Notes about live streaming: Quality vs content.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

So this is another livestream, although for whatever reason several faceless Internet people are complaining about this one like crazy. Apparently, the video and audio quality are all of a sudden a huge problem to this rather vocal minority.

Whatever the case may be, what are your thoughts? Would you rather have sub-par a/v quality or nothing at all? Because honestly those are my only two choices now, and to me content is king. The a/v stuff cannot be helped at the moment since it is 95% caused by my current AT&T DSL service, which provides only 0.5Mpbs upstream. Until another ISP shows up on the mountain, that’s what I get, and I’d much rather have fun in the meantime than not do anything at all.

The other solution would be to just record these in the way I normally do: straight to a high quality MP4. But I can’t do that and livestream at the same time, at least not with non-choppy results or playing on another PC entirely (and I’d need another nice PC, which costs major cash I don’t have). I could forgo the live stream entirely, but that is kind of the point of doing these in the first place. Playing through and recording a game on my lonesome, not live, utterly bores me.

Oh well, whatever. Ultimately I’m going to do what I please and I’m just throwing things out there, this is all experimentation. It’s just annoying that some people take things like “low quality video/audio” so personally, when they were the same ones requesting I do this in the first place. It’s not like I’m trying to make low quality video, I’m trying to have fun and hopefully entertain with what I have at my disposal. I mean really, if it bothers you that much I suppose you can… not watch? 🙂

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32 comments on “Notes about live streaming: Quality vs content.

  1. HubbaDuck says:

    Livestreams are cool and if you like them, you should definitely keep doing them. But get a better mic please, that’s really my only complaint 🙂

    • It’s not the mic that’s big the problem, but the ISP I have. I have no choice in the matter, it’s the only viable option around here. I’ve used the same mic I do for my regular reviews and it still sounds like that due to low bandwidth. In other words, it’s a take it or leave it kind of situation right now.

      • HubbaDuck says:

        Sorry, I just remember reading somewhere (youtube maybe) that your mic was crappy and you were looking for headset suggestions.. but now I can’t find that comment anywhere so I might be just crazy.

  2. I like them. And when playing older games A/V isn’t a massive problem. You could always screen record in HD while live streaming, so the live stream will still be low res but the uploaded video would be in HD. That’s if your CPU could handle, the game, the livestream and the screen capture all at the same time.

  3. nyarlathotep88 says:

    Funny thing is, I did not hear about Lengend of Grimrock until yesterday when cruzing through GOG.com, Picked it up instantly 🙂

  4. If they don’t like the quality, they can, to put it politely, shove it.

  5. Gemini says:

    Believe it or not, the solution to getting rid of that vocal minority could be as simple as apologizing for the audio/video quality right at the start, then explaining in 3 or 4 seconds why it’s bad, then just doing things as usual.
    .
    It won’t quiet all of them, but should quiet most of them. If possible, you may also want to have a MOTD (Message of the Day) the moment people join the chat that says, “Audio/Video quality limited by host’s lousy 500 Kbps upload speed. Complaining about it is pointless.”
    .
    *shrugs* Just some thoughts. Been too busy to watch the streams as they happen so I’ve been sticking with watching your YouTube uploads. Sure, the quality isn’t perfect, but I definitely feel content is more important and I have no reason to complain. : )

    • Probably a good idea. I’ve had a message up at the start of the videos that I thought explained that (saying THIS IS A LIVESTREAM) but it didn’t explicitly say that’s why the quality was lower. Worth a shot at least.

  6. cthuloops85 says:

    Allright now I get whats the problem here. I was confused because you sound awesome on your LGR videos, so I was wondering why the audio was sub par on the LPs. But yeah that situation sucks. I’d say just keep doing them like you do now. It really depends on the video and the “watcher” if you can get over crappy audio or not. I sat through all the DN3D stuff just because its fun watching you play your favorite game and talk about it, crappy audio or not. However I couldn’t sit through Grimrock, didn’t interest me so your commentary couldn’t save it. So yeah, keep making them, some people will watch, some won’t. Who cares as long as you and some subs have fun.

    • Thanks, glad this helped clear things up a bit. But yeah, I know I’m not going to please everyone, I was just curious as to why all of a sudden so many were being displeased over something I thought was perfectly understandable.

  7. gruz says:

    I popped into your last stream (that sounds gross) for a little bit and the audio and video quality were just fine. Those people complaining are stupid, just ban the words quality and low and carry on.

    Like you said you’ll ultimately do what you wish, but these live videos are interesting and give people a chance to interact with you. I wouldn’t stop them if I were you, but then again I struggle even get a few people watching my streams, so I dunno what it’s like.

    • Hehe, yeah I fully intend on carrying on despite the fact. Nice to hear that it’s not the end of the world to everyone, so I appreciate the feedback. As always, it’s the small mobs that make the most noise, where the people that are content are content to stay content. Content.

  8. Hoodcom says:

    Ah don’t even worry about the complainers… can’t keep everyone happy, and they need to understand there are limitations… besides, a little quality loss still isn’t enough to over-rule your awesomeness.

  9. Shot97 says:

    Funny, do these people not remember the first few years of uploaded YouTube videos in 240P??? This stream looks and sounds better than all YouTube videos only a few years ago. Perspective is nice. Be grateful for what you get.

  10. Robert says:

    Did you watch the replay on Twitch? It sounds completely perfect! It’s the YouTube video with the horrible quality.

    • I haven’t noticed a huge difference, I’ll face to listen more closely. Could be something to this, since I used the video migration tool from Twitch this time instead of encoding it myself.

      • Robert says:

        After comparing the two, I guess the video quality difference is more apparent than the audio, but with careful listening, you’ll know it’s there.

  11. Priv says:

    Count me as another voice that loves the long plays…keep it up man, you do a great and entertaining job!

  12. Dan Edkin says:

    Hey I just wanted to say that I watched the recorded version of the stream on twitch and I personally thought the quality was fine. I haven’t watched it on youtube but I’ll look and see if the quality changes at all, I think it’s just people complaining to complain. They don’t look at it this way, at least you aren’t partnered with Twitch at the moment otherwise there would be commercials and those are something to complain about.

  13. Péter Horváth says:

    Frock those guys! Clint, do whatever you want to do, as long as you like doing it. If you want to lifestream things like prancing around in gloomy dungeon, that’s fine by me. If you want to prerecord stuff, that’s fine by me too. I personally live on the other side of the planet, so I can’t catch your stuff live.

  14. Zabeus says:

    Heh, talk about a vocal minority. I’m happy to see you’ll be continuing with the live games. If people think THESE videos have poor audio, then they should try watching the Donkey Kong LP you did with JoshuaCaleb75.

  15. Joe says:

    When we’re talking about videos of this length, even minor A/V problems (that would normally be tolerable in shorter stints) can become grating and eventually turn viewers off from what would otherwise be good content. So personally, if I’m watching something like a “let’s play” it has to be in good quality. You mention quality v. content and how you consider “content to be king,” but if the technical quality compromises the content past a certain point, it defeats the purpose of your video. Basically, it’s not quality v. content–it’s quality v. quantity, and I never consider quantity to be king.

    That said, I didn’t think the above video was really out of the norm for most livestreams I’ve seen. It’s just a device to give people the opportunity to pop in and out while you’re playing a game I assume you would normally be playing otherwise. So really, what does it matter?

    Regardless, I started watching LGR because your coverage of classic games and platforms is thorough and informative; I’d take a standard video over a stream or “let’s play” any day!

  16. Kevin Dady says:

    I vote content, but I usually dont watch live streams, one dudes DSL line getting hammered all at the same time combined with my lowest end cable connection just makes the whole thing unwatchable … not just yours though, everyones

  17. magikgimp says:

    Hi, I’m John and I’m a complainer, yes I admit it. ;P
    I think my point is that I didn’t even realise that you’d decided to start livestreaming in the first place. The DN video was unexpected but perhaps I just missed the memo going around?
    Did you feel compelled to join the masses as a natural progression, because you were bored or something else entirely? Either way I’m afraid I’m with those who make the argument that it’s not content over quality but that content is wasted when you’re watching as if through wet glass and that half the time we can’t hear what you’re saying.
    Are you 100% sure that only one ISP operates in your area. I’m not American and I don’t know how these things work but in the UK we’re not exactly numero uno when it comes to Internet access but we have many providers and at least two main carrier technologies; that’s why I asked if there were plans to upgrade your local line. We also have the pleasure of price comparison websites at our disposal but I don’t think that phenomenon has caught on just yet over the pond right? (Corner the market while you can!)
    It’s a bit of a conundrum isn’t it? I mean we all want to watch these, that isn’t the point. It’s ironic really considering whose problem it is; you would make an excellent LPer simply because we know how good you are at making content. My suggestion, assuming your Internet isn’t going to improve any time soon (although have you tested streaming at a higher bitrate? You never know, 0.5 might be enough after all), is to also try out doing it alone (talking to yourself) because you have done that before with Minecraft and such and those were very watchable videos too.

    tl;dr-
    a) Are you sure you can’t improve your connection?
    b) Are you sure 0.5 doesn’t allow better streaming bitrate?
    c) Try recording alone as you’ve done it before and that was just as watchable (and in better quality!)
    d) Thanks for the content as always, we frickin’ love you man (not gay)

    • Priv says:

      I am not sure if it is LGR or your connection because when I watch it is NOTHING like watching through wet glass. The picture is perfectly fine, and I can understand everything that he says without issue. The only issue I see at the moment is the occasional lag (which during Duke ep. 2 was a bit more than occasional) but he has addressed that and it is not even close to being enough of an issue to warrent complaint.
      The way I see it Clint, you are doing this in your own free time because you want to and its fun, not because you are trying to provide a service to any one of us. I love the streams and will continue to watch as often as you continue to make them..I hope.

    • 1. Yes. I live essentially in the middle of nowhere so we take what we can get. Been that way for years. Only other options are business services that cost hundreds of dollars per month, or DSL services that are even slower.
      2. Yes. It is a physical limitation and I’m already pushing it! Approximately 45KB/s isn’t much to work with.
      3. I find recording playthrough videos alone to be very boring, which is why I haven’t done many at all before live streaming.
      4. Thanks for the support!

  18. LORD MJ says:

    I like your live streams! I watch it on YT because of the time zone diffreance, but I still like it.

    Just put a warning before the stream saying about your upload speed problem and also get some moderators to ban people that complain about audio.

    Fun content over quality I say. And now you make videos even more that before, and I freakin like it.

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