How To Live Stream on Twitch From A Desktop Computer

How to live stream to Twitch from a desktop computer


Live Stream on Twitch can be a little difficult if you’re first starting out and trying to figure it all out on your own. It’s even harder for those that already have some knowledge of streaming but aren’t sure how to start or what they should do. I want you, the reader, to think about this article as a step-by-step guide to getting you on your way to success.

What You Will Need:

To start streaming, there are a few things that are absolutely necessary before anything else.

  • PC or Laptop with spare USB ports (desktop preferable)  <—(pretty much required)
  • Video Capture device of some kind   (Capture card, USB device, etc)
  • Microphone (Mic with a stand will make your life easier but any mic should work fine)
  • Camera (webcam or external cam of some kind)  <——(almost necessary but good to have)
  • Webcam Tripod Stand (this will make camera setup much easier)
  • Twitch Overlays (not compulsory but good to have)
  • Webcam or External Webcam (external cams often work better in my experience but a webcam works fine too. If you have an external cam, don’t plug it into your computer just yet)

Once you have all of these things, we can begin the streaming process. The first thing to do is figure out which connection method you will be using.


There are 3 primary ways that you can connect to Twitch when streaming. These are WiFi, Ethernet, and Mobile.  Each one has its own set of pros and cons that I will go over.

WiFi: This is the most common way to stream as it’s easily accessible to most people.  To use WiFi, you will need a good wireless connection or at least decent signal strength.  Wifi also eats up data quickly which can be an issue if your plan is not unlimited.

Ethernet: This is probably the most stable connection out there but it’s definitely not as accessible as WiFi, unfortunately. If you have an Ethernet cord available, use it. Your stream will thank you later.  You can also buy a wireless adapter that will let you connect to the Internet over an Ethernet connection which is great if you don’t have a spare ethernet cord around or if your computer doesn’t have one already.

Mobile: This connection method is probably the least desirable but it can work in a pinch.  To use Mobile, you will need an active data connection and a way to broadcast your stream (Twitch app, YouTube app, etc). This is the most unreliable connection and I do not recommend using it if you have any other options.

Now that you know which connection method you will be using, you can set up your capture card or USB device.

Capture Card Setup:

For any of the connection methods, you will need to plug your capture card into a free USB port on your computer or laptop.  Not all computers have spare USB ports so make sure that there is one available before continuing. If you are using a desktop, make sure that the card is in an open PCI-E slot.

Once your card is plugged in, you will need to install the drivers for it. Most cards come with a CD or you can download them from the manufacturer’s website.  Once the drivers are installed, your computer should automatically recognize the capture card and attempt to install it. If that doesn’t happen, you will need to open Device Manager and find the device yourself.  If your computer does not recognize the card, you may need to enable USB 3.0 in BIOS (different for every motherboard manufacturer).

Now that your capture card is installed, you can begin streaming software setup.  I will be using OBS Studio for this guide but the process should be similar to other software.

Software Setup:

The first thing you need to do is open up OBS Studio and go to the settings.

On the settings tab, you will want to find the “Output” category and select your capture card from the list.

Next, you will want to find the “Video” category and change the resolution to 1920×1080 (or whatever your desired resolution is).

Next, you will want to find the “Encoding” category and change the encoding to “x264 (software)”.

Finally, click Apply and then OK to save all of your settings.

If you already have a streaming service that you use (Twitch, YouTube Gaming, etc) then you can also add the Stream key to OBS Studio. If you do not know where this is on Twitch or how to find the Stream Key in general, check out my previous article on how to live stream to Twitch.

If everything is set up properly, you should now see your stream output in the main OBS Studio window. If not, go back and check all of your settings for any errors. Assuming everything is working correctly, you are now ready to start streaming! Simply hit the Start Streaming button and you should be set to go. If you want to test your stream quality, simply use a second computer or device and watch the live video feed.

If you are using a mobile connection method, make sure that you have a good data connection and enough signal strength.  You should probably only do this on an unlimited plan or if your data is throttled after a certain amount (like mine).

If you are using a capture card, make sure that the card is properly installed and the drivers are installed.

If you are using WiFi, try to use an Ethernet connection if possible.

Make sure that your computer meets the minimum requirements for streaming.

Test your stream quality.

If something still isn’t working, make sure that the OBS Studio project is set to use your capture card as input.  The live video feed may not show up in the main window but it will still be outputting through your chosen connection method. You can also try changing video modes if you are having issues with hardware encoding.

That’s it for this article! I hope that you now have a better understanding of how to set up your streaming software and computer for broadcasting. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and I will do my best to help. Thanks for reading!

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