BOOM. More Transcode Servers.
We are happy to announce we’ve added significant server capacity to our transcode infrastructure.
To provide the best possible viewing experience, Twitch provides transcodes — High, Medium, and Low quality options — on our most popular channels. Without these options, every viewer would be forced to watch the exact same video stream. And because download speeds vary by ISP and individual, broadcasters using a single stream must choose between a stream which is too bandwidth intensive for everyone to watch smoothly, or broadcast at a low bitrate.
Transcoding is a great tool, but because it’s a CPU-intensive process which requires significant hardware, it’s also expensive. While we’re working to improve our technology to make transcodes more economical for smaller streamers, we’re not at the point where we can make them widely available for all broadcasters. Our approach has been — and continues to be — a guarantee that every member of the Twitch Partner Program receives transcodes. To fulfill this promise, we plan with a margin of error, such that we often have more capacity available than we need. Instead of wasting this excess capacity, we put it to use by providing transcodes to the most popular non-partnered broadcasters.
These new servers have lowered the viewership threshold required for broadcasters to obtain transcodes to a historical low. However, because this threshold is dynamically calculated based on availability, it is likely to increase over time as the partner program — and Twitch in general — grows.
Our recent capacity increase was based on the historical growth rate of the partner program, so the criteria for joining the program remains unchanged. We understand that transcodes are an important catalyst for broadcaster progression and we’re continually evaluating ways to make them available for more of you.