Streaming has become more and more popular over the past few years. More and more people are moving over from creating YouTube videos to streaming on platforms like Twitch.
Pros and cons of streaming
Streaming comes with a variety of pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:
When you’re streaming, everything is live, so if you have people chatting in your stream, you can easily read their comments and interact with them on the spot. Interaction boosts viewer engagement and builds relationship with your audience.
Con: No pause button
While you’re live, there’s no way for you to pause without turning off the stream (unless you set up a separate intermission scene), so you generally have to be more careful with what you do. Make sure you don’t say or do anything that goes against your streaming platform’s Terms of Service (TOS). Swearing is usually allowed, but certain words (
r****d) will likely get you banned. Nudity is mostly not allowed either.
Pro: Quick Content Creation
Streaming is a quick way to make content since everything you stream will be saved online and can be clipped or highlighted into other content. Twitch for instance allows you to highlight a part of your stream and export it to YouTube without having to download anything to your computer.
Con: Streaming can get stale
If you don’t plan it very well, it can be hard to find interesting things to keep your streams fresh. If you stream the same thing over and over again, either you or your viewers could get tired of it.
Requirements & Gear
Streaming actually doesn’t require a lot of gear so you may already have everything you need.
PC & Internet
You don’t need the fanciest or most expensive PC to stream. If your PC is less than 5-6 years old, it’s probably fine. For internet speed, you should have at least 10-20 mbps up/down and that’s pretty much it. Just make sure your streaming PC is connected to your internet by cable, and not wirelessly. A wireless connection usually has a higher chance to lag or freeze the stream.
Some people prefer to stream without a camera, but having a camera makes your stream more personal and allows people to get to know you better. The thing about streaming cameras is that once you pass a certain price range, it costs exponentially much more for a noticeably better camera.
|Medium||Any 720p/1080p HD Webcam||~$50|
|Ultra||Sony A6000 + 16-50mm Lens + Elgato Cam Link||~$775|
Recommended Streaming Camera: Logitech C920
A lot of people think that your camera is the most important piece of equipment, the order of importance actually goes:
Most people will accept a low quality camera if the audio is crisp, but they will not enjoy watching if there’s an amazing camera, but low audio quality, since bad audio can physically hurt the listener.
When it comes to microphones, similarly to with cameras, there is a certain price point where the quality difference is literally not noticeable because it will end up being bottlenecked by the compression added by the streaming software/platforms.
|Low (Not recommended)||Any webcam mic||Free (if you already own a webcam)|
|Medium||Blue Yeti USB Microphone||~$130|
|High||Audio Technica AT2035 XLR Mic*||~$250|
|Ultra||Shure SM7B XLR Mic*||~$350|
*XLR microphones require an additional USB Audio Interface to connect to the computer.
Recommended Streaming Microphone: Blue Yeti USB Microphone
There are a multitude of streaming software you can use to start your streaming career, but the most popular is OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). OBS is open source, meaning that anyone can access the source code and add features and bugfixes to the program. OBS supports streaming to a large number of platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Nico Nico, KakaoTV, and more.
A guide to using OBS will be posted soon.
Which platform should you stream to?
The most popular streaming platform are Twitch, then YouTube, and then Facebook.
Twitch is definitely the most robust platform when it comes to streaming. Twitch is very easy to get into and they offer a much more beginner friendly approach to monetization. Although Twitch originally was specifically for gaming, nowadays Just Chatting is the most popular category, and a lot of people stream all sorts of creative endeavors too.
YouTube is the biggest video on demand platform out there, and offers much better discoverability than Twitch does, but has a much higher entry point before you can start to monetize your content.
Facebook streaming is relatively new, and there is definitely potential for you to grow on Facebook. If you already have a Facebook account with hundreds of friends, then it can be easier to start up as a streamer, but it may be harder to grow past the initial starting point for a lot of people.
Recommended streaming platform: Twitch.tv
Conclusion & Packages
Streaming has been somewhat of a niche in the past, but in the recent years it’s become a staple of internet entertainment. If you have an okay PC for streaming, here are the recommended equipment you need to start streaming today:
GOOD QUALITY / FAIR PRICE PACKAGE
HIGH QUALITY / MEDIUM PRICE PACKAGE
|Microphone||Audio Technica AT2035 XLR Mic||~$250|
|Audio Interface||Focusrite Scarlett Solo||~$130|