So, you’re streaming on insert your platform here with insert awesome, highly anticipated trending game of the year here but you just can’t get the setup right. Here are the top 5 things that you should check to avoid streaming oopsies.
Here is a short and sweet list on what to check out before starting your stream.
Windows updates and drivers
Don’t you just hate it when a Windows prompt pops up and instructs you to update? Or worse, updates and requests for a restart. Exactly. Before anything else, check if the drivers and Windows are up-to-date to avoid untimely disruption to your streaming session.
Go to Start > Settings > Windows Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update.
If there are pending updates available, take your time in installing these prior to setting up your stream. And to avoid disruption due to update prompts, you can also change your laptop or PCs update active hours so that the device won't automatically restart during the set active hours. Plus, the device won't restart without checking if you're still using it. Great trick, yeah?
Another thing, aside from making sure that Windows is updated, make sure that your drivers’ update (capture card and/or streaming software) does not have any compatibility issues with the latest Windows. You know that this can happen sometimes.
Do you notice a slight delay when switching scenes? This usually happens when you have large videos or image files on the scene and it takes a bit of time loading the asset. So, what do you do to avoid this? The simplest way to solve this is to right-click the file source menu and click on ‘keep source on memory’. This helps the scene avoid loading and re-loading the video or image files every time you switch scenes. If you have time to convert the files, it is also recommended to compress sources file sizes by encoding them as mp4s or webms instead of avi or mov.
PC games capture
Most of the time, capturing PC games for streaming can easily be achieved with automatic game source detection, but sometimes this feature can also fail. If the auto game source fails to capture your game, what do you do?
The next step is to check if there are other running programs interfering with XSplit’s game capture, some of these programs may include NVIDIA ShadowPlay and AMD’s Radeon ReLive; if this type of program is running, close the program and see if the game is now detected in XSplit’s game capture.
Audio is one of the most common technical issues encountered during a stream. Whether you experience - looping audio, no audio or audio echo; troubleshooting is easy when you use this guide:
If you opened your stream on a browser with the intention of monitoring it, check if you’re able to mute the audio. If an echo can still be heard, check your microphone settings - make sure that the ‘listen to device’ is turned off.
Go to Start -> Settings -> Windows Setting -> System -> Sound -> Input (Microphone) -> Device Properties -> Related Settings -> Additional device settings -> Listen -> Uncheck ‘listen to device’.
Dropped frames or stream lag
Now, dropped frames and a laggy stream is not fun to watch - at all. This can happen due to a multitude of things, one can be that you’re uploading a large file online and it’s messing with your stream bandwidth. So, make sure that you’re not uploading or downloading files during a streaming session; you can do that on a later time. If you’re not uploading nor downloading files through your connection and still experience dropped frames, check with your internet service provider if you have (at least) a minimum bandwidth capacity for decent streaming (usually between 1-5mbps, depends on what you’re streaming).
Okay, if the issue is indeed your internet connection and you’re aware that the bandwidth can fluctuate at times; the best thing to do is set ‘adaptive bitrate’. You can find this in the additional encoding options menu in the broadcast settings window. If you still see dropped frames after all these, then it’s best to lower the bitrate into a workable value for the stream to run smoothly (you can also do the adjustment even when your stream is live) - this one can be a trial and error so do have patience until you get the optimum combo for your set up.