What Is Stream Delay?

Stream delay is a feature that is used to increase stream latency to increase the amount of time it takes for your stream to reach viewers.

You can also decrease stream delay to ultra-low latency if you want to have instant responses with your viewers.

Why Use it?

It is also often use to increase the delay of video delivery so that it’s difficult for viewers to have negative effects on your stream. For example, ‘stream sniping’ is a common issue that streamers have when broadcasting competitive games.

How To Add Or Reduce Stream Delay

You can alter the amount of stream delay with a few different methods depending on your software or streaming platform:

  • Directly in Twitch by going to your Dashboard > Live > scroll down to Stream Delay and set a time there.
  • In YouTube by starting a live stream > Stream Options > Stream Optimizations.
  • In OBS Studio by going File > Settings > Advanced > Enable Stream Delay.
  • In Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) by going Settings > Advanced > Enable Stream Delay.
  • In XSplit by opening XSplit Gamecaster > Settings > Stream Settings gear icon ⚙ > check the Stream Delay box and enter the amount of seconds.

When Should You Use It?

You should take advantage of increased or decreased latency when you either want to increase instant interaction with your stream or reduce the chances of viewers messing with your stream.

Ultra Low Latency Streaming (Twitch)

Twitch has made a great effort in the last few years to reduce latency for streams.

This allows for instant communication and interaction between broadcasts and audiences.

To activate it on Twitch you need to opt-in for it. You can do this by 

Going to your Twitch dashboard > Channel > Settings and then select Low Latency.

You’ll have to wait for your next stream to start before it will take effect.

You can also see if streamers that you are watching are using this feature by hovering over their video > Advanced > Video Stats.

Ultra Low Latency Streaming (YouTube)

YouTube offers a similar feature to Twitch with ultra low latency – this can be activated by navigating to the latency mode.

Start a live stream > Stream Options > Stream Optimizations

This will bring real-time engagement and is super easy to set up.