Streaming video games has become one of the fastest growing hobbies over the last five years.
Something that was unheard of or at most, very difficult to do ten short years ago is now extremely common among nearly everybody who plays video games.
Whether you are just providing an audience with entertainment or competing in online tournaments, knowing what internet speeds are optimal when streaming your gameplay is important.
What You Should Do First
Three things determine the quality of your stream.
The first thing is how powerful your PC is. You need to know what kind of processor you are working with and how much random access memory your PC has. Streaming uses a lot of your PC’s memory so while you stream, try not to have too many things running on your PC either.
The kind of game you are playing is the second thing to consider. Some games require a certain framerate and screen resolution to play properly…and this is without streaming it. You could be experiencing lag because your PC does not have the memory or processor to properly operate the game.
Once you are certain that your PC (or your PC’s capture device if you are streaming from a console) is able to operate the game, check your internet speeds. This is the third and most vital thing in determining the quality of your stream.
After knowing what your speeds are, you can now determine how to “use” these speeds to determine what kind of video quality your stream should be.
How internet speeds dictate the quality of your stream
As a streamer, you want to pay attention to your upload speeds. When you are the one recording a stream, you are constantly uploading content. When you are watching a stream, you are constantly downloading content. This is why it could be difficult to stream live at 1080p but have no problems watching someone else’s 1080p stream.
If you have high download speeds but very low upload speeds, you may not want to stream at a very high quality. If you stream at a quality that takes a longer time to upload, your stream will lag and you will drop frames. Your audience will also experience buffering problems as well. Upload speed is everything when it comes to streaming.
A lot of streamers foolishly run their gaming streams at crazy rates only to have their stream lag and drop frames. If your upload speed is only 5 or 10 megabytes per second, you have no business streaming a game at 4k quality running at 60 frames per second. But if you dialed this down to 480p (or even 720p) at 30 frames per second, you will probably encounter no problems, especially if you have a powerful PC.
Knowing this, you should be able to detect when to stream at high quality and when to dial down the quality. The general rule of thumb is this: The quality of what you want to stream is directly related to your upload speeds. The higher the upload speed, the higher the quality you can stream at.
How important is video quality to viewers?
After determining your upload speeds and the quality of your stream, you now need to ask this $50000 question:
How much do viewers value quality?
The answer to this question is related to how old or new the game is. If you are playing a game that was just released a few months ago, viewers will prefer it being streamed at a very high quality, as that is the quality of the newer game was designed for.
However, if you are playing a retro game, or even a game from a few years ago, you probably do not need to worry if it has 4k quality.
No matter what the quality, lags and dropped frames are unacceptable. And that is why you need to check your internet speed and how it affects the recording of your stream.
Author Bio: Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org.