How to Start Online Streaming on PC? – Complete Beginner Guide

How to start online streaming

 

 

PC streaming has now become a somewhat popular phenomenon and while many people ask why this has happened, others enjoy watching their favorite gamers/streamers play their favorite game.

PC streaming has amassed quite a large following since its inception, and people find it rather entertaining to see gamers run you through a particular game in real life, making mistakes along the way and teaching their audience new tricks as well.

Online PC streaming may seem like a hard task to set up, but in reality, it is quite easy and only takes a few pieces of equipment, some software, a platform, time, and patience. Setting up your online streaming will be worth it, and you can entertain an audience with your sparkling gamer personality or show the world the tricks up your sleeve and help the gaming community understand games that you’re an expert in.

Audio and Video Capture

To actually stream your game, you will require some pieces of equipment to record what is going on. This equipment will require some investment from your end and the better the quality you choose to buy, the better your streaming will turn out to be. Equipment includes the following:

Microphone

Your microphone is one of the first things you will have to buy, and it is probably the most important because this is where you will be able to gauge your reactions. A microphone that can record high-quality sound would be appropriate.

However, depending on the room you plan on streaming in, you should consider an appropriate microphone. Some rooms may have an echo, which may be picked up by your microphone, while others may allow for easier sound isolation.

The microphone is one of the things you may want to splurge on if you can because your reactions will require proper recording, especially during a live stream.

Your audience will not like it if your audio ends up being muddled or of low quality and the initial audience that you will need to attract to get subscribers will dwindle down.

Camera

Generally, for PC streaming, a webcam is the most ideal one to buy, and it should be on your high priority list with the microphone. Do not rely on the webcam already installed in your laptop because that does not provide the quality that you should use for live streams.

You will need something that will provide a high-quality picture and will allow your audience to see what is going on.

Webcams will allow you to connect the video to the Internet directly and it will not require you to record footage and go through a long, tiresome editing process. You should look for a webcam that is an all-rounder and will perform great without you having to do much of the setting up or worrying about it.

You should also find something with a good price range but be ready to make an investment because good quality webcams generally do cost a lot.

Audio Mixer

Audio mixers might look complicated when you look at them, and many people often avoid audio mixers because of how difficult they look to set up. However, they are quite easy to use and if you get the right one, streaming will become a lot less complicated for you.

Your audio mixer will be the piece of equipment that will connect your microphone to your PC, and it will ensure that you have complete control over your audio. It will also allow you to edit your audio more conveniently if needed and you can even use the audio mixer for other purposes (if you need it to do things other than streaming).

This is an item that you will not have to splurge on that much, and you can easily find affordable, high-quality mixers. Also, you should know that you do not require a complicated mixer, you can make do with something simple that will allow you to connect your microphone.

Green Screen

A green screen is another useful tool you will want to include in your list because it is used by most PC streamers for special effects. Some streamers use it as a more formal backdrop in their videos as it covers up the room they are shooting in (which may allow for any mess to be covered in the video).

It is quite interesting to see how different streamers have made use of their green screens, and you can even study their techniques to get a better idea of what to do with your green screen.

Green screens are generally very cost-efficient and are available in different qualities and price ranges; however, you do not have to splurge on this particular item because the only purpose it will serve as being a backdrop to your videos and for easier editing.

Make sure the green screen you buy is an appropriate size (according to the room you will frequently be streaming in).

Lighting Equipment

Of course, you cannot stream without effective lighting. Your lighting equipment can vary depending on the room you will be recording in. However, there is one thing that you should understand – you cannot record using the normal lighting in your room.

Normal lighting is usually not positioned appropriately, and it can even create a glare in your camera while you are recording. So, it is best to buy standing lights that will allow you to control where the light should be coming from, and it will also guarantee that you and anyone else you invite in your videos look good on camera.

Some brands have lighting kits available, which will make it easier for you during the decision process. However, you can even buy each piece of equipment separately.

Some lighting equipment you should consider include panel lights, lighting tripod stands, soft umbrellas (which will allow you to get a more dispersed light) and light rings.

Capture Cards

Capture cards are highly important because they are the way you will be able to record and stream from different devices (which you will be doing in case of your PC streaming). However, you may want to stop before you put a capture card in your cart because if you aim to stream directly from your PC, you may not need a capture card because you can stream using screencasting software. You will need a capture card if your PC is not strong enough to configure screencasting software or if you will be using Xbox or PlayStation for the gaming portion of your streaming.

Capture cards also allow you greater control over the content, quality, and length of your footage. Capture cards are the best option if you want to produce content that is longer than 15 minutes (which is generally the case for most PC streaming, especially with the requirements of streaming platforms).

Graphics Cards

A graphics card will allow you to control the resolution of the graphics being streamed, and while doing something as delicate as PC streaming, it is essential to ensure that your end product is of high quality. Making sure that your graphics are of high resolution will allow your audience to see exactly what is happening.

Also, with worlds as intricate as those in video games, you will want your audience to see every single aspect of what you and your avatar see.

Graphics cards are generally expensive and investing in high quality and expensive cards will be better than having to buy several cheaper options over a longer period of time because the expensive one will have a longer life.

Find a card that will help you produce 1080p footage with 4k resolution if you want to get more subscribers interested in your streaming channel.

Computer

When considering what kind of PC to buy for your streaming, the question is not which PC to consider, the question you should be asking yourself is whether you want a single PC or a dual. A single PC setup may be ideal if you are a beginner and require something easy to use.

However, the drawback of a single PC is that you will be putting a lot of load on it and this load may be too much for affordable PCs to handle. So, you might want to invest more on a good quality PC.

However, most streamers recommend making use of a dual PC system because this will allow for a better distribution of the load. Also, it generally allows you to get more work done, and it always looks better in your stream.

You can look up any PC streamer right now and you will likely find that their setup is a dual one and that is obviously for a valid reason. So, it is recommended that you should follow suit and invest in a dual PC system instead of an inferior single setup.

Streaming platform software

Streaming Software

The streaming software that you decide to make use of is crucial because it will determine how your live streaming will be recorded. You should find software that is easy for you to learn and understand.

However, if you are already proficient in video recording and the use of such software, find something that you know will give you a professional edge and will provide you with the tools you need during the recording process.

Two of the most popular streaming software programs you can consider include:

OBS

Open Broadcaster Software or OBS is an open-source platform that is available for free. The fact that it is free does not mean it will be of lower quality as it is one of the most popular software programs that are currently available. Many PC streamers make use of it for their recording and streaming. It provides real-time capture and is quite efficient during streaming. So, if you are working under a budget and need to get software that will not put a hole in your pocket, OBS is the one for you.

The user interface is also quite organized, and this means it is easier to understand. It is so easy that you can even teach yourself how to make use of it. The controls are also somewhat basic, so do not expect something that will give you thousands of options, but it fulfills the basic needs of any streamer when it comes to PC streaming.

Check Out More on OBS Software

XSplit

This is a live streaming software that also has video mixing applications. It is another one of the most widely used software programs and has two products (XSplit Gamecaster and XSplit Broadcaster).

XSplit Gamecaster has been designed ideally and for gamers who want to stream their gaming. The best part is that it is available in 10 different languages, so it is quite diverse with regards to its use.

XSplit is also quite easy to use and has an easy to understand user interface. It allows you to spend more time streaming without having to worry too much about setting everything up.

Compared to OBS, XSplit has more functions, so it allows you to have greater control over your content with the use of different tools. The best part is that XSplit is available for free, so you do not have to worry about splurging on a software that you will have to spend days to understand.

Check Out More on XSplit Software

Streaming Platform

Finally, you will have to choose a streaming platform to use as your means of reaching your audience. Your audience and how you target them depends on the streaming platform you choose. Also, there are certain platforms that give their streamers more liberty than others (depending on their terms and conditions). Also, gaming platforms have terms and conditions set that may or may not allow you to interact with your following.

Some of the most popular platforms include:

Twitch

Twitch is a very popular streaming service that includes live video game streaming, esports coverage, and creative content. It provides a highly varied audience to its content creators, so it is quite ideal for streamers looking to make a career out of this.

It is the leading video game streaming platform in the United States, so it is a great place for you to start your PC streaming. Being the leading platform has its pros and cons for beginner streamers. Pros include the ability to reach a wider audience, producing content for a platform that allows for a variety of content and more creative liberties.

However, the drawback of using Twitch as your main streaming platform is that the competition you will face will be intense. There are many streamers on the platform who have been at it for several years and they understand their targeted audience more than anyone.

So, if you want to gain interest from a growing audience, you may want to develop content-related strategies before you stream on Twitch.

Check Out More on Twitch Platform

YouTube Gaming

YouTube also has a specialized platform specifically for gaming, and as you already know, YouTube has the ability to attract a very large audience. It is also very user-friendly, so you will be able to make use of the platform efficiently.

However, there are certain terms and conditions that you will have to abide by and those may be somewhat restrictive for some.

If you choose YouTube Gaming as your streaming platform, you will be facing the same amount of competition as that found at Twitch, but YouTube is generally the first name people associate to video content, and it is likely that you will be able to reach a larger audience on YouTube Gaming.

YouTube’s algorithm is also much easier to understand and with practice, it is likely that you will be able to get the hang of making live streams that gather a growing following.

Check Out More on YouTube Gaming Platform

Facebook

If you did not already know this, Facebook allows for the live streaming of games. This is a much more convenient platform to use because it can allow you to make a page on Facebook, invite your already existing friends to like it, and then gain more followers through word of mouth.

Facebook is by far the easier platform to use out of all the platforms mentioned on this list. It may seem very basic, but it is actually the perfect place for you to start your PC streaming journey.

You can gain traction and attention through Facebook and then move your channel to another platform (inviting your current followers to subscribe to your channel there).

However, the downfall of using Facebook is that not a lot of people know that it is a streaming platform gamer. So, you may not be able to gain the number of views you want.

But you can definitely use it for some time to promote your content and get your avatar and name recognized by an easier to access audience.

Check Out More on Facebook Gaming Platform

Other Platforms

Aside from the platforms that have been mentioned above, there are a number of other platforms that you can make use of. Those mentioned above are the more popular ones, but the following platforms have a cult following (which can be great for a beginner PC streamer):

  • IBM Cloud Video (formerly known as Ustream, this platform is a general live streaming platform and is not specifically catered to gaming streamers or audiences, so it is more of an umbrella streaming platform);
  • Vortex (a cloud gaming platform that was specifically made for gamers and their audiences);
  • Google Stadia (a high-quality platform created by Google as a means for live streaming to occur in high definition and support for high-dynamic range).

Thus, there are several different platforms you can choose from if you think you want to start slow with a platform that does not give you too much competition and provides you with more feedback from the streaming community.

Custom Banner & Avatar – Build Your Branding

Your customer banner is not a streaming platform, but it is definitely something that you will have to include on your channel on the streaming platform you choose. Your banner will be your identifying feature, and it will allow you to build your brand with your audience.

You should create an avatar that will allow your audience to instantly recognize you as it will allow your audience to create an association and they will eventually get excited every time they see your avatar pop up on their screens.

Creating your banner and avatar may seem like a simple task, but it is actually quite difficult because it will become your identity in the streaming world. Deciding your avatar may be simple if you are already known for something (like a favorite animal that you can incorporate in your avatar or any favorite food).

You can create an animated avatar, an avatar that looks realistic, or even a completely ironic avatar (depending on the aesthetic you would like to go for). Another huge decision will be the name you choose for your avatar and channel.

Lastly, your name should be something that is easy to remember (as it will be used by your audience to recognize you) and something that is characteristic of you.

Conclusion – Start Your Online Streaming Now

If you are new to the PC streaming scene, there is nothing to worry about because this is the perfect guide you would need to test the streaming world. All you really need is some money in your bank account that you can use to invest in your equipment and the desire to begin streaming.

It may be difficult at first, and you will learn about all the improvements you can make along the way, but you need to take the first step.

Your first step can be towards a successful career as a PC streamer or it can be your first step into oblivion, but it will be worth your while. All it takes is some patience and the will to do it and you will be on the road to success (even if it is too long for you to imagine the end).

Thus, do not be afraid and start PC streaming today!

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