The pandemic has made it more important than ever to create a good experience for viewers who watch your streaming video. Continue reading for some practical advice to help make your live streaming experience better for you and your viewers.
1. Always Reboot and Update Your Computer
Always make sure you start with a fresh reboot and make sure you have the appropriate updates. Give yourself (and your computer) plenty of time for this. In other words, do not reboot and update right before your live event. Ideally, you should not be using the computer you stream with for other tasks.
2. Check Your Upload Speed (don’t take your ISP's word for it)
The upload speed needed for your live broadcast will vary depending on the quality you’re trying to output. When a video has higher quality, it means you need to upload more information, so you need more Mbps. We recommend having at least 3 times the amount of upload speed on your network as you are sending.
Also, keep in mind that your upload speed changes depending on the time, usage, and bandwidth allocation. You can test your upload speed on sites like Speedtest. For a good quality stream, you should have an upload speed of: 1.5 mbps for 720p, 2.5 mbps for 1080p.
3. Use Ethernet Cable (if possible)
If you want to improve your live streaming quality, use an Ethernet cable connection instead of Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi connections can be unstable, which will affect your results. If you have access to a cable connection, you’ll have more stability, and your stream quality will increase.
That being said, you can still go live on a Wi-Fi connection and have a quality broadcast if:
- There aren’t too many people using it at the same time
- The upload speed is high
- You do a dry run to test different video resolutions
4. Limit the Ongoing Tasks
Computers always have many different applications running on the background. Though some might be relevant to your stream, chances are, you can find some apps that are just taking up your CPU for nothing. Before your live stream, make sure you close all the software applications that you won’t use during the broadcast. For example, Skype, browsers, Outlook, and so on.
5. Disable other Connections
To further optimize your computer, you can also disable connections that aren’t necessary for your live stream. If you are connected via Ethernet cable, you can disconnect the Wi-Fi. If you see any other useless connections, make sure you disable them.
Once you have optimized your computer and internet connection to the best of your abilities, plus stopped any irrelevant tasks, it’s time to focus on your live streaming settings.
6. Video quality vs. Stream quality
When we talk about improving live streams, it might come down to choosing between higher video quality or better stream quality. A lower quality video has less information to transmit to your viewers, which takes up fewer resources and loads faster.
If your live video is laggy, the first adjustment you can do is lower its resolution. For instance, instead of broadcasting it in 1080p, try 720p.
7. Adjust the Video Bitrate
Another critical adjustment that can help you improve your live streaming quality is changing the bitrate. You should have the option to adjust your video bitrate. It controls how much information is transmitted per second.
When you lower the video resolution, you can also lower your video bitrate because you have less information to transmit. With a 720p broadcast, you could reduce your video bitrate to 700, or 1200 kbps. Try playing with a few different variables to see what works best for your resources.
8. Change the FPS (Frames per second)
If your live video is choppy and far from smooth, you can change your FPS rate to try and improve your live streaming quality. This setting determines how many frames or “images” are sent every second. For us to perceive a sequence of images as a moving sequence, AKA video, it has to be at least 24 fps. Less than that and we will be able to see each frame switching to the next.
When you set up your live stream, make sure you select above 27 FPS. A framerate of 30 FPS is ideal and will help you improve your live streaming quality. You can stream at 60 FPS for even higher quality, but it will require more power and upload speed.
9. Beef up your CPU, Graphics Card and Capture Card
The CPU is primarily used for audio/video compression and is used by the Recording and Streaming features in software based live encoders. The graphics card is used for all input and output video processing in live encoders. A modern mid-range graphics card such as the Nvidia 1050 Ti or higher is recommended. The faster the graphics card, the more inputs you can add and the higher the resolution that can be used for streaming and recording.
- Intel Core i7 Processor 3Ghz+ Processor
- 8GB DDR4 Memory
- Solid State Disk Hard Drive
- Dedicated Nvidia Card with 2GB+ Memory. Graphics Card
- Magewell USB Capture HDMI
10. Do Dry Runs to Check Results (often)
Each of these changes can have a significant impact on your live stream quality, but what works for one person might not work for others. Since resources are different, there’s no one size fits all in live streaming.
The best way to find the right settings for you is to test; you can try all the different settings, stream, and see how it goes. Once you’ve done a few tests, you can analyze the replays to decide which settings worked best. Note: Don’t do this right before a live event!
Bonus: There are other factors that can improve your live streaming experience like the quality of cameras, the lighting and audio in your room. Making these simple improvements can make a difference.
StreamingChurch.tv is committed to helping you and your church with streaming video. We are happy to answer any questions. Reach out to us today at StreamingChurch.tv