Help my streaming quality sucks – one major trick (Directing your classes part 4)

Part of my ongoing ‘Directing your own online classes’ series. All articles can be found on this page.


This won’t be a very large post for now because I’m still discovering what good settings are. However, I’d like to share one important setting that had a very large impact on the quality of video screens. Because, honestly, when I started this adventure I didn’t know my stream quality was that bad…since I couldn’t see what the students could see. At least, I didn’t try to, which I should’ve, in hindsight.

I presumed that the quality I saw in OBS while streaming would be near that which the audience would see, and if not, obs would warn me if it couldn’t get the stream out “in time” because of possible network/bandwidth limitations. I knew that my bandwidth is an important factor, but I didn’t know that OBS simple tries its best giving the CPU ticks it can use for the encoding. If it does not have enough CPU power, it will simply try and spew out a VERY crappy video AND audio stream. In other words, my bottleneck happened BEFORE the network and in the PC itself and if that happens you don’t get any clear visual warning because what you see in the OBS preview/program window is even BEFORE it starts crunching on the CPU (i.e. encoding) (I presume. Correct me if I’m wrong).

Downscale the Output Resolution

So, the life safer in my case was changing the default “out (scaled) resolution”. This was set to Full HD (1920×1080) which is too high for my system (which is quite good IMO). I changed this to 720p (1280×720) and my audience immediately started applauding 😉

You can find this in File->Settings->Video

I can’t change it!?

If you get the following even when you’re not recording/streaming:

this is because the obs-ndi plugin is still active. So first disable that first by unchecking both checkboxes in Tools-> NDI Output settings:

You should now be able to change your output resolution!


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