Twitch streamers and obsessions with high bit rates

A topic I’d like to discuss today is the Twitch Streamers which may not be partnered yet, throwing everything overboard and streaming at the best quality possible. Something which may not be a good idea. Now, I know everyones getting fancy installs out in the big cities like Gigabit fibre, but you need to remember that your audience… isn’t.

Years ago, I started streaming and I’ve always had a comment pop up in my chat, “Can you lower the bitrate?” Followed by no response, I’ve had this enough for it to be a genuine worry of mine, was that turning people off my stream? Quality is important, but not as important as finding a balance between what looks good, and what is actually watchable by your audience. There’s a reason Twitch limits their bitrate to 6000. Not only is it absurd to expect them to shoulder that much bandwidth burden, people don’t like streaming at insane download speeds. If you think this matters, netflix only streams 720p to Chrome.

For those partnered folks, this won’t matter to you, Twitch gives you a quality selector and it’ll downgrade your quality to whatever suits, as I live in the middle of nowhere on an ADSL Connection and like to tune into Asmongold sometimes, this can result in me watching in 480p. Our speeds out here just aren’t good enough for 1080p 60FPS without mad buffering or the rest of the house getting their experience downgraded.

I get around 16 Down to share between a few people, imagine if you’re streaming at 6000 Kbps. I’ve now got 10 left for people watching high quality netfix or casual browsing, web pages these days can kick a few megabytes, it’s not unusual to see some sites making over 900 requests when you first go on them!

My lesson and message is this. If you want people to tune into your stream, don’t stream at 1080P 60FPS, just because you can and your mates can tune in and watch because you’re all on Virgin Media’s gigabit package, doesn’t mean you should. 720p 30fps is still very useable, think about the people watching on a 1080p screen that have your stream in that tiny window with the chat next to it? It makes sense to allow everyone to experience your stream than just a select few.

2 thoughts on “Twitch streamers and obsessions with high bit rates”

  1. I disagree as streaming at 30fps would just hurt you. Most PC’s these days can handle streaming 1080p video at 60 fps, I agree don’t go out of your way to upgrade internet packages just for the sake of 1000kbs. Twitch also limits affiliates to 6k bitrate which is plenty. If you can though why not crank it up? When you hit affiliate twitch gives your viewers quality sliders anyway so they can down it if need be and the auto selector always gravitates to 720p.

    Streamers need to stand out to grow, that’s a simple fact. If you are a speed runner then that’s you, if you are a pro then that’s your niche. For those who are funny people on stream that’s all good you might be funny but there are 500 funnier people than you at the same viewer count – it is how it is. If I can be the funny guy with the crisp stream that people look at and go wow this is nice to watch at 1080p and can make people laugh then it ain’t a problem.

    Another point of having higher quality is for Youtube content. If you stream at 1080p 60fps 6k bitrate then the vod is recorded at that. Then when you download it and upload to youtube it stands out. I personally done this recently with a Doom Eternal video and the number one feedback I get is “This quality is nice, actually watchable”.

    My ending points: If someone has a 1080p monitor then they would prefer to watch high quality videos/streams. Affiliates and Partners get quality sliders for the viewers so anyone can watch at any quality. I totally agree. Don’t rush for high bitrate, focus on other areas first but trust me in todays climate no one is watching a new streamer at 480p 1k bitrate unless their contents focus is something entirely different (Speed-running).

    1. Agreed, but on the point about

      When you hit affiliate twitch gives your viewers quality sliders anyway so they can down it if need be and the auto selector always gravitates to 720p.

      This doesn’t happen as far as I can see. Tried on a number of affiliates and it’s stuck on Source. Which I get why Twitch doesn’t do it cause it costs a chuck of change to transcode video. Moving has deffos hit my twitch experience cause I can only watch in 480p. Even YouTube I’m needing to limit 🙁

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The main content creator for SwitchedBit. Commonly uploading gaming and technology videos. Works as a sysadmin and customer support for a local fintech company. 3 years experience behind creating networks and building projects.

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