Set up your live streaming encoder

Before you can start streaming on YouTube, you need to download encoding software.

What is an encoder? An encoder is a device or application that takes your content and converts it into a digital format to stream on YouTube. In other words, encoders digitise videos and send it to YouTube to be live streamed to your viewers. Some encoders are stand-alone devices that take audio and video signals from a Camera or a PC. Other encoders are software applications running on a PC that capture video from a webcam or the desktop.

Encoding (vs. webcam streaming) is best for live streams that include:

  • Sharing your screen or broadcasting your gameplay.
  • Using external audio/video hardware.
  • Managing an advanced production (e.g. using multiple cameras and audio inputs).

Looking for an easier way to stream? If you don't want to use an encoder, you can live stream via webcam and mobile.

YouTube Live Verified devices and software

There are many types of encoders, and the best one for you depends on your needs. We've gathered some suggestions for encoders below. The following encoders are YouTube Live verified. With the exception of Mobile Live and Webcam, none of these products are made by YouTube. Make sure that you evaluate the products and decide which option makes the most sense for you or your business.

Ready to stream? Once you've selected and downloaded an encoder, you can create your live stream.

Software encoders

Streamlabs OBS
Windows, iOS, Android

Streamlabs OBS is the leading broadcast software for streamers. It's free, open-source and absolutely packed with powerful features to help you grow, engage and monetise.

XSplit Broadcaster
Windows (Free version available!)

Revolutionary audio/video mixing application that allows you to create professional live broadcasts and video recordings.

XSplit Gamecaster
Windows (Free version available!)

The easiest way to stream and record your greatest gaming moments at the click of a button. Perfect for sharing your gameplay.

Hardware encoders


AirServer
Windows, Mac

Mirror your mobile device to YouTube.

Elgato Game Capture HD60
Windows, Mac

Record and stream your Xbox, PlayStation or Wii U gameplay.


Epiphan Webcaster X2
Any HDMI device

Create professional live streams from your HDMI camera, mixer, console or other device with this compact hardware encoder. Connect your USB camera for live switching and picture-in-picture layouts.

LiveU Solo

A video encoding device that offers one-touch, wireless live streaming.

SlingStudio

The industry's first portable, wireless multi-camera broadcasting platform. Monitor, record, switch, edit and stream live HD-quality video wirelessly to YouTube.

Teradek VidiU Pro

Stream in broadcast quality on the go from any HDMI camera, switcher or video source.

Mobile encoders


AirServer
Windows, Mac

Mirror your mobile device to YouTube.

Streamlabs OBS
Windows, iOS, Android

Built on OBS, and combines Streamlabs alerts, widgets, tipping, face masks and thousands of free themes and overlays..

Wirecast Go
iOS (Free with in-app purchases)

Produce live broadcasts from your iPhone.

The products listed above meet the YouTube Live Verified criteria. With the exception of Mobile Live and Mobile Capture, none of these products are made by Google. Make sure that you evaluate the products and decide which option makes most sense for you or your business.

Other encoders

Looking for open source options?

Try Open Broadcaster Software. Free and open source software for video recording and live streaming.

If you've selected an encoder that is not Live Verified, here is how to set it up:

Live Control Room

Simply copy the server URL and stream name/key into your encoder.

Stream now

Simply copy the server URL and stream name/key into your encoder.

Live Event

  1. Copy the YouTube entry points from Ingestion Settings to your encoder.
    • Stream name – This identifies your stream on YouTube servers.
    • Primary server URL – The main server where your stream will be ingested by YouTube.
    • Backup server URL – The backup server where your stream will be ingested by YouTube.

      Choosing to stream to the backup is recommended but is not required to begin broadcasting. Note that it does require double the outbound bandwidth (you are outputting a simultaneous redundant stream). So make sure that you have the Internet bandwidth capacity. Ideally, your backup stream should be on an entirely redundant physical encoder.

  2. Configure your encoder using YouTube's recommended encoding settings.
  3. Configure your audio and video sources.
  4. Start encoding.
  5. If you're using a scheduled event, remember to start the event on YouTube too.
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