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XSplit - High Quality at Low Bandwidth

By: Cristian aka « Trance » 

In my previous entry, I was testing the new game source with some really high-end settings and without great consideration for bandwidth. If you still haven’t read this blog entry then check it out here.

My objective in this blog is to show how good live stream results can be achieved with XSplit when aiming for an average video bandwidth of around 400Kbps. For the sake of comparing I have tested against FMLE 3.1 (Flash Media Live Encoder) using VHScrCap (VH Screen Capture Driver).

VH Screen Capture Driver is also a product of SplitmediaLabs and FMLE is Adobes encoder product which uses the MainConcept H.264 encoder. The results presented below clearly show that the quality produced by XSplit and the X.264 encoder is miles ahead of what can be achieved with FMLE using any setting available in the application.

For the test streams XSplit was configured with settings which provided similar CPU load when compared to FMLE. However for those streamers out there with low end hardware it’s possible to configure XSplit without the “Optimize text resize” and using the default encoder preset. In this case XSplit will use MUCH lower CPU than FMLE but still produce significantly better results than what is possible with FMLE. One exception could be a game like Star Craft which has a lot of text. When we have a huge difference between input and output resolution then “enable optimize text resize” is important not to lose sharpness of the text.

XSplit + built in VHScrCap:

Video:

Output resolution: 640x360

25 fps

Quality: 8 (CRF 27) / Bitrate: 400 / VBV-Buffer: 800

Preset: Medium

Other settings: "Enable Optimize Text Resize": On

Audio

MP3, 44.100 khz, 16 bit mono

Bitrate: 56000

FMLE (3.1) + VHScrCap:

Video:

Output resolution: 640x360

25 fps

Bitrate: 400

Audio

MP3, 44.100 khz, 16 bit mono

Bitrate: 56000

Note: Due to licensing restrictions, MP3 as an audio codec is no longer available for XSplit Broadcaster.

For the two shooter streams (BFBC2 - Battle Field Bad Company) and (CS16- Counter Strike) the quality difference is absolutely very clear at first glance. For (SC2 - Starcraft 2) the difference in quality is mostly visible during battles and camera movement (when the view is panning). If you download and place the videos side by side - is obvious to see that the FMLE stream is one big blur when the screen is moving while the XSplit stream stays sharp and focused.

(~2 min samples)

Starcraft 2

Input resolution: 1920x1080

Output resolution: 640 x 360

File size:                               Average bitrate:

FMLE: 6130 KB                     FMLE: 412  (Download / Stream online)

XSplit: 6098 KB                     XSPLIT: 413 (Download / Stream online)

Battlefield Bad Company 2

Input resolution: 1600x900

Output resolution: 640 x 360

File size:                               Average bitrate:

FMLE: 6143 KB                     FMLE: 412  (Download / Stream online)

XSplit: 6695 KB                     XSPLIT: 450 (Download / Stream online)

Counter-Strike 1.6

Input resolution: 1600x900

Output resolution: 640 x 360 
 

File size:                               Average bitrate:

FMLE: 6141 KB                     FMLE: 412 (Download / Stream online)

XSplit: 6842 KB                     XSPLIT: 450 (Download / Stream online)