What bitrate should I choose when streaming on Twitch/Youtube?

Content:

  • What is your bitrate on Twitch?
  • How to determine what bitrate you can handle?
  • Other factors to consider when choosing a bitrate
    • Permission
    • FPS
  • Table of recommended bitrates
  • Does Bitrate Affect PC Performance?
  • What is the maximum bitrate you can stream?
  • The case is that you are not maximizing your bitrate
  • Where can I change the bitrate in OBS Studio?
  • Summarizing

If you are configuring your Twitch stream and continue to experience lag or dropped frames in your stream, you may need to adjust the bitrate in your streaming software. In this article, we will analyze what bitrate you have and what bitrate you should set depending on your PC and internet.

What is your bitrate on Twitch?

Your bitrate is essentially the amount of data you send to your streaming platform per second. This is the definition that Twitch provides:

“Your bitrate is the amount of data you send to Twitch while streaming. Higher bitrate takes up more available internet bandwidth. Increasing the bitrate can improve video quality, but only up to a point – our recommended bitrate settings have been tested to optimize video quality without sacrificing bandwidth.”

How to determine what bitrate you can handle?

The bitrate you can handle will depend on two main factors.

  • Your internet speed
  • Your PC performance

A good computer and fast internet are the key to high speed streaming. If you have a modern PC that can play Triple AAA games, you shouldn’t have any bottlenecks when it comes to increasing bitrates. If you’re on a budget build, I’d recommend streaming in 720p 30fps at 3000kbps, and if that’s still causing problems, go for 480p 30fps.

When it comes to your internet speed, you will need a good download speed for high bitrate streaming. To test your internet speed, you can use Speedtest.net. When you run a test

If your download speed is over 10Mbps, you can work in 1080p resolution at 60fps and 6000kbps bitrate. You can check the table below to see what internet speed you need for a particular bitrate.

When you are trying to figure out what bitrate your internet can support, you also need to consider that playing online games will also require some bandwidth. You should leave about 3MB buffer for games.

This means that if you have a download speed of 10 Mbps, you should allocate more than 7 Mbps for streaming.

Other factors to consider when choosing a bitrate

Once you have determined your internet speed, there are two other factors that will determine how much bandwidth you need to use.

Permission

Your resolution is the quality in which you are streaming. 720p is HD and 1080p is Full HD. You will also hear people talking about 4k, however 4k streaming is not very popular these days.

While you might think that streaming at the highest possible resolution is the best idea, that may not be the case. Many people stream in 720p and their streams look great. This is usually more than enough, even if you have excellent internet and a powerful computer. High resolution streaming will require more bandwidth for both you and your viewers. If you’re not a Twitch affiliate or partner, they won’t downscale your broadcast, meaning some viewers won’t be able to watch (more on that later).

FPS

The FPS you can stream at will also determine your bitrate. Streaming at 30fps will require a lower bitrate than 60fps.

FPS stands for frames per second. The more frames per second, the smoother the stream will look. If you play fast paced first person shooters like Warzone, higher frame rate streaming will be better for viewers.

However, if you’re playing a slower-paced RPG like Skyrim, then 30fps streaming is fine and will use less of your computer’s resources.

Table of recommended bitrates

The resolution and FPS you want to stream at will determine the bitrate you need to stream. For example, if you want to stream video at 1080p at 60fps, you will need a higher bitrate than you would for streaming at 720p.

Below is a table of recommended bitrates depending on the resolution and frame rate you want to stream at.

Permission Frames per second Recommended Internet download speed Recommended bitrate
1080p 60 fps 8+Mbps 5000 – 6000 kbps
720p 60 fps 6+Mbps 3500 – 5000 kbps
1080p 30 fps 6+Mbps 3500 – 5000 kbps
720p 30 fps 4.5+Mbps 2500 – 4000 kbps
480p 60 fps 3.5+ Mbps 1500 kbps

Recommended bitrates for streaming

Does Bitrate Affect PC Performance?

Yes, the higher the bitrate you are streaming at, the greater the load on your processor will be. If you have a high-end gaming/streaming PC, 6000kbps streaming should be perfectly acceptable if your internet can handle it.

If you have a cheaper PC, a higher data rate can cause performance issues in both your stream and your game. If you’re having problems, it’s best to lower your resolution and bitrate to improve your streaming performance. We’ve put together a full article on the best settings for streaming on a weak PC.

What is the maximum bitrate you can stream?

The maximum bitrate on Twitch is 6000 kbps. This means that it makes no sense to set the bitrate above 6000 kbps in streaming software.

The case is that you are not maximizing your bitrate

Even if you have a great internet connection and a powerful PC, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stream 1080p video at 60fps at 6000kbps.

On Twitch, if you’re not a partner or affiliate, your viewers sometimes can’t change the quality in which they watch your broadcast. This means that people with poor internet quality won’t be able to watch your broadcast because their internet doesn’t support 1080p60fps.

In fact, we recommend 720p 30fps streaming, no matter how good your computer or internet is. This gives you a high enough quality stream without increasing the resources of your viewers. This means more views for you. If someone comes to your stream and they fall behind, they just leave.

Where can I change the bitrate in OBS Studio?

To change the bitrate in OBS Studio, follow these steps:

  • Open OBS Studio and go to the settings page.
  • Go to the output section on the left side.
  • In the streaming section, you’ll see the bitrate about halfway down the screen.
  • Enter the bitrate and click OK to save the settings.

Summarizing

Now you know how to choose the best bitrate for your streaming setup. In conclusion, the goal is a smooth flow without delays. People would rather watch this instead of a slow 1080p stream. If you need high performance for you and your viewers, we recommend streaming at 720p30fps at 4000kbps.

 

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