Why Your Stream is Pixelated and How to Fix It?

Most live streamers have one thing in common—the innate desire to deliver their audience top-tier content. Some days, everything is smooth sailing when streaming. Other times, pixelation swoops in with hopes of ruining your live stream. This type of disturbance during a live stream can frustrate the creator and their audience. This blog post will explore why your live stream may be pixelated and ways to correct it. 

Reasons Your Stream May Be Pixelated

Inadequate lighting and camera settings: Sometimes, the reason behind your pixelated stream is right in front of you—your camera and lighting. Poor lighting or camera settings can cause glare, shadow, and improper light can significantly decrease the quality of your stream, making it appear blurry or pixelated. 

Bandwidth and Unstable Internet Connection: A stable internet connection is necessary for a hiccup-free live stream. If your internet speed is slow or unstable, your stream can become pixelated. Try these best practices when streaming:

  • Avoid connecting too many devices to your wifi while streaming
  • Make sure your router is updated

Encoder settings: The encoder compresses video and audio data before sending it to the streaming platform. Incorrect settings can cause your stream to be pixelated. 

Insufficient computer processing power: Streaming requires significant processing power (how quickly the CPU can retrieve and interpret instructions). Your stream may appear pixelated if your computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.

How to Fix a Pixelated Live Stream

Before you panic about your pixelated stream, understand there are several things you can do to fix it. Below are some ways to fix the most common sources of a pixelated live stream. 

Optimize your lighting and camera settings: Make sure the lighting is consistent and not too harsh, and adjust your camera settings to ensure the best possible image quality.

Conduct a speed test to check your bandwidth: If you have an unstable or slow internet connection, you may need to contact your service provider or consider upgrading your plan. It is also worth using a reliable, wired internet connection.

Adjust your encoder settings and bitrates: Try lowering the bitrate to reduce pixelation. Though this may reduce overall quality, it doesn’t require your internet connection to send as much data over servers. To better understand, check out the bitrate settings for live streaming on the Streamlabs blog. 

Upgrade your computer hardware: If you’re streaming from a computer, make sure it meets the minimum requirements for streaming (as outlined by the respective streaming service or software).

Use streaming software with built-in optimization tools: If you’re using a streaming software such as Streamlabs Desktop, you can use auto-optimization to customize your streaming settings based on your internet connection speed and hardware. Updating software regularly is also recommended to stay current and avoid potential compatibility issues.

Pixelated streams can be frustrating. However, if you know the primary sources of a funky stream (and how to fix them, as explained in this blog post), you can eliminate the problem in a flash. If you’re a Streamlabs Desktop user looking for more information on improving the quality of your live streams, be sure to check out this guide for optimizing your settings with Streamlabs Desktop.

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