How to change your stream delay has become a question people ask when they start getting more viewers watching the stream. To combat stream snipers or when you get invited to tournements chances are you need to put on a stream delay. We will show you all the different ways to change your stream delay with the most popular streaming software.
What is a Stream Delay?
Stream delay is a feature of streaming software that alters the latency of the stream feed. To put it simpler, it tweaks the amount of time it takes what the streamer’s camera is recording to show on a viewer’s screen.
There will always be some amount of latency, sometimes caused by internet service providers on both the streamer and viewer’s end, while other times it could be caused by the streaming platform itself since it is hosting many streams simultaneously.
But, for those looking to tweak their stream delay setting, they aren’t looking to set it as low as possible, but rather intentionally cause a delay between what they’re doing in-game and what their viewers are seeing.
What are Stream Delays for?
For as long as there have been streamers, there have been stream snipers. These are people who watch streamers and attempt to get into the same lobby or match as them in order to troll or grief them in some way.
Within reason, this can make for some humorous content, but it can also very quickly get out of hand, to the point where streamers are unable to play normally without snipers getting in the way.
Stream delay was introduced to counteract this, offering the best of both worlds. Streamers still get the interactivity of being live, so they’re still able to speak with their viewers in close to real-time.
By delaying the playback feed to their channel from anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes, they also don’t compromise their gameplay.
Reducing Stream Delay on Twitch
There are two main ways to delay your stream, both being settings that you need to set up.
Firstly, you’re able to switch between two latency modes on Twitch itself. The first mode is called Low Latency mode, which works to get your stream feed to viewers as quickly as possible.
Twitch advises that this setting should be used on streams where near real-time interactions with viewers are important.
This setting is ideal for new streamers who aren’t concerned with stream snipers or streamers who are specifically wanting to showcase live events and host quality conversations with their viewers.
The second latency mode on Twitch is called Normal Latency. This setting deprioritizes your streams feed, so viewers will see it with a delay coming from Twitch’s servers.
Twitch describes this setting as being for streamers who do not interact with viewers in real-time. What is important is that this delay is unpredictable – it would vary from stream to stream depending on how much of Twitch’s server’s bandwidth was being used at any given time.
Setting Up Your Stream Delay
It may seem counterintuitive, but to have greater control over your channel’s stream delay, it is recommended that you stream in Low Latency mode.
This factors out the unpredictability of Twitch’s Normal Latency mode and instead relies on a delay set up in the broadcast software used by the streamer.
This method gives much more control to the streamer, for example, if they wanted their stream to be delayed by exactly one minute, then they’d be able to set that up in the software. Here is how to set up a stream delay on the three most popular streaming platforms.
If you use OBS Studio, setting up stream delay is simple. Under File, go to settings and then navigate to the Advanced setting section.
On this page, it has a sub-section for Stream Delay. By default, this will not be disabled, but to enable it you simply tick the box, which unlocks further settings.
You are able to set up a custom duration, measured in seconds, which is the amount of time between your live gameplay happening and it being sent to Twitch to broadcast to your viewers.
Since delay essentially builds a buffer of your stream, OBS Studio also estimates how much hard drive space it’d require to temporarily store this buffer.
Since Streamlabs OBS is built on the OBS Studio framework, the procedure for setting up stream delay is identical. You would navigate through the same way – from Settings to Advanced settings, to Stream Delay.
Here you will enable it and set the amount of delay between your live gameplay and what you want your viewers to see.
It’s important to note the stream delay is locked behind Xsplit’s paywall, you’ll only get access to it as a Premium license holder. Setting stream delay up in Xsplit is still very similar to both versions of OBS.
First you’d need to navigate to your broadcast plugin window – this is where you input your Twitch channel details and set details like your output video encoding. At the bottom of the checkboxes, there is an option to enable Stream Delay, and set the amount of seconds you’d like to use.
These settings are helpful for streamers who are building momentum on their Twitch stream and don’t want to risk being stream sniped and have their session ruined. It is also a great tool in competitive matches and tournaments, where teams could gain competitive edges by having a squad mate share information from watching a live stream of their competitor. As any aspiring Twitch content creator, keep working towards becoming a Twitch Partner, where you will unlock the ability to delay your broadcast within Twitch itself by up to 15 minutes as well.