What Hardware And Software Do You Need For A Twitch Stream?
This is going to be a bit of a longer article as I want to cover the hardware and software you need to consider when streaming.
I know it defeats the point of this article, but the key is to not worry about your gear. Some of the best and biggest streamers started off with computers struggling to render the games and with no webcam, even Lirik uses audio only today!
It is all about who you are, what you play and what you do while you are playing that is more important.
“Sometimes we forget that at it’s core, Twitch is all about making a connection between the streamer and the viewers. Anything you can do to enhance that, the better. Seeing a person’s reactions and “looking them in the eye” when you chat is a big push in that direction.” — MarkOfTheDragon12 on Reddit
Obviously you need a desktop or laptop computer to stream…
I would advise something with some serious power, you can find some good mid-range gaming laptops now which would suffice.
There are plenty of guides out there for the best gaming laptops, here is a couple that I recommend:
Let’s not forget that the speed of your internet must be able to handle playing the game and consistently uploading video footage to Twitch.
Microphone (or Headset)
Some may think that a webcam is the most crucial factor when it comes to streaming, but they would be wrong. Audio is the de facto most important tool you use to communicate with your viewers, and there is nothing worse than watching a stream where the audio sounds like it is being transmitted through a potato.
But what microphone is best for Twitch streaming?
- Blue Yeti
- Blue Yeti Pro
- Audio-Technica ATR2500
- Modmic 5
- Rode NT1KIT
- Shure SM7B
- Turtle Beach USB Mic
- Blue Snowball
- Razer Seiren Pro (but oh so expensive for what it is)
Let’s not forget about headsets:
- HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset (and the I version if on a budget)
- Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G93
- Razer Man O’ War
- Logitech G430 Gaming Headset
- Razer Kraken
- Corsair CA-9011132
Audio is a difficult choice, because if — like me — you need a quick and easy set up because you are streaming on the same table you also eat your dinner at, then a USB microphone such as the Blue Yeti is perfect for you.
But if you have built a decent set up on a desk, then looking into a microphone such as the Rode NT1 or Audio-Technica ATR2500 and an audio interface will be a much better decision.
Many laptops come with their own webcams built in nowadays, and while these may suffice if you are on a tight budget, you eventually want to look at investing in a high quality webcam that will allow you to display your beautiful face to all those viewers.
- Logitech C310 — The recommended HD webcam for budget or beginner streamers
- Logitech C920 — I use this personally and find the quality is fantastic, especially if you are looking at making your camera the key part of your show (for example a talkshow in the IRL section)
- Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 — the most budget of all budget webcams, with surprisingly good quality video
- Logitech c525 — As you can see, Logitech are the best company to focus on when it comes to external webcams
Lighting is important too, should you be using a lamp to light your face? You don’t want to be sitting there in darkness with only the glare from the computer screen lighting your face, it’ll make you look like you are attempting to create a poor horror film.
There are additional pieces of equipment that may make your stream better quality or make it easier for you, for example:
- Microphone stand/holder
- Pop filter — stop those ‘p’ and ‘b’’s from hurting your viewers ears every time you get excited
- Capture card
- Green screen
- Keyboard — I know all the professional esport players use mechanical keyboards, but consider how noisy they are and whether your microphone will pick up that noise on stream
- Mouse — this is completely your personal preference
- Mousepads — I use Corsair’s MM200 mousepads and they come highly recommended
- Headphones — if you are not using a headset, having a pair of high quality headphones (or earphones) will go wonders for not only your stream but your gameplay too
- Extension cables and USB hubs — all this stuff will make your desk messy and cables/wires may no longer reach where they need to, Amazon is probably your best friend for this
- A secondary monitor — A way to monitor your stream health, control your music and read all the chat messages is highly recommended, or you could go super cheap and use the Twitch app on your mobile phone (like I do…)
- Anything that makes your background more interesting, you don’t want to be sitting there with a plain wall behind you
I have ignored streaming from consoles here, mostly because without the required hardware and software and the ‘one button to share’ aspect of them, you only need to consider audio.
A more detailed guide can be found on our article: ‘Alternatives to OBS: The Best Streamer Software’ (coming soon)
OBS — obsproject.com
The king of live-streaming software. OBS is a simple way to stream your games or desktop screen to the millions of people watching everyday on Twitch.
Xsplit — www.xsplit.com
There are two versions of Xsplit’s software, Gamecaster and Broadcaster. Gamecaster is the intuitive/simplified version while broadcaster has much more functionality and features (such as multiple scenes, multi-camera streaming etc).
Similar to Xsplit Gamecaster, Gameshow works as a one button push to go live tool, allowing you to save time by providing scenes as templates and making a simple drag-and-drop system for building your own scenes. You can buy Gameshow for $29 and own it for all future updates, or use the free version and stream up to 720p and 30FPS (which will usually suffice if you are just doing this part-time).
Wirecast — www.telestream.net/wirecast/overview.htm
Feature-rich but with a price tag of $499, Wirecast is the most expensive option and a highly recommend using their dedicated gaming software, Gameshow (which is just above).
Lightstream — www.golightstream.com
A new browser-based contender to the live-streaming application wars. Lightstream offers itself as the easiest way to start streaming with no downloads, no fancy technical knowledge needed and best of all, it is completely free.
FFsplit — www.ffsplit.com
A completely free piece of software that allows you to record your desktop screen. I recommend only if you do not like the above options.
Bebo — bebo.com
The once social network is now an OBS competitor.
You can find more tools in our guide here:
If you’re a streamer or considering streaming, you’ve probably asked yourself what tools you should be using, here is a…medium.com
Now read our complete guide to getting started on Twitch:
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Written by Mark Longhurst