Now before I explain why these posts are moronic let me bore you with a few stats. The live streaming site Twitch is getting more than 44+ million unique viewers per month, with each unique averaging 100 minutes of video per day and with 600,000 unique broadcasts aired each month you can definitely see why people want to stream and want to get a piece of that viewership pie.
However, people seem to be getting so unbelievably confused with what streaming exactly is and why the
"PlayStation 4 stream quality sucks."
I'll keep it brief and simple. Streaming is taking a source be it gaming etc, encoding it on the fly and sending it to a website that allows you to broadcast it to viewers. This is INCREDIBLY resource intensive, it is one of, if not the most intensive thing you can make your system do and this comes from a gamer, video editor, and casual music maker. I'll briefly explain how it works so you understand why the Next Generation console complaints seem daft.
You play a game with your CPU/GPU running at maxed, you then as well as a playing a AAA title fully maxed or whatever settings your system can achieve go and ask it to, encode a copy of exactly what your are doing and not encode it into a video format and have it be on your hard drive, but have it encode and be streamed to the internet. It is like playing a game twice! and in addition to that you can be doing other things such as webcams running, music playing, overlays to make the stream look nicer AND be encoding at more than 30 frames per second to get that smooth look. This again amazingly intensive. It is so daft that people moan about their quality not being HD when they are quite literally asking their PlayStation 4 to play the game in 1080p and stream in 1080p, if it could do anything near that level of intensity the games would be twice as good looking and we would never hear of articles coming out that say that
"The Next Generation of consoles have issues maintaining 1080p 60 fps"
To put into perspective I run an i5 3570K at 4.3 ghz (Overclocked) and a 3GB 7970 DDR5. This is a pretty high end machine and yet if I try to stream at 720p 60 I can "feel" that I am streaming, my game doesn't feel smooth, it is less responsive and ultimately I can't perform at the same level when I am not streaming as it hinders how I play. Now If I crank it up the stream to 1080p 30-60 fps the game is basically unplayable, sure I still hit high in game FPS with 50-100, but it feels awful. This is why you see sponsored professional gamers with top, top end systems dropping their graphics quality to push a better quality of stream. You need a CPU that has hyper threading ( i7 Range) or CPU more than 4 cores to be blunt, 4 cores to run the game and the others can do the encoding and even then its a struggle!
An example would be Starcraft 2, there aren't many people that when streaming use full graphic settings and this game is only optimized for 2 cores, meaning 2 are left to stream which makes it better on lower end systems in my experience.
So how does this relate to the Playstation 4 or Xbox One?
You are asking a console to perform a task that a PC cannot do. It is a ridiculous statement to make. The next generation console don't have the power of my current PC and that struggles, what you are asking to do is for the console to play your games in 1080p 60FPS AND stream. It isn't going to happen without some drawbacks.
You cannot lower graphic settings currently of current generation games on console, so what you see is what you get. It would be nice if the console said, "I am going to lower the graphic settings of Killzone so you can stream in 720p", but the reality is, they just wont. So they have to lower the resolution to 540p so the system can maintain a playable user end experience.
The console also streams at 60fps, which is far more intensive than 30 fps, whether the system can provide an update that allows users to chose their frame rate which will unlock new quality options is yet to be seen, personally I wouldn't wait on it though. For all I know their architecture may only allow people to stream at the frame rate they play, to be honest its a miracle the systems can even stream without any noticeable "it feels jittery and laggy" side effects.
"Man Sony should just update their twitch app"
What does that even mean? Update it so it can? What? Somehow have a better encoder then a dedicated chip like the ELgatoHD. Yes somebody actually moaned that their dedicated streaming device looked better than the PS4.
Streaming on consoles is a fun aside, a nice way to show your friends your gameplay, but it isn't to be taken seriously. If you want to stream and want HD you need a separate capture card device and a PC to stream that video that the capture card is taking.
To my knowledge the way the console streaming works is it limits the video resolution to 540P which is less than HD and does look bad, but if you a good upload speed (3-5MB+) you can at least get a sharp clear image. If you have good upload be sure to chose the "best" quality, if your upload speed is lower than 2mb, you won't get a good image quality as their isn't enough bandwidth to create create an unpixelated stream.
The fact is consoles are limited by nature, you cant overclock them as you have a standard cooler, games don't have changeable graphic settings to make encoding easier so you have to compromise somewhere to get the streaming feature to work, PlayStation chose resolution while maintaining a high smooth FPS, Xbox one on the other hand might opt for a better resolution but lower frame rate. But you must see the similarities, both companies have to make compromises as the systems simply aren't powerful enough to stream and play at native 1080p 60FPS.
Whether the team over at PlayStation learn to program on their system to better utilize thier power and enable you to push HD is for another day but I think its quite ridiculous that uniformed people expect a £350 console to do a job of a £1000 computer.
- Systems have to make comprises to play and stream simultaneously.
- Sony Lowered their max resolution output to 540p to achieve this otherwise games would lag when being played.
- A lower upload speed results in a lower quality stream.
- Console games have no changeable graphic options so they can't play at lower settings in order to stream at higher resolutions .
- In the future they may get more out of their system.
- A dedicated media encoder such as the HDPVR or ELGato WILL be better then on-board encoding. FACT.
If you enjoy this or wanted to share the knowledge then be sure to tweet the post around or post to your nearest and dearest.
MY CHANNEL - http://www.youtube.com/VideoFletcher
MY TWITTER - https://twitter.com/VideoFletcher
MY STREAM - http://www.twitch.tv/ggzii