Livestreaming: Twitch vs Youtube

I've tried streaming on both Twitch and Youtube, and each one has it's own set of benefits and problems over the other. Here is my experience with the two, as a normal person who doesn't have any viewers.

The Good:
Probably the best part about Twitch is the chat. You can pop out chat into it's own window, so you can put the chat right next the game your playing, which is a great way to interact with chat and play at the same time. Plus, you have numerous options for chat bots, which can add huge amount to the experience. You can have auto responders for certain words, custom commands to let viewers know what music you're playing, you can create polls in chat, and tons of extra little additions. All of this makes for the best, most flexible, and extensible chat experience. On the video side, Twitch is about the same as Youtube when streaming with a similar bitrate and X264 settings. So all in all, Twitch has a lot of great things going for it. Also, you can embed chat directly in your stream, thanks to tons of browser and OBS plugins, so you can see chat directly in the video. A nice feature to have, and something you can't do on Youtube.

The Bad:
Well, first of all, Twitch still uses flash for video, which, on some computers, can be very resource intensive, and may not work all that great. Also, in order to have Twitch encode your stream so your viewers can have a quality option, you need quite a few viewers. I haven't ever had that option on my streams, but I haven't ever had more then 10 viewers simultaneously. The good news is that Twitch will eventually move to all HTML5 at some point, and will probably add more encoding servers to fix both of these problems. When that'll happen is anyone's guess, though.

The Good:
Quality options for viewers regardless of viewer count. This is quite huge, as it means a better experience for new streamers and their viewers. Also, it's easier to become a Youtube partner and get AdSense for monetization (with ads and fan funding). With Twitch, you need 500+ viewers to become partner and enable monetization + get the subscriber feature. Though, that means Twitch partners actually make a decent amount from their streams, whereas with Youtube, you can monetize, but you likely aren't making more then a few dollars at best.

The Bad:
You can't pop chat out into it's own window. This means you're stuck looking at the entire live dashboard, which, unless you have 2 monitors, will get very cramped, and you wont be able to see chat and the game at the same time. This is fine if you're only streaming some content, and you don't care about chat/comments, but chat is a very important part of streaming for me. Also, Youtube chat was pretty horrific, compared to Twitch, most comments little more then just "hi", tons of spam, and not very pleasant. Basically what Youtube comments are, only now live. And you can't even have bots to moderate chat and provide extra functionality like on Twitch. If you want to display what music you're playing, you have to do it in the stream itself.

So, Twitch and Youtube both have good and bad qualities to them. Youtube excels with the video, giving all users quality options, and having an easier time getting partner status and monetization. Twitch excels with the whole chat experience, having access to bot moderation with helpful features like polls and all sorts of commands that can do almost anything. Probably the best experience for everyone is to stream on Youtube with chat disabled, then link people to Twitch chat for communication. (At least until Twitch has HTML5 video and either opens up the partner program to more streamers -not going to happen- or I get large enough to qualify to become a partner.)


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