Best PC for Streaming [2020]

Best PC for Streaming [2020]

It is not enough that your PC can play the latest games without lagging or overheating. Your PC must also be powerful enough to live stream your gaming skills to the ever-growing gamer community. If you are lucky, you could be the next Ninja or Pokimane and earn millions for streaming your content.

To make this dream a reality, we are going to show you the best PC for streaming, but before that, let’s look at what makes a great streaming PC.

What makes a good streaming PC?

The common misconception is the best PC for streaming must have the highest GPU possible. While having a high-end GPU is beneficial, it is not the primary requirement for live streaming. The GPU powers the rendering of the game and image creation, while the CPU transcodes the rendered game into videos for streaming online.

What does this mean?

A high GPU is necessary for the seamless playing of demanding titles like Fortnite and PUBG. If the CPU is low, the computer will struggle with transcoding your gaming session for live streaming.

The minimum CPU or processor a streamer’s PC must have is Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500. Either will let you stream at 720p without issues, but if you want higher-quality streaming, your PC must have at least Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 1700. These processors guarantee high quality 1080p streaming.

The higher the processing power of a streaming PC, the more it will cost. If you are on a budget, you can get a good streaming PC for around $1,000, but if you want the very best, be ready to pay $3,000 or more.

Aside from processing power, the best streaming PC must support fast internet speeds. At least 3MB per second is the recommended minimum download speed for smooth live streaming. The best internet download speeds come via Ethernet, not Wi-Fi, so your PC must have provisions for an Ethernet cable.

According to Twitch, other features your streaming PC must have are at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a Windows 7 operating system or the iOS equivalent. If you want a PC that can also perform 3D rendering, video editing, and other resource-intensive tasks, get a system with higher specs.

Is one PC enough?

In the old days, you needed one system for gaming and another for streaming, and not every streamer could cope with the multitasking or cost of owning two PCs. Fortunately, you can now find all-in-one PCs that are powerful enough to do it all. Here are the best of these systems and their strengths and weaknesses.  

If you wanted complete streaming set up you can also look at purchasing two PCs for a dual PC streaming setup.

What are the Best Streaming PCs?

Skytech Archangel Gaming Computer PC Desktop – Ryzen 5 3600 – The Best Budget PC for Streaming

Skytech products are popular for offering high performance and attractiveness at competitive prices. The Skytech Archangel, powered by a third-generation AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor and powerful GTX 1660 graphics card, is no different. The PC costs less than $1,000, but its processing power for gaming and streaming is on par with that of pricier PCs.

Its impressive aesthetics combine an RGB tempered glass case with attractive LED lighting. Unlike other gamer PCs that come without accessories, the Skytech Archangel comes ready to play with its own gaming keyboard and mouse.

The Ryzen 5 3600 Processor is a six-core, 12-thread processor. It guarantees no worries about ghosting, low frame rates, poor sound or picture quality, or stuttering while gaming or streaming.

Powering your gaming experience is a GeForce GTX 1660 GPU from NVIDIA. If you want, you can easily upgrade to a higher GPU, but this 16 Series GPU is powerful enough to play your favorite titles. The GPU also facilitates streaming by offering a dedicated hardware encoder that supports gaming and live streaming on your favorite platforms, including Twitch.

Since the Skytech Angel is a budget gaming PC, it is not the most powerful on the market. If you are streaming and playing a demanding game simultaneously, you may notice a drop in the system’s overall performance.

Other notable features of the Skytech Archangel are its 8GB DDR4 RAM and 500 GB SSD. The 8GB DDR4 RAM lets you launch and switch between programs with minimal lag, while the 500 GB SSD ensures shutting down and booting up within seconds. Combine the two features, and you have a smooth-running PC with superior responsiveness.

For internet connectivity, the PC has an Ethernet (LAN) port for steady online connection and download speeds. If you prefer wireless, the system has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, supporting up to 3.46Gbps internet speeds. The PC has 3x120mm RING RGB LED fans to keep things cool, which are efficient, silent, and pretty.

Skytech Archangel’s operating system out of the box is Windows 10, which is user-friendly. Lastly, the system offers NVIDIA Ansel’s fantastic photo mode, which is perfect for streamers who want high-grade snapshots of their gaming sessions. You won’t need any extra accessories or software to screenshot and share high-resolution, 360-degree, HDR images of your gaming.

Depending on the settings you choose, you can play games like PUBG and World of Warcraft at 1080p Full HD resolution with 60+ FPS. More demanding games, like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, may not run as smoothly, but that is fair for a PC that costs less than $1,000. If you reduce the game’s graphic settings, you should be fine.

If you are on a budget and do not mind that the Skytech Archangel is not the best for gaming and streaming at the same time, you should get this PC, or you could go for one of the pricier PCs on our list.

Pros

  • Comes with a gaming keyboard and mouse
  • High-grade components
  • Sophisticated ventilation in a compact case
  • Satisfactory streaming and gaming performance

Cons

  • Reasonable price
  • Limited upgradability
  • Not the best for simultaneously streaming and gaming

CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme Liquid Cool Gaming PC – The Best Mid-tier PC for Streaming

CyberPowerPC has pleased gamers and streamers for years with reasonably priced PCs that are reliable, fast, and just as important, fun to use. The highly regarded brand has won several awards over the years, including the PC Magazine 2018 Reader’s Choice Award for Overall Desktop PCs.

The CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme Liquid Cool Gaming PC continues that heritage by being a competent system for live streaming your adventures. For a little under $2,000, the system comes ready to play with a gaming keyboard and RGB 7 color mouse.

Powering the PC’s superior gaming performance are a new generation Intel i7 9th Generation Processor and NVIDIA Graphics Processor. Both are leaders in graphics and computing processing and deliver sufficient power for some of the most demanding games on the market.

All of that power sits within a sleek chassis with tempered glass on the side so you can see the inner workings. The interior also has LED lights that give the entire setup a sci-fi appearance.

The 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor is an intelligent system that delivers faster performance. It yields significant power, but what is most impressive is its ability to share resources and send power where and when it is most needed. You can multitask with ease, meaning live streaming while you mow down enemies on Call of Duty or recover bounties in Red Dead Redemption will not be a problem.

You can live stream in 720p or 1080p, but a slight drop in performance may occur if you are running multiple demanding applications simultaneously.

For an impressive gaming experience, the PC uses the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series. Combining NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and RTX technology offers sublime graphics processing with real-time ray tracing, programmable shading, and artificial intelligence. Gameplay on the PC is among the best even when you are on ultra-high game settings and high resolutions.

The graphics card is so powerful it can even handle virtual reality gaming. Out of the box, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme is VR-ready and compatible with HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift for a fully immersive gaming experience.

Running all that power generates lots of heat, which would be a problem if not for CyberPowerPC’s high-performance liquid cooling system. The cooling system features a 120mm aluminum radiator, copper plating, and an integrated pump. The sealed mechanism prevents evaporation and leakage while providing quiet server-level cooling.

For internet connectivity, you can use the Ethernet slot or the 802.11 AC Wi-Fi. The operating system is Windows 10 with DirectX 12 gaming optimization for higher FPS and richer graphics. The PC’s components are easily upgradable, especially since the casing is easy to open.

Get the CyberPowerPC Gamer Supreme if you want a reliable and powerful system that is not overly expensive and straightforward to upgrade. You will enjoy peace of mind with a 1-year parts and labor warranty and free lifetime tech support to protect your investment.

Pros

  • 1TB HDD and 240GB SSD for more storage space and performance
  • It can support 4K gaming and comes VR-ready
  • Attractive and ergonomic interior
  • Quiet and efficient cooling
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • The out-of-the-box mouse is not the best quality
  • A higher RAM would be better

Corsair One i164 Compact Gaming PC – The Best Value for Money Streaming PC

The Corsair One i164 is a pricey PC at over $3,000, but it could be a worthwhile investment if you want a compact and sturdy PC for live streaming your gaming sessions.

The Corsair One i164 has a subtle and compact exterior design that might make you doubt its capabilities. Its chassis is a 2mm thick aluminum shell that stands at just 19.25 inches. It has built-in RGB light pipes and comes with CORSAIR iCUE software for personalizing the lighting to suit your aesthetic preferences.

Since the body of the PC is small, you can place it on your desk without worrying about space. On the inside lies an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics processor, an Intel Core i9-9900k, and prized Corsair DDR4 memory. The three combined deliver incredibly fast performance for a wide range of demanding games.

The Intel Core i9 Processor is a modern 9th generation system. It delivers enough power to run games and hefty creative software without any significant drop in the PC’s performance. Multitasking, especially live streaming in 720p or 1080p, is smooth and satisfying.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Graphics card supports the Core i9 processor by letting you play games at their highest settings. The card also supports 4K displays on multiple screens and VR gameplay.

On the memory side of things, you have SSD storage and hard disk storage. The SSD offers 960GB of memory for fast loading speeds and quick boot-up times. The hard disk storage is 2TB for storing your videos and other files.

Separate from all of this is the graphics memory, which is 11GB. The standalone graphics memory ensures that GPU processes do not interfere with the system’s 32 GB DDR4 RAM operation.

Corsair One i164’s cooling system keeps the system running safely and smoothly while you work or play hard. Like the CyberPowerPC, the Corsair One i164 uses liquid cooling to achieve low temperatures with minimal noise and power consumption. The CPU and GPU each have their own radiators, ensuring maximum cooling on all fronts.

Consider getting the Corsair One i164 if you are not a fan of flashy PCs. It might be compact and pricey, but it delivers a top-quality gaming and streaming experience. Plus, it comes with a two-year warranty to protect your investment.

On the downside, compared to the less expensive PCs we have looked at, this Corsair One does not come with a mouse or keyboard. Considering the PC’s price tag, the lack of accessories is disappointing but not a deal-breaker since most gamers prefer pro gaming mice and keyboards.

Pros

  • Impressive 2-year warranty
  • Efficient and silent cooling
  • Powerful processor and graphics card
  • Ideal for multitasking
  • Small enough to fit into most spaces

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Does not come with a mouse or keyboard

Corsair One i160 Compact Gaming PC – The Best Top-End/Powerhouse Streaming PC

The Corsair One i160 takes everything amazing about the Corsair One i164 and improves it, including the compact size. The i164 is about 19 inches tall, but the i160’s height is under 15 inches. The i160 is also almost 10 pounds lighter than the i164.

Despite being smaller and slimmer, the Corsair One i160 is more powerful than the i164, offering more storage space and smoother performance. The smaller design and higher performance come at a higher price – approximately double what you would pay for the i164.

If you can afford the hefty price tag, features you can expect from the Corsair One i160 include an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Dewclaw graphics processor and Intel Core i9-9900K processor. NVIDIA’s new Turing architecture increases the speed and frequency of GDDR6 memory, leading to higher graphical power.

The Core i9 processor supports the graphics processor with enough power for demanding games and live streaming without slowing down. The processors also support multi-display viewing on up to three 4K displays. If you want a PC that can support virtual reality gaming, the Corsair One i160 is a great buy. You can pair the latest VR systems from various brands for the most immersive gaming experience.

iCUE performance from the i160 is something else to consider. The system uses a liquid cooling system and quiet fans to prevent overheating. You can adjust the fans, but not the liquid cooler’s pumping speed. It is not a problem since setting the PC to Extreme performance mode will cause the fans to generate up to 1,467RPM, which is enough to keep the CPU and GPU cool.

If you want to upgrade components and make this PC more powerful, you have limited options. You can easily reach the hard drive in the tray between the motherboard and the power supply. The RAM sticks are also accessible and easy to replace while getting to the CPU will require taking out the liquid cooler pump.

Upgrading the SSD or GPU is more of a hassle, but these units already offer significant streaming and gaming power, meaning they probably won’t need an upgrade.

For its high price, one would expect the i160 to come with Thunderbolt 3 ports, but it does not. Instead, you are stuck with USB 3.1 ports, which deliver limited transfer speeds. The Ethernet port on the PC is also underwhelming since it does not support 10GB Ethernet. These missing features are not deal breakers, but having them might make the extremely high price tag easier to swallow.

If you are looking to spend big on a small but powerful gaming PC for streaming, the Corsair One i160 is worth considering.

Pros

  • Two-year warranty
  • Compact enough to fit any work station
  • Sleek aesthetics
  • Powerful enough to satisfy the most demanding gaming and streaming needs

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Few upgrade options

New Alienware Aurora R11 Gaming Desktop: The Best Popular Pick PC for Streaming

Every year, at least one computer from Alienware pops up on lists for the best PC for streaming and gaming. That’s because every computer from the brand has something impressive to offer in terms of power, efficiency, durability, and speed. The Aurora R11 Gaming Desktop is no different.

The first thing about the Aurora R11 that will impress you is its aesthetics. It looks like nothing else on our list, and at first glance, you probably will not realize it’s a PC. The body looks like an otherworldly monolith, and the RGB LED AlienFX lighting really sets it apart.

After drooling over its exterior, the next thing that will impress you is its computing power. The Aurora R11 has 10th Generation Intel Core i7 10700KF processors combined with factory overclockable processors. The processors can handle hours of extreme gaming without any performance issues. Multitasking is a joy, regardless of if you are running multiple games or playing games and live streaming.

The graphics card is NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6 – one of the best the market has to offer. The graphics processor supports real-time ray tracing, which delivers realistic shadows, lighting, reflections, and more. The increased realism makes for a more immersive gaming experience that most gamers can find only in VR.

Other features that make this PC a popular choice among gamers are its 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (Boot) and 1TB 7200RPM SATA. It also comes with 16GB Dual Channel HyperX FURY DDR4 XMP. The HyperX FURY memory ensures faster performance and lets you utilize large data sets more efficiently in real-time.

Aside from being attractive to look at, the Aurora R11’s body prioritizes efficiency. Its unique design optimizes airflow, which keeps heating to a minimum. If you want to upgrade any of the inner components, the PC makes it super easy with a PSU swing-arm that you can open without tools.

The layout and lighting within the computer’s interior ensure that you can see everything clearly and upgrade components with ease.

Is the Alienware Aurora R11 expensive? It is not super affordable, but it costs far less than many other PCs on our list. If you want a mid-priced PC for gaming and streaming that will turn heads, the Alienware Aurora R11 is worth the money. Plus, it comes with a solid warranty, and the manufacturer offers exceptional customer service.

Pros

  • Lots of convenient upgrade options
  • One-of-a-kind case design
  • Reasonably priced for its quality

Cons

  • The fans get loud

Conclusion

The best PC for streaming will depend on your unique needs and preferences. As you can see from our list, several options are available to fit different budgets. Based on our experience and the average customer review, we believe the Corsair One i164 Compact Gaming PC is the best overall PC for its price.

It is compact and durable, meaning it can serve your gaming and live streaming needs for years without any problems. Its powerful features also guarantee that the PC can handle any demanding games that come out in the next few years.

Once you have your streaming PC set up you can then look at purchasing peripherals.

4 Alternatives to Elgato’s Capture Cards

4 Alternatives to Elgato’s Capture Cards

Are you looking for an easy and effective way to capture game footage from your PC, PS4, Xbox One, or other gaming consoles?  

While there are many options, the best way is to use a game capture card. Capture cards work by converting your gameplay into video formation and automatically saving it. You can then transfer the video to your computer or other storage devices. 

Elgato capture cards are perhaps the best in the market, but they can be costly. This article explores some of the best alternatives to Elgato capture cards. 

Why Use Game Capture Card?

You are able to stream without a game capture card, however, The primary purpose of capture cards is to record or stream what is running on your computer screen. It sounds cheaper to use an application like XSplit Broadcaster to do the same than investing in a third-party device. However, you should realize that the application utilizes your PC’s hardware resources.

As such, it takes up a lot of processing power of your CPU and a massive amount of memory from your RAM to work efficiently. If your PC lacks sufficient hardware resources to run the game and the streaming application, you’ll end up with a poor-quality stream.

It’s best to invest in dedicated hardware for capturing gameplay footage to ensure you have excellent quality streaming or footage regardless of your PC’s hardware specifications. That’s where game capture cards come in.

However, you’ll find a wide selection of capture cards on the market, so it can be challenging to choose the best one for your needs. Here are some of the factors to consider when looking for the best game capture card:

  • Image quality: Before you pick a capture card, look for the image resolutions it supports and the number of frames per second (fps) it can record. A good game capture card should record in at least 1080p or Full HD. If you want extremely high-quality footages, a capture card that records in 4K or Ultra HD is ideal. 
  • Input types: Before choosing a capture card, make sure it has the right input for the device you want to use for record. While most modern gaming consoles use HDMI, some older devices use component cables. If you want to capture gameplay from old consoles like the Nintendo 64, invest in a capture card with a component video input. 
  • Interface: A capture card’s interface is the way it connects to your recording computer. USB is the most popular interface, thanks to its ease of use. PCIe is another excellent interface, but it isn’t easy to set up. Other cards use the Thunderbolt interface. 

Now that you understand the significance of game capture cards and how to choose the best one for your needs, let’s explore some of the best options to consider.

Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+

Key Features:

  • Unencrypted HDMI input
  • Zero lag passthrough HDMI output
  • HDR 10-bit recording
  • In-built HEVC encoder
  • HEVC/H.265 HDR and AVC/H.264 encoding
  • Supports 480p 60FPS, 576p 50FPS, 720p 30/60FPS, 1080p 30/60FPS, and 2160p 30/60FPS resolutions
  • Dimensions: 32mm x 111mm x 142mm / 1.25in x 4.37in x 5.59in
  • Weight: 345g / 12.16oz

Elgato has become a household name in everything related to general game streaming and game capture cards. The company’s 4K60 S+ is one of the best high-end external game capture cards you can buy in 2020.

Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ is ideal for content creators and livestreamers. If you’re looking to capture premium footage without compromising graphic quality, this capture card won’t disappoint. It can record and pass-through Ultra HD footage at 60FPS.

You won’t even require a computer to record. The capture card comes with a built-in, dedicated HEVC encoder, which allows you to record to an SD card. However, you’ll have to buy the SD card separately.

The onboard HEVC eases the burden on your computer’s CPU and keeps video files at manageable sizes, which is necessary for recording 4K 60FPS with HDR.

Another remarkable attribute of this Elgato capture card is that it can automatically adjust recording resolution, file format, and bit rate on any device it’s plugged into. That means you won’t spend a lot of time fine-tuning your settings.

Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+ is an excellent device for content creators who are always on the go and looking for a convenient way to record gameplay. So, if you usually travel while streaming and making content, this game capture card would serve you well.

One of the downsides of this capture card is that there’s 250ms latency during livestreaming. You’ll also need a high-spec computer for editing edit HEVC, MKV 4K60 HDR videos. Nonetheless, if you need an impressive game recording experience, the 4K60 S+ will deliver, thanks to its game-changing capabilities that you might not find in other capture cards in its class.

Pros:

  • HDR10 pass-through and recording
  • Ability to record 4K 60FPS HDR10 directly to a memory card
  • Support for MKV recording
  • No PC needed for recording
  • Onboard HEVC chip for capturing small-sized footage
  • Support for line-in recording
  • Excellent build quality and aesthetics
  • High portability

Cons:

  • 250ms latency in livestreams
  • High-end PC required for editing HEVC & MKV files
  • No support for 1440p in pass-through
  • Very expensive

Razer Ripsaw

Key Features:

  • Uncompressed 1080p 60FPS
  • 4K 60FPS pass-through
  • HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectivity
  • 3.5mm audio cable
  • Full audio mixing capabilities
  • Supports 480p, 720p, 1440p, 1080p, and 2160p resolutions
  • Compatible with PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One  
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 86mm x 17mm / 5.12in x 3.39in x 0.67in
  • Weight: 183g / 6.4oz

Are you looking for the best capture card for Xbox One? Maybe you’re fed up with lag and compromising your system’s performance while streaming? Then you might want to look at Razer Ripsaw HD.

This capture card is one of the best and cheapest alternatives for Elgato Game Capture 4K60 S+. The Razer Ripsaw HD records your gameplay as uncompressed raw data and streams with virtually zero latency. The capture card also has a 4K pass-through, allowing you to play on your usual PC at high resolution without sacrificing your stream or gaming experience.

Many streaming devices use dedicated hardware to handle their audio, but this capture card can also handle basic audio mixing. It comes with a 3.5mm input and output, allowing you to easily plug in an aux-in music source or a mic-in enabled microphone to layer your stream with commentary.

While most game capture cards come with their software, the Razer Ripsaw HD works with some industry-leading broadcasting apps like XSplit and Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). With this capability, you can use a wide selection of powerful tools to create high-quality content.

It’s worth noting that connecting the capture card to any broadcasting apps is a two-step process because the process splits video and audio into two separate channels. You have to add both audio capture and video capture to set up the Razer Ripsaw HD properly.

This game capture card comes with a USB 3.0 interface, allowing you to record game footage from your computer and consoles up to 1080p at 60FPS. Quality is impressive, capturing uncompressed 1080p video.

Overall, Razer Ripsaw HD is an excellent capture card for any streamer looking to get started with content creation. It’s simple and user-friendly, and it does everything the manufacturer says it can do.

Pros:

  • 1080p 60FPS video capture
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60FPS pass-through
  • USB-C 3.0 interface
  • Ease of use
  • Compact design
  • Competitive price

Cons:

  • No high-frame-rate capture for PC
  • Capture software not included
  • No component input

AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt

Key Features:

  • HDMI 2.0 input
  • HDMI 2.0 output with lag-free pass-through
  • Thunderbolt 3 interface
  • Format: H.264 and H.265
  • Supported resolutions: Up to 2160p at 60 FPS, 1440p144 or 1080p240 and 140Mbps bitrate
  • Dimensions: 120mm x 120mm x 29.3mm / 4.72in x 4.72in x 1.15in
  • Weight: 348g / 12.27oz

AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt is another excellent Elgato capture card alternative. For many years, AVerMedia has consistently produced fascinating game capture cards, from simple configurations to more sophisticated 4K pass-through cards. The company’s Live Gamer Bolt is ideal for users looking to future-proof their gaming devices for 4K content frame capture.

This capture card is one of the best for streaming. If you want 4K 60FPS gameplay capture and your PC can handle it, you can’t go wrong with AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt. It is one of the external capture cards that can record 4K HDR at 60FPS, thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 interface.

Thunderbolt 3 can handle up to 40GB/s transfer speed. GPUs also use this port to connect to laptops. With this bandwidth, this capture card can push through the required video data to record a full 4K frame 60 times each second at bitrates of up to 240Mbps.

It delivers an exceptionally low latency level, at only a few milliseconds, making it ideal for games that require swift reflexes. It captures high-quality footage at either 1080p24 or 4Kp60 HDR.

Another remarkable attribute of Live Gamer Bolt is that it’s easy to set up. All you need to do is plug in your gaming device or HDMI switch box into the video-in, run a cable from the video-out to your monitor or TV, and the Thunderbolt 3 cable connects to your PC’s Thunderbolt 3 port.

The notable drawback of this capture card for streaming is that you need a Thunderbolt 3 interface. That means you can use it with only a few compatible gaming consoles and laptops. Be sure to check your system’s ports before you purchase the AVerMedia Live Gamer Bolt.

Pros:

  • 4K60 HDR capture capability
  • 1080p recording at up to 240FPS
  • Excellent quality footage
  • Hyper-low latency input
  • Almost zero impact on your system’s resources
  • Innovative design
  • Highly portable

Cons:

  • Requires a Thunderbolt 3 interface
  • Requires a high-spec PC for 4K60 HDR
  • Quite expensive

AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K

Key Features:

  • HDMI 2.0 input
  • PCIe x4 Gen 2 interface
  • HDMI 2.0 output with lag-free pass-through
  • Format: H.264 and H.265
  • Supported resolutions: Up to 2160p at 60 FPS, 1440p120 or 1080p240, and 140Mbps bitrate
  • Dimensions: 125mm x 151mm x 21.5mm / 4.92in x 5.94in x 0.84in
  • Weight: 208g / 7.33oz

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly capture card that allows you to capture 4K60 footage in HDR, you might want to consider the AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K. This card offers support for 240FPS video capture and 1080p, making it ideal for PC gamers playing e-sports titles such as League of Legends.

Besides pass-through, it can also capture HDR. The Live Gamer 4K also comes with RBG lighting for visual customization. This feature comes in handy when your PC case needs a couple more lights. When it comes to build and design, this card is so compact that you can easily slide it into smaller and packed cases.

While the manufacturer mainly targets video game streamers with this card, you don’t need to be a gamer to benefit from it. The Live Gamer 4K is a powerful tool for anyone involved in computationally intensive recording and streaming.

The capture card saves files in MPEG4 format, which is compatible with most devices. The notable setback is that you can’t switch to alternative formats such as AVI, but that’s not a deal-breaker.

This capture also comes with CyberLink PowerDirector 15 and RECentral software. CyberLink helps you edit 4K video content. RECentral is AVerMedia’s streaming app that allows you to stream, configure, and record your content. This software offers the same level of customizability that you’ll find in major streaming apps. It allows you to set up your webcam, microphone, digital overlays, and other tools.

Pros:

  • Impressive HDR compatibility
  • 4K 60FPS support
  • Full HD, high-frame capture up to 240FPS
  • RECentral for streaming
  • Lighting customization
  • Easy setup

Cons:

  • Tendency to be slow when you’re changing settings
  • Quite expensive

Final Thoughts

A wide selection of game capture cards is available on the market, but the cards listed in this post are some of the best to buy in 2020. While Elgato capture cards tend to deliver the best gameplay capture experience, they’re often expensive and require high-end computers to work properly. So you can consider cheaper alternatives like Razer Ripsaw HD and AVerMedia’s Live Gamer Bolt and Live Gamer 4K. We, however, recommend the Razer Ripsaw HD as the best Elgato game capture card alternative because it offers almost all functions you would need in an Elgato card at a much lower price.

Best Headset For Streaming

Best Headset For Streaming

The best headsets for streaming allow for gaming, streaming videos, listening to music, and communicating comfortably. Plus, they ensure top directional surround sound, comfort, and high-quality audio in streaming and gaming sessions.

In this audio guide, we compare the top 5 best headsets for streaming and look at everything from their build, price, durability, and sound quality to enable you to choose the best one for your needs. 

What to Look for in a Streaming Headset

As streaming enthusiasts, there are several things to consider when purchasing the best headphones for streaming. Consider the factors below to separate the best gaming headsets from sub-par ones.

Audio Quality

Audio quality typically varies according to the price of the headset. Higher value headsets designed for gaming feature 7.1 Dolby surround sound, making the listening experience out of this world. However, you can still get decent quality sound with slightly cheaper headsets for a decent streaming experience.

Build and Durability

When choosing a headset, you should also consider its build, aesthetics, and durability. A good headset is built with quality materials that last to save you from replacing it every few months. You’ll also want a headset that looks and feels good and probably comes in a variety of attractive colors.

Budget

As with all purchases, you should consider your budget when looking for the best headsets for streaming. While not every gaming headset and microphone may be in your price range, you should aim to go for headsets that give the most features.

At the very least, consider headsets that have some steel construction over purely plastic ones. Also, look for units with decent audio quality, comfort, mic noise cancellation, and platform compatibility. Remember, when it comes to wireless connectivity and Dolby 7.1 surround sound capability, the price of your headset will likely increase. As long as the features mentioned above are present, you could pick a wired and regular sound headset if budget is a concern.

Comfort

Streaming and gaming, by their very nature, require that you wear a headset for extended periods. Because you want to feel comfortable, always pick a headset that includes features such as ear padding and adjustable sizing. Check the specifications of your chosen headset carefully to ensure that your choice will be a good fit.

Noise Isolation

Noise isolation needs may differ from streamer to streamer. However, it’s essential to note that the better the noise isolation, the better the sound quality when you stream. It would be best to go for headsets that feature superior noise isolation to enjoy better surround sound and positional imaging as you game and stream.

Mic Quality

Try to choose headsets with in-built streaming microphones over headsets that require additional external microphones. These all-in-one units not only save you the hassle of looking for an extra microphone but also feature a more precise mic quality that enhances the quality of your streaming session.

Platform Compatibility

Perhaps this factor is the most important to look for when choosing the best headsets for streaming. Some headsets are not compatible with all platforms (Xbox, Mac, PC, etc.), and you may end up buying a unit that’s not compatible with yours. It’s essential to check that the headset you intend to purchase is compatible with the platform you’re streaming or gaming on to avoid wasting your time and money.

Top 5 Best Headsets for Streaming

ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless With Charging Base Station – For PC, Xbox One and PS4

ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless With Charging Base Station

Best Overall Headset for Streaming

Built for extended streaming and gaming, the ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Headset is at the top of our best headsets for streaming review.

These units feature remarkable audio quality across every frequency, a precise microphone, and a comfortable build for those long gaming and streaming sessions. They also have excellent mic quality that transmits voice without interruption. 

Additionally, these units feature Dolby 7.1 surround sound, making your streaming or gaming experience more immersive and realistic, coupled with several EQ presets and software. You can turn it off with the click of a button when you prefer the standard sound. 

The 5.0 GHz wireless technology ups the price of these units, but it’s worth it; as you stream or game, you won’t have to worry about lag. 

The Astro Gaming A50 also features a high-quality aesthetic, lightweight, ergonomic, and durable build, and comes with extended 15-hour battery life, extremely vital for long streaming or gaming sessions.

Furthermore, this unit comes with a convenient magnetic charging dock. Plus, it is compatible with two of the most popular gaming consoles – PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as your PC.

Key Features

  • Over-Ear Headphones Form Factor
  • Wireless Connection
  • Product Dimensions – 7.28 x 3.48 x 7.17 inches
  • Weight – 1.49 lb

Pros

  • Retains audio quality over low and high ranges
  • Incredibly comfortable even for extended wear
  • Comes with a charging station
  • Durable and lightweight

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some users find them too small

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE Gaming Headset – For PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Smartphone

EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE Gaming Headset

Top Headset for Audio Quality

The EPOS I Game ONE headset by Sennheiser features extraordinary audio quality suitable for streaming and music. This premium headset has an esthetic build, durable quality, and a precise, responsive mic that will both enhance and upgrade your streaming experience.

Choose between a white or black model with red metallic features to highlight the design. All versions also come with a sturdy carrying case for safe travel and storage.

Additionally, these headsets allow for an immersive soundscape and unique sound experience, especially if you’re used to using closed-back headsets. While closed-back headsets cancel out much of the external and ambient sounds in noisier game environments, the open-back EPOS headsets are the better choice in quiet spaces. They produce a cleaner and more spacious sound that’s unlike anything you’ll have heard before.

Plus, they’re comfortable too! The velour ear pads are suited for extended sessions, and the plush breathable ear cups prevent overheating and unpleasant sweating.

The microphone quality is also excellent and transmits voice without breaks or crackles, resulting in a clean and clear sound. The mic’s flexible boom arm adjusts seamlessly for the best voice pick-up, and the microphone design cancels out ambient noise for clear communication and acoustic clarity. Furthermore, the microphone conveniently goes to mute when you raise the boom arm.

With all these features in hand, you’d expect to pay top dollar for these units. However, the EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE headset is quite affordable and represents excellent value for money. Competitive gamers may decry the lack of Dolby 7.1 surround sound capability, crucial for an immersive experience. Nevertheless, whether you’re a casual music listener or a professional streamer, this headset is one of the best headsets for streaming for the money.

Key Features

  • On-Ear Headphones Form Factor
  • Wired Connection
  • Product Dimensions – 2.44 x 2.5 x 9.25 inches
  • Weight -1.38 lb

Pros

  • Excellent noise isolation
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Ergonomic open-back design
  • Easy-to-use adjustable built-in microphone

Cons

  • Open back design allows some sound leakage
  • Bulky design

HyperX Cloud Flight – Wireless Gaming Headset – For PC, PS4, and PS4 Pro

HyperX Cloud Flight - Wireless Gaming Headset

Best for Long Multi-Hour Streaming Sessions

The HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless headset with impressive 30-hour battery life is our best pick for long-session streaming and gaming.

This premium headset with reliable, gaming-grade wireless connection and signature memory foam cushions allows the avid gamer to play uninterrupted without worrying about discomfort. 

With a closed-up design that allows for a fully immersive experience and a higher than average construction, plus a durable steel slider that can withstand wear and tear, you won’t have to worry about replacing this unit anytime soon.

What’s more, setting up these headsets is incredibly easy as they are plug-and-play. All you have to do is place the USB dongle into a USB port, turn it on, and you’re good to go. These headsets are easy to use with convenient controls for LED effects, volume, power, and mic mute.

Note, however, that this headset comes with its own mic level settings. You may need additional software to adjust the mic levels higher for better audio during your streaming session.

This headset is also quite versatile, compatible with PCs and PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles using a 2.4GHz wireless connection. The rotatable ear cups rest comfortably around your neck, making it seamless to break off your streaming or gaming session, and the detachable noise-canceling mic ensures crystal-clear communications and easy storage when you take a break.

All in all, if you’re an avid gamer or stream for long hours, this minimalistic, travel-friendly headset makes an excellent buy.

Key Features

  • Over-Ear Headphones Form Factor
  • Wireless Connection
  • Product Dimensions –  7.48 x 3.43 x 7.36 inches
  • Weight – 10.1 oz.

Pros

  • Incredibly lightweight and minimalistic
  • Detachable, travel-friendly microphone
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Extended 30+ hour battery life

Cons

  • Limited platform compatibility
  • Mediocre mic quality

Logitech G432 DTS:X 7.1 Surround Sound Wired PC Gaming Headset (Leatherette)

Logitech G432 DTS:X 7.1 Surround Sound Wired PC Gaming Headset (Leatherette)

Best Budget-Friendly Headset

The Logitech G432 DTS:X 7.1 Surround Sound Wired gaming headset is the most versatile and affordable headset on our review list.

These units are enhanced with premium Soundscape technology in huge 50 mm audio drivers that deliver an impressive sound. For maximum gaming immersion, the DTS Headphone: X 7.1 Dolby surround sound enables in-game positional awareness that promotes preemptive play and competitive advantage.

These headsets are also lightweight and minimalistic for comfortable extended wear during multi-hour streaming, music listening, or streaming sessions. Enjoy premium features such as a flip-to-mute mic and rotating ear cups for ease of use and multi-platform compatibility for versatility.

Additionally, the single 3.5 mm cable can work as headphones and a microphone coupled with your smartphone but just as quickly can hook to your PC using the USB adapter.

You won’t have to pay top dollar for these units. These headsets, even with so many features, are the most affordable in our review. However, you’ll find that the Logitech G432 does not have the same audio clarity and mic responsiveness as other headsets.

Additionally, the mic lacks noise cancellation and isn’t as precise at picking up sound, but users can enhance the voice quality in quieter environments. Also, the headset lacks Dolby 7.1 surround sound, but as with the microphone, some EQ tweaking can alleviate this issue to an extent. When you purchase your headset, you can download the G-hub software to change basic EQ settings like bass and treble to improve the sound quality if you find that it is not up to your expectations.

Another factor to consider is the limited durability. Despite an overall good construction, these headsets feature plastic joints that are more susceptible to breakage. Store them carefully, or you may find yourself replacing them sooner than planned. Users have also complained about the ear cups barely fitting on even on the highest setting, causing the headset to squeeze the head more. Also, users found the wiring to be of a mediocre quality, which caused it to break or get bent without much wear and tear.

So if you are a beginner streamer or gamer and you’re looking for the best gaming headset to start, we recommend this pick. They’re comfortable to wear, easy to use, feature decent audio and voice capability, and are affordable.

Just be aware that you may need to replace these headsets if you up your streaming game.

Key Features

  • Over-Ear Headphones Form Factor
  • Wired Connection
  • Product Dimensions –  7.2 x 3.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Weight -1.25 lb

Pros

  • Excellent for casual gaming and streaming
  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Large audio drivers provide an immersive experience

Cons

  • Mic has zero noise cancellation
  • Not as durable

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition Surround Sound Gaming Headset – For PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, and Mobile

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Best Versatile Multi-Platform Headset

The Razer Kraken is a versatile headset that’s compatible with all the top platforms and gaming consoles.

This beautifully designed headset comes in three attractive colors – mercury white, black, and gunmetal grey, perfect for the discerning streamer. These units feature oval, gel-infused ear cushions that prevent pressure build-up and overheating and a retractable noise-canceling microphone that reduces background noises for excellent communication.

The headset also has Dolby 7.1 surround sound capability that allows users to hear what direction competitor gamers are coming from, giving them an added advantage. However, while the audio enhancer DAC easily connects via a USB connector to various platforms and consoles, the THX Spatial audio is currently available on Windows 10 64-bit only.

The large, custom-tuned 50 mm audio drivers deliver a richer, more immersive soundscape, and the retractable microphone makes this headset travel-friendly and easy to store. What’s more, the inline audio controls that include a mute mic switch and analog volume control wheel make this the most seamless headset to use on the market.

Although the headset has a reasonably heavy design, it is still lightweight, so it is comfortable enough for long sessions with periodic breaks. The large, noise-isolating ear cushions are replaceable with a variety of shape choices (sold separately).

We recommend this headset if you’d rather avoid the hassle of buying different headsets for different platforms and consoles.

The Razer Kraken Surround Sound Gaming Headset is okay to play on multiple platforms and consoles, including PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, and mobiles. However, note that with the Xbox One, you will need an adaptor.

Key Features

  • Over-Ear Headphones Form Factor
  • Wired Connection
  • Product Dimensions – 6.76 x 7.6 x 3.86 inches
  • Weight -11.4 oz.  

Pros

  • Compatible with almost all top platforms and consoles
  • Comes in three attractive colors – black, gunmetal, and mercury white
  • Excellent sound isolation
  • Fully retractable mic for easy storage or travel

Cons

  • THX needs manual activation for separate apps
  • Xbox One adaptor required

Final Verdict: Best Gaming Headset and Microphone

If you’re looking for the best headsets for streaming, we hope this review has made your search easier.

Apart from coming in on budget, your headset of choice should be comfortable to wear, impart Astro surround sound, limit noise interference, and maintain high-quality audio throughout your streaming session. It would help if you considered whether your unit comes with a built-in microphone. Also, check for compatibility with multiple platforms and consoles before you buy. 

Although no streaming headset is perfect, we’ve settled on the ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless headset as it has all these qualities despite being slightly more expensive than others in its group.

Do you agree with our choice? We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy streaming!

Best Nanoleaf Alternatives

Best Nanoleaf Alternatives

Nanoleaf AuroraNanoleaf CanvasCololightYescom
nanoleafnanoleaf canvascololightyescom
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Interactive light tiles take a room or streaming setup to the next level. Not only do they look incredible, but they also enhance your experience.

It doesn’t matter if you spend your hours gaming or working, you’ll feel more in the moment thanks to the mesmerizing and energizing light patterns. 

Nanoleaf was the first brand to make quality light tiles. However, those tiles are expensive and miss critical features. 

We’ve looked at the best choices for Nanoleaf alternatives. Keep reading to see how you can have everything you want without blowing your budget.  

Nanoleaf Aurora Review

Before we get into the first nanoleaf alternivative – let’s take a look at the original Nanoleaf Aurora.

Nanoleaf light tiles are beautiful. Their triangular shape creates eye-catching shapes on the wall. With variable light patterns and customizable colors, you can change an entire room with the press of a button. 

The Nanoleaf setup dominates the smart interactive lighting world. In the beginning, it was the best option in town. Nanoleaf was the first to bring dynamic, interactive lighting to the home market. Gamers and technology fans alike eagerly acquired these tiles.

However, Nanoleaf remains unaffordable for many potential users. To have all of the features, like rhythm responses and smart home connectivity, the user must purchase and install extra parts. 

In recent years, the field of available light tiles has grown, making other high-quality options available at affordable prices.

These lights contain even more features than the Nanoleaf. Plus, programming color patterns or choosing a pre-mixed option now requires no advanced computer skills. 

Whether you’re looking to enhance your live stream or decorate your living room, there’s an affordable, easy light tile option available for you.

Nanoleaf Canvas Review

Nanoleaf Canvas has tried to fill in the gaps where the original Nanoleaf tiles lack. Nanoleaf Canvas offers more features than Nanoleaf but remains too expensive for most people. 

The Canvas’ square tiles with various connector options allow you to make unique shapes. Whether you hope to disguise your light tiles as a traditional tile wall when not in use or you plan to use them as a remarkable accent piece, it’s easy to bring your vision to life.

You can even take your pattern around corners or onto the ceiling. These light tiles create more opportunities than their square competitors. 

The interactive nature of Nanoleaf Canvas tiles helps them to remain at the top of the field. You can touch the tiles to create effects directly from your stimulus. This feature brings hours of fun to individuals of all ages. 

Another benefit to Nanoleaf Canvas is its ability to connect with the internet and your existing smart home setup.

You can download color programs to use when you aren’t feeling creative. Then, you can control the lights by engaging an app on your phone, using the 12-sided remote, or talking to your control hub. 

To set the perfect vibe, you can use the rhythm module that changes the light colors and patterns based on the sounds in the room. You won’t have to spend time programming with this addition. Simply plug it into a free port on one of the lights and watch the show. 

One of the downsides to Nanoleaf Canvas lights is the way they attach to the wall. The manufacturer sells extra tile holders that allow you to screw the lights into place.

However, many people choose to save money and use the included double-sided tape. 

The tape holds the lights securely to the wall. This strength is excellent if you place everything correctly on the first try and won’t ever need to move the tiles. But if you like variety or won’t live in the same space forever, this can be a significant issue.

Similarly, this hanging method does not create a straightforward cord management system. You must be proactive in organizing your cables as you design your feature wall and hang the tiles. If not, you’ll end up with a mess.

We suggest laying the tiles on the floor and planning your cord paths before attaching the tiles to the wall. 

Another mark against Nanoleaf Canvas RGB lighting is the cost. These lights are some of the most expensive smart lighting tiles on the market.

You cannot have all of the features that make these lights unique, like the rhythm controller and remote, without forking over a pretty penny.

For people who enjoy only a top-of-the-line product, Nanoleaf Canvas is the perfect choice for your home. For those who prioritize sticking to a budget and having the tech options with the most features, these are not the top choice.  

Nanoleaf Canvas Pros

  • Work with your smart home
  • Rhythm module
  • Easy to program
  • Unlimited tile connections

Nanoleaf Canvas Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not easy to reposition
  • Glitchy app

Cololight WiFi Smart LED Lights Review

When you install intricate lighting systems in your home, it’s essential to consider their power draw. Inexpensive lights become costly fast if they increase your electric bill. It’s crucial to check their energy consumption. 

The Cololight smart light system uses a power-saver mode to keep the electric draw to a minimum.

You won’t break the bank or harm the planet when you use these to spice up your game room, office, or nursery. 

These light tiles come with 16 million color combinations pre-installed. You’ll find yourself in awe of the combinations and patterns. 

Cololights have three control options. First, you can use the free app downloaded onto your phone. Second, you can connect to your Alexa or Google Home setup and talk to the lights.

Finally, you can use the microphone on your phone to change the colors and intensity based on the sounds in your room. 

Other light tiles require separate hardware additions to control the appearance based on the rhythm of the music playing. With Cololights, you don’t need expensive, extra items.

This fact makes these the perfect choice for gaming lights or accents in your home theater room. You can have dynamic lighting for a fraction of the cost. 

Even though Cololights are energy efficient and come with all the necessary features built-in, they remain one of the most affordable options on the market. These lights make cool, innovative technology accessible to anyone. 

The hexagon shape stands out from the more traditional forms that light tile manufacturers choose. Hexagons facilitate a wide range of shape options. You can cover your wall completely or create fun, even seasonal, patterns. 

Cololight WiFi Smart Pros

  • Affordable
  • Free app
  • All features come standard
  • Energy efficient
  • Unlimited tile connections

Cololight WiFi Smart Cons

  • Doesn’t include a power block or wall-mounting hardware

Yescom WiFi Smart LED Lights Review

If you’re looking for quality lights to create a mood for your office or to enhance your lighting for Twitch streaming, Yescom hexagon tiles are a decent option.

They’re energy-efficient and budget-friendly. 

nanoleaf alternative Yescom

One of their most unique features is auto-brightening. When you open the door to the room, Yescom lights will illuminate. You don’t have to fumble for a light switch. 

Like the other light tiles on our list, these work with smart home systems, an app, or a built-in switch.

Many reviewers complain about the positioning of the switch. Luckily, the other options render the switch unnecessary for most uses. 

The easiest way to set up your lighting patterns is through the app. You can then use your smart home hub to run the established color modes through your Yescom tiles. This process eliminates the need to fuss with the somewhat clunky app. 

If you’re hoping to create an expansive light wall or to frame your desk setup, Yescom tiles are not the best choice.

Unlike with the other options with unlimited connectivity, you cannot connect more than 10 Yescom tiles. To use more, you’ll need a second (or third) power source. 

However, many users don’t need to connect dozens of pieces to create the desired effect in their space. This set of smart light tiles comes with a solid base. You can create a unique lamp or accent piece with the parts included. 

Another complaint from reviewers is the packaging of Yescom light tiles. Each light comes protected in a separate box.

Yes, the packaging produces more recycling to manage, but you’ll have no concerns about lights arriving broken. 

Yescom tiles come with a power cord, but no power block. You must connect the cable to a 5-volt, 1-amp USB outlet. If you use a power block or charging port without enough power, the tiles will flicker while in use. 

Yescom WiFi Smart Pros

  • Works with a smart home system
  • Built-in voice activation system
  • Energy efficient
  • Auto-brightening

Yescom WiFi Smart Cons

  • Only 10 blocks can connect at once
  • Extensive packaging
  • Clunky app

Winner and final thoughts

For the ultimate interactive light wall setup, order the Cololight system. This Nanoleaf alternative is energy-efficient with unlimited connectivity. Plus, Cololight tiles are the most affordable option on our list. 

Every feature you need comes built into the system. Unlike with other options, you won’t find yourself continually ordering new parts to upgrade the setup. The only parts not included with these tiles are the power block and hanging mechanisms. 

You won’t be disappointed with Cololight tiles on your wall.

How To Stream On Twitch: The Definitive Guide

How To Stream On Twitch: The Definitive Guide

We have thousands of hours under our belt in creating, watching and analysing Twitch streams and have compiled everything you need in one place to get started.

Treat this as a hub for what you need to get the ball rolling on your first stream.

We’re also going to cover what to do after your first stream along with some advanced tactics to grow and promote your audience across the platform.

Let’s dive right in.

A deeper look at Twitch

Twitch has exploded in popularity over the past half decade after transitioning over from justin.tv.

We’ve seen some household names come out of the video game streaming platform from Ninja to Shroud and Dr Disrespect. 

The platform is also estimated to generate over $600 million in ad revenue making it a gold mine for anyone that can build an audience.

Whether you’re a long time fan of video games or your average Call Of Duty noob, if you’re willing to put in the time you too can build a viewer base playing your favourite game.

We’ve also seen competitors entering into the video game streaming market in recent years such as Mixer, however, Twitch is still unrivalled with the size of their viewer base (approximately 73% total market share).

In this how to stream on Twitch guide, we are going to breakdown how you can prepare your setup, set live your first stream and begin to build a successful streaming career.

Depending on your budget and time restraints you will need to decide on the gear you would like to use, the games to play and the schedule you’re going to stream with. 

Preparing for Twitch

To first get the full functionality as a viewer you’ll need to sign up to Twitch with an account. This is completely free and will unlock some additional functionality that non-members don’t have such as following channels and making a profile. 

Make sure you know the guidelines

Everyone always skips this part of any sign up process however as Twitch is notoriously known for having extremely strict terms of service (ToS) and community guidelines – it’s vital you give these a read through at least once.

Make your account

Creating an account only requires very basic info – your name, a chosen username, email address, date of birth and password.

If you’re signing up on a mobile device via the app then you can simply use your mobile number.

Extra security for your account (2FA)

This is what you’re going to use to keep your account on lock down. 

There are a lot of people that will try and hack accounts that have large follower bases in order to show their own content or steal information.

For this you’ll need to head over to the desktop app and use your mobile number to confirm the code that they send you. From now you’ll need to confirm the one-time-code they send you each time you want to login to your account.

Best software for streaming on Twitch

When it comes to encoding your stream you are going to have a few options which all have their benefits and downfalls.

Most new streamers are going to go with OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS). SLOBS is a tool built on top of OBS Studio with additional functionality with overlays and monetisation tools.

There is a clear winner between the two which is why we recommend that you start your streaming career with SLOBS (as will most other Twitch affiliates).

There are some secondary streaming software solutions such as XSplit which is a paid alternative. Their main selling point is that there is less setup pre-stream however both OBS Studio and SLOBS can be set up pretty fast with a quick online tutorial – and it’s free.

Another alternative is vMix – we don’t recommend this for first-timers. 

As you will be a new streamer you will want to have the ability to lookup any issues with a quick Google search which won’t be an option as their user base is much smaller.

What gear/hardware will you need to broadcast to Twitch?

Hardware is one of the primary components that will determine the quality of the your stream’s output.

From the quality of your microphone to the speed of your CPU – this will all have a direct impact on the look and sound of the stream. 

Camera 📷

This is where most people set themselves apart in streaming for the rest of the crowd. 

Nothing screams that you’re a serious streamer than a HD camera. 

For high-end set ups you’re going to want to use a DSLR camera which will allow you to have a high resolution and crisp video.

New streamers are going to want to go with a more budget friendly option such as the Logitech C920 which is one of the most used webcams – ever!

Microphone 🎙️

Along with this, you’ll definitely want some sort of headset or headphones.

The two main reasons you’re going to want a high-end microphone 1) your voice will be cleaner, clearer and much more pleasant to listen to and 2) it will stop your speakers from sending feedback through your mic and prevent echo. 

If you’re on a budget you can go wrong with a Blue Yeti or a Snowball however USB mics are cheaper for a reason – they often output lower quality. 

You can definitely stream with any mic that connects to your computer but if you’re going to use low quality Apple Earbuds then you will sound extremely nasally with horrible playback.

Monitor 🖥️

When looking for a monitor to stream on you’re going to want something that is good for gaming – this is what you’re going to probably be doing for most of the time. 

An optimal gaming monitor for streaming has a high refresh rate, high resolution (at least 1080p) and is colour accurate. 

If you’re on a budget we recommend the Benq 144hz gaming monitor and if you’ve got a larger budget we would go for a Dell Alienware 25″ Gaming Monitor. 

Note: If streaming is going to be your primary activity then you will want to avoid ultra wide monitors if possible. The reason for this is that it becomes tricky when trying to record a monitor and display it to people who do not have an ultra-wide monitor. It can be done but will change depending on your make and model – just do a quick Google search.

Streaming PC 💻

Twitch does give some guidelines on what people should have as a baseline in their PC and it’s a good starting point. Ofcourse, the more powerful the better performance you will get however most people won’t start with a $4000+ setup.

You should have as a minimum an Intel Core i5-4670 (or something similar in the AMD product line), 8GB of RAM and a graphics card that is DirectX10 or higher compatible.

While the graphics card recommendations are low, you will want to have at least a GTX1060 so that you can play games at medium-high graphics settings.

Streaming is very CPU intensive because all of the encoding is handled by this component. It would be better to increase your budget for your CPU and get a worse GPU so your video output can maintain a 60fps stream.

Gaming consoles 🕹️

If you’re not going to be streaming PC games then you will need a gaming console to play games from. 

Most streamers will be using the latest gaming console whether that be a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch.

On Twitch there are categories of people playing older games if you’re wanting to experience some childhood nostalgia. 

If you’re interested in Twitch streaming and reading this article then changes are you already have a gaming console.

Capture card 👾

Capture cards are used to capture and encode your video and audio.

These are most often when streaming games from a console (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo) as it will connect to the device and then send the video and audio data to your PC.

Our recommendation for a capture card is the Elgato HD60s as it has a HD 60 frames per second output which can be set up very easily.

If you are just streaming PC games then you are able to use software to encode the video and transmit it to your stream. There will be quality loss if you decide on this method but it is also a free alternative.

Peripherals 🖱️ 

There are more nice-to-haves and won’t have a direct impact on the quality of your stream.

Get a quality mouse which has a high dots-per-inch DPI for greater precision in games – this is most important in first-person-shooters as you need to lock onto a target as fast as possible.

Along with this get a mechanical keyboard that is responsive. Keyboards are for the most part preference – some people prefer long travel, clicky keys while others like shoft travel with mushy keys.

Streamer controls 🔘

Most streamers have a stream deck or an alternative that offers the same functionality. 

The premium option for this is the Elgato stream deck. It comes in a variety of sizes with 6, 15 and 32 button options. They all offer the same functionality of being able to assign macros to each button – each just have a different amount of buttons that you can map.

Streamers use stream decks to quickly execute functions while they’re streaming – you’re not going to want to be manually doing things while you’re in the middle of streaming – eg. changing scenes, playing audio, changing music, switch overlays.

These devices are expensive so there are stream deck alternatives that can give the same functionality such as using a keypad as a MIDI controller and mapping the buttons. 

We recommend while you’re first getting started to just use a free software alternative where you can have a virtual stream deck on your phone to control your stream.

Lighting 💡

The visual appeal of your stream will influence how many users click through to your stream from the discover pages.

One method of adding a vibe and color to the stream is adding LED lighting in the background of the stream. These lights will make your thumbnail stick out more and set an overall mood for the stream.

You will also want some regular white lights to put behind your camera or webcam so that your face is fully visible to the camera. The same way that TV shows and movies have bright lights on the subject’s face – you will want to create a similar setup so your face isn’t dark.

Green screens 🟩

If you have seen Twitch before you will notice that a lot of streamers have a transparent background for their stream. 

To get this effect you will need to get a green screen set up in your background.

Once you have the physical green screen setup you can then go into your streaming software and configure what you would like your background to be – an image, colour, video or transparent.

Gaming chair 💺

Most of the streams that you are going to make will be many hours long which is why it is vital that you get an ergonomic chair.

First of all a gaming chair is better for health reasons. SItting in a chair that is not optimized for gaming/office work can lead to long term back issues.

A gaming chair will also help you create longer streams as you will be more comfortable than if you use any chair.

With the ability to create longer streamers you will over time accumulate a larger audience with more hours streamed.

We recommend using a racing gaming chair such as a Secretlab Omega or a ThunderX3.

How to live stream to Twitch from a PC

Depending on your level of involvement and time commitment, you’re going to be starting with a different quality stream.

To kick things off you don’t need to have a professional setup but you will need to have something decent enough to have your thumbnail on the Twitch discovery page look appealing.

Once someone then clicks through to your stream, the stream needs to look presentable enough with at least a 720p video and a USB microphone so your voice doesn’t sound like a potato.

As there is a low barrier to entry for streaming on Twitch the market is oversaturated with content creators. 

To stand out from the rest of the other creators you will need a unique aspect to your stream and a regular streaming schedule.

Let’s get into the exact steps for setting up your first stream.

Decide on the content of your stream

If you explore the Browse section of Twitch you’ll soon find out that the streaming content you can put out is endless.

Twitch is no longer just a hub of video games – it now has categories of art, music, writing, coding, in-real-life (IRL) streaming and just chatting.

While the bulk of it is video game streaming, you now have the ability to do just about whatever your creative outlet feels like.

Once you decide what you want to stream then you can build your streaming rig around this.

For example, if you want to become a World of Warcraft (WoW) streamer then you know that your primary focus will be on making sure that your streaming setup is equipt to output a high quality video and audio. 

Most WoW streamers have eye catching backgrounds with LED lighting so if you want to compete with these streamers on the Browse page you are going to need to have an element of ‘pop’ in your thumbnail.

A different example is if you want to have a drawing stream – for this you may want to use multiple DSLR cameras to show the audience what you are doing from different angles.

Build your streaming rig

As mentioned above once you have an idea of what it is you are going to stream, you can then put together all of the gear and prepare to go live.

As a bare minimum you should have a PC, microphone and camera.

From here, depending on what you’re going to stream, it will depend how much of an investment in money and time you are going to make in order to output the content you are creating.

If you are hesitant whether you will be doing this long-term then it will be better to invest as little as possible to see if you like it – that means you can get started with just a laptop.

Configure all of your software for your streaming setup

Now that you have all of your hardware put together and you can turn your PC, let’s get all of the software installed ad setup so that you can send video and audio through streaming software and stream to Twitch.

First things first, pick which streaming software you are going to use (as outlined above) – we recommend OBS Studio.

Each piece of software will have a different set up process.

Essentially you are going to connect OBS Studio (or your preferred software) to Twitch with a stream key.

This is what will connect your computer to your Twitch account and allow you to push content to your Twitch account.

Optimise your settings

Depending on the hardware that your computer uses, you will want to adjust the settings and optimise the software to ensure you are getting optimise performance and output for your stream.

With a standard hardware setup you can usually output a 900p 60fps stream easily with optimised OBS Studio settings.

Add all of your devices as sources and start to put together the final streaming configuration.

Connect your camera and microphone and make sure that the levels and display settings are set so that you look and sound crisp and clear.

Encoding is one of the most important parts of having a quality stream. Twitch has made their own guidelines for this so it’s best to go with what they recommend.

Complete a test stream

While it’s highly probable that no one will be watching when you first stream you should still complete a test stream.

To do this you should set a stream live on your channel as if you were going to start your first stream.

Once this is up and running get another computer or your mobile phone and open up the stream.

Now you will be able to view the stream as if you were a viewer.

Go through this checklist of tasks and confirm everything is working as it should:

  • Make some noise into your microphone, make sure your lighting is good
  • Boot up a game and play it for 10 to 15 minutes so that you can make sure that the video stream remains stable.
  • Cheer bits to check that stream alerts are appearing on screen

Now that everything is working you can now schedule your first real stream and start your streaming career.

How to livestream to Twitch from a mobile phone or console

mobile streaming

A large segment of Twitch is mobile and console streaming – to stream these devices there’s a little more set up involved in order to get the video and audio to a PC.

Streaming these devices also opens up more content that you are able to produce with exclusive games and apps.

For example, if you want to stream Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 then you will need a PlayStation console as it is an exclusive title.

Many gamers also prefer console streaming vs PC streaming whether that be due to the online community, the controller or the overall ease of use and set up.

How to set up your PlayStation for live streaming

As you’re not streaming directly from a PC you have 2 options to get the video from the console to your Twitch stream.

Stream directly from the console

Link your PS4 to your Twitch account:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ from the home dashboard.
  2. Select ‘Account Management’.
  3. Go to ‘Link with Other Services’.
  4. Select ‘Twitch’ and follow the signin instructions.

Use a game capture card to send the video to OBS Studio (recommended)

Set up your PS4 with your game capture card:

  1. Plug in the game capture card to the console.
  2. Download and install the Elgato game capture card software.
  3. Disable HDCP on your PS4
  4. Add the console as a source in OBS Studio for both video and audio

There are a ton of benefits for using the game capture card method to stream PS4 games to Twitch.

First is you will have more control over what your stream will look like with the ability to customize overlays and gain the full functionality of SLOBS.

You will also be able to have your stream alerts appear for donations, stream chat and design the layout how you want.

If you stream directly from the console then you will be restricted to just streaming the video, the PS4 webcam and using a USB microphone.

Capture cards are what pro-streamers use however if you don’t have any other gear then it’s a free, fast and easy alternative than paying for this piece of tech.

How to set up your Xbox for live streaming

Live streaming from a Xbox is a very similar process to streaming from a PlayStation. You can either stream to Twitch without a capture card via their app. 

Alternatively, you can use a capture card to send the video and audio from the console to OBS Studio to gain the full functionality of streaming software.

Stream your Xbox to Twitch without a game capture card

  1. From the home dashboard go to the ‘Store’ tab and search for ‘Twitch’.
  2. Download the Twitch app and install it onto your Xbox.
  3. Start the game that you want to stream and press the ‘Xbox’ button on your controller.
  4. Open the Twitch app from this menu and select ‘Broadcast’.
  5. Follow the set up instructions such as naming the streaming and configuring settings.

Stream your Xbox to Twitch with a game capture card (recommended)

  1. Plug in the game capture card to the console.
  2. Download and install the Elgato game capture card software.
  3. Add the console as a source in OBS Studio for both video and audio

How to set up your mobile phone for live streaming

There are many subcategories of streaming on Twitch and one of these is mobile gaming. While console and PC gaming are the larger categories, streaming mobile games will allow you to create content for a niche audience on Twitch.

If you are going to stream directly from your phone with no PC then you will only be able to use the mobile camera.

In order to stream the screen on your mobile so that you can create content around mobile apps then you will need to take a few additional steps.

  1. Download and install the Streamlabs OBS app for iOS or Android.
  2. Launch the app and login in with Twitch – you will need to give the app permission to access your profile information.
  3. Give the app full permissions to access the camera and microphone.
  4. Once you can see the camera is turned on you will then need to click the computer screen icon in the top left hand corner.
  5. Press ok when you are prompted with ‘Streamlabs will start capturing everything that’s displayed on your screen’.
  6. Click the gear in the top left and select Edit Stream Info – here you can set the status and title the stream.
  7. Hit the red button to go live in the bottom right hand corner, select ‘Stream Games’ and your stream will begin.

If you wanted to create an in-real-life (IRL) stream then you can also do this through SLOBS. Instead of selecting ‘Stream Games’ when you are about to go live you should choose ‘Stream IRL’.

How to set up your Nintendo Switch for live streaming

To stream Nintendo Switch games you are going to need an Elgato game capture card. Unlike the Xbox and PlayStation, there is no inbuilt app or supported functionality for streaming on Twitch directly from the device.

Once you have the game capture card you will plug that into your Nintendo Switch and then the other side of the cable into your computer’s USB port.

With a second HDMI cable plug that into your TV so you can see the video output.

From here you will need to launch OBS Studio and add the capture card as a source. When you add it as a source you will be able to see the gameplay output and drag the video into the OBS scene.

Now set up OBS to go live just like you would with another device and you are ready to go live.

How to build an audience on Twitch

Now that you have your first stream live, it’s time to start your journey of building an audience.

Over time as you establish yourself and put out more content you will inevitably begin to accumulate a follower base (if you content is quality).

Here are a few things you can do to begin building up viewers and followers on Twitch

Set a streaming schedule

Think about streaming as a TV show. 

When someone wants to watch their favourite show as it airs on TV, they need to know what channel to find you on and at what time. 

If you set a regular time to stream and do it consistently then people know that they can find. 

If everyday is too difficult to stick to then why not Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 5pm – 8pm (just as an example). As long as you stay consistent then over time, your audience will grow, if you’re good.

The most important point here is to have a consistent streaming schedule so that people know when you are going to be online.

Improve the quality of your stream

Having high production value in your stream is a large part of what attracts people to a stream. 

For viewers who have never seen or heard of you before, you will only have 5 – 10 seconds to impress them and keep them on your channel.

This means that you will need to make sure that your video and audio are high quality and crisp, the game you are playing is entertaining and people will actually enjoy looking at the stream.

You can improve the quality of your stream with hardware upgrades with better microphones, cameras, PC hardware (GPUs and CPUS) for better output from your computer.

There are some additional software improvements you can make if you are using SLOBS such as:

  • Notifications/Alerts –  As you grow and become a Twitch Partner with a large audience you may want to only have notifications for subscribers, cheers, and donations.
  • On-screen chat + TTS – Your chat should be treated as a serious section of your stream and make sure you interact with it as much as possible. Read every question, statement or comment or have SLOBS do it for you so you can respond.
  • Overlays – Everyone has seen a streamer with a killer overlay and this really does add some production value to your final product. Streamlabs a huge selection of themes that is color coded meaning that you can have your branding created for you.
  • Music – Atmosphere is everything and can really set the energy for your stream. We recommend something as simple as Spotify or Pandora to create a vibe for the stream. 

Start streaming in low competition categories

Entering into the Twitch community as a new streamer will mean that your viewership will begin at 0.

Twitch displays streamers on the Browse tab in descending order of viewers which means you’ll be at the bottom.

To increase the change of people discovering you then you can stream games that don’t have established streamers on them. This will make it more likely that your stream will rank higher for that category.

Stream at the right time

Streaming time slots are important in optimising the likelihood that your stream will rank higher in the recommendations sections of Twitch.

Streaming at non-peak times in your time zone (or the time zone of your target audience) will mean that there are less content creators on the platform for you to complete against.

If you stream during the day then there will be significantly less people on Twitch then 10pm at night.

Network with other content creators

The fastest way you are going to grow your channel is by cross promoting your stream with other streamers.

This is going to mean engaging with the community that you want to be a part of so that other streamers know who you are.

Build a community with streaming friends and join the chat of other content creators. When you engage and make yourself know to other people in the community then people will take notice and be familiar with your brand.

One common practice on Twitch is to raid another streamer at the end of the streaming sessions.

Raid other streamers

Raiding is when you send all of your concurrent viewers at the end of your stream to another stream.

This is a good idea to do because if you start to do it to fellow streamers then they are likely to do it to you another time when they finish.

If you have a community of streamers then each of you can take turns at raiding each other’s streams and cross-promote each of your audiences to each other.

This can be done by running a /raid command

Start a Discord server

Discord is an instant messenger app that is heavily used in the gaming community.

You can create a Discord server for your channel and have a chatbot promote it throughout your streams.

In the Discord server create different channels for the community to interact and engage with.

When you set your Twitch stream live you can then make an announcements tagging @channel to notify everyone that you are going live.

Sending out notifications of you going live will fill up the stream when you first go live and increase the concurrent viewers on your stream.

What is the best content to stream on Twitch?

Streaming content on Twitch is a huge task in itself so if you are going to be doing it for long amounts of time you want to stream content you enjoy.

Most streamers build their channel around a single game as they become skilled at a game. This can be both good and bad depending on what you are interested in creating.

Below are a range of advantages and disadvantages for being a single game streamer on Twitch:

Advantages

  • Becoming skilled at a single game will make you known for that game. People who are researching a game or who are die hard fans will be looking to experts in the game for tips and tricks.
  • By playing a single game you will build a stronger community because each time that you stream you will most likely have the same audience coming back to watch the content.
  • Being a single game streamer you are going to get good enough at the game for ESports competitions which will give you more exposure in tournaments and competitions.

Disadvantages

  • Once you have built a community around a game it is difficult to transition away from that game. You can pigeonhole yourself into a game or category and if you get tired of it then changing games can cause your concurrent viewer numbers to drop.
  • Playing the same game or category can cause fatigue and burnout – without variety in content it’s easy to be very repetitive with content.
  • Content can become stale. If you are creating content for a game that rarely gets big updates then the content you stream will often be the same – this is less entertaining for the audience and yourself.

The best content to stream is something you enjoy.

When you are creating content that you enjoy then the audience will see that and be more engaged with your stream.

This will also allow you to stream for longer periods of time. 

Twitch rewards content creators who put out a lot of content with many hours of streams – the more hours that your stream is live then the larger the audience you can grow.

How to make money on Twitch

Twitch monetization is something that you will eventually be able to start once you have a large enough viewership.

Once you do have income and cash flow from your stream then you can re-invest this money to improve the quality of your stream and scale the channel.

There are six primary methods of monetization.

Donations

Twitch has a huge donation culture.

Most people who are unfamiliar with Twitch streaming are often surprised by the amount that viewers donate to their favorite streamers.

Think of donations as tips for providing entertainment to viewers – in return for giving them a good time with your stream, people can send you money as a thankyou.

If you are using SLOBS then there is in-built functionality for donations so you can just drop a link in your chat for people to click through to and donate directly to you.

Cheers/bits

This is Twitch’s inbuilt version of donations.

Users can purchase bits directly from Twitch and then cheer (donate) you these bits.

For a basic conversion rate 1 bit equals $0.01 so if someone cheers you 100 bits then they are donating you $1.

Advertising

Running ads on your stream can be a large source of revenue if you have  a large viewership. 

There are different placements for ads such as:

  • Pre-rolls before someone watches your stream.
  • Display banners around your stream.
  • Video ads during your stream

Ads are paid on a CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) basis. 

Depending on the time of year, the category you are streaming in and the amount of advertisers bidding on placements for advertising then you will have  a CPM rate. 

This is how much you will receive for every 1000 impressions on ads.

Sponsorships

When you are well known enough, brands will approach you for sponsorships deals.

You will be given a pay cheque to promote a company’s product.

Especially on Twitch this is a big opportunity as there are so many physical and software products that streamers use to play their games and stream.

From gaming headsets, PC parts, video games, keyboard, gaming mouses and desk setups – brands want to have streamers promote their products because they know audiences trust their favorite streamers.

Affiliate links

When you go to any big content creator’s stream on Twitch you will see that they are recommending a lot of products in their description.

They will link out to Amazon or other company’s websites to products that they use and recommend so that people can purchase the same gear that they use.

When someone clicks one of these links and purchases a product then the streamer will receive a commission for the sale.

The more expensive the item then the larger the commission will be that they receive.

Twitch subscriptions

Viewers can subscribe to a Twitch streamer’s channel for USD$4.99 per month.

Once someone subscribes to a channel they will unlock benefits such as not having ads on the stream, emoticons and badge icons in chat.

Streamers make between $2.50 – $3.50 per subscription depending on whether or not they are a Twitch Affiliate Partner – if you are a partner then you will receive a larger portion of the donation.

Advanced tactics and additional resources

There are some additional features that you can add to your stream that will increase the quality of the stream, promote engagement and interaction from the viewers and make the stream look more professional. 

Branding

Building a brand on Twitch is going to have a huge impact on how memorable your stream is to viewers.

Your Twitch name, colors used on the channel, music, pre-show screens, post-show screens, scene transitions will all play a part in your branding.

If you’re not good at design then you can get your whole channel branded for a good price on Fiverr.

Be sure to select a unique and brandable Twitch username – you want a name that is easy to read and say so that it’s memorable. A username like PogChamp3948392green21 will make it very hard for someone to remember who you are.

Overlays and alerts

Overlays are the designs and banners that will be placed over your stream with information and messaging.

If you are using SLOBS then there are a ton of overlays already included in the streaming software.

For more professional branding and a unique look we recommend that you have your own created.

By paying a designer to create assets for the overlays then you will have a much more unique look to the stream.

Turn alerts on so that when a user follows you, subscribes to the channel or donates to the stream then a message or sound will play to notify the entire stream – this will increase engagement and interaction for the stream you will have.

Post Twitch clips and highlights to a YouTube channel

You are able to increase the reach and visibility of your stream if you brand out to other channels.

YouTube is a great platform for discovery as it has the recommendation feature so once the YouTUbe channel has some momentum then videos will start to get recommended to people watching similar content.

When uploading to YouTube just upload short highlights to grab people’s attention where they can then click through to your Twitch channel.

This channel can be used to promote other social channels as well such as Discord, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Incentivise donations

Once you have a viewership you can then start introducing incentives for people to donate.

With more donations you will be able to continuously improve your stream and scale your audience up.

There are a few things you can do to encourage people to donation:

  • Use a chatbot to have your donation link sent out in the chat at a set interval – this will give people easy access and know where they can go to donation.
  • Use text-to-speak (TTS) so that donation messages are read out to the entire stream – most people will want to donate so they can interact with the stream. Using TTS will make it so the entire stream can hear the message from the donation which you can then respond to.
  • Have donation goals and rewards – setting a donation goal at the start of the stream is a good idea. You might not always hit it however if you have a ‘reward’ for something that you will do eg. giveaways, shoutouts and adding viewers as friends on different gaming platforms eg. PlayStation, Xbox or giving them a follow on social media.
  • Show to the top donations for the stream – use a data overlay so that viewers who have donated the most are displayed on screen throughout the stream. If someone wants their name on stream then they will donate enough to get up there.

A final note

When it’s all said and done, streaming is all about doing it because you love it. 

If you’re not enjoying yourself then your audience will be able to tell. 

Aside from them seeing straight through a fake personality you will burn out quickly if you’re only in it for the money. 

You won’t have 10,000 concurrent viewers after a month of streaming (unless you have a secret magic trick, in which case comment below!