YouTube Live Stream Setup

Introduction to live events

Welcome to the guide for live events on YouTube!

If your channel is verified and in good standing, you can enable live events from your Account Features page.

Once your channel is enabled for live events, you’ll see a “Live Events” option in your Video Manager.

Create a live event

Watch the video demo

From Video Manager, click on Live Events

Click the New Live Event btn on the right. Fill in the Info and settings tab.

Complete Basic Info tab.

  • Title, description and tags
  • Enter Start and End times
    The start time sets the countdown clock before the event begins.  End times are not needed for 24/7 streams.
  • Privacy Settings
    Only public events will appear on your channel, search results and promotion. Choose unlisted or private for test events.
  • Category
  • Type
    Select Quick (Hangouts on Air) to live stream a Hangout event using your webcam.
    Select Custom (More encoding options) to live stream a YouTube event using custom encoders and controls.

*  The Info and settings tab is not currently available on mobile or tablet.

**  YouTube Live supports multiple simultaneous live events. For every live event you create, you must exponentially increase your encoding and network resources. For example, three simultaneous live events would require you to triple your encoders and bandwidth. Remember, each live event will also need to be individually started and stopped.

Click Advanced Settings tab.

  • Live chat and responses
    Moderate live chatduring the live stream. Viewers are limited to a maximum of 3 comments every 30 seconds and cannot post special characters, URLs or HTML tags. The comment module does not follow embedded players.
  • Distribution Options
    Enable or disable embedding and subscriber notifications.
  • Recording
    Events exceeding 8 hours may not be captured. We always recommend recording a local archive. Keep in mindYouTube Video Editor only allows editing of videos 2 hours or less.
  • DVR
    Pause or rewind the event. The DVR will display the most recent 4 hours of video.
  • Broadcast Delay
    Introduce a 30s or 60s broadcast delay to the public stream. Even with no delay, you should expect the preview player to be up to 1 minute behind the live feed.
  • featured content
Click Monetization tab.

  • Claim this video
    Apply Track, Block or Monetize policy.
  • Monetization
    Enable ads on player load and when mid-roll ad cues are inserted.  Please note,  standard in-stream ads are available for pre-roll and mid-roll.  Skippable TrueView ads run on pre-roll only.
  • Currently, HTML5, iOS, Android 4.0+ and Chromecast devices are live-capable.
  • Click the blue Create Event btn.

Choose Ingestion Settings

Watch the video demo

After completing the Info and Settings tab, click Create Event to load the Ingestion Settings tab.

  1. Upload an event Thumbnail.
    If a thumbnail is not uploaded to an upcoming event, a cropped version of the channel art or avatar is displayed.  When live, the event will automatically select a frame every 5 minutes.
  2. Choose Basic ingestion dropdown menu, or create reusable entry points from the Custom ingestiondropdown menu.
    For 60fps, be sure to check the box and apply the 720@60 or 1080@60 encoding spec.
  3. Entry points will display below to set up your encoder. Copy/paste to your encoder, or select your encoding software from dropdown menu to download XML.
  4. Cick Save.
You will not be able to adjust this after the event has started.  Choose the one highest quality resolution and make sure your encoder and internet connection can stream to your selected bandwidth.
HTML5 streaming:  Many browsers support HTML5 and either the H.264 video codec or WebM format.
Mobile streaming: Live events will be automatically available on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android 4.0+ mobile devices via

**The Ingestion settings tab is not currently available on mobile or tablet.

The FCC requires programs captioned for US TV, to also be captioned online.
Instructions for adding closed captions.
Instructions for adding additional cameras.For each camera added, you must exponentially increase your encoding and network resources.  For example, if you have 3 cameras, you must triple your encoders and bandwidth. Do not attempt to encode multiple camera angles on the same encoder We strongly encourage using backup streams.

Live encoder settings, bitrates and resolutions

Video resolution

Based on your available outbound bandwidth, choose the one highest quality from below that you can reliably stream.  YouTube will automatically create all of the lower qualities.

Example: If you have 10M dedicated bandwidth for your encoder, you could safely choose to stream 720p quality. 4M for primary encoder, 4M for backup encoder, with room for overhead.

Be sure to test with content similar to your live show.  For example, tests should include audio and movement in the video.  During the event, monitor the stream health and review messages here.

  • Be sure to check the 60fps box in the Ingestion Settings tab.
  • Resolution
    • 1920×1080
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 9000 Kbps
    • Recommended 6800 Kbps
    • Minimum 4500 Kbps
  • Resolution
    • 1920×1080
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 6000 Kbps
    • Recommended 4500 Kbps
    • Minimum 3000 Kbps
  • Be sure to tick check 60fps box in the Ingestion Settings tab.
  • Resolution
    • 1280×720
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 6000 Kbps
    • Recommended 3800 Kbps
    • Minimum 2250 Kbps
  • Resolution
    • 1280×720
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 4000 Kbps
    • Recommended 2500 Kbps
    • Minimum 1500 Kbps
  • Resolution
    • 854×480
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 2000 Kbps
    • Recommended 1000 Kbps
    • Minimum 500 Kbps
  • Resolution
    • 640×360
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 1000 Kbps
    • Recommended 750 Kbps
    • Minimum 400 Kbps
  • Resolution
    • 426×240
  • Video Bitrates
    • Maximum 700 Kbps
    • Recommended 400 Kbps
    • Minimum 300 Kbps

Encoder settings

Protocol: RTMP Flash Streaming
Video codec: H.264, 4.1
Frame rate: up to 60 fps
Keyframe frequency: do not exceed 4 seconds
Audio codec: AAC or MP3
Bitrate encoding: CBR

Recommended advanced settings

Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Frame types: Progressive Scan, 2 B-Frames, 1 Reference Frame
Entropy coding: CABAC
Audio sample rate: 44.1 KHz
Audio bitrate: 128 Kbps stereo
HTML5 streaming:  Many browsers support HTML5 and either the H.264 video codec or WebM format.
Mobile streaming: Live events will be automatically available on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Android 4.0+ mobile devices via

Preview, start and stop events

Click Live Control Room tab (Also accesible from Event Manager Tab).

  • Start your encoder.
  • From the Manage tab, click Preview to check the stream from the encoder. (Please allow 1 minute to initiate transcoding process.)
*You cannot return to preview state after you have started.
    • Click Start Streaming to start event after you are satisfied with testing.
      Option 1 Option 2
      Start immediately by unchecking the ‘Sync to preview’ player box and clicking Start Streaming. This option removes the preview player from the Manage tab. Start Streaming with the ‘Sync to preview’ player box checked.  From the Manage tab, start the Preview Player then click Start Streaming, Insert ads and Slates.
  • Monitor event from Live Control Room.
  • Mid-roll ads and YouTube Slates can be inserted from the Manage tab.
  • Use Broadcast Alerts as-needed before and during the event to notify viewers of delays.

When the event has ended, click Stop Streaming.

*You cannot restart your event once you have stopped it.

**The Live Control Room is not currently available on mobile or tablet.

Event metrics

There are two sources of metrics for your live events – the Live Control Room and YouTube Analytics.  The Live Control Room tracks real-time raw data.  YouTube Analytics provides processed, more advanced data.

Data is available in real-time during the live event and downloadable as CSV once the event ends.

Note that the graphs display only the most recent 24-hours.  You can download the complete data using the “Download Report” btn after your event has ended.

  • Stream status
    • Health of the stream currently being sent to YouTube from your encoder.  Specific error messages with instructions are displayed next to this indicator.
  • Average live view duration
    • Average amount of time the live event was played in each open video player. (Total view time/playbacks)
  • Total view time
    • The total time (in hours) the live event was played across all video players.
  • Concurrent viewers
    • The number of simultaneously playing video players. Peak concurrent is the highest number of concurrent viewers during an event.
  • Playbacks
    • The total number of times the event was loaded in any video player.
  • Chat Rate
    • The number of messages sent in live chat per minute.

Important:  Data in YouTube Analytics is based on Video ID; all data for a given Video ID will be displayed.  The data can be sorted by Live, On demand or Live & on demand.

Data is available 48-72 hours after the live event ends. Data is downloadable as CSV.   Information on YouTube Analytics is available here.  This data is processed and despammed and measures different information than the Live Control Room.

*On the archive of your live event, the views displayed below the video are for the live event + VOD version.

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