Want to know more about Microsoft's streaming platform? Here are some handy pointers.

So, Mixer. You've heard about it more and more recently, but you're not exactly sure what it is and how you can best enjoy it. That's OK, and it's why we're here to help.

Microsoft acquired the service while still in its infancy in mid-2016, and now the service is directly integrated into Xbox One and Windows 10. If you're curious and want to get your Mixer on, here's five things to set you on your way.

1. Just what is Mixer?

Mixer

If you're familiar with Twitch, it'd be an easy comparison to make with Mixer. At its core, it's a live broadcasting platform allowing you to stream yourself doing, well, something. The majority audience is gamers, for both viewing and streaming, but it doesn't have to be about games. One of the marquee features of Mixer is its low latency, which means streamers and their audience aren't separated by a delay. Which in turn means a more interactive, engaging experience. Mixer is far faster than both Twitch, and YouTube Gaming for streaming.

If you have something to broadcast and the means to do so, you can do it on Mixer. It's free to sign up and you can do so either with an email address or by using existing Microsoft, Twitter or Discord accounts to log in.

2. Great, so how do you broadcast?

Mixer

At the very basic level, you need something to broadcast and software to do it with. The two most popular options are XSplit and OBS, the former being a paid subscription and the latter being free. XSplit has far more features than OBS, and is also far more stable and less resource intensive, so we recommend XSplit if you can afford it.

These are the conduits to which you will share your entertainment with the world through Mixer. Setting up is easy on both, check out our comprehensive guide on how to get going.

How to stream on Mixer

Since the early days, though, you can now stream to Mixer directly from your Xbox One console and Windows 10 PC where the capability is built into the operating system. You can also use Elgato Game Capture HD software if you're using one of the company's capture cards.

How to stream from the Xbox One to Mixer

3. Watching Mixer channels is one big game

Mixer

One of Mixer's standout features is the gamified nature and interactive elements. The boffins behind it didn't think you should always be limited to just watching your favorite broadcasters, they wanted you to be able to interact directly with the stream.

And so you can, if the person broadcasting enables the feature. As you watch or stream content on Mixer, you gain XP and sparks. The XP levels you up just as you would in a game and the sparks are basically Mixer cash. You use them to unlock features if you're a streamer or you can use them to carry out interactive instructions in someone else's stream.

You're not just consuming on Mixer; you're actively participating all the time you're there.

4. Mobile support

Mixer Create

Mixer has official mobile apps right now for Android and iOS, and both are pretty good. Basic, but decent. There is no app for Windows 10 or Mobile right now, but the latest is the Mixer Create beta which is currently available on Android. The purpose of this app is (eventually) to let you broadcast games or just yourself from your smartphone.

Mixer Create beta hands-on

The mobile web client for Mixer is pretty good. You have full access to all features that Mixer has to offer, which can't be said of the mobile apps for the iPhone and Android. Mixer's site is generally good to use be it desktop or mobile, and it's a solid experience in Edge on Windows 10 Mobile while we wait to see what the future brings.

5. The future of Mixer streaming is now

FTL is Mixer's secret sauce. It's super low-latency technology that allows broadcasters and viewers to interact in what is essentially real time. It's now more widely available than when Microsoft acquired the service, built into XSplit and Elgato software as well.

Mixer has also been built into Windows 10 and the Xbox One, and the latest and greatest feature to roll out is co-streaming, where you and up to three buddies can stream at the same time on the same channel with your own individual window. It's pretty amazing, and there are no doubts the Mixer team will continue to build and keep making the platform even more awesome.

How to start a co-stream on Mixer


That's just a quick intro to what Mixer is and how you can get involved. If you're ever floating around over there be sure to stop by our channel where you'll find regular, quality broadcasts from the team!

Updated June 23 2017 to reflect the latest changes and the rebrand to Mixer from Beam.