Twitch.TV is a live streaming and on-demand video platform that provides users with the ability to watch broadcasts of all their favorite PC and console games, whether retro, sports, first-person shooters, multiplayers, and more, as well as to create channels and upload videos of their own.
On top of this, Twitch claims to be “home to the most dedicated and highly skilled gamers on the planet” with some of the biggest gaming events in the industry, including gaming competitions and marathons. Twitch.TV also provides users with the ability to interact with one another through live chat and moderated forums.
Recently, Twitch has even moved into the music market, with the ability to include an ever-growing library of EDM-focused, royalty-free music in your videos.
But despite its size and popularity, should you give Twitch.TV a try? Consider the following:
How Do You Locate Interesting Content on Twitch?
When you first land on the Twitch.TV home page, you’ll see a list of featured games that other users are currently watching. Scrolling down, you’ll also be able to view a list of the top live channels and the top channels by console (e.g. Xbox One, PS4, etc.).
If you don’t see something you’re interested in, you’ll also be able to browse by game titles, channels, videos, and specific search terms.
Once you find a video you’re interested in, you simply have to click on the image and you’ll be taken to the broadcast. If you’re not a Turbo member, you may have to watch a short advertisement before gaining access (we’ll talk more about this in the Pricing section).
What Will You Need To Watch Twitch.TV Videos?
In order to watch a streaming or on-demand Twitch.TV videos, you’ll first need a device with access to the internet (the faster connection the less worries you’ll have regarding lag).
Most internet-ready devices are supported by Twitch.TV, including PCs, iOS and Android devices, and even TVs connected to Chromecast.
How Do You Stream Content to Twitch?
In addition to your own Twitch TV channel (more about this in a moment), a Windows, Apple, or Linux-based PC, or a console such as Xbox 360, Ouya, Xbox One, and Playstation 4, you’ll need specialized software to broadcast your video to Twitch.TV. This includes popular options such as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) XSplit, FFSplit and more. For additional options, try typing the phrase “broadcasting software” into your favorite search engine.
Once your video is uploaded, you can gain followers to increase your viewership. For more details, be sure to read through Twitch.TV’s Getting Started section.
Other Gaming Video Streaming Services
While Twitch.TV is inarguably the world’s largest video game streaming website, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any competition. This includes other popular options such as GamingLive.TV, UStream, HitBox.TV, and more.
As such, if you find that Twitch.TV isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to give some of these other options a try.
User Feedback for Twitch.TV
As we mentioned above, Twitch.TV is by far the largest online game streaming service. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Twitch.TV “had amassed an average of 43 million viewers per month [as of mid-2013], and by February 2014, it was considered the fourth largest source of peak Internet traffic in the United States,” trailing only Netflix, Google, and Apple. In addition, Twitch.TV is “the most popular e-sports streaming service by a large margin.”
PCMag gave Twitch.TV an excellent, 4-star rating based on its ease of use, wide variety of content, and free features. The only downsides noted were that content discovery could use some tweaking, and that videos aren’t automatically archived.
At the time of our research, there were more than 1,800 customer reviews for the Twitch.TV app on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.1 stars. Common compliments referenced that it’s free and easy to use on multiple devices, although common complaints referenced glitches (failure to load, choppy/freezing video, etc.) and inability to log in to your account.
The company behind Twitch.TV, Twitch Interactive, Inc., wasn’t rated with the Better Business Bureau, although there were 14 closed complaints as of 5/27/15, most of which appeared to reference account cancellations and bannings.
A basic Twitch.TV account is free; simply sign up through Facebook, or manually enter your username, password, birthday, and email address. Once complete, this will allow you to follow channels you enjoy, receive notifications when these channels go live, chat with other users, send and receive direct messages, and start your own broadcast.
After you’ve gotten used to Twitch.TV, you may want to upgrade to a Turbo account, which will cost you $4.99 per month. This includes an ad-free experience, a custom emoticon set, an upgraded chat badge, extended chat colors, and increased video storage, with the ability to save your broadcasts for up to 60 days.
Is Twitch the Streaming Gaming Video Service for You?
Chopping to the point: Considering the length of time Twitch has been in existence, the sheer number of users, and the vast amount of content—not to mention that basic access is completely free, it’s hard to go wrong with Twitch.TV. As such, it’s very likely that you’ll find something worthwhile, even if you’re only moderately interested in gaming.