Quality Tips and Tricks

When planning to broadcast a live event, one of the most important parts of the preparation process is testing.

Bandwidth Speed Testing

The most important item to test is the bandwidth from the location and device you will be using to stream. If you are streaming from a computer, you can open a web-browser and navigate to http://www.speedtest.net/. If you are broadcasting on a mobile device, you can also download the Speedtest by Ookla app on the Android or iOS Store.

After running the speed test, you will get both an upload and download speed.  Since you will be streaming, you will be most concerned with your upload speed.  Typically your upload speed  will be less than your download speed.

We recommend having at least an upload speed of 1 Mbps or higher for streaming.  To broadcast a high definition stream you will need an upload speed higher than 3-5 Mbps typically.

Video Testing

In regards to video quality there are 3 main attributes that will help you produce the best quality stream.

FPS (Frames per second): This is the number of frames you are sending per second of the stream.  So if you are streaming at 24 frames per second, you are sending 24 digital images per second.  We recommend this setting to be around 30 for smooth playback.

Resolution: This is basically the size of the screen that you are streaming.  In recent years TVs have gone from Standard Definition to High Definition and now even to Ultra High Definition (4k).  These terms distinguish between the resolution that each display can render.  A typically HD resolution for a wide screen monitor would be 1280 X 720, also known as 720P.

Bitrate: The bitrate is simply the amount of bits that can be sent per second.  High bitrates are very important with streams that contain a lot of movement such as sporting events, and are typically less important in something like a school concert with less fast movement.

All of these settings play a part in determining the quality of your stream.  If your stream is blurry during motion, you would want to increase your bitrate.  If your stream is fuzzy or pixelated, you would want to increase the resolution.  If there are jumps in the video playback, you would want to increase the FPS.

Audio Testing

Audio quality is usually a function of the quality of the microphone and the position of the microphone.  If you are streaming with a mobile device, the on-board microphone is most likely not going to be enough to produce clear audio if placed in the back of a room.  There are a multitude of external microphone options as well as bluetooth devices that can be used for audio input to the stream.

If you plan on using our closed captioning services to create closed caption files for your stream recording, we highly suggest limiting background noise as well as background music as much as possible.