Streaming equipment: what is needed and how to choose?

Video broadcasting has become a popular way to spend leisure time and earn money – recording games brings gamers and bloggers a good income. Today, this format has gone far beyond its former limits, facilitated by the releases of new games. 

However, for gameplay to be popular, you need quality equipment for broadcasting: camera, capture card, audio mixer, microphone, and headset.

How to choose a camera for streaming

A camera is an indispensable device for online streaming. As practice shows, streams with the image of the author are much more popular than usual ones. In this way, the camera helps viewers perceive the content shown on the screen as something new and unique, and not just frames from the game. Additionally, it helps to strengthen and build a connection between the streamer and the audience. Any, even the best and most interesting stream can be spoiled by a bad image with the streamer’s face washed out in 480p resolution, which will permanently worsen the audience’s experience.

If you plan to record the game on your laptop, do not be confused by the built-in camera. Not only the image quality can suffer from its use, but also your mobility and comfort level – it will be inappropriate to change the camera position directly during the broadcast and the audience will have to look at your ceiling or half of your face. Therefore, to avoid poor-quality images, it is worth thinking about buying an external camera. 

Important parameters for choosing a camera:

  • The number of sensor pixels: a minimum of 2 megapixels, but preferably 3 or more.
  • Matrix resolution should be at least HD (Full HD is better) to provide a quality picture without distortion.
  • A frame rate of at least 30 frames per second to ensure smooth video without jerks.
  • Good light-sensitive matrix:
  • CMOS – consumes little power and reads an image quickly, but can have low sensitivity, which leads to increased noise in the image or distortion of fast-moving objects.
  • CCD – An obsolete type that should be avoided
  • The angle of view depending on the purpose: the wider the angle – the more space will be in the frame, the golden mean of about 60 °.
  • Type of focusing: automatic, for self-adjustment by the camera to get the best image.
  • Length of cable to connect your PC at least 1.5 m (when connecting to a laptop does not play a role).
  • Connection via USB.

Note: The video camera for broadcasting from a PC or laptop is usually connected via USB. It is important to note that if it is not specified which version of this standard is used, USB 2.0 is implied. If possible, USB 3.0 models should be preferred. They provide faster data exchange.

Do I need a built-in microphone?

It is worth considering that webcams are equipped with the most common microphones, which are suitable for simple video calls but do not provide high-quality sound when recording streaming. To professionally record streams, in any case, you need an external microphone or at least a headset. 

These devices are much better than the built-in ones and provide more natural sound, which significantly affects the overall quality of the stream. In addition, external microphones are often equipped with additional features, such as a low-pass filter or a button to mute and adjust the sound. Therefore, do not pay attention to the sound quality of the webcam or even look for a variant without a microphone. It is worth buying this device separately.

How to choose a video capture card for streaming

Another necessary device for recording game content is a capture card, which transmits the image and sound from your PC or game console without delay during the broadcast. This significantly reduces the load on your computer because you do not need to spend hardware resources on recording and processing video.

The most important characteristic for all video capture cards is the end-to-end resolution: the parameter determines what picture a particular device is ready to read and transmit to the computer for broadcasting.

How to choose a USB audio mixer

To properly organize the streaming, we will need a good microphone and a sound card to which it will be connected. Then you can use all kinds of software emulations on your computer or buy a good quality iron mixer. This is to put music on the pad, and in general to combine several audio streams into one. 

And let’s not forget about the pad system as a reaction to what’s going on and turning on all sorts of sound effects. It turns out quite a lot. And if you need to make all this for simultaneous broadcasting in several social networks and broadcasting from smartphones – you’ll have to be encumbered with equipment.

Audio mixer is a really good thing for home streaming and podcasts. Which is simply indispensable or in cases of broadcasting on several platforms. If you don’t know much about it and don’t know which USB mixer interface to choose, then read the reviews on them. 

With mixers, everything is clear and at your fingertips. The controls have different sizes and types, so you can’t mess up by accident. And all captions are in English. Once you understand what button is responsible for what – you can use it blindly.

How to choose a headset and microphone for gaming and streaming

While some streamers use a microphone on their gaming headsets, having a separate, specialized device can provide much better sound quality. While you can still do without a webcam, you can’t do without a microphone at all. Viewers come to the stream for the very purpose of listening to you play the game or comment on other actions. So the sound must be of high quality. With a good streaming microphone, your voice will be heard loud and clear in all conditions.

Important parameters when choosing a microphone:

  • Frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz to capture any sound.
  • Directionality: cardioid or multidirectional (changeable).
  • Sensitivity: from 40dB.
  • USB connection, for easier setup and versatility.
  • A cable length to suit your needs.
  • Optional accessories included: table stand or stand, adapter.


As always, the choice of devices depends on your personal needs and your budget. So we’ve shown how important some features are and which ones you should pay special attention to if you want to choose the perfect web cam, capture card, headset, or microphone for your needs.