How to stream to YouTube with OBS Studio

How to stream to YouTube with OBS Studio

It currently takes 24 hours to get your YouTube channel verified for livestreaming.
Make sure to follow this guide in advance to be ready in time.


If you have any issues feel free to ask in the Discussions here in the forum or on our Discord Server which you can find here: https://discord.com/invite/obsproject

Content ID and live streams: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3367684

YouTube does currently have 3 Methods for starting a stream.
  • The Live Control Room (kinda like the old stream now, but you have to have the page open, otherwise your stream might not start)
  • Scheduled Streams (kinda like the old event based streaming)
  • The YouTube integration in OBS Studio. It allows you setup a broadcast directly from OBS Studio without visiting the YouTube website.

Requirements:
  • Google Account with YouTube Channel
  • Might be necessary that your account is in good standing
This guide assumes that you just created a Google Account & YouTube channel. In the case that you have livestreaming already enabled, you can skip the respective parts of this guide.

Step 1 Enabling livestreaming.

Open up https://www.youtube.com
There are multiple ways to reach the Live Control Room

You can click the Camera Symbol with the plus symbol and then go live



You can click on your Avatar in the top right, click YouTube Studio and then the go live button




Or you can click on your Avatar in the top right, click YouTube Studio, Create and then Go live





If livestreaming isn't enabled yet, you need to enable it now by clicking the "Enable" button
Then click verify and follow the steps for verifying your account.







Your account should now be verified

Now try entering the Live Control Room again like you did before.

If you just verified your account you will now have to wait for 24 hours until you can start streaming.


After 24 hours have passed and you return you will see this.


Click on the blue START button where it says right now.

You will now get asked if you want to stream from a built-in webcam or streaming software.
Where it says streaming software (OBS Studio is streaming software) click the blue GO button.


It's possible that you now get an error message and it says try again.
If you click try again, it will likely now tell you to wait for 24 hours if it didn't before.
(Note from Ace. Please fix this flow fault YT. Thx.)

You will now see the setup for your first stream. You can change what you entered here any time by clicking the EDIT button in the Live Control Room.



Here you can set a title for the stream, a stream description, the category (if you selected gaming you can now also select a game) and you can upload a custom thumbnail.

You will also have to set if your stream is “made for kids” as YouTube vigorous lets you know. See the link that YouTube provides there regarding COPPA.

Fill out the fields and click the blue SAVE button.
(You can always change the title and co. by clicking the EDIT button in the Live Control Room.)

You should now see the Live Control Room


Please keep in mind that you always need to have the Live Control Room open before you can start a stream. Just clicking start streaming in OBS Studio without having the Live Control Room open will likely not work.

I'm going to explain the various settings here:

Stream Latency: Lets you set the delay from you doing something until your viewers see it.
Note that setting a lower latency can cause more buffering events for your viewers if their connection isn't stable or and fast enough. You can see information about the 3 settings when hovering over the question mark.

Enable DVR: Your viewers will be able to go back in time during the current live stream, like on a TV box with Time Shift.

Added Delay: Allows you to add additional delay to your live stream if necessary.

Closed Captions: Allows you to embed Closed Captioning.

Unlist live replay once stream ends: This will make the recording unlisted in your YouTube channel after you stopped the stream.

Clicking the cog wheel in the top right near your avatar provides additional settings for monetization and chat.

Step 3 Setting up OBS.

This will only cover up the necessary settings for streaming to YouTube.

If you need help with OBS itself, I recommend the following guides:

I will only explain how to use the Simple Output Mode here.

Open up the OBS Settings and go to Stream.



Click on the Service dropdown and select YouTube - RTMPS as service
(Yes the screenshot is outdated. Please follow my words and not necessarily the picture.)


Now to the stream key, which is basically like a username and password combined.
YouTube does have multiple methods for using / creating stream keys that I try to explain here.

Default Stream Key: Does allow streaming at any resolution and doesn't change. This is usually fine for most use cases. You can ignore the Custom keys section entirely in that case.

Custom keys; For this, click on the arrow on the dropdown and select Create a new stream key.


Give the key a name and description.

The easiest way here is to set it to variable bitrate. This way you can use the stream key for multiple bitrates and resolutions. If you select a fixed resolution, you have to stream in the selected resolution.
If you want to stream in 60 FPS, don't forget to toggle the option on.
When you're done, click CREATE

Don't forget to select your newly created stream key or the default one in the dropdown


Now you need to copy the stream key into OBS.
Click the copy button (or the eye icon and manually highlight the key and copy it) and then in OBS Studio click into the Stream Key field and either press CTRL + V or right click into the field and select Paste


Next up, open the Output settings in OBS Studio


I'm only explaining the Simple Output Mode here.
If you are unsure what to select for Encoder and so on, see the guides linked,
earlier.

YouTube recommends the following bitrate settings for the following resolutions:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2853702?vid=1-635757599940599498-3384987664
(Click on your resolution)

For Audio, I personally recommend using 160 Kbps if possible.

Next up, open the Video settings.


Set the FPS to 30 or alternatively to 60
For selecting a resolution, see the link above and also the guides linked earlier.
Ideally you want a resolution that matches your content / display and with an aspect ratio of 16:9 for YouTube to avoid black bars in the YouTube player.

You're now done with the very basic settings for OBS Studio.

Step 4 Starting the Stream.

Make sure that the live control room website is open (for example you are doing this the second, third etc. time)
Click the Start Streaming Button in OBS and have some patience.

YouTube will inform you about the stream status under the stream preview. Make sure that it doesn't state any issues.
You will automatically go live.


Please note that the preview player in The Live Control Room will not always automatically select the highest quality. It's also possible that it will list not all resolutions.
If you want to check the real quality, you need to make sure that it's selected in the quality options in the cogwheel menu or open the actual live stream video page.


Step 5 Ending the Stream.

Simply click the Stop Streaming button in OBS and wait a bit.


You can also end the stream through the live control room with the End Stream button.


You can now stop the stream in OBS (if you used the end stream button in the Live Control Room)


After the stream you get a summary


How do I share my stream?

Click the Share Icon to get the Stream URL



You can either copy the URL or directly share to various social media platforms.
Scheduled Streams allow you to set an estimated start time and date that will get shared with your subscribers. They also allow you to preview your stream before you go live.

They can be found here

After scheduling a stream, click on the thumbnail in the upcoming list to enter the Live Control Room for the specific stream.

Functionality wise they are almost identical to the normal Live Control Room method with two exceptions.
Starting and Stopping the Stream.

While in the Live Control Room, streams start and stop automatically when you click Start Streaming / Stop Streaming in OBS Studio, they do not so with Scheduled Streams.

If you do not enable the "Enable Auto-start" "Enable Auto-stop" sliders, you will have to start and stop the stream with the button in the top right corner near your avatar.

Please note that you need to start the stream in OBS Studio first before you can press the GO LIVE button in the Live Control Room.

For stopping the stream, click the end stream button in the Live Control Room and then stop the stream in OBS Studio

WIP Guide. Images and more fine tuned text will follow when I have time. For account/channel verification please have a look at the guide for the live control room.

The YouTube integration in OBS Studio allows you to start broadcasts entirely from OBS Studio without using the YouTube website (after initial account creation and verification).


You will still need to create or have a Google Account and YouTube channel which is verified before you can go live from OBS Studio.
You will also need to wait for 24 hours after verification, just like when you would stream through the website. If you do not wait the necessary amount of time or your account is not verified you will get an error message when trying to create a broadcast in OBS Studio.


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For using the YT Integration in OBS Studio, it's necessary to link your Google Account.


You can either do this through the autoconfiguration wizard or the Stream settings.


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The auto-configuration wizard can be reached through the tools menu at the top. It will guide you through settings like resolution, Bitrate, encoder, linking your Google account.


If you prefer not to use the autoconfiguration wizard you can also link your account through the OBS settings and set other settings manually.


Insert guides for settings here.


For linking your Google Account without the autoconfiguration wizard open the OBS settings, click on Stream on the left and select YouTube RTMPS as service.


You should now have a "connect account" button. Click it and follow the steps in your Webbrowser.


In case you have a brand account, make sure to select it after selecting the Google account.


After linking, you should get this message, and you can close the website.


You should now get a chat dock after closing the OBS settings.


Please note that it will only show chat for public and unlisted streams. It will also not allow you to type into the chat or do moderation.
(This might change with a future update of OBS Studio.)
YouTube Chat is pull-based and can easily have a delay of 10 seconds. This is just how the YouTube Chat currently works. We can't change that behavior.
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Please note: Stream/Streaming doesn't necessarily mean that your broadcast is live for viewers (go live / going live). It just describes sending data to YouTube. None scheduled broadcasts (the checkbox option) will always automatically go live when you start streaming.


For starting or scheduling a broadcast, you can either click the start streaming or manage Broadcast button.


Please note that depending on the settings you did or will choose in the manage Broadcast dialog, that the start streaming button could start streaming to YouTube (with or without immediately going live).


If you clicked the start streaming button and haven't created and selected a broadcast yet, you should get the message to open the manage broadcast dialog. (Selecting a broadcast, in this case, means linking it to the start streaming button.) Click the manage broadcast button, and you are now in the setup for your broadcast.


I'm going to explain the options here now.


The Manage Broadcast dialog is divided into 2 tabs.


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Create New Broadcast & Select Existing Broadcast


Create New Broadcast tab


In case of unstable internet connections that tend to cause disconnects, I would recommend that you use scheduled Streams. They allow you to disable the auto-stop function and therefore prevent your broadcast from just going offline while you are disconnected.


None Scheduled broadcasts are perfect if you want to go live right now or shortly. They don't let you select a date or time for scheduling.


Title: The Title of your broadcast


Description: The description of your broadcast


Privacy: Sets if your broadcast is public (shows up in your channel and subscribers feed), unlisted (only people with the URL can access the broadcast), private (only people that are invited can watch the broadcast. Invitations can only be made through the YouTube website for now.)


Category: Sets the category of your broadcast. Please note that when you select the gaming category that you cannot select a game in OBS Studio. This is a limitation of the YouTube API and not something we can change until YouTube offers this functionality through their API.


Is this video made for kids?: Here, you need to specify if your live stream is made specifically for kids. (COPPA). Please see YouTube's help articles regarding this topic. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9528076


Thumbnail: Instead of letting YouTube auto-generate a thumbnail, you can instead upload a thumbnail through OBS directly.


Additional settings


Latency:


Normal: Best for reduced viewer playback buffering.
Choose "Normal latency" if you don't plan to interact with your audience. This option is the highest quality setting for viewers since it has the lowest amount of viewer buffering.
All resolutions and live features are supported at Normal latency.


Low: Best for near real-time interactivity
Choose this option if you want low latency with minimal viewer buffering. This setting is a good balance between the other two options.
This setting does not support 4K resolution.


Ultra-low: Best for highly interactive broadcasts with real-time engagement
Choose this option if you want to maximize engagement with your audience. It may increase the chances that your viewers get buffering.
This setting does not support 1440p and 4K resolutions.
Note: live ingestion issues on your network will affect viewers more in this setting. Consider decreasing your ingestion bitrate to make sure that your network can sustain the stream.


Enable DVR: Turning on YouTube's DVR feature lets your viewers pause, rewind, and continue during the broadcast. Once a viewer resumes playing, the broadcast will continue from where they hit pause. If your broadcast becomes very long, your viewers will only be able to rewind up to a limit. They'll be able to seek back up to 12 hours on most devices.


2 hours for Low latency and Ultra low-latency broadcasts.
4 hours for Normal latency broadcasts.
Viewing on Apple TV, Apple AirPlay, or older app versions are subject to lower limits.
These limits also apply when a viewer uses pause and resume. Viewers can never seek back to before you went live.


360 video: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6396222 usually not required and should only be enabled for 360 video


Schedule for later: Leave this unchecked for none scheduled streams.


Please note that none scheduled broadcasts will always automatically go live after you started streaming.


Remember these settings: Lets you easily reuse your entered information for the next broadcast.


After entering your information, you now have various possibilities for how to continue.


Create Broadcast: Doesn't immediately start streaming and go live. You will have to press the start streaming button. Please note that if you close OBS before clicking the start streaming button that you will need to continue through the select existing broadcast tab.


For stopping the stream simply click the stop streaming button. Your stream will go offline after a few seconds on YouTube's end.


Title: The Title of your broadcast


Description: The description of your broadcast


Privacy: Sets if your broadcast is public (shows up in your channel and subscribers feed), unlisted (only people with the URL can access the broadcast), private (only people that are invited can watch the broadcast. Invitations can only be made through the YouTube website for now.)


Category: Sets the category of your broadcast. Please note that when you select the gaming category that you cannot select a game in OBS Studio. This is a limitation of the YouTube API and not something we can change until YouTube offers this functionality through their API.


Is this video made for kids?: Here, you need to specify if your live stream is made specifically for kids. (COPPA). Please see YouTube's help articles regarding this topic. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9528076


Thumbnail: Instead of letting YouTube auto-generate a thumbnail, you can instead upload a thumbnail through OBS directly.


Additional settings


Latency:


Normal: Best for reduced viewer playback buffering.
Choose "Normal latency" if you don't plan to interact with your audience. This option is the highest quality setting for viewers since it has the lowest amount of viewer buffering.
All resolutions and live features are supported at Normal latency.


Low: Best for near real-time interactivity
Choose this option if you want low latency with minimal viewer buffering. This setting is a good balance between the other two options.
This setting does not support 4K resolution.


Ultra-low: Best for highly interactive broadcasts with real-time engagement
Choose this option if you want to maximize engagement with your audience. It may increase the chances that your viewers get buffering.
This setting does not support 1440p and 4K resolutions.
Note: live ingestion issues on your network will affect viewers more in this setting. Consider decreasing your ingestion bitrate to make sure that your network can sustain the stream.


Enable DVR: Turning on YouTube's DVR feature lets your viewers pause, rewind, and continue during the broadcast. Once a viewer resumes playing, the broadcast will continue from where they hit pause. If your broadcast becomes very long, your viewers will only be able to rewind up to a limit. They'll be able to seek back up to 12 hours on most devices.


2 hours for Low latency and Ultra low-latency broadcasts.
4 hours for Normal latency broadcasts.
Viewing on Apple TV, Apple AirPlay, or older app versions are subject to lower limits.
These limits also apply when a viewer uses pause and resume. Viewers can never seek back to before you went live.


360 video: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6396222 usually not required and should only be enabled for 360 video


Schedule for later: Make sure to check this for scheduling a broadcast.


Enable Auto-start: Automatically makes the scheduled broadcast go live when you start streaming. Disabling this option makes it possible to stream to YouTube without automatically going live. Also handy for checking for frame drops for example. You will need to additionally click the go-live button if this is unchecked before your broadcast goes live for viewers.


Enable Auto-stop: Automatically stops the broadcast from being live after you stop streaming. This disables the possibility to reconnect at a later time to continue streaming without scheduling a new broadcast.
Please note that broadcasts will eventually end when you don't stream to them for multiple hours. You will need to additionally click the end broadcast button if this is unchecked before your broadcast gets ended for viewers.


Remember these settings: Lets you easily reuse your entered information for the next broadcast.


After entering your information, you now have various possibilities for how to continue.


Schedule and select broadcast: Doesn't immediately start streaming. You will have to press the start streaming button. Please note that if you close OBS before clicking the start streaming button that you will need to continue through the select existing broadcast tab.


Schedule broadcast: This will create and schedule the broadcast but doesn't link it to the start streaming button. You will need to start the broadcast through the select existing broadcast tab in the manage broadcast dialog.
Appropriate if you want to schedule a broadcast which is supposed to start later in the future.
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Select Existing Broadcast tab


Lets you select or stream to an already created broadcast.


Simply click on the broadcast you want to stream to and then either click on select broadcast (closes the dialog and waits for you to press the start streaming button. The broadcast will go automatically live or not, depending on the settings you did choose when scheduling the broadcast.)


Or select broadcast and start streaming (immediately sends data to YouTube. The broadcast will go automatically live or not, depending on the settings you did choose when creating the broadcast. Go live button will set the broadcast live if auto-start didn't get checked.)


For settings not available through OBS Studio, you can schedule a broadcast, go to the YouTube website and change the settings you want and then select the broadcast in OBS Studio and start streaming.
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Gol D. Ace
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