Is your stream buffering?

Our video system has stabilized (finally) and we are making great progress on squashing various issues related to it. But there’s something else that needs to be addressed: your encoder settings. A lot of our broadcasters have gotten comfortable with encoder settings that work with the Flash player, but unfortunately those same encoder settings don’t always work correctly with our new HTML5 video player. As a result you will see a lot of buffering and choppiness. So what can you do? We’ve updated our recommended encoder settings.

Here are some suggested settings to try if your stream is buffering for you and your viewers:


  • 640×360
  • 600 CBR
  • 900 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 1
  • Profile: Main

If you still get buffering with the above settings, change your Keyframe to Auto (Keyframe 0 in OBS Studio, Default in XSplit)


If you want to try and push the limits of your internet and computer & your viewers internet and computer, then give these a try (not recommended if you have buffering issues):

  • 852×480
  • 800 CBR
  • 1300 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 2
  • Profile: Main

Against our better judgement, because some of you like to crank things up to 10 thinking it should work no matter what, here are the 720p settings. Do not use these settings if you’re having problems with your stream:

  • 1280×720
  • 2500 CBR
  • 3300 Buffer Size
  • 30fps
  • Keyframe 3
  • Profile: Main

A critical part of streaming is selecting the ingest server that is physically closest to you. You cannot select just any server and expect to stream without issue. For example, if you’re in Boston then obviously the New York ingest server would be your best choice. Or if you’re in California then Denver ingest server would be your best choice, and so on.

Selecting the wrong ingest server can cause buffering issues even with the lowest encoder settings. We cannot stress enough how important it is to use the correct ingest server when broadcasting. You can find the list of available video ingest servers under Settings -> Channel on our website: https://vaughnlive.tv/settings/channel

If you need further help, please visit Tech Corner

Video ingest servers upgrades

It has been an interesting week of video issues for us. As of late last night the datacenter has completed upgrades to our Chicago and Denver ingest servers. These servers now have double the bandwidth allowing more to broadcast without issue. Having said that we are going to be adding more video ingest servers in the coming months to accommodate current and future growth of our websites.

Also with the added protection system we have implemented across all of our video ingest servers we have seen a great increase in streaming stability across all websites. However a side effect of this will prevent you from connecting to an ingest server if it is at capacity. When this happens you can keep trying to connect or try a different ingest server. Alternatively VIP members have priority and are able to connect to any ingest server as long as it’s physically online. You can find the list of ingest servers under Settings -> Channel. Simply click your name in the top right corner, click Settings and then go to Channel.

If you need any assistance, please come to Tech Corner and one of our awesome volunteers will help you out.

 

* Video ingest server is the server a broadcaster connects to in order to broadcast on our websites.

** Video edge server is the server a viewer connects to in order to watch a broadcast on our website.

Video buffering issues

In the last 24 hours we experienced too many people trying to broadcast at once. As a result this maxed out the connections on our video ingest servers causing buffering, freezing, and a lot of dropped frames. This was primarily an issue on the Chicago and Denver ingest servers.

A few moments ago we pushed an updated to our video ingest servers to protect them from being overloaded. If you are a streamer (broadcaster) and you cannot connect to an ingest server, this is most likely because that server has reached its threshold and is denying your connection to prevent it from overloading and crashing. As a side note, we made it where VIPs can connect to any ingest server regardless of its connection utilization.

I know what you’re saying… “sure, you’re using that as an excuse to make people buy VIP”. You would be 100% wrong. Much like the video servers at capacity message that happens when our edge servers get overloaded, the ingest overload protection retains a certain amount of overhead which can be utilized. And since there are far less VIPs than free users we felt this is safe to be utilized by VIPs without sacrificing stability.

So what are we doing besides denying connections to protect the ingest servers? We’re in the process of doubling the bandwidth capacity of our Chicago ingest server as well as working on adding additional ingest servers to keep up with growth.

 

How to change the Keyframe interval on OBS Studio

Change OBS Studio Keyframe Interval

Changing the Keyframe interval on OBS Studio has been streamlined since OBS Classic, however, some users may experience issues finding the new setting.

1. Open OBS Studio

2. Choose “Settings” from the bottom Right

2 obs mainscreen

3. Choose “Output” from the settings window.

4. Change Output mode to Advanced.

5. Change Keyframe Interval to 2

obs output tab

6. Click Apply and restart your stream.

 

New player, old player?

Hope everyone is having a great Saturday! If you’re impatient and want to watch a channel using the new video player, go into that channel and type !new. It will give you the URL to watch that channel on the new video player! Or you can add /hls to the end of any channel URL.

And if you want to watch a channel using the old Flash player, type !old or add /old to the end of any channel URL.

Here’s how to tell what player you’re using:

Old player = volume scrubber (slider) will have a black dot

New player = volume scrubber will be solid silver/white

At the moment this only works on Vaughn Live. We will update you when our other sites have these options!

New player and video embed update

The morning before the HTML5 player rollout was supposed to happen, we tested it for an hour on Vaughn Live. And the result? Well, it was pretty bad. Our video edge servers couldn’t handle the added overhead of HLS live streaming. We’ve narrowed the issue down to our video server software vendor which we feel is far too bloated and inefficient due to the fact it runs on Java.

Bloated server software + higher overhead per connection = bad

So when does the new HTML5 player come to all channels? We’re in the middle of getting the server overhead issue sorted, which is working out better than expected. No ETA yet!

So, on to the video embeds update (our video player placed on someone else’s website.) The new HTML5 player is released on all Vaughn Live embed players. But we need to have a serious talk about video embeds. Right now embeds are a major resource drain on us, financially and server capacity. We want to give those that come to our sites the best experience possible, so we will be making changes to the video embeds in the very near future.

Here is a list of upcoming video embed changes:

  • Embeds will be disabled by default. The channel owner will need to explicitly enable them.
  • If a stream has more than 100 Live Viewers, the embed player will display a message asking the viewer to either sign in with their VIP account or go our website to watch the stream
  • Introduction of video embed guidelines. Such as no embedding on sites with malware, links to/promotion of illegal content, no placing ads/overlays on the player. This isn’t the final draft of the embed guidelines, but a good idea of what to expect.
  • Violating the embed guidelines will result in the website in question being blocked from embedding.

We hope you all had a very safe and Happy 4th of July!

OBS Studio Setup Tutorial

DETERMINING YOUR AVAILABLE BANDWIDTH:

It is important to understand that not everyone has a large amount of bandwidth or an insane gaming/streaming rig,  you should never just set each setting to the maximum possible and assume that this will produce an optimal live stream. This step is extremely important, and it should be first on your list. Speedtest.net is a tool for testing your internet speeds. For broadcasting to Vaughnlive.tv, Breakers.tv, Vapers.tv and Instagib.tv it’s the upload that we are interested in since you will be sending data out (uploading) to the ingest servers. Visit the Speedtest.net webpage and click select “Change server” at this point you should have already decided which ingest server is closest to your physical location, so we want to also select a server in that area for speedtest as well. For instance if the ingest server you plan to use is in Chicago then select a speedtest server in Chicago as well. No matter which ingest server you select select a server in that area for speedtest as well. After you have done that click “Go.” to begin the test.  Speedtest.net will give you your upload speed number in Mbps. Most broadcasting applications deal with Kbps so in order to convert Mbps to Kbps simply multiply the results in Mbps that you get from speedtest.net times 1000 to determine Kbps.  You will use that information to determine what the highest value that you should ever set your video output bitrate to.

Click this to go to speedtest.net

Obtaining RTMP Url and Stream Key:

The next piece of information you are going to need is the RTMP Url and the stream key for the site you plan to broadcast on. It’s very important that you are logged into the site you will be casting on before going to the next step.  Next click the link below that corresponds to the site you will be broadcasting on as the stream key will be different for each site.

Vaughnlive.tv

Breakers.tv

Vapers.tv

Instagib.tv

Below is an example of what you will see.

serverandkey

Leave this window open while you are setting up OBS as you will need to copy and paste the info from this page into OBS broadcaster. On a side note, any of the servers listed will work but the best rule of thumb is to select the ingest server that’s closest to your location. Now lets move on to the good stuff !!! If you haven’t already downloaded and installed OBS Studio then do that now. Once OBS is installed and running on your pc proceed to the next step.

Special note: I’m not using any special version of OBS or anything I just run mine in studio mode and prefer the darker theme. If you want to make yours the same you can click on Studio mode on the main OBS screen then Click on settings, Click on the General Tab on the left, then click the dropdown menu to the right of the line that says Theme and select dark.

OBS Setup:

  1. On the  main OBS Screen click settings. 2 obs mainscreen
  2. Next click Stream in to column to the left.
  3. In the Stream Type dropdown select Custom Streaming Server.
  4. Copy the rtmp url from the channel settings page we opened previously and paste where it says URL.
  5. Copy the stream key from the channel settings page and paste where it says Stream Key.obsserversetup
  6. Click Apply
  7. Next select Output from the column on the left. You should see this screen.obsoutputsettings
  8. In the encoder drop down menu select Software (x264)
  9. In the audio bitrate dropdown select a bitrate (higher bitrates for better sound quality) typically 128 or less is enough).

Before we set the video bitrates there are a lot of things you need to consider. Let me start by saying this. In general there is no perfect way to find the best settings for your system other than through experimentation. For instance a 500 Kbps video stream combined with a 128 Kbps audio stream will be a total of 628 Kbps required to maintain the stream (video bitrate+audio bitrate) = Total Kbps. A good rule of thumb is never exceed 80% of your total upload bandwidth based of your speedtest results from earlier.  For a 628 Kbps stream I would recommend having at least a 1 Mbps/1000 Kbps upload speed. Even though you may have plenty of upload bandwidth your hardware may not be able to handle a very high resolution and bitrate broadcast.  If you try to cast at 1080p and your viewers report a lot of choppiness or stuttering, this is a good indicator that your hardware might not be powerful enough. Your next step should be to try progressively dropping your output resolution and bitrates in steps, such as 720p, followed by 540p, etc. Once you or your viewers can watch your stream without any onscreen disturbances, you’ve found a good output resolution for your broadcasting application.

10. For now lets set the video bitrate to 500Kbps. This value can be increased at anytime.

11. Click Apply.

12. Click Audio in the column to the left.

13. Set the sample rate to 44.1khz.

14. set the channels to stereo.

15. In the desktop audio device dropdown you can select your systems speaker output or can typically be left at default.

16. In the Mic/Auxilary dropdown you can select the mic attached to your system and can also be typically left at default.

17. Click Apply.

18. Click Video in the column to the left and you should see this screen.obsvideosetup

19. Leave the top line Base (Canvas) Resolution as is, it will default to your current monitor resolution.

20. On the second line Output (scaled) Resolution select 640×360 from the dropdown menu or manually type in the value 640×360 in the box. If you don’t have a ton of upload speed, you should consider downscaling your output resolution. Lower resolutions require less video bitrate values to look good. The opposite is true too, higher video resolutions require greater bitrate values to look good.

21. The third line should say Downscale filter: select Bicubic (sharpened scaling, 16 samples).

22. The forth line is the Common Fps Values for now lets leave this at 30. Your Hardware Might Not Be Able to Handle High FPS Values: In some cases, your PC might not even be powerful enough to broadcast at higher 60 FPS values. 30fps might be your PC’s limit, or perhaps this number is even lower. Don’t try to exceed what your hardware is capable of.

23. Click Apply then click OK

Don’t Alienate Your Audience: Again, just as with your output resolution, even if your PC can run  at 60fps, this doesn’t mean that you should broadcast at 60fps. Not everyone’s viewing device can process a live stream being cast at 60fps, so you might automatically alienate a potential portion of your viewership by broadcasting at this frame rate. Does 60fps look really nice? Yes. Is it worth preventing potential viewers from watching your stream? Probably not. Now if everything has gone correctly your software should be setup to broadcast. If you have previously been using the MVN broadcaster built into the site (Go Live Now) take notice that you will never again use that but instead you will simply select Start Streaming from the main screen in OBS. In order to view your chat simply open a browse tab to your corresponding channel.  After opening your page the first thing you need to do is click the speaker icon on the video player and Mute the audio. If you fail to do this it will result in an audio loopback/echo that will become very annoying. Another common mistake I see broadcaster make is trying to watch their own video stream. Pause the video as well. When watching your own broadcast your stream basically pauses for and instance and changes from broadcasting (sending) to now recieving. Even though this happens very quickly it can appear on your end to pause or stutter but often times may not even be noticeable to  your viewers. If you absolutely must monitor the cast do so by watching it on the main OBS screen rather than the video player on the site. If your vanity kicks in and you need to admire yourself on screen consider using a mirror instead. In the next step I’ll show you some very basic things like adding a camera etc. I’m not going to go into a full tutorial on the use of OBS simply because there are literally hundreds if not thousands of  Howto videos on the internet and youtube covering most everything you could ever want to know about using OBS. Take the time to learn to use OBS after all once you start broadcasting you need to understand how to do the all these various things.

Adding Scenes:

24. From the main OBS screen click + under the sources box as illustrated below.obsaddsource

25. Next select Video Capture device.videocapdevice

26. A popup box  will appear and you can either leave it the default name or change it to whatever you want to call it.obscmaname

27. Click ok and you will be presented with the next screen.camselect

27. Select the dropdown menu to the right of Device and select your webcam. Leave everything else as it is and click OK. You have now added your camera as a source. The same method can be used to add other sources of video, audio, text etc. Congratulations!! you are now ready to broadcast. If you have any further questions or need additional help you can always visit Tech Corner and speak directly with site technician’s at this address. Vaughnlive Tech Channel.