Following accusations of plagiarism and copycat naming schemes, Streamlabs has announced that it’s removing “OBS” from the name of its popular livestreaming app. At first glance, the move is a direct response to the developers behind Open Broadcasting Software (OBS), who claimed that Streamlabs used their naming scheme against their wishes. The fast response, though, is more directly tied to criticism from top streamers like Pokimane and Hasanabi, who threatened to stop using Streamlabs’s software if it didn’t address the copycat concerns.
Streamlab’s apology comes across as defensive, since it’s arguing that its software is also open source like OBS, one of the first tools built specifically for livestreamers. Streamlab’s app, which has been praised for being well-designed and feature-rich, is also based on a fork of OBS. Despite those shared beginnings, though, Streamlabs has always been a separate project. It also offers premium services on top of its free core app, so you could argue that Streamlabs was partially fueling its business based on OBS’s popularity.
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Whether you’re interested in creating a fun tutorial for people to try at home, streaming your favorite games, or even sharing your best jokes with a live audience, there’s a lot to love about creating content on YouTube.
When you want to directly interact with your audience in real time, you can always set up a livestream, and the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) tool is usually the best way to make it happen.
Get your YouTube stream key
Step 1: Create a YouTube account if you haven’t already. Check out our step-by-step guide (listed above) on how to do so.
Step 2: You can’t livestream on YouTube until you verify the account with a linked mobile number. Head to the verification page, log in to your account, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Step 3: Once verified, it’s time to head to YouTube Studio. You can do that by logging in directly with this link or by selecting the Camera icon on YouTube and selecting Go Live. You can also download a separate Studio app, depending on what you prefer. Menus may look a little different depending on how you are accesssing YouTube, but all the features should be there.
Step 4: Now select Stream, and check to make sure that all the settings are correct and that the video is properly titled and described (this is great for video SEO and important if you want maximum visibility). The video should always be on “Public.”
If you are online using the web version, you can simply go to Live Streaming > Stream Now to begin.
Step 5: When ready, select Create Stream.
Step 6: With your stream created, a control panel will provide a preview window and tabs for stream settings, analytics, and stream health.
The Stream Settings tab is open by default. Look directly under the label to find the stream key you need for OBS. Click Copy to send the 16-character string to the clipboard. You can also click the Reveal eyeball button to expose the string for 10 seconds and enter them manually in OBS.
Whatever you do, keep this number secret. You don’t want anyone else to have it since they could stream on your account without your permission.
Link OBS to YouTube
Step 1:Download OBS from the official website and install it as you would any other program. Run it as an administrator, and head into the Settings panel using the relevant button located in the bottom right corner.
Step 2: On the following pop-up screen, use the Video and Output tabs to select your chosen frame rates, resolution, and bit rate — they control your audio quality. To see the ideal settings for YouTube, check out Google’s relevant support page.
Step 3: Go to the Stream tab using the left-hand menu and select YouTube/YouTube Gaming from the Service drop-down menu.
Step 4: In the Stream Key field, type or paste your YouTube stream key. That links OBS with YouTube so the software streams straight to your channel.
Step 5: Click Audio on the left-hand menu. Each device on that page represents one potential audio source in your livestream. If you want viewers to hear in-game or desktop audio, set one of the Desktop Audio 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/Auxiliary Audio.
Step 6: Exit the settings panel by clicking Apply > OK.
Step 7: In the main window, click the Plus icon under the Sources heading toward the bottom. If you want to stream game footage, click Game Capture listed on the pop-up menu.
You have a few different options for capturing your footage. You can capture any full-screen application, a specific window, or a foreground window. You can also force scaling, capture third-party overlays, and more. Click OK to complete.
Want to add your headshot using an external camera? Click the Plus icon under Sources again, but this time, 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.
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 start right away, click the Start Streaming button located in the bottom right corner.
Now it’s time to start streaming. To begin, click the Go Live button in the top left corner of your YouTube dashboard. Once the OBS establishes the connection to YouTube, the broadcast will be visible in the preview pane. Keep in mind that there is a 20-second delay between your live stream and the public page where your viewers are watching.
Once you say goodbye to your viewers, you’ll need to end your broadcast. You can do this by selecting “Stop Streaming” in OBS.
You might encounter issues with your live stream due to problems with PC or Internet performance. With OBS, you can access a log to help solve the issue. You can find this log by clicking Help, then choosing Log Files from the drop-down menu. Then, from the following menu, select either Upload Current Log File or Upload Last Log File. You’ll see a new window giving you a URL for the uploaded log file. Make sure to copy the URL to your clipboard before clicking OK to finish.
The OBS Log Analyzer will use the log file you uploaded to diagnose whatever problems you’re having with your stream. Open the analyzer and paste the URL into the text field. After selecting the Analyze button, the Log Analyzer will look at the file and give you feedback on your performance issues and stream quality. For example, your stream might be low-quality due to your game’s FPS. Alternatively, your PC resolution may be set too high, which would overload the GPU.
We recommend the following resources to keep your stream looking crystal clear:
One of the best tools for streaming your games on YouTube or Twitch is Open Broadcast Studio. If you want to get started with streaming yourself to fans worldwide, OBS is a great entryway.
Learning how to use OBS, however, is a journey unto itself. You’ll want to be familiar with the broadcasting application before you start opening up your life and gaming skills to the world. But don’t worry, we have you covered. Here’s how to get started with OBS and some useful OBS tricks.
How to set up OBS
Before you actually start streaming, you’ll need to set up the OBS software. That means downloading, installing, and formatting to your preferences. Fortunately, the software is entirely free, and thanks to an explosion in usage over the past few years, it’s more user-friendly today than ever.
Step 2: Right-click the OBS shortcut and select Run As Administrator.
Step 3: Before you connect OBS to your streaming platform of choice, you’ll want to select your stream’s parameters. To do so, click on the Settings button in the bottom right-hand corner, and access the Video tab on the left-hand menu.
Step 4: Choose the resolution you’ll capture footage and stream at, as well as the frame rate you want to broadcast at. If you’re not sure, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook have guides to help. You also need to make sure that your internet’s upload speed can handle it. If you’re not sure, find out your upload rate using an internet speed test.
Step 5: Access the Video tab using the left-hand menu and select your desired video BitRate.
If you’re unsure about any of this, the OBS configuration wizard may make the process a little bit more streamlined. You can access it from the main OBS window, under the Tools tab. Alternatively, leave everything as it is to start with and then make adjustments to learn more about using the software and streaming in general.
If your streams end up laggy, you’ll want to lower the bitrate, resolution, or FPS. If your video footage is low and you have the bandwidth to spare, you can afford to raise the bitrate and resolution to improve your stream’s quality.
Link OBS to your streaming service
The next step is to link OBS with your chosen streaming platform. In this guide, we’ll look at YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, although the process is similar for some of the alternatives.
Step 1: Launch OBS as an administrator.
Step 2: Click the Settings button in the bottom right-hand corner.
Step 3: Select Stream from the left-hand menu.
Step 4: Make sure that your Stream type is set to “Streaming Services. Then use the drop-down next to Service to select the streaming platform you want to stream your footage to.
From this point, you’ll need to input your unique Stream Key. How you acquire that depends on your platform of choice. Use the relevant section below to find it.
Note: Your stream key is what lets you stream directly to your respective channels or services. Make sure to keep it secret, as someone could use it to stream in your name!
Step 1: Head to the Creator Studio page for your channel and login if required. If you don’t have a YouTube channel yet, here’s how to start one.
Step 2: Use the left-hand menu to select Other Features, followed by Live Streaming.
Step 3: On the live streaming page, scroll down until you see a section headed Encoder Setup. Click the Reveal button and copy your stream key.
Step 4: Go back to OBS and paste it into the Stream Key section. Then click Apply, followed by OK.
Step 2: Click the “Create Live Stream” button. Don’t worry about starting a stream just yet. That’s just the term for setting up your ability to stream on Facebook Live.
Step 3: If you want to do a one-off stream, copy the Stream Key. If you want to stream regularly on Facebook Live, tick the box that says Use A Persistent Stream Key, and copy the resulting key.
Step 4: Go back to OBS and paste it into the Stream Key field. Click Apply, followed by OK.
Set up your game, video, and audio
The two main components of a live stream are video and audio. Whether you stream a game, yourself, or both, you need audio and video to proceed. Here’s how to set up each component individually.
Note: We won’t go into hardware choices here. We have other guides for great cameras.
If you’re planning on streaming games to your viewers, you need OBS to capture footage of that game in action. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Open OBS if you haven’t already. In the Sources window at the bottom, click the “+” icon and select Game Capture from the list. Name it something memorable to you.
Step 2: Select the mode you want to use, whether it’s capturing any application that runs fullscreen, a specific window, or any application in the foreground that you designate with a hotkey. Which one you pick will be up to your personal preferences and the game. Most games can be captured with ease, but sometimes a game will not be captured if you choose it as a specific window. In that case, capturing any fullscreen application can work.
Step 3: Decide if you want to limit frame rates or change resolutions based on your desired stream quality and connection speed and if you want to capture your cursor or not. Just tick the respective boxes.
When you’re done, click OK. Your game is now ready for capturing.
Whether you’re capturing your face for those sweet jumpscare reactions, or you’re the main attraction in a vlog-style video, a webcam can go a long way to personalizing your stream. Here’s how to set it up.
Step 1: Make sure your webcam is connected to your PC (here are some of our favorites).
Step 2: In the Sources window, click the “+” icon and select Video Capture Device. Name it whatever suits you best.
Step 3: Use the Device drop-down to select your camera from the list of options.
Step 4: Use the configuration buttons and drop downs to configure your video quality and FPS.
When ready, click the OK button.
It doesn’t matter if you’re recording just your voice, your in-game audio, or both. Your viewers need to hear from you. Here’s how to set up your stream’s audio.
Step 1: Click the Settings button in the bottom right-hand corner.
Step 2: Select the Audio tab from the left-hand menu.
Step 3: OBS has several audio inputs you can utilize. Configure each one that you require separately so that you have your PC’s audio transmitting through the stream on one and your microphone on another — if you want your voice heard as well.
There are also options for push-to-mute and push-to-talk if you want specific audio sources to be utilized only when required.
When you’ve set everything up as desired, hit the Apply button, followed by OK.
When you’ve got everything set up, and you’re ready to go, we’d recommend hitting the “Start Recording” button. That won’t send your stream live, but it will give you a chance to run a quick test to make sure everything is working as it should. It’s not a terrible way to get over first-time jitters either — a test run never hurt anyone.
If you’d instead dive right in, though, or you’re all tested and ready to go, hit Start Streaming. If all is well, you should be sending video and audio right to your fans’ eyes and ears.