The game streaming wars are starting to heat up. Microsoft just announced that Xbox One owners can start fiddling around with Beam, its built-in game broadcasting service that will also roll out to Windows 10 PC owners when the Creators Update arrives next month. That will give Twitch some added competition in the space that it currently dominates, though Twitch is not panicking. Instead, the company made an announcement of its own—1080p streaming at 60 frames per second is now supported.
Twitch said it is no longer limiting its ingest bitrate to 3.5Mbps. For most streams, it recommends 3-6Mbps. For gamers who plan on streaming at 1080p at 60fps, being able to maintain a bitrate closer to 6Mbps is the way to go to ensure smooth video, though the overall quality will also depend on the game that's being played. Trying to stream at 1080p on a lower bitrate will inevitably lead to a lot of ugly artifacts.
Users will also have more transcode options.
"Viewers now have more choices, and you won’t have to worry about them dropping to 480p when 'source quality' is unavailable. Combined with our recent transcode updates, it’s never been easier to stream higher quality video to more people," Twitch stated in a blog post.
This is something Twitch is rolling out on a staggered basis. To see if your channel has the new quality options, you can visit Twitch Inspector and check your latest stream data for an indicator called "Transcode V2." If you see it, then you have access. And if not, just hang tight—Twitch says the new transcode options will be available to all channels in the coming weeks.
One word of warning—Twitch says that just because it's now possible for everyone to stream at 1080p, it does not mean that everyone should. Having a stable stream at a lower resolution is preferable for viewers than a higher quality stream that tends to drop frames. Keep that in mind if you have a slower or otherwise unreliable Internet connection.
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Daniel Benavides)