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Twitch is a place where athletes, teams, leagues and sports commentators can interact with a community of millions, and build a place to connect with the most passionate fans around the world. This guide includes how to set up your channel, how to optimize, and how to make your content successful on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is an online platform where anyone can broadcast themselves live over the internet to a community of like-minded viewers. Streamers earn a living by entertaining their viewers, and interacting with them while they stream.
Sports on Twitch
Twitch has an amazing community of sports fans across everything from NFL to English Premier League football to Mexican barrel racing. Streaming on Twitch is a great way to connect with these fans. It feels like you’re there in person getting a chance to hang out as friends. Viewers can comment, ask questions, and exchange ideas.
Personalizing your channel is important for letting your viewers know who you are. Choose a profile image that represents your brand and personality.
Use the Panel Extensions area below your stream to add special functionality, like embedding your social media feeds in your channel page or if you are planning to stream regularly, include your schedule so your new followers can tune in to your next stream.
Before you’re able to go live you’ll need a few things:
Having a good, stable internet connection is vital to successful streaming. If you have an unstable connection, your viewers will see stuttering, buffering, or in some cases your stream will actually end (and you’ll have to restart it).
Step one is checking that you have a good hardwired connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Generally this means connecting your computer directly to your router with an ethernet cable. Streaming from WiFi is highly discouraged, as it can fail when your internet connection is otherwise fine. If you absolutely cannot connect your computer to your router directly because it’s too far away from your streaming room, consider an AC network adaptor set. This uses your electrical wiring as a network cable, and is much more stable than WiFi.
Step two is ensuring you have a good data plan with your Internet Service Provider (you’ll need to talk to them directly about options). Ideally you’ll have an upload speed of 5 Mbps or higher (not download speed, which is what most people are interested in). Visit this page to learn how to test your internet connection.
As you get more comfortable with streaming, you may want to invest in your setup. There are a wide variety of hardware manufacturers that offer incredible tools and equipment. We identify several below that we are familiar with (and to help the task seem less daunting), yet there are plenty out there so feel free to continue researching beyond our list. We hope to continue to keep this list current so feel free to send us any suggestions.
To create a great stream, you need a computer with solid performance that can quickly encode your video and audio, and send it to us to broadcast to your global fanbase.
Mac Laptop: MacBook Pro 13” 1.4GHz 8th Gen i5 128GB Storage ~ $1299
USB Interfaces / Mixers:
An interface or mixers with a USB output is critical for hooking up your audio equipment to your streaming computer. Mixers have everything controllable on the board itself vs. Interfaces which have effects and EQ managed by simple control programs.
Some microphones are built for streaming or podcasting and have their own USB connections built in … but if you want to use your standard live performance gear, you’ll likely need a USB interface.
Cardioid mics catch the sound right in front of the mic, but do a poor job at picking up sounds further away. Condenser mics are great for picking up multiple subjects (two people/one person and guitar) but may pick up unwanted ambient sounds.
USB Microphones (no interface required)
Standard Microphones (require an interface)
Stands / Mounts:
Having a good camera is important to your stream quality. There are lots of options, from using your laptop’s built-in camera to using dedicated capture cards connected to high-end cameras and DSLRs. We’ve included some nice, simple USB cameras below that don’t require complicated setup.
Digital cameras don’t like dimly lit rooms! Good lighting can make a big difference.
There are many options for software you can use to broadcast yourself on Twitch. Take a look at our help page for a list of popular choices. For the simplest PC streaming experience, custom-built for Twitch, we recommend Twitch Studio.
Setup: We recommend having your setup in a room that can be easily isolated from other noise and people. A desk or standing setup is preferable to a couch. To ensure a solid internet connection you should try to plug directly into your router.
Duration: We recommend broadcasting live for a minimum of 2 hours per broadcast. We find that broadcasts do not hit their peak for 15-20 minutes, meaning short broadcasts tend to not hit their stride and total possible audience. Viewers on Twitch consume on average 106 minutes of content per day. If two hours are a difficult target to hit, then be mindful to not produce anything under an hour.
Interacting with Chat: Make your stream as interactive with chat as possible! Viewers expect the broadcaster to pay attention and respond to chat, at least when not performing a song. It’s like constant stage banter, and viewers love it. The unique value of Twitch is that things are happening in real time. They type, you talk back to them, and bring them into the experience even further. When someone Follows your channel it’s common to say their name and thank them while welcoming them to the community.
Raid other streamers at the end of your stream: A good way to make friends is to “hand off” your viewers to another streamer when you’re ready to go offline using Raids. Simply type “/raid” followed by the name of the channel you want to raid into your chat EX: /raid pokimane . Encourage your audience to go visit the channel you’re raiding and say hello. Receiving a raid with new viewers is a cool moment and chance to grow their channel, make sure to visit the stream with your community for at least a few moments on their stream. Etiquette for many streamers is to say hi and chat with a new raider so it’s a great way for you to get exposed to their audience as well.
More info: Raiding
Twitch Categories: When you are streaming on Twitch you can choose a category for your stream. Sports & Fitness and Just Chatting are two very popular categories for sports streamers who aren’t gaming.
Moderation: The internet can sometimes feel a bit like the wild west, but everyone deserves to feel confident that when they stream on Twitch it will be a positive experience. We take that responsibility seriously. It’s a part of our mission to ensure that everyone on Twitch feels welcome and protected. To make sure your community is safe, Twitch offers a few ways to moderate and safeguard chat messages, including tools like AutoMod, and the ability to promote viewers to Moderators to help. Moderators can be a powerful force in your community, so choose wisely.
Please refer to the Twitch educational materials on how to set up channel moderation, promote moderators and learn about the many safety tools.
Now that you’ve worked out the kinks and are happy that you’re making great content on Twitch, why not share it everywhere to get some viewers? Promoting your stream before and after you are live is a great way to help bring your followers from other platforms to join your audience on Twitch. Showing your followers the exciting live content they can be a part of is a great way to make sure they join in next time.
Promote the start of your stream: Many streamers post to Twitter or Instagram with a “Live Now” message at the start of their streams. They often include something unique to the stream that day. They invite their audience to participate by chatting or singing along and include a link to their Twitch channel so people can tune in directly from the message.
Post stream message highlighting special moments: After a stream you can use Clips or screenshots of special moments that happened on stream and thank your audience for tuning in to chat and hang out with you. Let them know when you’ll be streaming next and showcase the great moments people can be a part of by joining the stream. Make use of the great content you just created and show your wider audience great content happening on your Twitch stream that they should be checking out. This could be something like a special moment during a song, hype train, big donation, milestone achieved, etc.
How can I make sure I sound ok?
If you want to ensure that your stream is looking and sounding good, there are a couple easy ways…. Just remember it’s normal to see yourself delayed by 5-10 seconds (especially if you’re looking on mobile). Generally it’s best to adjust your hardware settings first (gain / levels on your mixer), then adjust your audio settings in your streaming software. Your chat can also be very helpful here - just ask them.
My video doesn’t seem to be in sync with my audio?
If you are using audio processing software it can sometimes cause delays that you need to compensate for. You may need to adjust the delay to make your voice / mouth sync up with your audio for your viewers.
In some instances you may need to delay your video, others your microphone audio:
Watching your stream on another computer, smartphone, or listening to your chat is the best way to confirm your audio and video are in sync.
How do I test my internet connection?
For most internet uses like streaming movies you want a fast download speed. When you’re the streamer, however, it’s all about UPLOAD speed. A faster, stable connection will let your viewers have a higher quality experience.
To test your speed:
Now that you know how fast your connection is, check how to set your bitrate…..
How do I set my Bitrate?
Your broadcast bitrate impacts how much data you send to Twitch, including video frames and audio. To avoid issues with normal network fluctuations, you should never set your broadcast bitrate higher than 80% of your consistent upload bandwidth.
Both Twitch Studio and OBS let you set your target bitrate. See their “help” options for instructions.
Example broadcast bitrate values:
|Speed Test Result (Upload Mbps)||80% Maximum||Recommended Broadcast Bitrate Setting (Kbps)|
|10 Mbps Upload||8 Mbps Upload||6000 Kbps|
|5.0 Mbps Upload||4 Mbps Upload||4000 Kbps|
|2.5 Mbps Upload||2 Mbps Upload||2000 Kbps|
Important Note: Encoding video takes a lot of processing power. The higher the bitrate, the harder your computer has to work. If you have a slower machine (3-5 years old or older) you may get a better looking stream at a lower bitrate!
Not to worry if your connection isn’t blazing fast - 3000 Kbps provides great quality at a Screen Resolution of 1280x720.
For more technical information on screen resolution and bitrates, see this link.