So you want to start streaming but you don’t think you can afford it? Maybe you have the money but just don’t want to spend it on streaming. Whatever the reason, there is big demand for a cheap setup…well, it doesn’t get cheaper than free!
Although there are hundreds of different things you might include in a streaming setup, we’re going to focus in on just the core elements to make things as simple (And thus as cheap) as possible. Think of this like the bare bones streaming setup. If you happen to have better equipment, awesome! But this is a guide designed to help those that want to start streaming as a hobby but don’t want to break the bank to do it! So let’s take a look at the main components:
Since we set ourselves a budget of $0.00, you’re stuck using whatever laptop or computer you already have. It’s important to note that Twitch does have some minimum system requirements for streaming, but they are VERY minimal. In fact, most computers sold in the last 5 years or so should be good enough to get you started. But if you don’t have at least a Core i5 Processor and 8GB of Ram, you can easily pickup a refurbished machine like this Lenovo Thinkpad for under $450.
It’s not going to set any speed records, but it will get the job done without breaking the bank.
What’s the point of streaming if people can’t hear your witty banter and running commentary? To make sure that every comeback and one liner is heard clearly, you want to rely on a something other than the built in microphone in your computer. Luckily most of us already have a better option tangled in the bottom of our school or gym bag: a pair of cell phone headphones with a built in microphone, like the kind that come with every iPhone.
If you don’t already have a set, or you don’t have one that plugs into a 3.5mm jack (Like most of Apple’s latest products) you can still buy decent headphones with a good quality mic for around $15, like this set with a 5 star rating.
Since we are using a headphone/mic combo above, you don’t have to spend any more money on headphones! If you really want to splurge on headphones, just know that if you are going to still use the iPhone headphones for your microphone, you’ll need a jack splitter like this one for around $5 to plug your headphones AND your cell phone earbuds in at the same time.
Obviously, if you have a webcam built into your computer, that’s the going to be the best free solution, but even if you don’t have a webcam, you still have options.
As we detailed in our recent article How to use your iPhone as a webcam for streaming, if all you have is an iPhone, you can actually use some free software to turn it into a fully functioning wireless webcam.
When it comes to streaming software, there is one main contender: OBS.
OBS stands for Open Broadcasting Software, it is open source software that lets you stream any part of your screen, create overlays, or even do green screen effects, all from your computer. And the best part? It’s entirely free! Just head on over to the OBS website and download the latest version.
By now, you should have a free streaming setup (or at the very least under $475 if you had to buy everything listed) so you probably want to know where to go from here.
Well, you need to pick games to play, we would recommend that you use web-based or flash games for this setup since it will be hard to get make PC games work for streaming with only one screen. Luckily, they are having a bit of a resurgence, so whether you want to play Happy Wheels or Agar.io, or one of the other amazing free flash games, you have some really interesting, fun options of what to play.
Once you’ve got your setup ready, and a game picked it’s all about getting followers. And if you need help getting your first hundred followers, we already have a guide showing you exactly how to do that!
So, no that you know you don’t have to have $10,000 to start streaming, what are you waiting for?