What is a Stream Delay?
Stream delay is a broadcasting software feature that increases the latency of the stream, allowing a few minutes to pass before the viewers see what you’ve done.
While most of the time, broadcasters want to be able to show their viewers what’s happening in the moment, there are times when it is appropriate (or necessary) to delay the stream.
How Long is Twitch Delay?
How to Check Your Stream Delay on Twitch
How to Reduce Your Stream Delay
Step 1 – Log in to your Twitch account and select your avatar in the upper right-hand corner.
Step 2 – Select settings from the drop down menu.
Step 3 – Click the “Channel and Videos” tab at the top of the screen.
Step 4 – Look for “Latency Mode” under “Stream Key and Preferences” and make sure that you have selected “Low latency“
When to Use Low Latency Twitch
The primary purpose most streamers set up a Twitch delay is to avoid being stream-sniped. A negative of broadcasting live publicly is it allows other gamers to know exactly where you are which may result in certain viewers using your stream to hunt or disrupt your gameplay.
Imagine fighting your way through a dungeon in an open-world MMO, and being attacked by another group who came in specifically to find you because they tracked your location on stream. They know exactly when you are on the boss and attack just when you and your team are most vulnerable.
Though some teams and guilds enjoy the added challenge, many others create rules prohibiting streamers to broadcast while they are in groups unless there is a stream delay.
How to Add Stream Delay on Twitch
Depending on where you are in the world, there is generally a 5-30 second delay from your current actions to when your viewers will see it. To increase that time on the Twitch platform, you must have a Partnership status to set it up in your Creator Dashboard.
If you aren’t a partner, you can also set it up through your broadcasting software.
How to Set Up Stream Delay in OBS Studios
To create a delay in OBS, follow these steps:
Step 1 – From the File menu, select the “Settings” option
Step 2 – Click “Advanced” on the left side of the pop-up menu.
Step 3 – Locate the “Stream Delay” section of the screen, click the enable button, and adjust to the amount of time you want to pass before your viewers see your broadcast.
Step 4 – Click the “Apply” button at the bottom of the page
How to Set Up Stream Delay in Streamlabs OBS
To create a delay in SLOBS, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Click the Settings option on the lower left-hand side of the screen
Step 2 – Select the “Advanced” tab from the left-hand side of the pop-up screen
Step 3 – Scroll down to “Stream Delay,” click the enable box and adjust to the number of seconds you want to pass between the broadcast and the viewing.
Step 4 – Click the “Done” button at the bottom of the box.
How to Set Up Stream Delay in XSplit
To create a delay in XSplit, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Go to Settings
Step 2 – Click the Cog that represents the Stram Setting option
Step 3 – Enable the stream delay by checking the box
Step 4 – Enter the number of seconds that you want to pass.
How to Stream with No Delay
Reasons to Use Stream Delay on Twitch
The number one reason to use stream delay is to avoid “stream sniping,” the act of a viewer (or a group of viewers) using the information you’re streaming to their gaming advantage. Examples of this include:
- Stalking a player on a Battle Royale game using the broadcast, to make it easier to eliminate them. This generally only happens to well-known streamers as they are easier to recognize.
- Dungeon diving groups on MMOs by locating their dungeon and attacking when the team is low health
- Tracking a guild’s progress through a global event in order to find a better advantage.
Due to these factors (and especially in less-popular games), many players might not want to group up when someone is live-streaming. Guilds may create rules to disallow it without the delay.
Potential Problem From Using Stream Delay
One major problem due to using stream delay is that you won’t be able to interact with your audience in the same way. They won’t be able to interact with you as you stream, so their reactions and comments will be about things they saw and heard that is in your past. Even if you do respond to them, it will be several minutes for them to hear your response.
As viewer interaction is a key element to a successful channel, this can pose a few problems. Minimize the negative effects by not overusing the delay feature. Only use it when it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.
Create an overlay for your screen that explains that there is a delay (and why) so that your viewers understand why you aren’t immediately responding to their comments and questions. Let you mods know ahead of time as well and rely on their help to answer some questions for you.