XSplit Broadcaster – A Beginner’s Guide to Streaming

by Fabio

XSplit Broadcaster is one of the go-to solutions when it comes to streaming. Unlike its free competitor, OBS Studio, it requires you to buy a paid license. There is a free version as well, which is severely limited in terms of functionality. The software aims to provide a professional-grade experience for streaming and broadcasting. We’re going to walk you through all the steps of setting up XSplit Broadcaster.

XSplit vs OBS

There is generally no consensus on the best streaming tool on the internet. OBS usually gets credit for having more options, but the software is “bare-bones” in the sense that it doesn’t really feature an intuitive user interface. While XSplit Broadcaster is certainly not the pinnacle of user experience, it is well-structured. The menus are where you’d expect them to be and especially the webcam settings are easily accessible. The tool certainly makes it less difficult to pull off high quality streams. But as we said, it comes with a price – quite literally.

XSplit Broadcaster Download and Setup

You can download the software from this location. The installation is easy and straightforward, so you should have the program ready and waiting in no time. XSplit Broadcaster works with Twitch, Facebook, YouTube and Mixer. Countless other sites are supported via plug-ins. 

Now that you have downloaded and installed the software, you can register through one of the aforementioned streaming sites. This will create a new XSplit account and tie it to your streaming account, which will make everything a lot easier going forward.

Import OBS Scenes

Chances are that you’re transitioning from OBS Studio. For that reason, XSplit Broadcaster offers an import option that will let you load all your scenes from OBS. For that, you’ll first have to export them in OBS (to the .json format). Now you’ll just have to direct XSplit to that file and hopefully, the import will work just fine.

Some specific functionalities from OBS are not supported, however. So you might end up with a broken result or the import may fail entirely. In that case, you’ll have to redesign everything manually. Thankfully, the scene editor in XSplit is not that difficult to use!

The main user interface of XSplit Broadcaster
The main user interface of XSplit Broadcaster

Designing Scenes in XSplit Broadcaster

This software already comes bundled with a number of pre-designed templates for various use cases. On the starting screen, you have the option to start with templates for PC or Console Gaming, Online Talk Shows, Podcasts, or Presentations. These will have a couple scenes prepared and are almost ready to use. Obviously, you’ll have to input your name/brand and add your webcam. 

Most aspiring streamers likely aim to create their own, unique overlays and scenes, since this comes across as way more professional. In the lower third of the XSplit Broadcaster interface, you’ll find all the options necessary for manipulating your scenes. Here, you can change the individual scene names, add new ones and add sources into your individual scenes. 

Under the ‘Add Source’ option, you’ll find all the different kinds of visual objects that you can place into the overlay. This includes capturing game output (or entire screens), webcams, images, videos and text. You can now place them on the screen, move them around, resize them. They will appear as a list in the white text box, where you put individual pieces into the background or foreground and make certain parts visible or invisible. In the bottom right corner, you can toggle between the individual scenes and also set a transition effect. You can add more scenes if you need them (although the free version is limited to four scenes). 

Another important aspect is setting the resolution right. Ideally, you should work under the same resolution that you’re going to stream with. For esports streams, 1920×1080 with 30 or 60 frames per second has somewhat become the norm. Obviously, if your system can’t handle compressing such a large stream, you’ll have to downgrade resolution and framerate. 

XSplit Broadcaster settings window for Twitch streams
XSplit Broadcaster settings window for Twitch streams

XSplit Broadcaster Streaming Settings

The hardest part of getting everything broadcast-ready is working through the stream settings. There, you’ll need quite a bit of knowledge of how streaming works in order to get optimal results. We’ve already covered how to record your game’s video output before, so you might want to check out that article to learn about the differences in hardware and software encoding. 

Under the ‘Broadcast’ tab, you’ll find all the supported streaming services. Just connect to the one that you want to stream to and enter your credentials. After a bandwidth test (which you can skip), you are led to the above window. Depending on whether you want to go for hardware or software encoding, you will have to decide between the .x264 and NVENC codecs. 

Read: Mixer vs. Twitch – What is the Best Streaming Service?

Bitrate is a complex topic. You will likely have to try out a few different values before you can fine-tune everything to perfection. For 1080p streaming, you should go for bitrates above 4000 kbps. Twitch, for example, only allows for a maximum of 6000. Lowering the bitrate will seriously deteriorate the video quality, so you should try to aim for higher values. 

For .x264 encoding, XSplit Broadcaster has introduced a feature called ‘Adaptive Bitrate’. Sometimes, streams start dropping individual frames if the bitrate is set too high, which obviously causes annoying glitches in your broadcast. Adaptive Bitrate works around this by detecting whether frames are being dropped and then working towards the optimal bitrate for your current setup. 

When it comes to audio encoding, 128 kbps is really the lowest you should go. Obviously, you want to configure your audio stream to be stereo, else the listening experience for shooter games will be less than ideal. Finally, you can also decide whether the stream gets recorded to your hard drive automatically. Setting a stream delay is useful for competitive titles (so as to not get stream sniped), but every additional seconds creates more distance between you and your viewers. 

How to Stream With XSplit Broadcaster

Once you have made all of these settings, just tap ‘OK’ and leave the window. Now you can return to your screens, make some final adjustments, and finally go online. If you’ve done everything correctly, you’ll now have a dedicated option for your stream under the ‘Broadcast’ tab. Clicking it will make your stream go live. You can then use the buttons in the bottom-right corner to switch between your scenes. 

Read: Nightbot: How to Set Up a Twitch Chatbot

The only thing remaining now is to have fun! Your viewers care more about your personal experience than any flashy overlays. If you’re delivering great content, they will be satisfied. However, it doesn’t hurt to also deliver a professional presentation. XSplit Broadcaster gives you plenty of option to get as much out of your streams as possible.

At Bitspawn, amateur- and semi-professional players and organizers get the chance to host their own esports tournaments. To help you create a truly engaging experience, we will continue updating our blog with useful resources on streaming and broadcasting. Stick around to elevate your streaming quality to the next level!

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