With more than 3.8 million unique broadcasters in 2020, Twitch has become one of the biggest live-streaming platforms on the internet.
But Twitch isn’t the only site people visit to consume live-streamed content. Facebook and YouTube, among other niche sites, have valuable audiences. If you’re not multistreaming to these other platforms, you might be missing out.
Multistreaming is a valuable, uncomplicated process that can help you grow your personal brand, whether you’re a gamer, a musician, a vlogger, or more. We put together this guide to help you understand why and how to multi stream so you can maximize your views and your fanbase.
What is multistreaming?
Simply put, multistreaming is the process of streaming the same live or pre-recorded content to more than one website at once. One example is live-streaming your gaming session to Twitch and YouTube at the same time.
Can I stream to multiple platforms at once?
Yes, anyone can stream to multiple platforms at once. All you need is a webcam, a stable internet connection and software or hardware encoder that supports multistreaming to your platforms of choice.
Should I stream to multiple platforms at once?
If you want to grow your audience, you should consider streaming to multiple platforms at once. As a content creator, you want to provide content in the formats and locations existing and potential fans prefer.
For example, Facebook offers a popular live-streaming platform for all types of content creators. However, not everyone has a Facebook profile or wants one, so if you’re only streaming to Facebook you’re missing out on potential viewers. Streaming to multiple platforms (aka multistreaming) is an easy and effective way to extend your reach.
How to stream to multiple platforms
There are a few ways to stream to multiple platforms with a software or hardware encoder. The specifics of “how” to multistream varies by overall method and your specific hardware or software encoder.
Method one: Using a software encoder like Streamlabs
Multistreaming is incredibly easy with Streamlabs. With a Streamlabs Prime account, you can multistream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and up to two other RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) destinations of your choice at the same time.
Once you register from Streamlabs Prime, you simply link your Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube accounts. Then just toggle those options to “on” before you go live!
To multistream with Streamlabs Prime, you need to connect your accounts and select them before going live.
If you want more advanced options, such as filling out information for each platform separately or adding tags on Twitch, toggle “Show Advanced Settings” before clicking “Confirm & Go Live.”
There are two major pros to using Streamlabs to stream to multiple platforms. The first is that it’s more affordable than investing in a hardware encoder (more on that later). It’s also extremely easy to use and you don’t need any extra tools beyond what you’d use to stream to a single location.
The only potential downside to using a software encoder like Streamlabs is that the bandwidth affects the quality of your stream. You need twice as much bandwidth to stream to two platforms, three times as much to stream to three platforms and so forth. This could pose a problem if you have slow internet speeds or aren’t hardwired into your router. If you have a strong internet connection, you’ll be good to go.
Method two: Using a hardware encoder like Pearl-2
At its core, using a hardware encoder like Pearl-2 to multistream works the same way as a software encoder. But instead of sending your live feed to a software, it sends your audio, video and screen share to a physical device that converts your data into files that are compatible with multistreaming.
If you’re just getting started with a hardware encoder, there’s quite a lot of setup you have to do first. You have to configure inputs for audio and visual, for example. You’ll also need to connect your encoder to stream to your preferred platforms (aka CDNs like Facebook Live and YouTube) via the software that’s compatible with your hardware encoder.
The biggest pro to using a hardware encoder is that it’s robust and reliable. You also aren’t going to use as much bandwidth, because extra bandwidth won’t be required for additional streams.
The two cons of using a hardware encoder are the price and the complexity of using hardware encoders. And we’re not talking about a difference of a few dollars. The Epiphan Pearl-2 is over $6,000. We weren’t exaggerating about the complexity of use, either. That same hardware encoder has a 560-page manual! And it’s not exactly a light beach read, either.
Method three: Using a cloud-based platform like Castr
Cloud multistreaming is a newer option for streaming to multiple platforms. It essentially works with a software or hardware encoder, but instead of transmitting your stream directly to your multiple platforms, it transfers your stream to the cloud first. Once it’s in the cloud, it streams to your choice of platforms. One example is Castr, which can stream to over 30 destinations at once!
Since a cloud-based platform like Castr is just streaming to one platform (their cloud platform), you don’t need as much bandwidth as you would need if you were only using a software encoder. You also don’t necessarily need to buy an expensive hardware encoder.
However, a cloud-based multistream platform still requires an encoder. That’s the only downside. Still, using a cloud-based platform to stream to multiple locations in tandem with a software encoder like Streamlabs is a great way to solve any bandwidth problems you might have with your internet.
Method four: Using a share code
Okay, full disclaimer, this is not actually a method for live-streaming to multiple platforms at once. But it is a promotion solution if you can’t multistream for whatever reason.
Whenever you stream to Twitch, Facebook Live, or YouTube, you have access to a share link. Simply use that link to promote your stream to your different social media platforms and profiles when you go live!
What's the best software for live video streaming on multiple channels?
Ultimately, the best software for live video streaming on multiple platforms depends on your budget and your workflow.
If you’re looking for a robust and affordable multistream solution, we recommend Streamlabs. It’s an extremely popular option for a few reasons, including that it’s free to start and Streamlabs lets you keep 100% of your tips in every single plan.
If you do upgrade your plan to Streamlabs Prime, which starts at $12 a month, you get access to:
- Custom themes and overlays
- Custom merch store
- Custom tips page
- Custom alerts
Here are a few other software encoders that are capable of multistreaming:
Are you ready to start streaming? You sure? Double check our Twitch streaming checklist before you go live!