Encoder Settings

Encoder settings play a vital role in the quality of your live stream. Different encoders offer varying levels of customization. Here are the main settings to focus on:

  • Encoder: This is the software or hardware creating your video stream. Depending on whether you are on a P.C. or Mac machine, your encoder options will vary. The most common ones include H.264 (AVC or NVENC) and H.265 (HEVC) (Newer Mac machines use the Software x264 encoder by default but it is recommended to switch this to the hardware Apple VT H264 Encoder). H.264 is the most compatible codec today and provides good video quality. H.265 and VP9 are newer, offer better compression, and are suitable for 4K streaming, but may not be supported on all devices.

Software encoders like x264 are known to cause intermittent encoding errors, if possible use a hardware encoder for the best results.

  • Frame Rate: A frame rate of 24-30 FPS (frames per second) is suitable for most live streams. For high-motion content like sports or gaming, consider using 60 FPS.

    • This can be accessed in the Video section of OBS settings.

  • Keyframe Interval: Keyframes, or I-frames, are the most comprehensive type of frame in a video. Set the keyframe interval to 2 seconds for optimal streaming.

    • You may not see this option in settings depending on your OBS version

  • Preset: The preset affects how the codec encodes the video. Using a slower encoding speed will improve the output quality, but depending on your machine can cause a slight increase in the time that it takes to actually deliver the video segments to the RTMP port, which will increase stream latency.

    • Somewhere in the middle of slowest and fastest is usually best for a balance between latency and quality.

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