Streaming Fundamentals aims to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in order to help you stream.
Whether you have just started to consider the idea of streaming or you have been doing it for quite some time, this series should be beneficial to you. Each individual episode covers a specific topic that will be tackled as objectively as possible, while striving to use a range of sources and factual references rather than just a singular opinion.
Anyone can dive in and start broadcasting their antics, but the sheer number of streamers nowadays can make it harder for those who are just getting started to stand out from the crowd. Whilst Streaming Fundamentals cannot provide you with guaranteed success, the series aims to get you to think about streaming in a more deliberate manner than you may have done previously.
What is an encoder?
Encoders are devices that convert data from one format to another. They can either be separate pieces of hardware (purpose built encoders that specifically do that one thing, but do it well) or software (programs such as OBS/XSplit/Wirecast) that is installed on your home PC. The encoder takes the source media (video game, camera feed, desktop capture) and converts into a streamable format.
Encoders are essential for converting the source media into streamable data, but hardware encoders are not realistic options for most streamers. Some of the ‘top-end’ hardware encoders cost more than a new car! Although, depending on your requirements, there are more affordable options out there.
Software encoders are a much more affordable option, and the vast majority of streamers — whether newcomers or seasoned professionals — use either OBS or XSplit. Just keep in mind that your results may vary depending on your PC hardware.
Streaming Fundamentals: Episode 4
Following on from Episode 3, this episode discusses some of the various software options that we have when streaming from PC, some of which are more affordable than others.
The streaming software you decide to use will ultimately depend on personal preference and budget. OBS and XSplit are both relatively affordable, whilst Wirecast requires a substantial financial investment. Episode 4 briefly discusses these three main software solutions, whilst also introducing some of the very costly dedicated hardware encoders.
I hope you enjoy watching this series, as I know I will enjoy recording it.