OBS is free, open-source software for live streaming. Here's a guide for how to set it up to optimize your broadcast for gaming and other uses.
1. Install OBS on your computer:
- Download for PC / Mac (make sure you download the appropriate version for your computer)
- Follow the prompts to install
- Open OBS
- Click the + icon under Sources
- To add a camera, choose "Video Capture Device" and "Add New"
3. Setup your scene, by adding a camera and any other content
- Click the + icon under Sources
- To add a Camera, choose "Video Capture Device", the "Add New"
- To capture a Game, choose "Game Capture"
- To capture your Desktop, choose "Display Capture"
- Drag and drop your video sources to arrange them how you please
3. Setup your video quality
- Open the OBS settings
- Go to the "Output" tab
- Set Video Rate to 2500 Kbps
- Go to the "Video" tab
- Set Recommended Canvas Resolution - Default (should be the same as your computer monitor)
- Recommended Output Resolution - 1280x720
- Recommended Frame Rate - 30
- To stream at higher quality, see the FAQs below
4. Setup your broadcast
- Visit younow.com and click Go Live in the header, and choose OBS
- Do the normal broadcast setup (tag, title, etc)
- On the broadcast preview page, copy the stream key and return to OBS
5. Configure OBS
- Click Settings and go to the Stream tab
- Tap the Service drop down
- Click Show All...
- Select YouNow
- Paste the Stream Key that you copied from YouNow
- Close the settings
- You only need to do this setup once, the first time you use OBS
6. Go Live
- In OBS, click the Start Streaming button
- Remember that whatever you're seeing in OBS is what the viewer will also see on YouNow, so make sure your sources, scenes and the rest are all set as you want them.
- You can adjust by re-ordering your sources, scenes, etc.
- Return to YouNow
- You should now see a preview of your stream
- Click Go Live to begin your broadcast
- You are now live!
- Note: If you want to guest while using OBS, you need to setup your audio to avoid feedback. See the guide here.
Common Setup Issues
Q: Did you follow the steps in the correct order?
A: For OBS streaming to work, you must do everything in the correct order. First, setup your broadcast on YouNow. Second, start streaming from OBS. Third, hit Go Live on YouNow.
Q: Did you take a long time to configure OBS?
A: If so, your broadcast may have timed out. Cancel it and start a fresh one. Try to start streaming from OBS shortly after setting up the broadcast to avoid this.
Q: Is your camera being used by another application?
A: OBS will not be able to access your camera if it is being used by another application, such as your browser. Close all other programs that may have your camera, and try restarting OBS.
Q: Can I guest while using OBS?
A: Yes. But because OBS captures your computer audio, you need to take some steps to prevent your guests from hearing themselves.
The simplest option is to mute Desktop Audio while guesting. In OBS, click the speaker icon next to Desktop Audio in the mixer (bottom center).
The more advanced and permanent option is to split your computer's audio, so that OBS does not capture and rebroadcast your guest's audio. Follow the guide here.
Q: Can I stream at higher quality?
Yes. The recommended settings above give the most reliable viewing experience, but you can stream at higher quality if you want. Just keep in mind that at higher bitrates, some viewers may not have sufficient internet capacity to view your stream smoothly. Settings to use:
- 1280x720 @ 30fps = 2500kbps
- 1280x720 @ 60fps = 3000kbps
- 1920x1080 @ 30fps = 5000kbps
- 1920x1080 @ 60fps = 6000kbps
Q: Why does my video appear laggy?
A: On YouNow, a preview of your video is shown. It may appear slightly delayed because it is coming from an external source (OBS). But this will not impact the quality of the broadcast.
Q: How do I use scenes?
A: OBS allows you to setup multiple scenes, and quickly switch between them. This allows a broadcaster to use different layouts for different occasions, or show an image while they are away from their computer. For a detailed guide on OBS scenes, go here.