Up until fairly recently, streaming was something that mainly businesses and professional gamers did. Companies used live chat streams to keep in touch and market their products more widely. Gamers did it so people could watch them play live.
But post-CoVid, the ability to stream is something that a significant percentage of the population now wants. Many of us need to be able to do it for work. There is also increasing interest in selling products and services using streaming to earn some extra income. Others want to share their music, comedy, and other talents with a wider audience.
Regardless of why you want to stream, you will need access to the right gear and the right platform. Fortunately, as you will see, it is not as complicated as you might think.
1. A fast enough internet connection
Top of the list is a fast internet connection. Without this streaming is impossible.
The most important consideration is your upload speed. It is wise to check with the various streaming platforms you are planning to use how much speed is needed. The general rule for Twitch.tv is 3-6 Mbps upload speed. Once you understand what you need you can use a comparison website to find the fastest broadband in your area.
2. A good quality webcam
Regardless, of why you are streaming, you want to make a good impression on your audience. The last thing you need is to look grainy or blurry. So, if the webcam that is built into your laptop, phone or tablet is not all that good, it is worth considering replacing it.
3. A decent microphone
It is essential that the person, or people, you are speaking to can easily hear you. So, you will need a decent microphone. Again, you may be fortunate and discover that the one you already own, picks up your voice well.
But it is unlikely to have noise-cancelling built-in. In today´s noisy environment this is an important consideration, especially if you have kids or live next to a busy road.
4. A stand or something similar for your device
If you are going to broadcast your face rather than stream your screen, you need to make sure that your webcam is set at the right height. Ideally, you want to be looking straight at the camera. This creates the illusion that you are maintaining proper eye contact with viewers. As well as ensuring that you do not have your double chins and nose hair on display. You look much better when the camera is pointing directly at your face, instead of upwards.
Of course, you can use a stack of books. But if you are going to be streaming regularly buying a proper stand is usually worthwhile.
5. A spare keyboard and mouse
If you are using a laptop or tablet, the keyboard and built-in mouse are not likely to be usable because it will be out of reach. You can easily solve this issue using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
6. Optional extras
If you have the budget to do so, consider investing some cash in some of these optional extras. For example, a green screen enables you to create a unique and more relevant backdrop. It also gives you the option not to show the rest of the world what you have in your living room or what books you read. Streaming lights help you to avoid shadowing issues and a streaming deck enables you to easily switch between feeds e.g., your camera and screen.
Start slowly and experiment
The best way to approach streaming is to start with the basics. You will soon work out whether you need any of the extras or want to invest in higher quality equipment.