Best OBS settings for Twitch streaming

The key to making a live stream on Twitch look professional is not always the equipment. Yes, good equipment is important, but you’ll still experience problems if you don’t use the right encoding settings.

You need to know the right bitrate, resolution, and frame rate for your streams. That’s where encoding software like OBS comes in.

In this guide, I’ll explain to you the best OBS settings for Twitch streaming.

OBS Studio is an encoding software program that is used for live streaming videos. When you stream to your viewers, you need to ensure you are giving them high-quality content.

One way of achieving this is to have the best OBS stream settings. But to get the settings right, it is essential to know how to use the OBS software.

Read: How to download a video from Twitch

Using OBS Studio for Twitch

To start using OBS Studio, you need to set up the software to stream on Twitch.

  • Download OBS Studio software for your specific device from the official page.
  • Follow the instructions to install it on your computer
  • On the list of Streaming Services, select Twitch
  • Open your Twitch TV dashboard
  • Go to Settings, then Stream Key, then Show Key
  • Enter the Stream Key into the Stream Key box. You will find this in the Broadcast Settings menu.
  • Click Apply

After setting up OBS Studio for Twitch, next, configure your live stream layout and initiate the stream.

You can do this by adding your game source, webcam, images, or text and then clicking on Start Streaming on the OBS Studio’s main window.

Here’s a video on how to set up and use OBS studio.

Why Bitrate is crucial

While it is easy to set up and initiate a live stream, you need to get your OBS settings right. But first, understand the following.

The bitrate you use in your optimal settings in the OBS Studio software matters a lot. Bitrate affects the file size and quality of a video you are streaming.

Get the bitrate wrong, and you will experience more buffering. This will force you to lower your video’s resolution.

If you choose a higher bitrate, you will increase the quality of your video, and the file size will be large.

Large files will cause a lot of buffering when your viewers are streaming. Most of your viewers do not have internet connections that can handle big file sizes.

If you choose a low bitrate, you will decrease the quality of your videos. Ideally, you must figure out the right balance between file size and image quality.

Getting the best bitrate without buffering will depend on various factors. These include:

  • Bitrate
  • Resolution
  • Framerate

These three factors always affect the quality of a video. Also, they affect the amount of processing power for encoding a video and the bandwidth needed to broadcast the video.

A rule of thumb is to ensure your stream is steady by lowering the framerate and resolution. You do not need a high-quality stream that will be buffering from time to time.

If you are using the OBS Studio software, everything starts with your settings.

Here is a resolution and bitrate comparison table:

Type Resolution Frames per Second (FPS) Low quality

Bitrate

High Quality

Bitrate

Extreme Quality

Bitrate

SD 360p 25 500Kb/s 800 1200
SD 480p 25 750 1200 1600
SD 480p 30 1000 1400 1800
HD 720p 30 2000 2750 3500
HD 1080p 30 3200 6000 9000
HD 1080p 45 4200 7000 11000
HD 1080p 60 5500 8000 14000

You can also check out how much data you’ll use for streaming these resolutions.

Best OBS settings for Twitch

Not all settings work best for everyone. Some prefer settings with a high framerate of 60fps. Others prefer settings with the standard framerate of 30fps.

But what are the OBS recommended settings for Twitch? You should have the following values on your OBS encoder.

The values will depend on the quality of video you want for your stream.

1. Full HD high framerate

  • Framerate – 50 or 60 fps
  • Resolution – 1080p
  • Keyframe interval – 2 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 2

With these technical specs, you should have a bitrate of 4,500 to 6,000 kbps.

2. HD high framerate

  • Framerate – 50 or 60 fps
  • Resolution – 720p
  • Keyframe Interval – 2 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 1

You should have a bitrate of 3500 to 5000 kbps with the above technical specs.

3. SD high framerate

  • Framerate – 50 or 60 fps
  • Resolution – 480p
  • Keyframe Interval – 2 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 3.1

You should have a bitrate of 1500 to 3000 kbps with these technical specs.

4. Full HD standard framerate

  • Framerate – 25 or 30 fps
  • Resolution – 1080p
  • Keyframe Interval – 2 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 4.1

The best bitrate for these specs is 3500 to 5000 kbps.

5. HD standard framerate

  • Framerate – 25 or 30 fps
  • Resolution – 720p
  • Keyframe Interval – 2 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 3.1

For these specs, the best bitrate to have is 2500 to 4000 kbps.

6. Low bandwidth ingest

  • Framerate – 20 or 25 fps
  • Resolution – 240, 360 or 480p
  • Keyframe Interval – 6 to 10 seconds
  • AVC (h.264) Profile – Main/High
  • AVC (h.264) Level – 3.0

The best bitrate for a low bandwidth should be 400 to 1200 kbps. Ideally, you should aim for an ingest of 1,000 kbps or less.

The above is the recommended stream settings for Twitch. Play with the numbers until you find your best settings for OBS streaming.

A rule of thumb is to get the right balance between bitrate and resolution. In most cases, blurring occurs when you have a low bit rate compared to the resolution.

As a beginner, the best stream settings you should consider are:

  • Vertical resolution – 720p
  • Framerate – 30 fps
  • Bitrate – 3,000 kbps

OBS Studio is an encoder that will output the best quality streams. You only need to have the best settings.

Conclusion

It can be confusing to choose the best OBS settings for Twitch when getting started. But this should not be the case as the whole encoding process is about trial and error.

Use Twitch’s recommended settings to determine which one works for you. If the settings don’t work, play around with the values until you get one that will ensure fluid streaming.

If you’ve already figured out how to set up OBS and streaming your videos flawlessly, go ahead and learn how to attract viewers to your Twitch streams.

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