Choosing the right bitrate for Twitch is very important, as it is crucial for the quality of your stream.
Keeping It Brief
- While selecting a bitrate to stream on Twitch, you need to consider multiple factors such as your upload speed, connection to Twitch ingest servers, stream resolution, etc.
- Choosing the right bitrate is crucial for the quality of your stream.
- In this article, we’ll list out 5 crucial tips to help you find the right bitrate for streaming on Twitch.
What Is Bitrate? And What Does It Mean?
Before we help you find the right bitrate for streaming on Twitch, you need to understand what bitrate is.
Simply put, bitrate is the amount of data you send to Twitch when you stream. The higher your bitrate, the more data you send, guaranteeing a better-looking stream.
So the higher is better, right? Not quite.
Bitrate does indeed affect video quality, and a higher bitrate leads to a better-looking video. However, a high bitrate can also lead to poor video quality.
5 Tips To Find The Right Bitrate For Twitch Streaming
Your upload speed and bandwidth availability, among other things, limit your bitrate choices.
Therefore, if you share your internet with multiple users (family and friends) or have lower upload speeds, a higher bitrate can lead to poor video quality.
We’re going to help you find the right bitrate for streaming on Twitch based on your setup.
Check Your Upload Speed To Twitch Ingest Servers
Generic speed test sites check your connection for a very short duration to a server of their choice.
However, you can reliably check your upload speed directly to Twitch’s ingest servers using the r1ch TwitchTest tool.
How To Check Your Upload Speed Using r1ch TwitchTest Tool
- Download the program from the website. Unzip the ZIP file once downloaded.
- Open the TwitchTest application.
- Enter your stream key from your Twitch Creator Dashboard > Settings > Stream into the program.
- Do not change the TCP Window Size setting. Let it remain at the default value of 64k.
- Check the region you reside in to target servers closer to you. Uncheck all other regions.
- Set the Test Duration setting to long (60 secs).
- Run the test.
Based on the results from TwitchTest, you should select an ingest server with the lowest RTT and highest Quality in your broadcast software stream settings (i.e. OBS Studio > Settings > Stream > Server).
You must not set a bitrate higher than the Bandwidth result of your selected ingest server.
Additionally, you will need spare internet bandwidth for games, other applications, audio transmission, etc. Don’t use the absolute maximum bandwidth for bitrate as it will result in lag and possible dropped frames.
Selecting Twitch Ingest Server Without TwitchTest Tool
Suppose you don’t have a PC/Laptop or can’t use the TwitchTest tool for any other reason, use Recommend Ingest Endpoints.
However, the page only recommends the most optimal ingest server based on location and routing. It does not let you test your upload speed with Twitch’s ingest servers.
Choose A Resolution To Stream On Twitch
What bitrate you select will depend on your video resolution and framerate. Twitch recommends the following values:
- 1080p 60 FPS: 6000 Bitrate
- 1080p 30 FPS: 4500 Bitrate
- 720p 60 FPS: 4500 Bitrate
- 720p 30 FPS: 3000 Bitrate
Twitch recommends a maximum of 6000 bitrate. Going above that can cause viewers to be unable to watch your streams.
Should You Stream At 1080p or 720p On Twitch?
A higher resolution requires a higher bitrate for the video quality to look good. Additionally, Twitch’s maximum bitrate limit of 6000 is not enough for a high-quality 1080p stream.
Games containing a lot of movement (i.e. racing games, first-person shooters, etc.) can suffer at higher resolutions and result in a choppy or blocky stream.
Moreover, your framerate will also affect your video quality. 60 FPS will require more bitrate than 30 FPS as you send more video data per second.
You will have to decide whether you want to stream at a higher framerate, higher resolution, or combined. Do note that you will require enough internet bandwidth to support your decision.
Many streamers have found the middle ground between quality and resolution. Streaming games at 1600×900 60 FPS with 6000 bitrate results in the best quality stream on Twitch.
Something to note: viewers care more about audio quality than video quality. No one is going to complain if you stream at a lower resolution. However, if your audio quality is questionable, they will complain or not return.
Test Your Bitrate For Twitch With A Recording
Once you’ve decided on a bitrate based on your TwitchTest result, your selected resolution, and your framerate, it’s time to test it locally!
Use your broadcasting software (i.e. OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, etc.) to create a test recording. In your applications recording setting, set it to “Use stream encoder.”
This test recording can help you fine-tune your encoder and audio settings too! Make sure your video isn’t choppy, blocky, or blurry.
If you’re playing a game, move around and behave like you would while live streaming. If all your settings are correct, you shouldn’t notice a significant difference in video quality while moving and stationary.
Test Your Bitrate For Twitch Using Twitch Inspector
Once you are happy with your local recording, it’s time to use the Twitch Inspector tool.
Follow the instructions provided by Twitch Inspector and run a stream test for at least 2 hours.
If all your settings are correct, the stream test should not contain any errors, and there should be no significant fluctuation in bitrate.
Test Your Bitrate For Twitch By Reviewing Your VOD
After you’ve made all changes and found the right bitrate for streaming on Twitch, go live!
Hopefully, your stream goes perfectly fine without any technical difficulties.
We hope people tuned into your stream and provided input on the quality of the stream! However, if no one showed up, you need to review your VOD to check the stream quality.
Also Read: Streaming To 0 Viewers – The Ultimate Guide
Watch 5 to 10-minute of the beginning, middle, and end of your VOD. Additionally, check random moments within the VOD to be thorough.
If you’ve selected the correct bitrate for your setup, the VOD’s video quality should be just what you expected it to be, fantastic!
We hope our article helped you find the right bitrate for Twitch streaming!