How to Stream on Discord

How to Stream on Discord

Discord started as a group-chatting platform where gamers can hang out with like-minded people. In June 2020, Discord expanded its horizons, welcoming users with interests in other activities. The rebranding led to a rise in the number of Discord users, which currently sits at over 200 million – a far cry from its 2017 count of 8.9 million users.

If you are a gamer, streaming on Discord is a great way to reach a wider audience. Even Ninja has a Discord account. Would you like to learn how to stream on Discord and improve your brand visibility? Below is everything you need to know.

How to Set Up Streaming on Discord

You can access Discord via its app for Android, Mac, Windows, and iOS devices, but you can only stream with the Windows version.

Getting Started

  1. Launch Discord for Windows, then pick the server you want to stream on. Remember, each server represents a different community. If you like, you can set up your own server and community, but you have to get people to join your community.
  2. After picking the server for your streaming, start running the game you want to stream. If Discord recognizes the game, hit the Go Live button beside your avatar and username.
  3. After hitting Go Live, you will see a menu. If Discord did not recognize your game, select Change from the menu. Choose your preferred voice channel for streaming your session, then click Go Live.
  4. Your stream should be live now. If it is, a preview of your streaming will show in a small window on the Discord screen. Place your cursor over the preview window and click the cog icon. The icon will take you to the Stream Settings menu, where you can adjust your stream’s frame rate and video quality.
  5. Note that free users can only stream at 60fps and 720p. If you want better video quality, like 1080p or higher, you have to pay $9.99 per month for Discord Nitro.

Adding a Game to Discord Go Live

The game you are trying to stream must provide access to the Go Live icon. If it doesn’t, you can add the game yourself by opening the Settings menu. Hit the cog icon on the bottom left of the screen, then choose Game Activity from the list on the left of the screen. Click the blue Add It option in front of “Not Seeing Your Game.”

Select your game from the provided list, then return to your server. When you click the Go Live button, the game should start streaming.

How to Watch a Discord Stream

If you want to watch someone else stream on Discord, place your mouse over the user’s name and click Join Stream. To know when a user is streaming, check the voice channel for a red Live icon next to the user’s name.

Conclusion

Follow these simple steps to start streaming on Discord. If you stream on Twitch or YouTube, you can sync your accounts with your Discord account, allowing you to stay connected with all your subscribers from the other platforms and grow your Discord community.

How to Check Twitch Chat Logs [2020]

How to Check Twitch Chat Logs [2020]

An active Twitch account can get hundreds of comments every day. Not every interaction will be friendly or useful, but many are valuable. Do you remember that helpful tip from a commenter about how to improve your Twitch channel? No? Well, it’s a good thing you can dig up that conversation from your old Twitch chat logs.

Before we show you how to check Twitch chat logs, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of reviewing your chat history.

Importance of Checking Twitch Chat Logs

Your Twitch chat logs are archives of every conversation had on your channel. Maintaining and checking your chat history can help you with the following:

Identifying Inappropriate Comments

If your channel becomes a haven for trolls and other online bullies, viewers may start avoiding you. Even worse, ignoring offensive comments might lead people to assume you agree with the offending party, which can affect your brand image. Inappropriate comments that breach Twitch’s Terms of Service (TOS) can also lead to your channel getting blocked.

Regularly review your chat history to identify offending commenters and take necessary actions.

Evaluate Disciplinary Actions

If you believe Twitch has penalized you or one of your viewers unfairly for an alleged statement, you can appeal the punishment. Find the pertinent conversation within your chat logs and show Twitch what really happened.

Gather Useful Data

Your chat log is a treasure trove of new content ideas from your viewers. Other useful data your viewers might intentionally or unintentionally leave in your comments include:

  • Feedback on how to improve your streaming
  • How to grow your brand
  • Who your top competitors are
  • What type of content your viewers want to see

Regularly read your chat logs to see how you can give your viewers a more satisfying experience and increase your number of followers.

Opportunities

Big streamers sometimes drop invitations to collaborate with upcoming streamers within their chats. Avoid missing great opportunities by frequently checking your chat logs.

Get to Know Your Community

As your community grows, your loyal followers will develop lingo and inside jokes that only those who follow your channel will understand. Use the slang to communicate with your fans and share jokes. Otherwise, you might alienate your followers. Also, staying in the know about your loyal viewers shows you care, fostering even more loyalty and engagement.

How to Check Your Twitch Chat History

Twitch is constantly improving its moderation tools, but finding your chat logs on the platform can be tricky. If you are having trouble finding yours, here are some of the best ways to get it done:

Watch Your VODs

Twitch recently added a VOD chat recording tool to its app. It lets you record streaming sessions, and it’s the best method for viewing old chats in their unedited form. For example, if a user made a comment and later edited or deleted it, watching your VODs will reveal the original comment, not the edited version. 

If you don’t want to slog through hours of chats, Twitch’s in-app VOD recording lets you view chats sent by specific users during past streams. Note that affiliates can only access VODs from the last two weeks of recordings; non-affiliates can view VODs from only a few days ago.

Use Chatty or Another Third-party Program

The chat tracking tools provided by Twitch are useful but not the most robust. An open-source, java-based tool like Chatty offers more options for monitoring and tracking old and new chat logs. Note that Chatty stores chat logs for only a few weeks, after which they get deleted.

Learning how to use the tool may take a while, but once you master it, you can log your chats and review them for various purposes. Chatty also lets you store Twitch chat logs locally for review later.

User Search Command

Are you looking for a comment from a specific user? On Twitch, you can type a user’s name into your channel’s chat search box and get useful data about that person. Some of the information Twitch will provide when you use this method include:

  • All the comments the user left on your channel
  • All the comments your moderators left about that user
  • When the user created their profile
  • The number of messages the user has sent on your channel
  • The number of times the user has timed out in your chat
  • The number of times Twitch has banned the user

The user search command is particularly useful for confirming if a banned user is utilizing a different account to comment on your channel.

Chatbots

Nightbot and other Twitch chatbots can moderate and filter your chat on your behalf. The automated software makes logging your chats a breeze and can even help you create a searchable log of every comment in your chat. Some chatbots also let you store your chat logs locally on your computer. Don’t forget that your chatbot will only work after activating it.

Twitch’s data-sharing rules do not permit posting chat logs online. If you have chat logs stored locally, do not share them publicly. Otherwise, like OverRustle Logs, you could get bad news from Twitch’s legal team.

Become a Moderator

Moderators can view the chat logs of each user. When logged in as a moderator, click on Moderator View (the sword icon on the bottom right of your screen) and the name of the user you want to review. Every comment that user made will appear, and you can also view various useful information about that user, such as if they have any active bans or reports.

Conclusion

Twitch is the fastest growing game streaming website, and reviewing your Twitch chat logs has numerous benefits, from flagging inappropriate behavior to content improvement and moderation. Of all the above methods, using a chatbot is probably the easiest way to track and monitor comments from specific users. Keep in mind that each chatbot is different, so make sure you choose one with features that can achieve what you want.

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
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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!

Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard

Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard

After thousands of hours of gaming I found that the best silent mechanical keyboard is the Das Keyboard 4Q.

Many gaming keyboards claim to be a quiet operation but produce more noise at work than a traditional keyboard. The right keyboard with the right software and customizability takes time and research to find through multiple websites and platforms.

KeyboardRatingPrice
Das Keyboard 4Q⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐See here
CHERRY G80-3000⭐⭐See here
Razer BlackWidow Elite⭐⭐⭐See here
CORSAIR K95 RGB Platinum XT⭐⭐⭐⭐See here
SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB⭐⭐⭐See here

What should you look for in a mechanical keyboard?

Before you buy any mechanical keyboards, consider and look for the following things. Creating a table of stats can also help you narrow down how to look at each keyboard that might work the best for your needs.

Form

A full-sized gaming keyboard places all the keys within reach of your fingers, but can take up a lot of room on your desk. When you start looking at customizable keyboards, you can choose specific types of features that can make your life easier to work or game with.

If you are looking for a gaming keyboard, you might choose the keyboard with reinforced W, A, S, and D keys for intense gaming.

Switches

Mechanical keyboards come with switches that let you send signals around the keyboard. You can program the keys to have specific functions and replace the keys with caps for specific needs or to replace damaged keys.

You do need to hit the keys of a mechanical keyboard harder, which results in more noise unless you purchase a quiet mechanical keyboard.

Our favourite switches are Cherry MX.

Software

Many types of keyboards you can purchase come with specific types of software that help you to program the keyboard specifically for your purpose.

The software can make or break the keyboard functionality. Make sure you read about the software you will be using with the keyboard.

Sometimes you are required to download the program or keep a constant connection to the internet to maintain settings. The software updates can help with functionality, but not always. Read up on the software that goes with the keyboard to make sure it will work for your needs and will program the keys correctly.

Backlighting

Mechanical keyboards come with the option of backlighting. Most let you select up to seventeen million different colors, but sometimes only one color is an option. While it is not a requirement for the operation of your keyboard, they can help you to program the keyboard lighting for specific actions or particular RGB macros.

Quiet operation

A mechanical keyboard, like a lot of keyboards, is not always quiet. Regular keyboards use rubber-domed switches or gel membranes to help the keyboard transmit signals of typing to your screen. They are not always the best of quality and can wear out quickly. They do not lack the tactile feedback to help you feel the adjustment of the keys as you type.

A mechanical board does not require you to hit the key hard for it to register and a keystroke and with new sensitivities that are tactile quiet. You can feel the key move with a spring-loaded tap, but you will not hear the key to make the traditional “click” noise.

Wireless or Wired?

Everything is turning wireless as the technology improves, but often the wired version is still superior when it comes to reactivity in what you are working on or gaming. The wired keyboard will send the signals directly to your screen without a lag or interruption.

Wireless keyboards are improving as Bluetooth technology improves. Using Bluetooth keyboards lets your work from almost anywhere in your office or at home and has your screen and receives the information you are typing. Not all the keyboards come with a good range or the latest Bluetooth usability.

What are the options?

The best mechanical keyboard for your needs is the one that is quiet enough to use at work or use at night without disturbing the rest of your home.

You will also want to see if your different devices are compatible with each other – additional USB ports will allow you to connect devices to the keyboard such as your stream deck or headset.

CHERRY G80-3000 Keyboard

The CHERRY G80-3000 Keyboard is a high-quality keyboard designed to work for you. The keyboard comes with individual Gold Crosspoint contact keys that support MX technology. The keyboard is also compatible with the UNIX computer systems.

Built with Codeset 3 support, the keyboard works with PCs and MACs running the UNIX system. The keyboard comes with an adapter for a PS/2 interface. The silence feature is the result of the use of a high-end keyboard with switching technology that keeps the keyboard quiet enough for an open workspace or late-night work.

You can perform up to fifty million actuations using the key switches and hear little noise. The system uses integrated two-component stems to minimize the noise of the bottom of the key as well as the top. You can do simultaneous operations using the N-Key rollover feature that allows for up to fourteen keys to be in action without ghosting effects.

The keyboard has self-cleaning contacts and is resistant to dirt and dust. The keyboard design helps it be traditional as well as long-lasting with unique design enhancing features for long-term use. Made in Germany for long-term use, the keyboard will hold up to the test of time.

CHERRY G80-3000 Features
FormRetro
SwitchesMX Black Silent Switch
SoftwareYes
Quietness7/10
BacklightingMulticolored
Wireless or wiredWired
Overall rating8/10

Pros

  • The keyboard works with PCs and MACs running the Unix System.
  • You can perform fifty million actions using actuation key switches.
  • The keyboard is quiet enough for office spaces and late-night work.

Cons

  • The keyboard is not quiet for hard typists.
  • The LED backlighting is too bright, and you cannot turn it down
  • Does not come with a wrist rest so can be uncomfortable if used for long amounts of time.

Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard

The Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard lets you choose the backlighting color, tactile sensations, and noise quality, either clicky or silent. The mechanical keyboard uses zero-compromise mechanical switches to help you be accurate, speedy, and quiet in your typing. The keyboard tactile sensations let you feel the click more than hear it.

Requiring at least forty-five G of actuation force, the keyboard is ideal for work situations or gaming. The design of the keyboard lets it be perfect for personalization and immersion into gaming or work. You can fully sync the keyboard with various games as well as change your backlit keyboard into almost seventeen million different colors.

You can program the keyboard macros to map your keyboard out for combinations of features and commands. The design of the keyboard itself is ergonomic, to make typing comfortable with a plush leatherette to help your wrists rest comfortably. The keyboard uses a military-grade metal top plate to help support up to eighty million clicks.

Razer BlackWidow Elite Features
FormMagnetic Wirst Rest & Dial
SwitchesMechanical
SoftwareYes
Quietness6/10
BacklightingMulticolored
Wireless or wiredWired
Overall rating7/10

Pros

  • The backlighting for the keyboard can be almost any color you can imagine.
  • You can program the keyboard macros for your work or gaming needs.
  • The keyboard uses zero-compromise mechanical switches to help with speed as well as accuracy.
  • Comes with a wrist rest.

Cons

  • The keyboard requires a cloud account, and if you log out, you lose your settings.
  • The keyboard does not support Mac or Linux systems.

CORSAIR K95 RGB Platinum XT

The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT Mechanical Keyboard uses Per-key backlighting to let you have a vibrant workspace you can customize. The keyboard has tuning to help with low-noise operations even when you are typing hard. The system is also customizable for your work and the gamer.

You can program size dedicated macro keys for complex actions and remap other keyboard commands, including S-Key caps. You can also stream commands through the onboard software called Elgato Stream Deck. Through the software and integrated technologies, you can produce 1.2-millimeter actuations with accuracy across one hundred million keystrokes.

The mechanical keyboard uses the Cherry MX Speed RGB silver key switches that come with an anodized aluminum frame that helps muffle sound while providing long-term durability. A detachable leatherette comes with the keyboard to help the keyboard be ergonomic and protect your wrists through hours of typing.

CORSAIR K95 RGB Platinum XT
FormRGB Gaming Keyboard
SwitchesMX Speed RGB Silver mechanical key switches
SoftwareProgramable
Quietness7/10
BacklightingMulticolored
Wireless or wiredWired
Overall rating7/10

Pros

  • Low noise operations help muffle the sound of the typing keys.
  • The keyboard allows for one hundred million keystrokes with 1.2-millimeter actuations.
  • You can stream commands through the keyboard for customized actions.

Cons

  • The software is out of date, and the updates you download often cause the keyboard not to function properly.
  • The G-Keys will not work on certain types of programmable functions.

SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

The SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard lets you have a smooth and silent performance using the QX2 linear mechanical gaming switches. The five thousand series of keyboards is an aluminum alloy that helps the keyboard be durable and quiet during operation. The keyboard uses real-time discord to produce gaming lighting notifications.

The RGB lighting lets you customize the keys to help the keyboard be easy and intuitive for your work or gaming needs. The reactive illumination of the mechanical keyboard lets you know when you are low on ammo or health. The QX2 mechanical switches help you have faster gameplay and let you have fifty million key presses of reactivity.

The Steelseries comes with the SteelSeries Engine Software that helps you use the Engine Apps functionality that helps you use the keyboard intuitively and unleash the full power of the keyboard in seconds of use. You can easily use Discord Chat notifications to receive new messages or mute different status updates.

The mechanical keyboard comes with one hundred percent anti-ghosting functionality. You can use full N-key rollovers that help you never lose a match because of an unrecognized key press. You can also ensure each keypress is macro programmed into the keyboard.

SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB Features
FormGaming Keyboard
SwitchesXT Mechanical, MX Speed RGB
SoftwareYes
Quietness5/10
BacklightingMulticolored
Wireless or wiredWired
Overall rating6/10

Pros

  • You can have real-time reactivity using the keyboard.
  • The keyboard gives you fifty million keystrokes.
  • The keyboard has anti-ghosting ensures you will not miss a keystroke or unintended action.

Cons

  • The keys are fragile and can break easily.
  • The keyboard does not work well with gamers who are hard on their keyboards.

Das Keyboard 4Q

The Das Keyboard 4Q uses the RGB Cherry MX version of the keyboard, so you can eliminate interruptions as you type and is fully programmable for your needs. The computer comes with pre-built Q applets that let you customize the keyboard keys for different types of commands. The applets include using Gmail to GitHub.

The keyboard has two USB ports that provide 2.0 high-speed connections. You can program the Cherry tactile MX RGB brown keys to give you fifty million keystrokes. You can control the almost seventeen million RGB colors to backlight your keyboard or different keys around your keyboard.

The mechanical keyboard comes with an oversized volume knob and updated media controls that let you change songs, the volume, or windows with a few strokes of the keyboard. The design of the keyboard is anodized aluminum painted black for long-term use and durability.

Das Keyboard 4Q Features
Form5000 Series aluminum alloy
SwitchesQX2 linear mechanical gaming switches
SoftwareSteelSeries Engine Software
Quietness9/10
BacklightingPrismSync multicolored Lighting
Wireless or wiredWired
Overall rating9/10

Pros

  • You can program and use the pre-built Q applets, including Asana and Gmail.
  • The keyboard is anodized aluminum to help the keyboard last.
  • You can type at the speed of thought and get your words and commands down at the same time.
  • Comes with Cherry MX switches.

Cons

  • The keys can start to stick over time.
  • The software comes with a lot of bugs and makes using it more difficult for some types of commands.

Final Thoughts

Quiet mechanical keyboards are hard to find. There are many different styles and software that claim quiet operation but are do not deliver. The Das Keyboard 4Q is one of the few keyboards that deliver the quiet and functionality.

The construction of the keyboard is sturdy, with up to fifty million keystrokes and a soft touch to feel under every finger. You can type quickly and accurately for hours without producing too much noise.

The keyboard is also customizable for macros and hotkeys to make work or gaming easier.

Logitech G Pro X vs HyperX Cloud Alpha

Logitech G Pro X vs HyperX Cloud Alpha

Logitech G Pro XHyperX Cloud Alpha
 Logitech G Pro Gaming HeadsetHyperX Cloud Alpha - Gaming Headset
Design⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Build⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Adjustability⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Comfortability⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bang for your buck⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Microphone quality⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
CostCheck PriceCheck Price

✔️= winner ❌ = loser

Good budget headsets are hard to come by and with the Logitech G Pro X vs HyperX Cloud Alpha, we have some strong contenders.

TLDR;

We recommend the Logitech G Pro headset.

The Logitech G Pro headset has better design and audio performance. Build quality is also quite decent for this considering it’s under $200.

In this we are going to assess design, build, adjustability, comfortability, sound quality (both mic and speakers) and look at which one is going to give you the best bang for your buck.

We have talked about the importance of audio in streaming before – however this time we’ll be looking at audio from your (the streamer’s side of things)

Logitech G Pro X Headset

Design ✔️

The logitech definitely comes out ahead with design. As it has a total black finish to the whole headset, it is going to match more setups/outfits. 

It also isn’t too bulky – I know how much of an issue bulky headsets can be with my Razer Kraken Ultimate. This is not an issue here with a small designer.

This also means that you could use these as regular headphones in public. Branding is rather minimal and doesn’t have any fluro colors that’s going to draw attention.

Build ❌

The build for these headphones are bad – it’s just that the HyperX Clouds have such a huge reputation for being built like Nokia mobile phones.

After 3 months of solid use I haven’t had any more wear and tear then I would have from other headphones.

It’s built like a Logitech product which from my experience is always fantastic.

It uses a combination of hard plastic and stainless steel for the body.

Adjustability ✔️

The adjustability on both of these headsets is pretty good with a self adjusting headband so that the headset can sit snug on your ears. 

The ear cups also rotate so that these can sit flat against your chest and make them easy to wear around your neck for short breaks.

Comfortability ❌

Personally I found that the Logitech fit me slightly better when it came to squeezing/cupping the ears.

The clamping force feels better for these ones and is a little stronger than the HyperX.

With a lightweight polymer ear cup and fork these are still very comfortable headphones – it’s just that the HyperX do have the advantage.

Sound Quality ✔️

After a side-by-side comparison with the two headsets, the Logitech objectively has a better, crisper sound when it comes to the output. It did feel like the HyperX Cloud Alphas did sound a little muffled sometimes.

I used these for both gaming and listening to music and 

The tech and specs

  • 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to connect these to PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch or any other device with an audio jack.
  • The headset uses a prograder condenser microphone so it has a wider frequency response and higher sensitivity.
  • These use the Pro-G audio drivers which will give better audio for gaming – especially for first person shooters where you are wanting to hear foot steps.

HyperX Cloud Alpha

Design ❌

With bright red and orange accents I’m not a fan of the design of this headset.

It would have been better for more variety for color selection – bright orange just isn’t for me and would much prefer a stealth all black version.

Build ✔️

These guys are know for their excellent quality and this is no exception. After a month of use I can tell that this thing is able to take a beating if it needed to.

It is built with an aluminum body which means that you won’t need to worry as much about damaging it when throwing it around.

Adjustability ❌

Unlike the Logitech G Pro, these do not have rotating ear cups which means that if you want to take short breaks from these you will need to take them off completely.

You can adjust the sizing of these like any other headset – nothing tt

Comfortability ✔️

With premium leather ear pads these are comfortable headphones. There is plenty of cushion and space between the headphones and your ear.

The only downside I had with these headphones is that after a long period of time of wearing these they did squeeze a little too hard for my liking.

After 4-5 hours straight of wearing these they began to give me a headache unlike the 

Sound Quality ❌

These do have pretty average output which is why the Logitech are going to claim this one.

The noise cancellation is a 6/10 for me when comparing them to something like the Bose QS35’s – these are the best in noise cancellation.

The microphone does detach unlike the Logitechs which is good if you’re wanting to just wear these around and not use them just for gaming.

The tech and specs

  • These are compatible with any device with a 3.5mm audio jack – PC, Xbox One, Mac, phones, PlayStation 4.
  • They are pretty lightweight coming at 340g – however the weight difference between the two headsets is quite small so you won’t notice much difference here.
  • Packaging is similar for the HyperX Cloud Alphas with a carrying case along with a Y cable for splitting and a audio cable to connect the headset to devices.
Dual PC Streaming Setup Without Capture Card

Dual PC Streaming Setup Without Capture Card

The Problem

When you stream with a game capture card you are going to put a cap on your framerate. Unfortunately this is one of the downsides of using a capture card.

The Solution

What we are going to do here is stream the unencoded video output from one computer to the other over Ethernet – this will allow the other one to encode and stream the video.

This means more frames and no lag – especially for FPS shooters that require 0 lag!

Once you set this up you will be able to stream your gameplay while you view 144hz+ framerates.

It will also take some of the work off of your CPU for your gaming PC.

What you will need

  • A PC that you want to stream from.
  • A PC that you want to game from.
  • A connection between the two PCs which can be accomplished by:
    • Connect the two computers to the same router
    • Connecting the two PCs a switch which is then connected to a router
    • Directly plug the computers into each other with (either a regular either cable or a crossover ethernet cable – make sure to check your motherboard!)

Preparation – for each of your PCs:

  1. Download and install Open Broadcast Software (OBS) Studio.
  2. Go to https://ndi.tv/tools/ then download and install the software.
  3. Get the Open Broadcast Software for NDI. This can be found as a plugin here.

On gaming PC

  • Open OBS and go to Tools > NDI Output settings
  • Make sure the ‘Main Output’ is checked and name the PC > click ‘Okay’

On your streaming PC

  • Boot up OBS
  • Select add source and select ‘NDI source’ – here you are able to add your gaming PC as a source
  • Set up your scenes and you are ready to go live.

Now that you are able to run a dual PC setup without a capture card – you have the ability to let your gaming PC do all the heavy lifting for the game while the streaming PC will just send the stream to Twitch.

5  Stream Deck Alternatives (That Won’t Break The Bank)

5 Stream Deck Alternatives (That Won’t Break The Bank)

We’ve reviewed the Elgato stream deck before on this site – and it’s great. Although, while it’s a strongly recommended product from us, it can be expensive if you’ve just started your streaming career. 

That’s why we’ve put together the top stream deck alternatives for those who want a more cost-effective alternative to easily control your stream.

We have noticed that while the free alternatives are a great starting point, you’ll want to soon get a physical product for a more complete setup.

Stream Deck Alternatives Overview

DeviceWhere To Get ItRecommendation
Mechanical Number PadCheck Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Elgato Stream Deck MobileDownload Now⭐⭐⭐
Elgato Stream Deck MiniCheck Price⭐⭐
Touch Portaltouch portalDownload Now⭐⭐⭐⭐
Up Deckup deckDownload Now⭐⭐⭐

DIY Stream Decks

Since an elgato stream deck is nothing more than a device with empty buttons that you can map – you can easily create a stream deck with other controllers such as MIDI controller or number pad.

These won’t look as fancy or nice although it can have the same functionality (and it comes with Blue switches!).

Due to this you will first need to purchase a controller – we set one up using a mechanical number pad

stream deck alternative number pad

If you want to take it a step further you are then able to create and print out your own labels for each of the keys – from here just glue them on and you’re good to go.


Now you’ll need to set up all of the keybindings with a program called HID Macros – you can see exactly how to set that up here:

Benefits

This setup won’t cost a lot – all you need is the cost of a controller which can be found for fairly cheap.

You’ll have the same functionality as an Elgato Stream Deck such as changing scenes, starting and stopping your stream, open web pages with a single button, mute and unmute your mic ect.

Disadvantages

It does take some time to configure everything properly – HID Macros isn’t very intuitive so you’ll need a tutorial on how to get everything set up.

The aesthetics of the number pad isn’t great – even after some glued on labels it really isn’t a great look compared to customizable HD LED screens.

Mobile Applications 

The best stream deck alternative will be to mobile apps. These will allow you to have a virtual stream deck on your phone that you will be able to connect to your PC.

The best one that we have tested is the Elgato Stream Deck Mobile.

mobile stream deck alternative

Benefits

This is great because it is going to replicate the physical version of the product and is even a good ‘try before you buy’ version of the paid deck.

Setup is super simple for this one – you just need to download the app on your phone and PC then scan a QR code to connect them up together.

From here you’ll be able to configure it the same way that you set up the actual product. Set up scenes, shortcuts and macros.

Once you have the app set up the way that you like it, you’ll be able to transfer everything over to the physical device almost instantly.

You’ll also have the benefit of it being wireless as it is set up on your phone.

I first purchased the Elgato App and then brought the physical deck – now I run with both of them and have 2 stream decks set up side-by-side.

Disadvantages

While this does offer the same functionality as the physical product it doesn’t work as well without a stand.

Some streamers user their phone to read chat. This means that you won’t be able to both control your stream easily while you interact with chat.

You also won’t have the tack-tile touch of physical buttons which is nice to have when you’re trying to operate all of the things that come with streaming on Twitch.

It does cost $2.99/month or $24.99/year – which means it would cost about six years worth of the Elgato mobile app until you’ve paid the same amount as a 12-button deck. While it is still cheap relative the actual deck, it is expensive for a stream deck app.

Other Mobile App Stream Deck Alternatives

Elgato Stream Deck Mini

The best alternative to the full sized stream deck is the mini.

This offers all of the same functionality as the full sized deck although it is cut from 15 to 6 programmable LED screen buttons.

With this you will be able to create unlimited folders and macros to make controlling your stream super easy and efficient.

The design is a little different and the stand isn’t as great but it still sits just fine on the desk.

You are able to map everything from streaming commands to buttons for gaming.

When I set this up I typically have folders that separate all of the main controls that I’ll use for streaming.

For example, the home menu will contain the essentials such as pause and enable the stream along with muting and unmuting the mic. From here there will be different folders – one for GIFs, scene switching and animations.

To see all of the benefits and a full review for the stream deck check out our other post which is thorough – see here.

Benefits

You’ll get the same functionality as the full sized device along with the Elgato software (which is a huge selling point with it’s simple yet comprehensive interface).

It costs a fraction of what you would pay for the full sized device.

If you do get a full sized device in the future you’ll be able to pair the two together so that they work together. With this you’ll have 21 buttons to map. This will be overkill for most people but it’s nice to have and looks really cool if you set up some RGB patterns.

Disadvantages

I find that 6 buttons isn’t always enough. While you can create buttons with theoretically infinite macros, it doesn’t work well in reality. If you’re starting your stream, switching scenes constantly and throwing up animations on the screen then you’ll be flicking back and forth.

The stand is kind of awkward with the way it sits on the desk. The full sized deck has a stand that lets you adjust the angle for your setup but with this you aren’t able to adjust it. (This isn’t a deal breaker, just a minor thing that I’ve noticed).

Touch Portal

The touch portal is another alternative which is another mobile app.

This alternative to the elgato stream deck has a bunch of integrated services and will work with OBS and streamlabs. You can use this with an android or iOS device.

To use it make sure you get the websocket for OBS so you can then have the interface on your monitor.

Advantages

There are both paid and free versions of the app so you can give it a go before handing over the $10 for the full version.

Since this is mostly software you will be able to have as many buttons mapped out as you need. With the physical elgato stream deck you’ll be limited to the number of buttons on the device that you purchase.

Organising is also awesome with Touch Portal as you can make different pages with different buttons. You may have one screen to use for pre-stream functions and another screen to use for main functions while you’re live.

Disadvantages

As this is just software you’re not going to have any tactile buttons to press. The main advantage of having an actual stream deck is that you will have a device which has 1 purpose – to execute functions.

For the best experience with this I would combo the software with some kind of MIDI device and map the functions to this.

Up Deck

Up Deck is another software alternative to the elgato stream deck and is only compatible with OBS.

If you’re using something like XSplit then this may be an issue however most streamers these days will be using OBS anyway.

Advantages

Up Deck is free!

If you did want to try out a version of a stream deck without needing to pay for premium software or put together MIDI hardware then this is the best place to start.

Disadvantages

This will only work with OBS – you won’t be able to use this if you’re using another program to send your streams to Twitch.

Best Green Screen For Streaming in 2020 (Budget to High-End)

Best Green Screen For Streaming in 2020 (Budget to High-End)

Green screens are essential if you want to have a transparent background for your stream – and they make your stream look cool!

It’s extremely popular with streamers as it gives a more immersive experience for the viewer.

It’s mostly used for stylistic purposes as you are able to turn your background into the game that you are streaming.

We’ve tried and tested all of the best green screens for streaming so you don’t need to go through multiple purchases to find the perfect one for you.

Dr Disrespect streaming PUBG

In this article, we are going to breakdown the top 5 options that we recommend that you get for your green screen. These will range from budget options for people who are on a tight budget to a higher-end option if you have some cash to splash.

Our Top Picks

#1 Elgato Green Screen

Elgato green screen
BenefitsDownfalls
Collapses down to the base for fast and easy packing awayQuite a bit more expensive than most of the other green screens
Can adjust to any heightThe unit is heavy as it weighs 21 pounds
Extremely versatile and can be placed anywhereA lot of moving parts which means that if something breaks it can be annoying to fix

# 2 LimoStudio 9 x 15 ft. Green Chromakey 

Limno green screen chromakey
BenefitsDownfalls
Dimensions are big and able to cover large backgroundsStand does not come with the green screen – additional costs to buy
Comes with clips so that you are able to attach it to whatever you want to hang it fromMaterial isn’t the best – can quick accumulate wear and tear if you are constantly putting it up and taking it down
Affordable if you don’t need to buy a stand for the green screenShades of green that this comes in isn’t consistent – ordering 2 may mean you get 2 slightly different shades of green

#3 Fancierstudio Chromakey Green Chromakey 

Fancierstudio chromakey green screen
BenefitsDownfalls
Super cheapNeed to hang it – does not come with a stand
PortableThe green side is a little darker than we would like
Comes with both green and blue screen if you need either colorNot very big if you need to cover a large background

What Is A Green Screen?

A green screen is simply a sheet that sits behind you in your background which will allow you to turn that portion of your frame into anything you want – a picture, video, game or even just a color.

It can be made from almost anything such as sheets, paper, plastic or cardboard – you can even just paint the wall behind you green and that can work. The hex color for a green screen is #00ff00 which looks like this.

green screen color

When this is in the frame you can then use programs like OBS Studio, Streamlabs, XSplit or post-editing software like Adobe Premier.

Lighting Your Green Screen

It’s important that you have great lighting with your green screen so that when you’re on stream, the background stays consistent. If you have poor lighting sometimes you will experience static where your background is. 

The reason for this is that when you use chroma to change your background it will not register all of the green in the frame. You don’t want this as it will make your background look choppy and cheap.

The lighting setup that we recommend when using a green screen is a Neewer LED light combined with a softbox.

You’ll want to use the softbox (or similar light) to light the front of you which will point at your face and the Neewer LED light for behind you to shine on the green screen.

Doing this will help prevent the static effect and shadows that you’ll get from poor lighting as the green will be brightened up by the lights and the camera will be able to clearly register the difference from the foreground and background.

Which Camera Should You Use With A Green Screen?

It’s vital that you’re mindful of the camera that you’re going to use as it can either make or break whether your green screen will display correctly.

With a cheaper/lower resolution web camera it will be difficult for the software to read the areas of the frame which are covered by the green screen. For this reason, we recommend using a DSLR camera

If this is out of your price range as it can be expensive for a complete set up then we recommend the most popular webcam used by streamers – a Logitec C920. This webcam is great value for money and is under $100. It will perform fine and even has a useable microphone built-in to it.

What Programs Can You Use A Green Screen With?

Most capture programs such as OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS offer in-built green screen compatibility.

Personally, I use OBS Studio as I find that the easiest to work with the green screen.

A setup guide for this can be found below and is what I used when first getting started.

Final Tips

As mentioned in the video above – using a green screen is CPU intensive when it is using chroma in order to replace the green in frame with a new background.

6 Strategies To Make Money On Twitch (With Case Studies)

6 Strategies To Make Money On Twitch (With Case Studies)

In 2013 everyone wanted to be a full-time YouTuber – in 2019 being a Twitch star is the new best thing.

You are able to make a job replacing income from Twitch and in this, we’re going to breakdown with case studies how the biggest streamers do it.

There are key staples to any streamers income:

  1. Donations
  2. Cheers/bits
  3. Advertisement
  4. Sponsorships
  5. Affiliate links
  6. Twitch subscriptions

How Do Twitch Streams Make An Income?

In this post, we’ll go through the top 6 methods that streamers use to make an income from Twitch although there are endless ways to monetize a stream depending on how creative you can get.

Donations

A common way that broadcasters begin to generate revenue is through donations from viewers. 

Streamers can receive donations from their viewers through a number of tools such as Streamlabs and Paypal.

People encourage their viewers to donate to them by allowing the person to interact with the stream directly through their donation. For example, if some donates $X then the streamer will answer a question, read a comment, display their username on screen or even shout them out.

Donations are very common practice and can make up huge portions of streamer’s incomes – DisguisedToast said that he brings in about $2,500 a month in donations from his viewers which is about 13% of his monthly income.

Cheers/bits

Another way that users can donate to streams is through ‘cheering’ bits. This is essentially another medium to donate money to streamers although to do so you first need to purchase tokens called ‘bits’ from Twitch which you are then able to donate (cheer) to them.

When you convert the donation – 1 bit is equal to $0.01. 

The downside of using this to donate is that Twitch will take a portion of the donation. If you buy 100 bits then it will cost you $1.40 – that’s a 40% commission that they’re taking. Although, the more bits that you buy then the commission becomes a smaller percentage of the bits that you purchase.

If a streamer takes donations through a service like Streamlabs then they will receive the full donation amount as it does not go through Twitch.

Twitch Subscriptions

Subscriptions are one of the main revenue drivers for Twitch streamers. 

Subscriptions are an extra that are offered on Twitch that will give the view perks on a streamer’s channel such as special emotes and no ads. Quite often these are promoted by broadcasters with shoutouts when someone does subscribe. 

A huge strategy is to encourage users to subscribe using Twitch Prime. This is a program offered by Amazon where if a user has Amazon Prime then they will receive Twitch Prime for free which comes with 1 free subscription per month. This is great because it doesn’t cost the user any extra money if they already have Amazon Prime and the broadcaster can still make revenue.

A subscription without Twitch prime typically cost $4.99 and streamers make $2.50 – $3.50 per subscription that they receive depending on their partner status.

Advertisements

Ad revenue can be another huge revenue driver for broadcasters. Streamers will receive a flat rate for a CPM (cost per mille – 1000 impressions) which will change on the time of year it is. For example, there are a lot more advertisers running ads at Christmas time so ad revenue will increase as more people are wanting to show their ads on broadcaster’s streams.

Ads appear in many places on Twitch which you can see below.

The main way that streamers make money from ads is the pre-roll whenever someone goes to their livestream – usually a 30-second ad will show where the streamer will receive a portion of that ad revenue.

Streamers also have a button that they can click whenever they are in the middle of a stream which will again show ads to their viewers – the more times they hit this button to show ads then the more money they will make.

Although, while they can show endless ads, it doesn’t make for a good stream to have ads ever 2-3 minutes which is why most people use it very sparingly.

Sponsorships

Brand deals and sponsorships usually come into play when a streamer is big enough for it to make sense for a brand to sponsor broadcasters. 

For example – Hershey’s & Reese’s sponsored Ninja & DrLupo for brand exposure. For this sponsorship, the pair held a 12-hour stream to promote the product. For brands, this is huge as this as the potential reach to their combined 21 million subscribers.

Affiliate links

Affiliate marketing is huge and is even one of the ways that this site is monetized (check the footer of this blog).

This involves streamers placing links or giving out codes to their viewers to promote a product. When people go through the link or use the code when they purchase then the broadcaster will get a slice of revenue from that sale. Here is an example of affiliate links in Towelliee’s Twitch box:

The commission changes for different products across different brand and often if a streamer is big enough they will have a personalised commission structure.

By far the most popular affiliate program that streamers join is Amazon Associates. In this program, whenever a user clicks on an affiliate link and purchases a product from Amazon within 24 hours of clicking the link, the streamer will receive a commission on that product. The commission rate for Amazon is standard and can be seen below.

For most products that streamers promote they will call into the PC components with 2.50%. Although, many streamers do promote Amazon coins as they can be used for game purchases such as Hearthstone where they earn 10% commission on all coins that are brought.

How Much Money Do Twitch Streamers Make?

There is no ceiling to how much streamers are able to make – Tyler Blevins (Ninja) makes an estimated $500,000 a month.

Jeremy Wang (Disguised Toast), who is making $20,000 a month, broke down exactly how much and where Twitch streamer’s revenue comes from in an extremely in-depth YouTube video.

Paul Denino (Ice Poseidon) has shown months where he makes over $200,000 a month.

Although, he was banned from Twitch a few years ago and now lives on YouTube with 700K+ subscribers as of writing this.

As much as no one likes the answer – it depends.

If you’re a fresh streamer then you’re most likely going to be earning little to nothing.

Although once you begin to grow an audience then you are able to slowly build your income along with it.

Case Studies

TimTheTatMan

TimTheTatMan is a famous Twitch and YouTube star who has built a mass following of close to 5 million followers across YouTube and Twitch.

His primary sources of revenue are donations, Twitch subscriptions, advertising and sponsorships.

Here is Tim making $4000 in half an hour from donations. Wow.

We are able to do some basic calculations to get an estimate of how much Tim is able to earn from each of his different channels.

Having a look at his Social Blade we can see that he is averaging about 320,000 views a day on YouTube.

The cost per mille (CPM) that creators are paid on YouTube ranges from about $2-$5. 

There is a range of factors that influence how much this will be such as content type, advertisers bids on the placements and click-through-rate of the advertisement.

With 320,000 impressions a day on ads he would be making $640 a day with Google Adsense. That’s $230,000 per year if he receives a $2 CPM as well as assuming that there is no channel growth(which is extremely unlikely). 

Twitch subscriptions are another huge revenue source for Tim.

Viewers are able to pay $5 a month to be subscribed to a Twitch channel. This will give the user perks such as badges, emotes, engagement in ‘sub-only’ chats and the ability to watch the stream ad-free.

Top-tier Twitch partners earn 70% of the revenue generated from a user subscribing. That’s $3.50 for every subscription.

As of writing this TIm has about 58,000 subscribers – that comes to a whopping $203,000 a month.

Another revenue source that we are unable to estimate is his affiliate earnings.

A lot of Twitch streamers will put affiliate links to products that they use, most often Amazon Associates. 

Here is an example of his Twitch panel below to give you an example.

People who use these links will earn a commission every time someone clicks on one of those links and then buy from Amazon within 24 hours.

It’s actually one of the methods that this site makes an income.

Payouts do vary depending on the product and the cost of it but for most Twitch streamers they will be linking computer peripherals.

These typically pay out a commission of about 2.5% which means if someone buys a $1000 GPU then they will earn $25.

There are more income sources where he is also making money such as brand deals where the exact income for these is rarely shared with the audience.

Sodapoppin

Sodapoppin is another old school streamer who started back in the day with World Of Warcraft PvPs and PvE streams. He has accrued over 285,000,000 Twitch channel views and over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers. These days he streams pretty much anything from games to mailbox openings.

In 2017 he accidentally revealed that he had been donated $230K+ although that’s not really a surprise seeing that he is one of the largest Twitch streamers out there.

We can also do some basic calculations to estimate he’s monthly income from revenue streams such as ad revenue and subscriptions with a quick look at his Socialblade.

At the time of writing this, he received 3.56 million monthly reviews – with a $2 CPM that is $7120/month from Google Adsense.

He also has 10K+ Twitch subscribers which is roughly $35,000/month for subs.

Similar to TimTheTatMan – there are many other revenue streams that the public will not know as streamers keep these figures undisclosed.

[2020] How To Change Twitch Username

[2020] How To Change Twitch Username

Finally!

We are now able to change our names on Twitch.

Whether you are looking to change your identity or whether you want to rebrand – you now can, and pretty easily at that.

How To Change Your Twitch Username

You will first need to log into Twitch and headover to your profile settings..

Scroll down next to Username and you will see a pencil icon to change your username

You will then be taken to a page where you are able to enter your new username.

A couple of things to note:

  • You are only able to update your username ever 60 days.
  • When you change usernames Twitch will hold it for 6-months – you may want to go back to it later. If not it will be free for anyone to pick up.
  • If someone changes their username you aren’t able to go and pick it up straight away – Twitch said so themselves.
  • Changing your user name may result in you losing your streamer stats – be sure to download them before you change your name.
  • There is no redirection put in place for your old channel URL – this means that if you have links in your social media or on your channel, you will need to update these.
Twitch Partner vs Affiliate: What It Means & Which Is Better?

Twitch Partner vs Affiliate: What It Means & Which Is Better?

If you are currently streaming on Twitch you would be aware that there are a number of statuses that you can have. Depending on how established a broadcaster is will depend on whether you’re a partner or affiliate.

You will want to become a partner if you want to take advantage of all of the benefits that are on offer for gaining partner status.

What Is An Affiliate Partner?

A Twitch affiliate allows broadcasters to begin making an income on Twitch through a variety of channels such as bits, subscriptions and commission on sales of games through the Twitch platform.

How much do Twitch affiliate partners earn?

As an affiliate partner, you are eligible to make revenue from bits – this is when someone purchases them from Twitch and then ‘cheers’ you. Affiliates make $0.01 per bit that is cheered.

Subscription payouts vary depending on which tier the user purchases as there are 3 levels – $4.99, $9.99 and $24.99. Affiliates earn 50% of the subscription that users purchase which means that if a viewer subscribes to a $9.99 tier then the broadcaster would earn about $5.

Twitch affiliates will also 5% commission on games that they sell through the Twitch platform.

Minimum requirements for becoming an affiliate partner

In order to become an affiliate, you will need to complete the ‘Path to Affiliate’ achievement which can be found in your Twitch dashboard.

The minimum requirements for becoming an affiliate aren’t hard to achieve and can be done by acquiring: 

  • 50 followers
  • 500 total minutes broadcasted
  • 7 unique broadcast days
  • Average 3 concurrent viewers

How To Sign Up For The Affiliate Program

Once you have met all of the requirements and completed the Path To Affiliate achievement in your dashboard you will be sent an invitation. There is no application for that you need to complete – sit tight.

It is the precursor to becoming a Twitch Partner which comes with even more benefits.

What Is A Twitch Partner?

The Twitch Partner program is similar to the affiliate program although it comes with added benefits while also having a higher barrier to entry. Some of the primary benefits are ad revenue, better direct support from Twitch and custom emotes.

How much do Twitch partners earn?

The monetization is extremely similar to affiliate partners.

Partners will have a revenue share with channel subscriptions although top tier partners can make up to 70% of the subscription revenue. This means that for every $5 subscription the broadcaster will make $3.50 rather than what affiliates make – $2.50.

Bits can also be donated – the conversion rate for bits to dollars remains the same which is $0.01 for 1 bit.

The biggest benefit is the ability to make revenue from ads. The amount a partner will get paid vary depending how often the broadcaster chooses to show ads to their viewers. Disguised Toast says he averages 10,000 concurrent viewers, never hits the ad button (only shows the ads when a viewer first comes to the stream) and makes $4,000. This is totally dependent on your frequency and viewer volume.

Of course there are other revenue channels which any streamer can take advantage of with no requirements of any partnerships with Twitch such as:

  • Sponsorships
  • Brand deals
  • Donations through streaming platforms such as Streamlabs OBS

Additional benefits of being a Twitch Partner

Partners will be able to gain some game changing benefits which will both improve the quality of your stream through extra features and support:

Channel customization:

  • Custom chat badges – give viewers custom badges based on how many months they have been subscribed to you. This encourages returning subscribers to boost revenue.
  • Custom emoticons – have up to 50 custom emoticons (dependent on subscriber points you have) for your viewers to use in the chat.
  • Custom emoticon prefix.
  • Custom bit badges and cheermotes.
  • Verified user badge which will increase your credibility to new viewers.
  • Free lifetime channel subscription for your chatbot – this is extremely helpful for greater functionality.
  • Up to 3 free lifetime channel subscriptions for anyone you choose.

Video-On-Demand

  • As a partner you will have VODs stored for 60 days – this is 14 days for affiliates. This will allow you to playback and save clips for a longer amount of time if you need to go back to previous streams.
  • Reruns and premieres – you will have the ability to broadcast previous streams and show new videos to viewers.

Channel Support

  • Partners have dedicated support teams where they can access Partner Help and have responses in 1-2 business days.
  • Create ‘stream teams’

Other Benefits

  • Priority access to special promotional opportunities – Partner Spotlights, Meet & Greets, Partner Panels and more.
  • Gain full access to transcoding to ensure that you have the highest quality stream. While affiliates only have access to transcoding bandwidth ‘as available’, partners will have full access to transcoding.
  • Stream delay – gain the ability to delay your stream up to 15 minutes to avoid stream snipers.

Minimum requirements for becoming a Twitch partner

Similar to becoming a Twitch affiliate, you will be required to complete an achievement in your Twitch dashboard. This consists of:

  • Stream for 25 hours in the last 30 days
  • Stream for 12 unique days in the last 30 days
  • Reach 75 average viewers in the last 30 days

You will first become a Twitch affiliate before later becoming a partner.

How To Sign Up For The Partner Program

Once you have the minimum requirements to become a partner, you will then need to submit an application.

To submit the application you will need to do so in your Twitch dashboard and will only appear when you’re eligible.

All applications are reviewed manually which means you’ll have a Twitch employee reviewing your channel so make sure everything is up to scratch before you do apply. This takes about 7 business days where you will then have a decision whether you are going to be made a partner or not.

Note: just because you have the minimum requirements to become a partner doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to be made one. You may need to do a little more work before they approve you.

Conclusion

It is much better to be a Twitch Partner rather than a Twitch affiliate as you will be able to gain access to all of the additional benefits.

Becoming a Twitch affiliate is a stepping stone to becoming a Twitch partner and so you will need to complete the first set of achievements before you should focus on completing the Path To Partner achievement path.

(Ultimate Guide) Watch Ads And Earn Free Bits On Twitch

(Ultimate Guide) Watch Ads And Earn Free Bits On Twitch

Everyone wants to support their favorite streamer but… it can be expensive.

You can either purchase bits or you can sit through an advertisement in order to get them credited to your account (anywhere between 1 – 5 per ad viewed).

Luckily Twitch will let you earn bits by watching ads on your favorite streamer’s channel.

Wild4Games

How To Watch Ads For Bits

  1. Log in to Twitch – it’s available on all platforms – PC, Mac, tablet or mobile. Generally, you will farm more bits on desktop so I’d recommend doing it on your computer.
  1. Navigate to a stream of your choice.

3) Click the bits icon at the bottom of the chat.

4) Click ‘Get Bits’

5) Click the ‘Watch Ad’ button.

You’ll then have a pop-up window that will then play an ad.

Once the ad is completed you will then have bits credited to your account which you can then donate to whoever you like.

A Couple Of Things To Note

  • It will be an interactive ad just like most of the others on Twitch. Once it is completed you will then have the bits credited to your account.
  • You will only be able to watch a few ads a day – this is to prevent people from creating bots/scamming Twitch for an unlimited amount of bits – usually after 24 hours you’re good to watch ads again and earn your free bits.
  • You need to interact with ads in order to receive bits – make sure you do!
  • You are required to be in the United States in order to access this feature.

How Much Can You Really Earn From Watching Advertisements?

If we look at the cost of purchasing bits we can see that the more you purchase the cheaper they are.

Although, most people are going to opt into buying 1,000 bits as that’s a better balance of value, quantity, and price.

In this case, a bit costs 1.6c each.

If at most you are able to watch 5 ads per day and receive the most amount of bits possible you would have 25 bits.

This only equates to $0.40 for a couple of minutes of ad viewing.

It’s not a great deal in terms of time for bits, but, if you’re watching a stream and want to support the content creator then this method is totally a great way to earn free bits.

You could do this each day and eventually save up enough bits to donate and get a shoutout on stream!

Best Twitch Chatbot In 2020

Best Twitch Chatbot In 2020

As we covered in a previous article, a chatbot is a piece of software that will interact and create extra functionality in your stream.

These are used by all of the top streamers to give a better experience to their viewers.

Some of the features that most chatbots will have are commands, song requests, giveaways, timers, spam protection and more.

The main purpose of having it is to moderate and respond to commands that viewers type into chat.

This will allow you to focus more on the stream so that you don’t need to answer simple questions that are asked over and over.

There are also use cases for which will allow you to increase user engagement with promotional offers as it can put updates in chat. Eg. promo codes or links to affiliate sites.

From our experience the best chat to use is Nightbot.

This also happens to be the most popular used amongst Twitch streamers due to its ease of setup and all of the functionality that it comes with.

In this review, we are going to cover the top chatbots that are frequently used in streams so that you can find the best one that suits you!

For a quick breakdown of some of the chatbots that we’re going to cover here and more – I found a great overview of what each bot is able to do here. Thanks to Reddit user /u/dhamster

Nightbot

Nightbot is the most popular chatbot out there and is used by some of the biggest streamers out there such as Ninja.

You are able to see a list of the commands that he uses on his Twitch stream here.

Ease Of Setup

The setup process is quite simple for Nightbot.

Head over to Nightbot and sign-up. You’ll need to sign-up for either Twitch or YouTube (whichever one you’ll be streaming on will be the easiest).

Once you do this you will on the Nightbot dashboard.

You’ll then need to join your channel with it and give it the permissions it needs to operate in your stream.

To do this click the ‘Join Channel’ button in the top right of the dashboard.

The next steps will be different if you are connecting to YouTube or Twitch.

If you’re using Twitch you’ll be prompted to head to your Twitch channel and type /mod nightbot.

If you’re using YouTube you’ll need to add Nightbot as a moderator to your channel.

Features

The usability of Nightbot is comprehensive and comes with a load of in-built features as well as some customizability.

Commands – the software comes with both default and custom commands that will allow users to type in commands into chat and get information such as the current game that is being played or the ability to request songs.

You are able to change which users have the ability to use certain commands. This is handy if you have moderators in your stream and would like them to update information.

Cooldowns can be used so that users are limited to how often they can trigger commands.

Custom commands can be used to give information to users that they may often want such as your gaming setup.

For this, you could create a command that links to an information page with your setup.

Giveaways – this is a tool that can be used if you are doing giveaways on your channel.

With this tool, you are able to select who is eligible to win the prize from your viewers. For example, if you only want regular viewers to have the chance to win you can toggle other categories off.

You can also have different methods of users entering the giveaway such as being an active user, typing a keyword or random number.

Random number is probably the most fun way to hold a giveaway. The way this works is a number will be randomly generated and then the first user to type the number into the chat will win.

Song requests – this will allow users to request songs to play in the stream. This is great to increase user engagement with your chat.

Spam protection – this will time users out if they continue to spam the chat. You are able to customize the rules in order for a user to get timed out but it’s a great way to ensure that your chat isn’t overloaded with emotes.

Timers – make Nightbot put a message into the chat for a set about of time you define. For example, you may make it have a message every 10 minutes with a link to your website. Having automated messaging is a great way to push promotions or ger viewers to complete actions such as subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Streamlabs OBS Chatbot

Streamlabs OBS do have some of the best services out there in terms of tools for your stream and their chatbot is no exception.

It comes with a bundle of features that are useful and even more than Nightbot.

The only reason we don’t like to recommend Streamlabs OBS for a chatbot as much is that it is slightly more difficult for the setup process.

Other than that it has awesome integration within the Streamlabs OBS software. If you are already using Streamlabs as your streaming software then I would say that this is a better option for you.

But for most Twitch and YouTube streamers that are using OBS Studio then Nightbot would probably be a better option.

Ease Of Setup

Setting up this chatbot is slightly more tricky as it is running on on your computer rather than on the web.

I have created a detailed tutorial on how to setup Streamlabs’ chatbot in a previous article.

Basically, you are required to set up a separate Twitch channel which will then connect the chatbot to and then that channel will act as the chatbot.

You will also have to download the Streamlabs software in order to run it as it is not a web based software.

For another easy tutorial, I also found this video which is quite helpful.

Features

The chatbot comes with a ton of features which includes:

  • Chat
  • Commands
  • Timers
  • Giveaways
  • Quotes
  • Counters
  • SFX
  • Loyalty
  • Mini-games
  • Events
  • Sing requests
  • Queues
  • Notifications
  • Moderation
  • Cloud
  • Hotkeys/macros
  • OBS functionality
  • HTML5 overlays

Some of these are the exact same as mentioned in Nightbot so I won’t re-explain their functionaility.

One of these biggest benefits of using Streamlab’s chatbot is that it works cohessively with all of the other functionailities in the software.

If you are already using their software with all of their widgets such as alert boxes and media sharing then you can easily set the bot to work alongside everything else in the software.

There is OBS Studio integration but it is a bit more difficult to set up.

My favourite command that is inbuilt is the !clip command. This allows users to easily clip your stream.

Mootbot

Mootbot has extremely similar functionality to Nightbot. It does come with a bunch of free features although if you’d like to unlock more than 25 custom commands or unlock the ability when new users join.

Ease Of Setup

This chatbot has an extremely similar setup process to Nightbot.

For a detail overview of what you are able to do and how to set up Mootbot, you can check out this YouTube tutorial.

Features

Mootbot has an awesome dashboard.

It comes with some pretty standard features for free.

This includes commands, spam filtering ect.

There’s nothing super special here but you may prefer Mootbot’s interface over the other as it’s super easy to navigate and use.

Can You Use Multiple Chatbots At The Same Time?

You are able to use multiple chatbots at the same time. For example, you may want to use the spam filtering feature in Mootbot while holding giveaways with Nightbot.

After some testing, you are going to find that you like some features in one piece of software in another and it is handy to have a couple set up.

This is totally fine and all you need to do is set up and connect the chatbots that you want to your channel.

With this said, remember that the more tools that you are going to be managing. The whole point of having a chatbot is to make your job easier and remove the task of manually moderating people or giving information to the stream.

Summary

Chatbots are an awesome tool to automate moderation and complete tasks much easier on stream.

The main reason you would use it is so that you can focus more on your stream and less on controlling the chat.

With useful tools such as commands, timers, and giveaways you are able to enhance your stream with just a little bit of set up.

Let us know which chatbot you use and which features have improved your stream the most!

Resource List

Here are some additional resources that may help you in finding the best chatbot for you!

Gaming Careers (Nightbot)

HeyItsTerryTV (Streamlabs OBS)

Complete Audio Setup Guide For Twitch

Complete Audio Setup Guide For Twitch

It takes 10 seconds for someone to come to your stream and have a complete opinion of you.

It sounds unfair, but that’s the reality of the world that we live in with people having the attention spans of goldfish.

There are key components to a live stream – video and audio.

If you’re falling behind with poor audio then you are going to struggle as a live streamer.

In this article we’re going to show you step-by-step how to get the best sounding audio for your stream.

Let’s start with why good audio is important.

Why Audio Is Important

Who is your favourite live streamer? I bet you look at their setup with envy and wonder how they get the production value the way they do.

I can say that my favourite streamer is TimTheTatMan (many will disagree but stay with me).

Listen to 15 seconds of the clip above and you might have an indication to why he has over a million YouTube subscribers, 3,264,106 Twitch followers and over 115,000,000 channel views.

It has a lot to do with quality.

While just having a good looking and sounds stream won’t make you the next Ninja, it’s a massive component to maintaining viewer retention.

A great audio setup is something that is going to cost you a few dollars but it will have a massive effect on the long term performance of your streams.

Examples of Good Audio

Before we dive into all the nitty-gritties of having great audio, let’s go through some examples of great audio!

Now audio just isn’t used for streaming – it’s used for high production content such as TV and radio.

With today’s technology it’s not difficult to get an audio setup that sounds just as good as the professionals for not a lot of money.

Let’s take one of the greatest radio hosts of all time – Howard Stern.

He uses a Neumann TLM 103 Microphone which is something that you can buy right. Have a listen to it and see what you think.

While that microphone is pricey for the average streamer we can replicate the sounds pretty great with some less expensive, professional devices.

Some of the microphones that are used by some of the big-time streamers (in case you’re interested)

As you can see these are relatively cheaper microphones to those that are used by professional radio hosts and output A+ audio.

Let’s get into a basic audio setup that is going to get you on par with these top streamers.

The Basic Setup

We’re going to cover the different aspects of a complete audio setup so that you know what to look for when shopping for your own.

XLR vs USB

There are basically two types of connections that you are able to get for your microphones – XLR and USB connections.

USB microphones are great for their simplicity and ease of use as you don’t need any other hardware to process the audio, although, they do not always output the best quality.

Often the integrated amps in these microphones are lower quality which brings down the audio quality and sometimes cause electrical sounds to be in the output.

Don’t get me wrong, some USB microphones can sound just as good as XLR microphones although you are limited by the mixing capabilities.

XLR setups are what are used in professional audio setups – such as the Howard Stern mic as mentioned above along with all of the other streamers.

To have an XLR setup, you will need an audio interface which you will plug your microphone into and then plug the interface into your computer.

The audio interface is often a mixing board or mixer – this converts analogue sounds into digital and usually connect via USB.

Consider it the ‘control center’ of your audio.

These will also give you the greatest control of the sounds of your audio and looks something like this.

This will allow you to equalize, control sounds ceiling and mix the bass/treble/gain/sensitivity of your microphone and usually plug in multiple mics into the single interface (this is handy if you’re streaming with more than just yourself and have 2 microphones).

Just having the XLR connection does not automatically mean that it is going to sounds better than a USB microphone – you’ll need to buy a great microphone to create a better sounds than a USB microphone.

Having a XLR connection will also allow you to upgrade and replace components of your audio setup at a later time whereas if you had a USB microphone you would just replace the entire device.

Audio Interfaces & Mixers

Now that we’ve established that XLR connections will provide you with superior audio quality to that of a USB microphone – which audio interface do you use?

An audio interface is what will convert the analogue single that comes from your microphone with an XLR connection to a digital signal which will them plug into your computer, usually through USB.

A mixer is what takes different audio inputs (microphones, music, PC, game sounds, consoles ect) and mixes them together to give you a final output. This can also have a USB output as well.

For the purposes of streaming, you will not need a mixer – you’re just going to be speaking over the top of game play sound and music, not doing professional voice overs. Don’t overkill it for no reason.

To prevent compatibility issues with Windows 10 drivers, I suggest that you you recieve the audio into your PC via a blue link in jack.

The back of your PC will most likely have a green, pink and blue 3.5mm jack input that looks like this.

Plugging in the audio into this jack will prevent issues with OBS Studio.

You may still run into different noise interferences but that is entire different subject with the countless methods of troubleshooting audio devices.

Our Recommendation – Behringer XENYX X1832

While this is an area where you can write an entire novel on which mixer you can use, we’ll make a simple recommendation that will have you set for all your streaming needs, for now and in the future.

This mixer comes with

  • 6 studio compressors
  • 18 inputs
  • 3-Band EQs
  • 24-bit multi-FX processor
  • XLR input and output
  • Connects to your computer via USB or line outs
  • Rack mounts

Types Of Microphones

Now that we have the audio interface it’s time to pick a microphone which is going to plug into the mixer!

There is an entire industry that is dedicated to the perfection of audio quality although as a Twitch streamer you don’t really need to worry about it too much.

Just for a quick overview there are dynamic microphones and condenser microphones.

Dynamic Microphones

A dynamic microphone works with 3 main components – diaphragm, voice coil and magnet.

When sound waves hit the diaphragm it vibrates the voice coil. When the voice coil vibrates within the magnetic field, the audio signals are then converted into electrical signals – these are interpreted by the audio interface.

These are the microphones that you hear most radio hosts using – they have that ‘radio host’ sound to them.

Condenser Microphones

A condenser microphone also has 3 components although these are – a back plate, diaphragm and diaphragm case.

When sound waves hit the diaphragm it moves back and forth towards and away from the back plate which then translates the sound signals into electrical signals – these are also translated by your audio interface.

These microphones will pick up sound from wherever you are standing in front of the mic.

Dynamic mics will only sound clear if you are directly in front of them.

Our Recommendation – Shure SM7B

This is a dynamic microphone which is going to better for you as a streamer because:

  • It is durable
  • It’s great at drowning out background noise
  • It can handle very loud noises (which most streamers make)
  • Sounds professional for that ‘radio host’ sound

This is the microphone that Shroud uses for his live streams and sounds great! Have a listen.

Pop Filters

You’ve probably seen those black foam looking things in front of stream’s microphones – these are pop filters.

They’re used to prevent air hitting the microphone when you speak.

A type of these often come on gaming headset mics and are used for the same reason, so you’re breathing doesn’t come through Xbox party chat.

If you didn’t use one of these you would constantly hear popping and booming sounds from when you pronounce difference words starting with ‘p’ or ‘f.

These aren’t expensive at all and any pop filter will increase your audio output significantly.

Check this one out.

Boom Arms

This is an accessory that is extremely handy and makes holding the microphone in place much simpler.

It is going to suspend your microphone from whatever you hand it off so that it isn’t directly on your desk.

This is great because you don’t want to be hunched over your desk trying to get close enough to your microphone so you can hear it – this will make it so your microphone sits in front of your face.

These are fair cheap and will improve your streaming experience ten fold.

The one that I use is the Neewer Advanced NW-35 which does just the job!

It’s compatible with almost all microphones – just double check that it will connect to yours.

One end of the device will clamp to your desk which then rotates and swings around – the other side has another clap that connects your microphone to the stand.

This isn’t an essential tool to but it just makes life that much easier and you’ll thank yourself later for snatching it up.

Desk Stands

If you don’t want a swinging boom arm then I suggest just a simple desk stand.

They’re not as expensive and allows you to get your mic off the desk and into something secure.

For this we recommend that you get the Neewer Microphone Desk Stand.

It’ll run you about $25 and clamps onto your desk.

It’s great because of how mobile it is and hooks up to all microphones – XLR and USB microphones.

Shock Mounts

Shock mounts are used to reduce unwanted sounds from your microphone moving.

If you’re constantly moving around while you’re streaming then you’re going to bump your microphone here and there.

With a shock mount you will significantly reduce the feedback when the mic is touched, moved or bumped.

Whether you’re swinging your boom arm away from you to get up or accidently bump your entire desk, this is a great way to reduce unwanted sounds.

It connects to a desk stand or a boom arm at the end where the microphone connects to the device.

Once you set it up, if you bump the desk or stand by accident there will be almost no feedback.

Acoustic Foam

If you have had experience with audio you may have found that echo and reverb can be a big problem.

This is due to sound waves bouncing of nearby surfaces.

To fix this you need to fill your recording space with different things to absorb the sound waves.

The easiest thing for this would be to have more furniture in the room.

If you already have a complete studio then add rugs and curtains which can prevent echoing.

To complete the set up – add acoustic foam to your walls which do not have anything on them.

You would have seen these in other people’s streaming setups which are usually placed behind your gaming monitor (in front of you).

The reason for this is that by putting acoustic foam in the direction that you are speaking, it will absorb the sound waves instead of bouncing off the wall.

These are also relatively cheap from Amazon or eBay.

For installation just use 2 sided velcro – as they are light they will easily attach to these.

Budget Microphones For Streamers

If you’re not quite ready to commit to a professional audio setup then we have provided some great alternatives to get you started for a much more reasonable price.

Tonor TN12326

You can pick this up for about $10 and is a condenser microphone. It uses a 3.5mm jack and comes with small stand to hold it into place. It’s super portable and plug n’ play if you’re often on the move.

Neewer NW-800

For $20 you can get yourself a studio microphone. It uses a XLR to 3.5mm connection, a foam cover and shock mount. It’s even gold plated!

Floureon BM-800

At the $30 mark we recommend this condenser microphone. It also uses a XLR to 3.5mm audio jack, shock mount and windscreen.

Blue Snowball iCE

If you have $50 this microphone is great. It has to be the most famous affordable mic. It connects to your computer via PC and after testing it I’ll say that it’s pretty good but not amazing. It comes with a tripod which is a bonus.

Hessaneiser Lavalier

This is a lav mic so will act a bit different as it will connect to your shirt (or hold it) and connects via 3.5mm audio jack. It’s  a decent price for what it is and also can connect to your phone, if that interests you.

Microphone Settings For OBS Studio

Connect your microphone to your PC and boot up OBS – before we start make sure that you have your microphone selected in OBS – you will be able to tell as the Mic/Aux bar will fill with green when you make sound.

To selected the correct microphone click the gear icon next to Mic/Aux under Mixer > Properties and then select your device.

Noise Suppression

This will prevent your microphone from picking up background noise that you don’t want to come through.

This is especially helpful if you have a lot of street noise or fan noise coming from your PC.

To toggle this click the gear icon next to the Mic/Aux under Mixer > Filters. A new window will pop up.

If you haven’t toggled anything on this screen just yet then this will have nothing in it.

In the bottom left hand corner click the + icon and select Noise Suppression.

Add a name and click OK.

There are now default noise suppression settings applied to your microphone -30dB.

You will need to adjust this according to your microphone. Every’s mic is different so it may take some playing around with.

Noise Gate

Noise gate will make it so that your microphone doesn’t take in any sound while you aren’t speaking.

This is done by setting a minimum sound level that needs to be made in order for your microphone to playback a sound.

This means that there will be complete silence from your microphone while you aren’t speaking.

Again, click the + in the bottom left hand corner of the Filters window and select Noise Gate.

Name the filter and select OK – you will have the default settings applied to your microphone straight away.

In the window you will see all of the settings that you can toggle for this filter.

Close Threshold (dB): the level at which your microphone will mute itself – if the noise level gets below this your mic will not playback sound.

Open Threshold (dB): this is the level at which your microphone will be unmuted – you will playback sound fi the noise goes above this threshold.

Attack Time (milliseconds): the amount of time needed for a noise to be active in order for the microphone to start taking in sound.

Hold Time (milliseconds): the amount of time that the microphone will stay active after you stop speaking.

Release time (milliseconds): the amount of time that the OBS filter takes to mute your microphone – makes the transition between active and muted mics sound more natural.

To configure these correctly you want to look at your Mixer on the OBS home dashboard and talk into your microphone. Get a rough idea of at what dB your voice makes when you’re talking.

You;ll want to set the close threshold above the noise volume and the oen threshold just below your voice level.

If you find that you’re not outputting sound while you’re talking then you will need to lower the open threshold.

If your microphone isn’t going silent when you stop speaking then you will need to increase the close threshold.

Playaround with these until you find a sweet spot.

While you are toggling these settings, speak at the level that you normally speak when you stream.

Compressor

The compressor will turn down the input volume for those times where the volume is raised (eg. screaming cause you just got a 360 no scope). It will prevent distortion and save your viewer’s eardrums if they are wearing headphones.

Again, in the Filter window go to the + in the bottom left hand corner and select Compressor.

These settings are highly dependent of your setup, voice, microphone, environment ect.

Ratio (x:1): the amount of compression to apply when the volume limit is set.

Threshold (dB): the threshold at which the compression will begin to work.

Attack (ms): how quickly the compressor will take effect once it does detect high volumes.

Release (ms): how quickly the compressor volume will return back to normal once volume goes below the threshold.

To best test this out – raise the volume of your voice to what you might think it could be while streaming.

This does take a while to setup but is a must!

Gain

This will allow you to boost the volume of your microphone.

To add a gain filter click the + in the bottom left hand corner of the Filters window and select Gain.

Name the filter and select OK.

Toggle this to your liking – don’t increase it too much as I found it often distorts the output.

[Streamlabs OBS Tutorial] Stream Games to Facebook Live

[Streamlabs OBS Tutorial] Stream Games to Facebook Live

Streaming games to Facebook Live is now super simple and can be set up along side your broadcasts on other platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

Facebook have seen a huge rise in the popularity of gaming on Facebook that they have now released Facebook Gaming.

Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) have released Facebook integration that is now in-built to their application that uses an API so that you are able to stream straight from the app.

The benefit of this is that you are able to use all of the features that Streamlabs OBS offers such as widgets, alerts, overlays, donations, face masks and all of the other functionality that comes with it.

Why Use Streamlabs OBS For Facebook Live?

If you’re new to streaming or even to SLOBS, Streamlabs is becoming a leader for streaming software as it is extremely user friendly and has countless features built into the application.

This will give you more variety with less headache. Some of the unique features that are in-built to the SLOBS software are:

Alerts – when viewers complete valuable actions such as follow, subscribe or donate to your stream, they will have their name appear on the stream for everyone to see.

Overlays – have pre-made and pre-built professional layouts that can be easily installed via the SLOBS app. This will come with already made themes that will improve your production value.

Receive donations – when you’re using SLOBS you will be able to receive donations directly through the app – you are then able to withdraw your donations via PayPal.

Engagement tools – SLOBS is all about increasing viewer engagements (this is one of the most important factors to a successful stream). Use tools such as Stream Boss, facemasks and wheel spins to encourage viewers to interact with your stream.

How To Stream Games To Facebook Live

  1. Download Streamlabs OBS here – once installed login via Facebook.

2. Click the ‘Go Live’ button at the bottom of the application.

3. Enter broadcast information – this will be a gaming category, stream title and description. This is the same process if you were starting a stream on Twitch or YouTube.

4. Confirm and Go Live!

In order to stream games to Facebook Live you will need to have a page set up – currently personal profiles are not supported for streaming via SLOBS.

Facebook Integrations

There are quite a few handy integrations within the software that will help improve your stream.

Embedded chat – similar to have a chat box on your screen, this feature will make it so that viewers of the stream will be able to see the chat. This is great for viewers for when they watch the broadcast post-stream. As the chat will be on screen everyone can see!

Autofill stream information – this will make starting streams even fast if you’re in a rush. It will pull info from your scheduled or past stream and set it as the information on your current stream. This is helpful if you always use a similar stream title.

Automated notifications – streamers are only able to hold a live stream for up to 4 hours. SLOBS has an in-built feature that will notify you when you are approaching this limit. This will allow for a much smoother stream as you can plan a head.

Stream scheduling – if you have scheduled a stream, Facebook will automatically create a notification for people who are following you page and notify them that you’re stream will be starting soon. It’s always handy to have a reminder for views, especially directly in their news feed where they can’t miss it.

Facebook specific alerts (coming soon) – when this feature is released you will be able to display people who comment, like or share your lie steam on screen. This is another tool to increase engagement and spread the reach of your stream. Facebook users trust their friends the most when it comes to recommending content!

Alternatives To Streamlabs OBS

There is a huge selection of streaming software which you can use.

We’re broken down why we prefer SLOBS to platforms such as OBS Studio and XSplit.

In short, Streamlabs is built on top of OBS Studio. This means that the underlying technology is the same except you have all of the added benefits of having 1-click installations for a range of features (as listed above).

If you did want to stray away from what we recommend then we certainly suggest that you go with OBS Studio – it’s a very user friendly and free piece of software.

Not to mention the amount of resources that are out there for how to help get you started.

I used to use the software and could get a really nice looking output at 900p 60fps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBNffU4qHuw

Should You Stream Games To Facebook Live?

Facebook has recently realised in recent times how valuable video games streams can be to a platform as more than 500,000 people are regularly watching video games streams.

After Twitch has grown to massive amounts of revenue, Facebook are now encouraging broadcasters to stream on their platform.

This is great if you’re a streamer with a following as you will be able to gain access to paid deals.

You are also able to supplement paid deals with donations from viewers which is a large slice of most streamer’s revenue on Twitch and YouTube.

Money aside, Facebook has billions of users which is a benefit if you’re just starting out as there is a discovery mechanism for users to find your stream.

As this is fairly new to the platform, if you do decide to stream on Facebook, you will be getting into the opportunity early. You may even have the same advantage that streamers who started on justin.tv had before it became Twitch.

Bringing It All Together

You are now able to easily stream games to Facebook Live via Streamlabs OBS.

With the click of a few buttons you can link you Facebook page to SLOBS and begin streaming.

By using SLOBS you will have the added benefit of all the in-built functionality that Streamlabs offers.

As this is such a new feature that now gives broadcasters the ability to go live straight to Facebook, no one is quite sure if it will match Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

Best Stream Deck 2020 (Elgato)

Best Stream Deck 2020 (Elgato)

 
Pros Cons
✓ Saves streamers loads of times with short cuts. x Not an absolute essential to have as an amature streamer.
✓ Increases the production value of a stream. x There are cheaper alternatives.
✓ Makes tedious tasks that you do every stream simple.
✓ Great UI and easy to set up.
The Elgato Stream Deck is a device which has 15 programmable keys that allow you to seamlessly control different aspects of your stream with the touch of a button. These buttons are made up of small LCD screens which means that you can map different images and functions to them. With the ability to map hotkeys to the device you will find yourself saving a lot of time and energy by not having to manually go into software to control it. Instead, you are able to preconfigure all of the control before you start your stream and then while you’re live you won’t have to stop what you’re doing to complete actions. For example, if you are in a pre-game screen which League Of Legends has, you may want to switch between scenes while you are on this screen and then switch back to a different scene when the game commences. Here is an example of creating a ‘be right back’ scene button.
You can do this by mapping different hotkeys with OBS Studio, Streamlabs or XSplit. Aside from switching scenes you will able to have control over volume, application shortcuts, post to Twitter, comment in chat, turn your facecam on and off, mute/unmute your microphone and heaps more. Recently, Elagto have released a SDK for the stream deck which will mean that developers can now submit their own use cases for the deviice to the Elgato app store. This is going to mean that there will be unlimited uses for this device as developers slowly start rolling out their creations. Another super handy feature we use the device for is to act as a monitor for important information such as CPU and GPU usage, amount of viewers on your stream or any other relevant information to you.

Features

Pre-Made Drag & Drop

This device was built with streamers in mind. This means that they have integrated all of the primary programs that most streamers use directly into the software that do not require any set up aside from logging into accounts and dropping the action onto a key. These integrations include Twitch, Twitter, OBS Studio, Streamlabs, game capture devices, TipeeeStream, Mixer, XSplit, YouTube, multimedia and more.

Easy Switching

The Elgato Stream Deck integrates seamlessly with OBS, Streamlabs OBS, Twitch and countless APIs. The biggest benefit we have found from the device is having the ability to switch between scenes in OBS Studio. Rather than going into the program and manually switch between scenes you are able to assign a button to select scenes and then hit the button on the deck and change to it. If you think about the amount of times that you switch between scenes in a single live streaming session then this will save you a lot of time as well as increase your production quality. Aside from switching between scenes, you can also use the device to switch between cameras – this is toggled within the Elgato software.

Customisation

The physical device is made up of 15 buttons although you are able to have more shorts within the stream deck. You can create folders which you can fill with even more shortcuts which means that you can control everything you need to with this. Custom hotkeys are also able to be set up so that you can map any macro to a button which can be toggled on and off. These hotkeys can be either to control a program, open up an application or complete an action in software. You can even customize every icon that displays on the screen with Elgato’s Icon Generator so you can create the exact image that you want to display on the buttons.

It’s Not Just For Streaming

As Elgato have integrated so many different features into the stream deck you are able to use it outside for streaming functionality. For example, if you are a heavy video editor which we most are when cutting up our live streamings for uploadable content, you can set hotkeys for Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X to control the program. The one that I find myself using most often is to mix audio levels. I have created a hotkey to set the volume of audio to -15% which is super handy because I no longer have to click the tiny audio line to drag it down – super handy!

Setting It Up With OBS Studio

Since OBS is the main streaming software that most streamers use we’ll show you just how easy it is to integrate OBS and the Elgato Stream Deck. For media – first drag and drop your media files into OBS.
Next we’re going to tie these media files to buttons. Drag a Source action from under the OBS tab in the Elgato software onto a button.
Highlight the button you just dragged in in the lower third of the software under Source, select the media you want to control. That’s it! Now when you press the button on your stream deck the media will begin playing. Be sure to press the button once the media has finished playing otherwise it will either loop or freeze at the last from. For changing scenes – dragg the scene toggle onto one of the buttons in the Elgato software. Then once you highlight the button you will be able to select which scene you want the button to change to. Be sure to label/create icons for these so that when you are using them it’s super simple to know what button switches to which scene.

Product Support

Even though the Elgato Stream Deck was released in 2017, it is still a great purchase for the 2019 streamer. The key reason for this is the continued support for the device almost two years later. As mentioned before Elgato have just released a SDK (software development kit) so that users can create extra functionality for the device. This SDK will give third parties the ability to create plugins for the device and expand the use cases for the product. Previously Elgato relied on community feedback for them to make additions or changes to the functionality of the device. Now, anyone is able to download the SDK and create their own applications for the device. These plugins will live in an Elgato app store where uses can easily install the features that third party developers create.
An example of a new feature that has come from developers is voice modulation. You are now able to apply voice changers from the stream deck with the push of a button – you can see this YouTube video of it in action.

Is This Product For You?

There are two things that will make or break this product for you and it really depends on your use case for the device. Firstly, are you an amature streamer that is just getting started with no gear? This will be a nice-to-have product later down the line once you have the rest of your setup already. While it is great to have there are many other devices that would be much more useful for new streamers such as a game capture card, a good facecam and a complete desktop PC setup. This should be an addition that you add to your streaming setup a little further down the line. Secondly, do you stream enough to justify having it in your set up. If you’re a hobbyist streamer that only streamers every so often then perhaps this isn’t for you. The device isn’t cheap and does take a little time to set up. For this reason you need to be streaming often enough to justify the cost and time investment it takes to set this device up. I’d say that if you’re streaming at least twice a week consistently and are making some revenue through your streams then this is 100% the correct purchase for you. You will improve the production of your stream as you can seamlessly complete actions without interrupting your stream.
Image result for elgato sdk

Alternatives

As we are aware this isn’t the cheapest product on the market, but it is the best. If you’d like a similar product that is less expensive with similar functionality then we are these:

Elgato Stream Deck Mini

This is the little brother to the Elgato Stream Deck. It offers all of the same functionality as the regular device although it only has 6 buttons. This may even be a prefered product if you don’t find that you’ll need that many shortcuts as you will still be able to utalise the nested folders function to have more of the hotkeys. The mini also comes in at a much lower price as the regular device!

Razer Orbweaver Chroma

This device has the ability to assign many more hotkeys as there are 30 programmable keys. It is slightly more costly than the mini stream deck and it doesn’t have any any LCD screens which can be programmed. It is a bit more difficult to map exactly what you want to this device’s hotkeys as the UI for this isn’t the easiest I’ve used. This device is mainly used for games which require a lot of macros like World Of Warcraft or League of Legends – still usable though with a stream if you want to have complete control over everything.

Novation MK2 Launchpad Mini

This is a simple MIDI controller that you can use with your computer to assign hotkeys to which will allow you to add shortcuts to. This is a much more cost efficient, less pretty way to have similar functionality to the stream deck without breaking the bank. Set up is a bit of a nightmare but it can be done! These controllers are designed for music creation but can also be used for other purposes when set up correctly – like streaming on Twitch!

Deckboard

This is a free app that will allow you to assign macros to your phone which can be used to control your PC. This is the ultimate budget stream deck if you’d like to just try and see if a stream deck is something that you would get a lot of use out of. After trying to use this for a few hours I didn’t find it to be that great of an experience but it does have some of the same functionality as the other device. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.