The best upload settings for Twitch
I wanted to make a short video on what I think are the best upload settings for Twitch. Quite simply through trial and error over the last 1.5 years of streaming I have learned what does and doesn’t work. According to Twitch your upload settings should be calculated based on your personal bandwidth upload speed. In practice I have found this is not accurate information. I was originally using the above guide to set my Stream upload speed. I started to get complaints from viewers who simply couldn’t see my Stream. I have noticed when I am on a slow connection I experience the same black screen issue when visiting some streams.
Viewers complaining about a black screen
My basic understanding is as follows. Just because you can upload at 3500kb/s does not mean your viewers can watch your stream. If a viewer in your room has a slower connection for example 1000kb/s they simply wont see the stream. This is because they can not download quickly enough the stream you are trying to send.
A lesson to be learned
When you receive a complaint from a viewer do not instantly assume they are in the wrong. I have tried to advise many streamers that the settings they use are too high and that I can not see the stream. Often another chatter raises his voice and say’s “Well it is perfect for me!” and the streamer simply ignores my comment at which point I leave the stream because I just see a black screen. Now consider the number of people who do not even comment and simply leave the stream assuming it is broken. Remember where there is smoke there is fire, if you keep getting feedback from users that are trying to tell you something then you should pay attention and investigate the issue. Remember there is no point having crystal clear stream in ultra high definition, if people can not even watch it.
Why does Twitch recommend streamers to use such high settings?
I think the settings Twitch recommends are accurate based on video quality alone, if you want to stream 1080p at 60 fps I think for optimum quality you should be using 3500kb/s as recommend by Twitch. I also believe that perhaps when creating these articles Twitch is taking into account that there is a ‘Video Quality Option’ on the Twitch video player where users can adjust your stream quality and set it to either Source, High, Medium, Low and Mobile. But new and un-partnered streamers do not always get this luxury all of the time. You will probably not have the ‘Video Quality’ option on your stream.
Best upload settings for Twitch Partners
If you are already a partner then you will always have the ‘Player Options’ popup and in that case it makes sense to use the recommended upload settings. If you have the ability to stream at 3500kb/s then it makes sense to do so because users on slower connections can adjust the rate at which data is sent to them.
Best upload settings for non Twitch Partners
I really believe there is a sweet spot at around 1600-2000kb/s where you can have great quality and the largest number of possible viewers. It is a happy medium between quality and maximum viewership.
The Final Word!
If your a partner by all means you should be using the maximum upload speed that you can. If you are new to twitch and are not partnered I believe you should lower your upload setting to around 1800kb/s. If people can not watch your stream you will have less viewers, less chatters and a harder time making it big on Twitch. Drop the upload speed and once you become partnered you can stream in ultra high quality.