If you're just starting out and are about to launch your first YouTube livestream, you'll encounter one or two potential stumbling blocks relatively quickly. While the YouTube livestream settings seem quite clear and easy to understand at first, as we all know, the devil is often in the details. In this detailed overview, we would like to explain the individual points and options so that your YouTube streams are perfectly tuned and tailored to you in the future.
In the course of this guide, we will also briefly go into the expert settings and the fine adjustments that you can make in OBS Studio. There, we'll talk specifically about the quality settings - namely, setting the YouTube streams bitrate.
The following settings refer to the settings you can make directly on the YouTube website or in your channel manager. You can reach the overview page of your YouTube’s streaming settings by starting a stream on YouTube.com.
2.1 Start streaming immediately or schedule it?
Right after you click on the "Start Livestream" button, a window will appear where you have to make your first relevant selection. You will be asked by YouTube whether you want to start your stream immediately or schedule it. The "Now" option should be self-explanatory accordingly. The second option gives you the option to schedule your YouTube stream and set the start time for a future date.
So if you already have some subscribers, you can already attract attention this way, because they will get a notification in case you schedule a stream. As a rule, it makes sense to make sure that you have fixed stream times, which you then also distribute via the social media channels. However, you can use YouTube's "schedule stream" feature to target some users who don't follow you on social media or missed a stream announcement.
2.2 Type of stream
After you have set the start time of the strea,, you have to choose in the next window on which type you want to start your stream. On the one hand you can start a livestream directly with your webcam - it will then be activated and you can communicate with your subscribers and friends like in a video call and on the other hand you can start your stream via a so-called streaming software. This method is always selected if you want to transmit gameplay, for example.
2.3 Stream key
As soon as you have started a stream, you will automatically be taken to the stream overview, where the YouTube streaming settings are. Here you can find all stream relevant settings and options. The item "Stream key" is crucial for you if you start your transmission with a streaming software. This key is automatically generated by YouTube and serves as a link between your YouTube account and the software on your PC.
It contains everything from log-in information to your saved settings, and once entered, it's hardwired into your streaming software so it only needs to be entered once. If you have accidentally given away your stream key or want to create a new one for security reasons, you can do so by clicking the "RESET" button. Afterwards a new stream key will be generated, which has to be inserted into the streaming program again.
2.4 Stream URL
Your stream URL is there to be inserted into your streaming program. It is also used so that the program knows on which address your stream is located. This way, it can be accessed directly via the streaming tool and, for example, the live feed can be intercepted in order to be able to display it accordingly in your streaming interface.
2.5 Stream Latency
Latency means nothing else than "delay" - with this setting option you determine how responsive your entire stream should be. With an (extremely) low latency it takes much less time until the signal from your PC reaches the viewer. So you can communicate much more directly with your chat, but in return you have to accept a degradation of the image quality for your viewers.
The most popular option is definitely "normal latency", which is a good compromise between delay and picture quality. It takes a few seconds until the signal reaches the viewer, but the viewer can watch your stream in a very good quality.
2.6 Enable DVR
This feature benefits your viewers because it allows them to pause your stream and seamlessly resume watching where it was stopped, even though your broadcast continues normally. Also, if users have missed something or want to watch it again, they can rewind it and fast-forward it again afterwards.
3 YouTube Stream Bitrate - Streaming Software Setting (OBS Studio)
Now that we have shown you which YouTube streaming settings you can make directly on YouTube, this short chapter is about one of the most important settings in OBS Studio. OBS Studio is a free streaming tool that is used by most streamers.
The YouTube stream bitrate determines the image quality of your stream. Generally, the higher the bitrate, the more capacity your internet line will use to transmit your stream. A bitrate that is too low, on the other hand, will lead to image problems and streams that have such a low resolution that users will be put off. So, what internet speed do you need for live streaming on YouTube?
So when setting the YouTube stream bitrate, it's recommended that you find a good compromise. Basically, of course, you will always have to orient yourself to the speed of your internet line. You won't be able to stream 4K on YouTube with a 16 Mbit/s line. We therefore recommend that you do a speed test before setting the YouTube stream bitrate. Below you can find the bitrate values recommended by YouTube for the corresponding resolutions.
720p - 60 FPS
- Recommended YouTube Stream Bitrate: 1.500-4.000 kbit/s
1080p - 30 FPS
- Recommended YouTube stream bitrate: 3,000-6,000 kbit/s
1080p - 60 FPS
- Recommended YouTube stream bitrate: 4,500-9,000 kbit/s
1440p - 30 FPS
- Recommended YouTube stream bitrate: 6,000-13,000 kbit/s
1440p - 60 FPS
- Recommended YouTube stream bitrate: 9,000-18,000 kbit/s
4K - 30 FPS
- Recommended YouTube stream bitrate: 13,000-34,000 kbit/s
4K - 60 FPS
- Recommended YouTube Stream Bitrate: 20,000-51,000 kbit/s