Streaming Setup A-Z Guide for Beginners: How Can I Start?
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It's been a very long time since live streaming became common. Be that as it may, one could say that the streaming industry has reached a fever pitch that it never has before. With that in mind, many people are trying to put together a streaming setup to get into the industry.
It never feels saturated because various niches attract viewers from around the world. It's all about finding where you belong and capitalizing on it. The beginner streamer setup is always the hardest because greater experience means being able to make better and more effective choices down the line.
When you're just starting, however, you begin to wonder and ask questions, such as, is there a recommendation for the best YouTube setup that's different from the best Twitch setup? Should you show your face on stream or just use your microphone? What are you supposed to be saying while you're playing?
It's natural for these questions and more to flood your mind when you are doing something new in the gaming media world. However, this guide is intended to take you through everything you may want to know about streaming, what is needed for streaming and what you need to do to get in and get better at it.
What to Know about Live Streaming and Its Popularity
First, it's always essential to start with the basics. Before learning about what is needed for streaming and building a basic streaming setup, you may want to understand live streaming a bit more and what makes it so attractive.
As the name implies, live streaming is simply the practice of projecting a live feed over the internet for people to watch and comment on live. It's important to note this definition as it speaks to the interactive nature that is expected of any successful stream.
It's not about playing video games or engaging in some other activity for people to watch you. If that's the case, then you may as well grab a couple of your friends and have them sit and see how you tackle your favorite games. What's important here is the viewing experience.
This means, if you are not a very talkative person, you are likely going to have to get more comfortable talking to your chat and answering questions that may come your way. Remember that the conversations don't always need to revolve around the games that you are playing.
Some streamers are well-liked because they are willing to talk about the most random things with their audiences. For example, which fruits are too overpriced, the reason supermarket lines are often too long, some of the worst jobs to have, etc.
Streaming is so popular because human nature desires companionship and a sense of belonging. When someone begins to follow a streamer and progressively return for that content, that person becomes a part of a community, which feels like an accomplishment.
Additionally, streamers are displaying themselves taking part in a popular form of entertainment, which is a shared interest among many around the world.
Step-by-step Stream Setup Insights
The insights in this section are intended to give you a foundation to understand how to start streaming before diving into the live streaming setup that you may need.
Your first order of business is to decide what you are going to be streaming. This does not refer to the day-to-day thoughts that you are likely going to have before every stream. Instead, it is your attempt at understanding which niche you plan to target and what you plan to bring to the market.
For example, you may have a Dutch streamer who happens to be bilingual. This person speaks both Dutch and English. The appeal to such streamers could be the fact that special moments and expressions come out in Dutch while the rest of the stream is in English. It may seem simple but seeing it in action is quite entertaining.
If it's not based on your personality or your talents, it can also be based on the type of games you play. For example, maybe you are a real-time strategy or fantasy game player. Maybe you're a Call of Duty player. Alternatively, people could come to your stream when they want to see highly difficult Souls Series games.
Following your decision of what to stream, you need to consider which platform you are going to use. Note, however, that you are not bound to any singular streaming service. If you wish to have a presence on multiple, that's up to you. The only issue that may come from that is difficulty with your scheduling.
Your streaming style is going to be the next matter. Do you want to have the kind of conversation and interaction that is only suited for adult audiences? Do you intend to be kid-friendly? Is your tone going to be primarily comical, aggressive, flirty, etc.? There are currently streamers who do all these things successfully, so any of them can work for you.
The first attempts at streaming are likely going to see no one bothering to join. If that's the case, it's in your best interest to not get discouraged, as it is very likely going to pick up. What you should do is begin to strategize how you handle things when no one is speaking.
Some people choose to give commentary on the games they're playing, others remain silent, while others find some other way of being entertaining. Their basic streaming setup also reflects their humor and personality. It can feel a bit awkward, but as your channel grows, you are not going to have to worry about doing that anymore.
Basic Setup Gear
With the planning phase out of the way, this is the part where you focus on your streaming setup. As you can imagine, there's a host of technology in the background at play, and you need to have the right gear to be able to bring your unique flavor of entertainment to the Internet.
Whether it's your streaming accessories or your hardware, the list below covers the essentials, as well as a few quality-of-life inclusions that should make things feel better for you.
1. Camera and Microphone
Though cameras tend to be a big part of live streaming setup, you should note that the lack of a camera does not prevent you from streaming. The same goes for your microphone. There could be an absence of both, and your stream would then be nothing more than gameplay. The challenge here is that going such a route takes away from the entertainment potential.
Statistically, streams with a microphone feed perform better than those that are doing nothing more than displaying gameplay. When a camera is added to the mix, their average performance rises even more.
Your streaming page is your brand, and it's much more attractive to viewers when they can put a face and a voice to that brand. Remember the information you got before that the engagement is what people are looking for in a stream, as opposed to the gameplay.
Your monitor is a no-brainer here, as you need to see what you are doing just like your viewers do. It is in your best bet to have a dual monitor setup going. That's because you need to monitor your stream and your chat while you are playing. You don't want to minimize your game just to see what's happening.
Some streamers connect using their mobile devices instead of a second screen but having to look down and potentially unlock a phone each time gets annoying to the streamer, and it can be highly distracting to those who are watching. Incorporating a monitor arm in a beginner streamer setup increases the convenience even more as you can suspend and rotate your screens at will.
3. Gaming Rig
This is the base of your game-playing potential and of any basic streaming setup. The power of your gaming rig determines the kind of games you are going to be able to run on your PC. You should note, however, that console streamers do exist.
So, if you have a PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS5, or Xbox Series X, you can stream too. However, streaming directly from any console that supports it severely reduces the quality of your stream, since that's not one of the top priorities where console software is concerned.
As a PC gamer, you want to have a solid graphics card, as well as a good CPU with at least four cores and six threads. Streaming can be a machine-intensive task while a game is running, so you want to ensure that your rig is beefy enough to handle it all.
The mouse, keyboard, and headphones that you may use for your streaming are included here. The typical rules of wired and wireless connectivity apply. If you are going to be playing online games that require better reaction times, then wired peripherals are better for you. If not, then you may feel better going for the convenience associated with a wireless setup.
5. Capture Card
Console streamers don't necessarily have to use the built-in streaming software of their gaming systems. Instead, you can use a capture card in your live streaming setup that allows you to connect your console to your PC and stream the feed with all the bells and whistles that custom PC software gives you.
You have the choice of an external or internal capture card. When going this route, since the feed goes to your PC instead of your TV, you definitely want a second monitor to manage all of your stream insights and to be able to read your chat as you play.
What if you were told that an office standing desk is one of the healthiest and most solid options for your streaming setup? When you imagine a streamer desk, you probably think of a traditional model that only allows seated operations. However, an adjustable standing desk is perfect, as it allows you to alternate between seated and standing positions at will.
Not only can this be entertaining for your viewers, but it also contributes to improved health for you, as sitting for long periods can be incredibly dangerous.
The same rule as the desk applies here. Consider getting an office chair with a host of ergonomic features for your streaming setup. When it's time to sit, the high adjustability and customization leave you in the kind of neutral position that mitigates against injuries, strains, pains, and chronic conditions that you can develop.
It's very natural for you to see a gaming chair for streamer needs, and while many of them are supportive, they lack essentials, such as proper lumbar support that ergonomic options offer.
8. LED Desk Lamp
An adjustable LED desk lamp is one of the most convenient and essential desk accessories a streamer can have. It supplements whatever natural light is available and can become a more dominant light source as the room gets darker. Just don't make the mistake of focusing the beam directly down, as you can increase your amount of visual strain that way.
9. Desk Pad
The final optional accessory for your streaming setup is the desk pad, which allows you to protect the surface of your table from scratches and wear directly attributed to mouse and keyboard movement.
Popular Streaming Platforms for Your Beginner Streaming Setup
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform to date. It is incredibly easy to get started and is organized by categories, which help viewers to see the kind of content they want. Since it's only meant for streaming purposes, you can always set up your account, log in, and watch a few other streamers to get some inspiration.
While YouTube is primarily a video-sharing platform, it does have a real-time streaming component. Account owners use the feature for various reasons, including streaming video game content to audiences. Since the platform has such a split focus, you may have a harder time getting an audience here.
Facebook gaming is another option that you may wish to consider in your streaming setup. It is a little more on the niche side, and a lot less popular than Twitch, which seems to be at the top of the ladder. However, the amount of competition for you there is way lower.
No, you should have a solid foundation on everything you need to get your streaming setup going and to start building your audience. Just remember all the insights you have gotten here, and you should do well.
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