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Live streaming on YouTube is an outstanding platform for social streamers, gamers, and businesses. It provides an excellent opportunity to communicate live to a wide audience. If you want to learn how to live stream on YouTube you are in the right place. Because while there are many streaming platforms to choose from, YouTube has a much longer reach than most. However, it isn’t straightforward to start a YouTube live stream. 

If you want to start a live video on your YouTube channels, you can do so from a mobile device, hardware encoder, web browser or using streaming software. 

How To Stream On YouTube 

Whatever the method, streaming with YouTube has the same starting point. When you open a new YouTube account to start a channel, the streaming service is automatically disabled. So, the first step is to enable live stream option. You need to verify your account, which is a simple process. All you need to do is select the country, choose your preferred delivery method for your verification code, and input your phone number. Input the verification code, and the process is done. 

The next step is to visit the channel features page. You will find this page located under features that require phone verification. You can enable your live streaming service from this point. Once you complete this step you will need to wait for the option to officially activate your account, which can take up to 24 hours. 

Provided your channel doesn’t have any restrictions, you will be able to live stream using a streaming encoder or web browser. If you would prefer to stream in real-time from a mobile device, there is an additional challenge – you need a minimum of 50 subscribers. 

Do you want to learn to stream like a pro?

Stream Content  

With four different methods of streaming to choose from, yours will depend on your stated goal. 

  • Web browser

A web browser is a simple way to get started and more than sufficient for users who plan to social stream. 

  • Software Encoder

If you want to upload videos you pre-recorded, or you are a gamer, then a streaming software like Streamlabs OBS is a more appropriate solution. 

  • Mobile Device

Much like opting for a web browser, a mobile device is an ideal solution for a social streamer. You simply need to rack up at least 50 subscribers before you can use this option. 

  • Hardware Encoder

If you want to turn your stream into a business, whether you stream sporting events nobody else can get their hands on or it’s a subscription-based stream for a business, then a hardware encoder is an answer. Epiphan Pearl makes the process simple and provides you with broadcast-quality videos to engage your audience.

Start Streaming 

Web Browser 

The most straightforward way to stream is right from your browser. You can use an external webcam or the built-in. If you just want to be with your audience in real-time then either option should be more than sufficient. Once your camera is set, the process is simple.

  1. Log in to your account and select the create a video button, you will find it in the top-right corner.
  2. Use the drop-down menu to select the go-live option.
  3. You can choose to go live now (or later).
  4. You will need to select the type of stream, which in this case is a built-in webcam.
  5. There may be a prompt to allow permissions, which you will need to agree to before you can proceed.
  6. This is your opportunity to enter event details. You can edit the title and description, your category details, etc. You can also choose whether to make your stream private, unlisted or public. If you plan to live stream at a later date, you can choose a later date and time to start.
  7. Preview your settings, make sure the correct mic and webcam are selected and go live. Just remember to end stream when you are all done. 

YouTube automatically uploads the completed stream to your channel, so anyone who missed it can access it at a later date. You can manage this in YouTube Studio under Content and Live. 

Software Encoder   

If you plan to broadcast gameplay or anything else that requires you to share your screen, then a software encoder is perfect. Any software you choose should detect cameras. A USB capture card can bring HDMI signals into the setup. When you connect the card to the computer and the webcam to the card, your software will recognise it as a UVC. Every software encoder is different, but the basic steps are similar.

  • Start by downloading and installing streaming software.
  • When you open YouTube, choose to go live by clicking the camera at the top-right corner.
  • Choose stream in the YouTube Studio if you’re going live now. You will find it in the navigation bar on the left. If you want to schedule it for later, choose manage and schedule stream.
  • On the right-hand side of the preview, click edit to input your stream title, description, privacy settings, etc.
  • In stream settings, you will find a stream key, keep this private, but copy it to paste into your streaming software. You may need to input the stream URL from YouTube as well.
  • Start your stream from your software to go live. You will also need to end the stream from your software. A recording will upload to your channel automatically.

Mobile Device 

Mobile is ideal for flexibility, when an idea strikes out of the blue or something comes up, you can quickly hop on to engage with your audience. You need at least 50 subscribers before you can benefit from mobile live streaming. There are some other caveats, even if you have over 50 subscribers but under 1,000. YouTube will automatically privatize any streams you publish from mobile. It may also impact the number of viewers your stream gains. Once you reach 1,000 subscribers, these issues drop. Mobile live streaming is simple.

  • Start by downloading the YouTube app from your mobile app store, whether you have an Apple or Google account. 
  • Open the YouTube app once it’s fully downloaded and choose the plus icon located in the center of the bottom menu. 
  • Go Live
  • You need to grant all the necessary permissions before you live stream, including microphone, storage, camera, and photos. 
  • At the top-right of the screen, you will see a camera icon – this can be used to switch between the back and front-facing cameras. 
  • You will need to title the stream, configure your privacy settings, etc. 
  • Under more options, you can schedule a time and date for a later stream. 
  • You can use the advanced settings section to deal with monetisation and live chat options. 
  • Simply press next, upload your live stream thumbnail and choose whether to stream in portrait or landscape to go live. 
  • Be sure to click finish and ok to end your stream. YouTube will automatically store a copy of the stream on your channel for audiences to view later.

Hardware Encoder 

A hardware encoder is purpose-built for recording, capturing, and streaming. It can do one or the other or all three. There are plenty of advantages to taking this route. If you are a business offering high-stakes events or you are a professional streamer and want to capture high-quality video, this might be your best bet. It isn’t as complex as you might think. 

Hardware encoders offer multiple inputs so you can use professional audio and video across multiple devices. They tend to perform at a higher level than software encoders because unlike software encoders, you don’t need to share resources with other programs or your OS working in the background. 

There is a wide variety of hardware encoders to choose from, and they all have a different process to live stream on YouTube. Your best bet is to read the user documentation for a step-by-step guide. 

Learn how to set up your stream!

YouTube Live Stream 

When you start to see a boost in audience numbers and, you meet all of the criteria, you can apply for the YouTube partner program. To qualify for the program, you need to meet the below criteria: 

  • You need over 1,000 subscribers
  • A linked AdSense account
  • You need to reach the public watch hours requirement
  • No active strikes against your channel
  • You must be in a region where the program is available
  • You need to follow the monetisation policies 

Like everything on social media, it takes time to get used to it, but when you do, you’ll see an array of benefits, professionally and personally.

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