specific guidelines
Each streaming platform lists their own broadcasting guidelines and tools to make sure you're using the right bitrate, resolution, and more. Here they are:
Twitch also offers their Inspector tool, which analyzes your stream and helps you troubleshoot errors. You can use Inspector to run test streams in order to fine-tune any settings as well. Facebook Gaming also has a Test Broadcast feature you can use.
2. Adjust your in-game settings
If your game is taking up too much of your bandwidth or GPU/CPU, you may need to lower the game quality to make sure it's not causing any issues on-stream. Even if your game looks nice and crisp at 4k, it won't do you much good if you're lagging or dropping frames.
If you're playing a new game, run a test stream as we mentioned above and see what game settings put out the best streaming quality. It's going to be a balancing act between your game settings and your stream settings.
3. Don't sleep on a decent mic
Audio quality is just as important as video quality. Your viewers need to hear you loud and clear (and ideally not the party next door).
Unless you have a high-end headset, it's going to be worth your while to invest in a microphone. If you're in the market for an affordable yet high-quality mic, we recommend the Elgato Wave 3. USB microphones are a great plug and play solution, but if you're looking to drop a little more cash, you can look at XLR models. XLR is the audio industry standard and will offer more flexibility with your setup as well as a broader high fidelity selection.
And of course, if you're not already, make sure to use an ethernet cable! It'll provide a far more stable internet connection than wi-fi.
That's all for now, if you have more questions around stream quality or gear, check out this article the Pipeline Team wrote on How To Build A Streaming PC!