Gaming monitors are getting better and better every year. They’re one of the best upgrades you can make to your set up.
A 144 Hz monitor will look much smoother than a 60 Hz monitor. We know this affects how your game looks to your own eyes, but how much does it affect the quality of your stream?
Does Your Monitor Effect Your Stream Quality?
Your monitor does not affect your stream quality at all, it only affects what you see while you play the game. It doesn’t matter what the refresh rate, response time, etc of your monitor is when it comes to streaming. The one exception is your monitor’s aspect ratio, which should be 16:9 for streaming.
For the most part, everything except your monitor will determine how your stream works. Your graphics card and CPU will determine whether your stream is 720p or 1080p.
As long as your monitor has a resolution that is 16:9, your stream will look fine. If you’re not on that aspect ratio, either your stream or your gameplay will end up having black bars on the side in order to make the picture fit.
Your viewers will not be able to tell whether you’re streaming on a 60 Hz or 144 Hz monitor and they definitely will not be able to see what kind of colors you’re seeing.
Does Your Monitor Resolution Affect Your Stream Quality?
Your monitor resolution does affect your stream quality. Streaming at a higher resolution than your monitor’s resolution will not look great. Most monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9 so you want to stream in a resolution that fits that aspect ratio otherwise your stream will have black bars on the side.
If you have a 200×200 image and scale it up to 1600×1600, it won’t look very good. On the flip side, though, scaling down a 1600×1600 image to 200×200 will look fine.
The same concept applies to monitors and streaming. If you have a 720p monitor and try to stream to 1080p, it won’t be worth the effort, so you might as well stick to 720p.
The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is the aspect ratio. Most monitors are 16:9. There are also a lot of 16:10 monitors, but they are not nearly as common.
If your monitor is 16:10, or anything other aspect ratio, you should consider streaming in 16:9. This will create black bars on the side of your screen, but it will make your stream look much better on the majority of your viewers’ monitors.
What Things Do Affect Your Stream Quality?
The main things that affect your stream quality are your bitrate, resolution, framerate, and your encoder (either GPU or CPU). Your bitrate is the most important aspect of streaming, and sites like Twitch will usually limit you to a bitrate of 3.5, which is enough to stream at 720p while hitting 30 FPS.
If you’re using streaming software like OBS, you can change up your bitrate. However, you should know that Twitch only lets most streamers go up to 3.5 (aka 3500Kbps). This will let you stream in 720p at 30 – 60 FPS.
Your GPU and CPU will also play a role in your stream quality. With a better GPU, you’ll be able to crank up your game settings and hit better framerates, which your stream viewers will always appreciate.
Your CPU will probably be doing your encoding, unless you’re using NVENC, which is the built-in encoder on NVIDIA cards.
Finally, the actual game you’re playing will affect your stream quality. It is much easier to stream games when there’s not a lot of motion, color changes, blurs, etc.
So, streaming Stardew Valley will look much more crisp than streaming Apex Legends, unless your system can actually handle the game.
How To Increase FPS While Streaming
To increase your FPS while streaming, you should try using the built-in encoder of your GPU (for NVIDIA, this is NVENC). On top of this, make sure your software is capturing your “game” and not your entire “display”. Finally, in game, make sure that V-Sync is turned off and that your frames are capped.
If your in-game FPS is low while you stream, but not when you play solo, then you can probably mess with your settings quite a bit to fix this.
Keep in mind that some games are really poorly optimized, so if you have steady frames in one game but not in another, it may be an issue with the game itself.
The first thing you should do is make sure that your capture software is using the built-in encoder on your GPU if you have one. After this, you want to cap your frames at 60 or 120 FPS.
If you don’t cap your frames, then your GPU will spend extra resources trying to render the extra frames. These resources could be better spent on outputting your stream.
Can You Game And Stream On The Same Monitor?
You can game and stream on the same monitor without any issue, and this is actually how many streamers set up their stream. Some things will be less convenient without a second monitor, but you’ll be able to play your game in windowed mode, or tab out between the game and your streaming software.
It’s extremely convenient to have two monitors when streaming. You can have your software (OBS, for example) on one monitor and your game on the other.
It also allows you to read Twitch chat without using your phone or tabbing out. While convenient, it’s not necessary.
Streaming software can be set up to capture your actual game window, not your entire display. This means you can tab out and switch what is on your monitor as much as you want and your stream will only show your game.
Does Hz Matter For Streaming?
Your monitor’s Hz / refresh rate will not make a difference at all when it comes to your stream. The frames that your viewers see will depend on your streaming software’s settings, not on your monitor’s refresh rate. Your Hz will affect how smooth your gameplay looks for you, personally, not your viewers.
You should have a monitor with a high refresh rate, but it has nothing to do with your stream. It’s just very nice to see that sweet 144 Hz when you’re hitting 200 FPS in game.
However, the FPS that your viewers see on your stream will come down to how many frames you’re outputting. Most people won’t output more than 30 or 60 FPS, and most sites like Twitch won’t even let you try.
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.