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How to live stream on YouTube with OBS

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By Jon Martindale


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YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for gaming streams and Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is one of the most popular tools to record everything you need — from game footage to voice-over audio. Getting started can be a bit intimidating though, as even with tools and services that are designed with live streaming in mind, some of the settings and set up options can be rather opaque.

To help you learn how to live steam on YouTube with OBS, we’ve put together some handy tips and tricks, and some step by step instructions to get started.

Verify your YouTube channel

how to live stream on youtube with obs youtubechannel01

The first step to setting up your new YouTube live streaming empire is to create a YouTube account. If you haven’t done so already, check out our step by step guide on how to do so. If you have and you want to start getting it ready for streaming, follow the steps below:

Step 1: You can only livestream on YouTube if you have a verified account that’s linked with a mobile number. Head to the verification page, login, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Step 2: Head to the YouTube Studio dashboard at this link. Then use the left-hand menu to select “Other features,” followed by “Live Streaming.”

YouTube Gaming Stream

Step 3: You’ll find a number of options that you’ll want to customize for your steam, including: Its name, description, category, privacy setting, and latency options. Spend some time getting familiar with these and getting the stream set up to your preferences. You can edit them later, but it’s a good idea to get to know them now before you actually start streaming.

If you need any more specific help, YouTube has a “Live streaming checklist” on the right-hand side which can provide some tips of its own.

Step 4: When your stream settings are complete. Head back to the “Basic info” tab, and under the heading “Encoder setup”, take note of your “Stream name/key” (use the “Reveal” button to reveal it). You can leave the tab open and come back to it later, or write down the key. Whatever you do, keep it secret. We’ll need it later, but we don’t want anyone else to have it, or they could stream on your account without your say so.

how to use obs obssetup01

Step 5: Download OBS from the official website and install it as you would any other program. Run it as administrator and head into the settings menu using the relevant button in the bottom-right of the main window.

Step 6: Use the “Video” and “Output” tabs to select your chosen frame rates, resolution, and bit-rate. They control your audio quality. For a look at what you should set them to for YouTube, check out Google’s relevant support page.

Step 7: Go to the “Steam” tab using the left-hand menu and select “YouTube/YouTube Gaming” from the “Service” drop-down menu.

how to use obs obssetup02

Step 8: In the “Stream key” field, type or paste in your YouTube Stream key. That will link OBS with YouTube so that when you stream with OBS, it goes straight to your YouTube channel.

Step 9: Click “Audio” in the left-hand menu. Each device on that page represents one potential audio source in your live stream. If you want in-game or desktop audio to be heard by your viewers, set one of the “Desktop audio device” settings to your system’s audio output. If you want your viewers to hear you, select your microphone from the drop-down next to “Mix/Auxillary Audio Device.”

Step 10: Exit the settings menu by hitting “Apply,” followed by “OK.” In the main window, under the heading “Sources,” at the bottom, click the “+” icon. If you want to stream game footage, click “Game Capture” from the list. You have a few different options for how you want that footage captured. Select the one that works best for you and choose what kind of frame rate or resolution to capture it at. When finished, click “OK.”

If you want to stream footage of you from an external camera, click the “+” icon under “Sources,” again, and select “Video Capture Device.” Select your camera from the list of options under the “Device” drop-down and decide on its quality and FPS. When finished, click “OK.”

Start Streaming

With all of the above settings in place and your YouTube channel configured to accept your stream, there’s only one thing to do: Start streaming. If you want to get started straight away, click the “Start Streaming” button in OBS (it’s in the bottom-right). You can confirm that your stream is live in your YouTube live stream dashboard. You’ll see your video and hear your audio appear there and on its public page 10-20 seconds after you begin, as there is a slight delay.

When you’re finished streaming, say goodbye to anyone watching and click the “Stop streaming,” button in OBS.


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