We’ve all seen those streamer set ups with a bunch of monitors, RGB lighting, and a comfy gaming chair. But how useful is a second monitor for streaming and how can you set it up for your own stream?
How To Set Up A Second Monitor For Streaming?
To set up a second monitor for your stream:
- Plug in your second monitor
- Press your Windows key or click Start and head to Settings > System > Display
- Click “Detect” and your 2nd monitor should appear
- Drag the monitors in the graphic so that they match your physical setup
- In your streaming software’s settings (under the “File” menu in OBS), ensure that it is set to record your primary monitor that you play on
Once you have your dual monitors set up and working, you can stream with your streaming software on one screen, while your game is on the other. You can press Alt-Tab to switch between your screens if you need to mess with any settings while you’re streaming.
I have a dual monitor set up and have used it for streaming and it was actually fairly easy to set up. I just had to plug my monitor in, and it pretty much worked out of the box. All I had to do was go to my Windows settings and switch around the monitor ordering.
Streaming and recording with my two monitors is also very easy. I use OBS when I stream and it automatically records my primary monitor, while I can have whatever I want on my secondary (OBS, Twitch chat, etc).
Best Second Monitor For Streaming?
The HP VH240a is the best secondary monitor you can find if you’re a streamer. It has an IPS display and a VESA mount, which means it can easily be rotated if you want a vertical display.
Vertical displays are perfect for streaming because it saves a lot of space, and portrait mode is fantastic for Twitch chat. You can always use the monitor in landscape mode, if you have the space and prefer the classic monitor setup.
If you want a vertical / portrait display for your second monitor, no matter what you’ll want an IPS display. TN displays just do not look good in portrait mode. On top of this, you won’t need more than 60 Hz for a secondary monitor, which is exactly what the HP VH240a has.
This monitor also has a VGA and an HDMI port, so no matter which port your primary monitor uses, you’ll be able to plug this one in. This wouldn’t be a great primary monitor, since it only has a 60 Hz refresh rate, and 1080p display, but this is all you need for a secondary monitor and anything more would be overkill.
Do You Need A Second Monitor For Streaming?
You can stream without a second monitor. The streaming software will still work, and there are a few workarounds you can use in order to read chat and monitor your stream. However, a secondary monitor is highly recommended for streaming and will become more important as your audience and stream grows.
If you’re just streaming for a couple of friends or just starting out, then you won’t need a secondary monitor. You can alt-tab to mess with settings and simply use your phone to monitor your stream or check chat. However, if you want an easier and more professional streaming experience, a second monitor will make a tremendous difference.
With a second monitor, you will be able to check your chat and monitor your stream with no issues. More importantly, you will be able to have your streaming software set up on your other screen, which will allow you to make real-time fixes and modifications as needed.
Why Do Streamers Use A Second Monitor?
Streamers use a second monitor so that they can watch their stream, read their chat, keep an eye on their streaming software, and fix any problems that may come up while they are streaming. Without a second monitor, streamers wouldn’t be able to play a game while doing all of these things without pausing.
Being able to read chat and monitor their stream is the most prominent reason that streamers use a second monitor.
Without a second monitor, the streamer would need to use their phone to read chat, or tab out of their game occasionally. This would be extremely inconvenient, and make for a pretty lame viewing experience since the streamer would have to constantly stop playing to check their phone or tab out of the game.
On top of this, there are many times that a streamer may want to edit their stream somehow. Maybe they want to change some text or move their face cam for a specific part of the game.
This is very easy to do if you have a second monitor since you can keep the game up and simply move your mouse over. With a single monitor, you need to tab out of the game, make the changes, and tab back in. All of which can be annoying and disorientating.
Is 60Hz Good For Streaming?
60 Hz is good for streaming and probably the lowest refresh rate you would want. The refresh rate of your monitor won’t make much of a difference in your actual stream, but it will make your games look better and smoother to you. Your refresh rate will not affect how your stream looks to your viewers.
I love high refresh rates. If you can pump out a lot of FPS, then you definitely will want a monitor that will match it. But this is unrelated to streaming, since your viewers will only see what your encoding software sends to them. Therefore, you can easily use a 60 Hz monitor with no problems at all.
If you ever want to upgrade, you’ll be able to jump up to 75, 144, etc without any issues. Your refresh rate has nothing to do with how your stream will appear, it will just make games more playable on your end.
A 60 Hz monitor is extremely good to use as a secondary monitor. Secondary monitors are used for modifying your stream on OBS (or whatever software you use) and for reading chat during streams. Both of these things can be done with low refresh rates, which makes 60 Hz monitors perfect. 60 Hz monitors are typically cheaper, and many IPS monitors (great for turning vertical) are only 60 Hz.
Does Dual Monitors Effect FPS?
Dual monitors does not affect FPS or gaming performance at all. There are very rare exceptions, such as if your monitors have very different refresh rates or if all of your monitors are constantly switching between 4K HD wallpapers. In this case, you may experience slight performance drops.
I have a dual monitor setup and both of my monitors run at a 75 Hz refresh rate. It’s recommended that your monitors have the same refresh rate or are multiples of each other. If not, you may experience some performance drops if you tend to game on one monitor while you watch videos on the other monitor.
I’ve personally noticed a performance drop because of this (50 Hz on one, 75 Hz on the other) but since changing both monitors to 75, I haven’t had any issues.
Why Do Streamers Use 3 Monitors?
Streamers use 3 monitors so that they can have their game on one screen, their streaming software on another, and anything else they may need (Twitch, YouTube, game guides, Discord, etc) on the third. Extra monitors help streamers multi-task much better, which is why most use 2 and some use 3+ monitors.
Many streamers believe 2 monitors is an absolute necessity. Having a second monitor for your chat, stream, and encoding software is so much more convenient than trying to mess with all of these things on a single monitor.
A 3rd monitor just ups the convenience factor that much more. Now you can have your streaming software on one, while using the 3rd for Discord or a game guide.
Three monitors may be overkill to some people, but when you have 5+ programs and internet tabs running at once (which many streamers do), you’ll be happy to have the extra real-estate.
Is A Dual Monitor Setup Worth It?
A dual monitor setup is worth it whether you’re a gamer, streamer, or just work on your computer. Having an extra monitor allows you to multi-task much easier and stay very organized. It also allows you to watch videos or read messages while you focus on whatever task you’re working on.
I switched to a dual monitor setup about two years ago, and I’ll never go back. I game and work on my computer, and use my 2nd monitor for both.
While I’m gaming, I can keep an eye on Discord and switch up the video I’m watching without having to actually tab out of my game. While I’m working I can chat with clients or read important messages without having to fully pull away from my work.
Overall, having a second monitor helps me stay much more organized, makes me more productive, and overall improves quality of life while using my computer.
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.