Choosing bitrate and codecs for radio streaming
Streaming in gaming is an online broadcast during which the user shows the process of passing the game, comments on his actions and interacts with the audience, for example, responds to messages in chat.
You need a fast Internet connection in order to have a quality live stream. Bandwidth tells us what kind of streaming quality you can actually achieve. In other words, what bitrate you can set up.
This tutorial is based on my experience on Russian radio and is full of practical tips, and here's the first one: your internet speed should be at least twice the bitrate you want to set up. For example, if you want to stream 720p at a bitrate of 2,000, then your download speed should be at least 4,000 kilobits per second. You should never set a bitrate that is equal to or close to your Internet download speed. This will cost buffering because the Internet connection can be unstable and the speed changes over time. This is the main reason.
To find out how fast my Internet connection is, I use the website speedtest.net. Let's break it down. We opened the site and clicked "test" and you can see how fast I can download files from the Internet, but more important is the download speed, which is the speed at which I can send a stream to the Internet.
As you can see, I have a pretty good Internet connection, but in practice I will choose to stream no higher than two or three megabits per second. Why? Well, there's a catch. In practice, the connection speeds are much slower and the connection is not as stable as when you connect via cable. Sometimes, when the load on the network is very high, you may even experience a loss of connection. For me this does not happen very often, but please keep it in mind. Especially if you are streaming important events for your customers. You should always use a wired internet channel and back up in case you have problems with the main internet.
The next very important thing is that you should never use Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is the enemy of good streaming. With a 4G provider or cable, always connect your computer to another, through an Internet cable. You will achieve faster speeds and a more reliable connection.
Wi-Fi is good if you're browsing Facebook, not when you're working live. Everyone does video on a live streaming server. That last tip is ridiculous. It's something obvious, but I'm always surprised at how many streamers do it wrong. When streaming, you want to make sure that other people and other necessary applications aren't using your Internet bandwidth. For example, two years ago I was streaming live at a mall, with all the 3D printers downstairs, and people could bring their wristbands. It worked great for us at first, but then a lot of people gathered in the store. Initially, the it specialist promised me that the internet connection would only be used for broadcasting, but I had a lot of problems during the event. I kept losing connection with the broadcast server, and this was due to a very unstable internet connection. When I tested the speech with speedtest.net, everything was fine, but one thing I didn't know was that all 20 or so 3D printers were connected to the same network via Wi-Fi.
It was a disaster because the 3D printers would load the network every time someone started working with it.
Please double check if you are the only user that is dedicated to streaming. Online streaming requires a separate white channel with at least 5 megabits per second symmetric speed, ideally of course to have several times the margin.
Then check your computer for streaming. Is there any application that can use the Internet, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and other product updates, please close them. Close unnecessary applications on windows. You can open an application called MS Config. Turn off all unnecessary applications. And restart your computer. If you use a Mac device go to settings, then users, open and log in, uninstall any applications you need and restart your computer. As you can see, I've made a few tips to sum it up:
- Your Internet download speed should be at least twice the speed of your stream.
- You can check your Internet connection using the website speedtest.net
- You should stream using cable providers and use 4G LTE as a backup.
- Always connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable, not Wi-Fi.
- Disconnect other users and devices that can share your network and interfere with bandwidth.
- Close all unnecessary applications during the broadcast. Also, be sure to turn off operating system auto-updates.