Setting up a great quality stream does require you to get some decent hardware and this is where it starts to cost you some money as well. If you feel content by just streaming from your PS4 or Xbox One that’s fine, but if you want to up the quality by adding overlays and other neat visuals, you will need some quality hardware.
Don’t underestimate the costs for hardware requirements when you decide to start streaming. I hope you already have a gaming desktop as this will help you out a lot. The costs for a decent desktop aren’t low and all the other needs will set you back a good buck. This is another reason why you should only start streaming if you are enjoying it!
A decent desktop or laptop
The biggest investment you’ll have to do is get a decent laptop or preferably a decent desktop. If you have a really old laptop/desktop streaming won’t really work. Livestreaming is hard on your processor and requires a lot from your desktop. If you want to stream and record in high quality this counts even more so. A great graphics card is required as well if you want to stream in HD. If your graphics card doesn’t support 1080p you can’t stream in it either. Editing video’s also takes a lot from your PC. So don’t think you can get a quality streaming channel up and running without the right hardware components in your PC. If you are getting a new desktop soon, be sure to read up on what is currently new. AMD and Nvidia are constantly releasing new graphic cards and Intel has brought really solid processors to the market these last years with their i5 and i7-processors.
A quality webcam
Showing yourself on your stream is not mandatory but it is recommended. The interaction with your viewers becomes more real if they can see your reactions. There are a lot of cheap webcams available but you should focus on adding a good quality webcam feed to your stream. It looks really dull if you are streaming in 720p but your webcam is blocky. I recommend adding a webcam that can at least match the quality of your stream. So if you are streaming at 720p get a webcam that can actually capture your face in 720p as well. I’m currently using the Logitech C920, which I also recommend, as it can capture up to 1080p and it has awesome picture quality in different lighting conditions.
A capture card
A capture card is needed if you want to stream from a PS4, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One or any older console. In my first blog I told you to stream from your PS4 or Xbox One. While it is a possibility, the quality and things you can do with your stream are very limited. To up your stream to the next level you will need to be able to enter the graphic and sound feed from your console to your computer. To do this you need a capture device and these devices are available in many different seizes and with loads of different options. Be sure to check what options the capture device your aiming at has. New capture devices in general support only HDMI, meaning you can’t get feed from older consoles. Some well-known brands in the capture device market are AVerMedia, Elgato and Roxio. I’m currently using the Elgato Game Capture HD60 which works perfectly.A great microphone
Have you ever watched a streamer with a crappy microphone? You probably have and really quickly changed to another channel. In my last blog I wrote that it’s important to communicate with your audience and the easiest way to do this is through speech. Having a bad microphone will lose you viewers as no one will want to listen to a bad representation of your voice. Invest some money in getting a decent condenser microphone and add a popfilter to tone down the annoying pops. I’m currently using the Blue Snowball which is more than enough to start out with. If you really want to invest some more you could get a Blue Yeti or the Audio-Technica AT2020. You will see a lot of streamers with these mics.
A decent internet connection
This is a no-brainer! An internet connection is no hardware of course but without it all the above hardware is useless. To setup a stream of good quality you need great upload speeds from 2 Mbps and up. For streaming in 720p a bare minimum of around 2Mbps is needed, while streaming in 1080p will require you to up it a notch to around 5Mbps. For starting out I recommend a minimum of 3Mbps. If you live in an area with very low upload speeds you might want to rethink investing money in hardware. You could stream in 480p with upload speeds from 1 Mbps and up but I feel like 720p is a requirement these days. Also remember that streaming in 1080p is not really a thing unless you become a Twitch-partner. The recommended 3Mbps for 720p will allow you to do things other than streaming while keeping the stream steady and high quality.
Are you still going to start streaming after reading this? I certainly hope you do because streaming can be a lot of fun. If you are a gamer like me having the best desktop is something you always want to play the newest games on the highest quality. So the biggest investment is one you don’t only do for wanting to stream!