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Optimized OBS Studio Settings for Twitch and YouTube Streaming

optimized obs studio settings for streaming

Given the plethora of streaming platforms out there, it’s no wonder that OBS Studio has risen to be the top choice for numerous streamers. With its user-friendly interface and extensive feature set, OBS Studio has established itself as the go-to solution for reliable streaming on multiple platforms.

In this guide, we’ll go in-depth on how to configure OBS Studio so that it runs more smoothly on your computer and that your encoding settings are optimal for the highest-quality stream possible.

Here is a breakdown of what we are going to cover in this article:

  • How to determine your streaming upload speed.
  • Choosing the Best Ingest Server to Stream to on Twitch.
  • Improve the Performance of OBS Studio for Streaming.
  • Improve Encoder and Output Settings to Boost Quality and Performance.
  • How to Troubleshoot for the Ideal Stream Settings.

Calculating Your Upload Speed

Go to speedtest.net and press the “Go” button in the site’s center. Here, it will conduct a number of tests to ascertain various aspects of your internet speed.

Our main attention is on upload speed. The majority of individuals have at least 1 Mbps of speed, but it is insufficient for streaming. You are safe to start streaming if your upload speed is more than 3Mbps.

Check out this article on how much data Twitch utilizes to learn how much data is used while streaming.

You can stream at the highest quality settings with anything faster than 10Mbps, but we’ll go into more detail about the settings later.
selecting the ideal ingest server for streaming (For Twitch Streamers Only)

Choosing the Optimal Ingest Server

To handle your streaming, Twitch offers a variety of servers, and they have a website dedicated to assisting you in determining which servers to stream to.

Scroll down the page at stream.twitch.tv/ingests/. According on your current internet connection, this will tell you the top 3 Ingest Servers to stream to. This will come in helpful when we configure our stream settings later.

Streaming OBS Optimization

Let’s go to OBS Studio now. We’ll click Settings in the program’s bottom right corner. Starting with our general settings is what we want to do.

Default Settings

The majority of these settings are purely aesthetic or intended to assist you in setting up aspects for your stream. Here, we want to focus on one configuration. Be careful to uncheck “Automatically Record while Streaming.” Although it might seem obvious, recording while streaming can seriously impair performance. It’s important to check this setting in case it has checked itself, especially if, after an update, you notice your stream lagging and dropping frames.

Additional Settings

We want to look at our Process Priority therefore we’re going to the Advanced Tab on the left. This is set to normal by default. We’ll set this to “Above Normal” since we want to give OBS precedence over most other programs. When this is chosen, the Stream will take precedence over any ongoing games and background apps.

When we reach “Enable Browser Source Hardware Acceleration,” we want to scroll down. Despite the fact that this sounds like something that should be checked, it can lead to issues with browser sources and applications like Google Chrome. Before continuing to the following step, uncheck this box because doing so needs you to restart OBS Studio.

How to Configure OBS Studio for the Best Stream

It’s time to optimize the settings for our stream once we’ve finished optimizing OBS Studio for streaming. We’ll begin by configuring the basic parameters.

Selecting Stream Settings

Go back to the settings and select the Stream Tab. We wish to select our streaming service here. Change the Server to one of the Ingest servers we previously saw if you’re utilizing Twitch. Following that, you’ll have the choice of entering your broadcast key or connecting your Twitch account. To access your Twitch stream key, click the “Link” hyperlink next to the input box.

You should utilize the Primary Ingest Server for YouTube and your Stream Key as well.

For information on adjusting your Twitch stream delay, see this post.

Setting Up the Best Outputs

We’ll jump right into the Output settings after that. We’ll switch the output mode to “Advanced” at the top so we can view all of our options.
We’ll examine the advantages and disadvantages of the encoders.

x264 (CPU Encoding)

  • Lower Bitrates with Better Quality
  • Lower Latency
  • Best for Dual-PC Setups or CPU Over GPU

AMD H.264 and NVENC H.264 New (GPU Encoding for Nvidia Graphics Cards) (GPU Encoding for AMD GPUs)

  • transfers stream weight to the GPU.
  • Slightly increased latency
  • Higher Bitrates for Better Quality.

If you only have one PC, using the NVENC Encoder for Nvidia cards or the H.264 Encoder for AMD is probably the best option for streaming through your GPU. The most recent NVENC encoder also offers superior quality and performance when compared to dual-PC streaming via CPU.
Before continuing, let’s make sure “Enforce Streaming Service Encoder Settings” is selected.

Bitrate settings and Rate Control

No matter which encoder you select, CBR should always be set as your Rate Control. This is “Constant Bitrate,” which requires your stream to keep up the quality that your bitrate has established.

To accurately determine our ideal Bitrate, it’s time to recall the “upload speed” number we discovered in the first step.
The overall quality of your stream is determined by your bitrate. The stream’s quality improves with increased upload speed. Take the number you discovered and divide it in half.

That is the safe streaming bitrate because anything greater increases the risk of network slowness caused by other users of your network. You can relax and stop worrying about network problems if more than half of your overall upload speed is still greater than 10 mbps.
I want to start with this before we delve into the other bitrate choices. Use a greater bitrate and a lower resolution for streaming first-person shooter games like Fortnite or Call of Duty.

The visual quality of 720p at 5mbps will always be superior to 1080p at 3mbps. So with that said, let’s get into the specifics.

For Twitch

Twitch only permits 6000 kbps as the maximum bitrate, even for partners. Even 1080p streaming will have glitches at 6 Mbps. Here is a general table showing the appropriate bitrate for your upload speed.

The optimal settings for quality on FPS games on Twitch are 6 Mbps or 6000 kbps with a resolution of 1080p.

For Youtube

The maximum bitrate for streaming on YouTube far exceeds that of its rivals. The platform’s maximum bandwidth is a staggering 51 Mbps, but most users will never reach that level. The settings are much the same as those for Twitch or other sites.

Here is a general diagram created with YouTube’s rules for live broadcasting on their platform in mind. [insert bitrate chart]

Set your bitrate to 9000 Kbps and your resolution to 1080p, which we’ll cover in a moment, for the greatest 1080p broadcast and the performance to support it.

The Final Output Configurations

The Keyframe Interval should be set to 2 on most systems. If you set it to 0, it will automatically change according to the streaming platform.
The Preset settings are determined by your PC. You can set this to Quality or even Max Quality if your computer is more powerful than the majority. Lowering this to Performance or Max Performance may ease things if your PC is more on the sluggish end of the range.
It is recommended to set the Profile option to Main or High. High is typically utilized more frequently across most platforms.

Now let’s turn to the Video Tab’s Resolution options.

Video Controls

You want to set the Base (Canvas) Resolution to the resolution of your monitor. This should be 1920 x 1080 for most people.
But the resolution of your stream will be the Output (Scaled) Resolution. Based on your bitrate, you should set this according to the recommendations from the preceding section.

Setting the Downscale Filter to Lanczos is recommended (Sharpened Scaling, 32 Samples). When downscaling to lower resolutions, this produces the smoothest appearance.

Your resolution and bitrate should be taken into account when setting the FPS Value. The image of 720p streaming at 60FPS will typically be superior to that of 1080p streams at 30FPS. Your PC must work harder the higher the framerate.

Solving Streaming Problems

After reading the entire guide, you proceed to the live broadcast. When you select “Go Live,” OBS Studio begins to lose frames. When the square turns red, problems and sluggish streams start to appear.

a typical issue that many beginning streamers run across while learning the ropes.

We’re prepared to assist.

Determine whether the issue is with your network or PC first. You may have increased a few settings after reading the instructions, but you’re still unsure of what is causing the lost frames. OBS Studio provides a status window that displays the cause of the frame drops.
Select “View” and “Stats” from the OBS menu at the top. There will be a box with many sections, but we only need to focus on two of them.

“Frames skipped due to rendering latency” is the result of your GPU working too hard and running out of resources.

Reduce your resolution to begin with.

Reduce the resolution to 720p 60FPS if you’re trying to stream in 1080p.

Adjust your Preset setting in the Output Tab if this doesn’t help to reduce the symptoms. You might get the slight advantage you need by lowering it to Max Performance.

OBS may notify you that it is “Encoding Overloaded” when you are streaming. “Skipped Frames Due to Encoding Lag” is shown by this. This is brought on by an overburdened CPU. You should follow the same procedures and start off with a smaller resolution.

You may see if you are dropping frames because your internet connection is having trouble in the “Dropped Frames (Network)” section. You will see your frames dropping here if you are streaming and your upload speed suffers.

Start by lowering your Bitrate to ease this. Lowering your bitrate can undoubtedly relieve some of the strain on your network since it influences how much of your upload speed you are using.

Make sure to review the requirements for what to stream with if you have to descend too much. A 4kbps stream at 1080p will appear terrible in comparison to a 4kbps stream at 720p. The same bitrate will result in higher pixel quality at lesser resolutions.
You’re prepared! Your next stream will go off without a hitch and with better settings.