Twitch Step One: Broadcasting Software

Twitch LogoWhen you decide to start streaming your games to Twitch, you need some kind of broadcasting software. The website doesn’t merely connect to your computer for streaming purposes. There are several popular titles that are available for streaming ranging from free to subscription-based. The right one for you will depend on what your goals are and your own technical expertise. Each program has pros and cons and are of varying difficulty to use.

What Does Broadcast Software Do for You?

In order to stream your game play to any website, you need broadcast software. This software allows you to connect to the Twitch server, which then allows others to watch you play. Although some capture devices such as the Diamond GC500 have bundled software that helps you connect to Twitch, it still relies on that piece of software to make everything work. I personally use Xsplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster for my streams, but there are many others.

What Can Be Done with Broadcasting Software?

Most broadcast software for Twitch can be greatly customized. Even though Xsplit Gamecaster is more developed for novice users and automatically adjusts settings for personal performance, it still offers color changes and window resizing for different aspects of the stream. Video cameras, graphics, stream information, scrolling text and more can be done with the right broadcast software allowing you to develop a professional-looking stream.

Which Software Would I Suggest for Streaming?

This is a tougher question to answer than what you might think. The perfect software for you will depend on a lot of factors such as:

  • Your personal technical skill
  • Your goals for the stream itself
  • If you want to integrate with YouTube
  • How professional you want the stream to look
  • How many bells-and-whistles you want to add

Although OBS and Xsplit are the two most common programs used by Twitch gamers, a lot of the settings can require advanced knowledge for video production. Fortunately, forums and community sites are available for all streaming applications that can help you with those various settings.

If you want to just play and don’t really care about the glamour of the channel, then I would suggest the free software such as beginner Xsplit accounts or perhaps OBS. If you decide to maximize the potential of playing online, then you can consider buying some of the extras that can add more to the experience or delving deeper to what add-ons and plugins you can use.

Personally, I prefer the ease of use and customization of Xsplit Broadcaster. I’ve used OBS, but it seems that Xsplit is more automated and easier to use – in my opinion. There are a lot of people out there that swear up and down that OBS is the best, but I am falling back on personal preference here and saying that I like Xsplit. It’s worth the $5 per month to me.

The Bottom Line…

What it all boils down to is that you need broadcasting software in order to stream your games to Twitch. In a future post, I will go through what you need for streaming console games as well. Here are some of the most common used by those on Twitch:

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn’t consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You’re never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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