How to stream your Xbox games on Microsoft's Beam live streaming service.
What on earth is Beam you might be asking? I thought everyone streamed on Twitch or YouTube? A relative upstart in the streaming game was scooped up by Microsoft and suddenly found itself in the limelight.
So you might find yourself wondering how to get started with it and share your Xbox One games (other consoles are available!) with the world. Twitch is built into the Xbox One for simple streaming but with Beam, at least for now, you'll need some additional hardware and software. This will soon be changing, but the best, most customized streams will always come using external resources.
That hardware will be a capture card, such as the Elgato HD60S and your PC, as well as some broadcasting software. Two of the most popular options are Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) which is free, and XSplit which requires a subscription for the full feature set.
Before any of this, you'll need to sign up for a free account over on the Beam website. You can either sign up using email or login with Twitter, Discord or your Microsoft Account.
Update 23 January 2017: We've refreshed the OBS portion of this guide to reflect changes to Beam's website as well as adding information about using the new, super-fast FTL technology for your streams.
How to stream on Beam using OBS
On your Beam dashboard select manage channel from the sidebar menu on the right-hand side of the screen.
Select Setup stream from the screen that now displays.
When asked what you're using to stream, select OBS.
The best server should be selected automatically based on location and latency, but you can change this here. Next, copy your stream key from the highlighted box.
That's all you need to do for now on the Beam website, next fire up your broadcasting software, in this case, OBS Studio.
Select Settings in OBS Studio.
Select the Stream tab on the left sidebar.
- Select beam.pro from the dropdown box for desired streaming service. In the box below paste the stream key you copied from your Beam dashboard.
How to stream on Beam using XSplit
If you're using XSplit Broadcaster to get your stream on, the latest versions of the app support Beam natively. Here's how you add support for Beam.
- In XSplit Broadcaster select Extensions.
- Scroll down and select Get more extensions.
- In the Plugin Store you now see, click on the Show Outputs button.
- Select Beam.
- To add Beam chat, now select Show Sources in the Plugin Store.
- Select Beam Chat Viewer.
You now have native support for streaming to Beam added to XSplit. From here it's very easy to set up your stream:
- In XSplit Broadcaster go to the Outputs menu.
- Scroll down to Set up a new output, and then select Beam.
- In the window that presents, click on Authorize.
- You'll now be taken to Beam to log in with your account information.
- Once you're all logged in, go to the Outputs menu again.
- Click on the settings cog next to your Beam account.
- The settings menu will now open allowing you to customize your output, including audio and video bitrate, as well as name your stream.
That's about all there is to it. These basic steps will help you set up your Beam account for streaming, but there are other things to consider, such as bitrate. Beam recommends what you should use in your dashboard, in our case it's showing as 720p, 30fps, and a maximum 2500kbps bitrate. You'll need to take these into account in your broadcast software as you set up your stream. A lot of this depends on your broadband upload speed and consistency.
How to stream using FTL
FTL stands for Faster Than Light and it's Beam's latest technology promising sub-second latency on your streams. That means an almost non-existent delay between you and your audience, and Beam is all about interactivity.
FTL is still a work in progress but you can try it out for yourselves using XSplit or a custom version of OBS Studio known as Tachyon. If you're interested, we've got a guide on getting set up to add some super speed to your streams!
If you're ever lurking on Beam, be sure to give Windows Central a follow!