A New Era for Live Streaming: Introducing AV1

We explore YouTube's game-changing update introducing AV1 and HEVC encoders for live streams, Kick's bold move of paying streamers an hourly wage, and the unveiling of Obskur, a new streaming app for Vtubers.


August 16, 2023

Welcome to Stream Report, a newsletter from Gaming Careers covering important news and updates in streaming and content creation.

YouTube's Game-Changing Update: AV1 and HEVC Livestreams Now Available!

YouTube has announced that livestreams using the AV1 and HEVC encoders are now available to everyone. These encoders offer substantial improvements over the widely used H.264 codec.

This will allow streamers to:

  • Stream with higher quality using the same bitrate as before.
  • Stream with the same quality using ~40% less bitrate than before.
  • Stream at higher resolutions and framerates.

All major GPU brands now have cards in their line-up capable of AV1 encoding. NVIDIA with GeForce RTX 40 (Ada), AMD with Radeon RX 7000 (RDNA3), or Intel with Arc Alchemist (Xe-HPG).

Switching to AV1 is a win-win for all streamers. It’s like receiving a quality upgrade without any extra cost, offering more visual clarity for the same bitrate. This also means that streamers grappling with slower upload speeds can still deliver high-quality streams without the need to change internet providers.

And for those fortunate enough to have robust upload speeds, the possibilities are even more exciting. With AV1, it’s possible to push the quality and resolution of live streams to new levels, with 1440p60 and even 4K60 streams now achievable. It’s an excellent opportunity to elevate the streaming experience.

Based on early tests, a good starting point for high-motion games would be around 4 Mbps for 1080p60, 8 Mbps for 1440p60, and between 12-15 Mbps for 4K60.

As of now, Twitch does not support the AV1 codec, which gives YouTube a slight competitive edge in the live streaming arena.

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Kick's Bold Move: Paying Streamers an Hourly Wage

Kick is making a splash in the content creator community with its new Creator Incentive Program. Announced on August 14th, the platform unveiled its first class of streamers who will be participating in this exciting new initiative.

Kick has positioned itself as a creator-friendly platform, offering streamers 95% of their subscription revenue and 100% of tips from viewers. This is a significant increase compared to other platforms like Twitch and YouTube. The new Creator Incentive Program builds on this, aiming to provide streamers with an hourly wage, granting them financial independence that other platforms may not offer. The program is currently in the testing phase with a select group of streamers.

The payment formula for the program is based on:

  • Number of hours streamed
  • Kick’s advertising CPMs (flat-rate)
  • Average viewers
  • Viewer engagement and demographics

Despite being relatively new to the streaming scene, Kick has been steadily gaining traction. The platform’s more lenient policies compared to competitors like Twitch have been a significant draw for many streamers, and the new Creator Program is expected to attract even more creators.

The Creator Program has got the internet talking. Some people are excited, thinking it’s a great deal for streamers. Others aren’t so sure, thinking it might be “too good to be true.” But despite the divide, one thing is clear: there’s a palpable sense of eagerness to see how this program matures after this initial beta testing phase.

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Obskur: A New Streaming App for Vtubers

Movella, a provider of professional motion capture solutions, has unveiled Obskur, a streaming application that allows virtual streamers or Vtubers to use high-end body tracking technology. The Obskur streaming application is built on Unreal Engine 5 and a separate “Mocap Box” priced at $1,995 contains the actual tracking hardware.

Vtubing, streaming with a virtual 2D or 3D avatar, is growing in popularity but remains a niche due to the high costs associated with creating and controlling a virtual avatar.

The Obskur streaming app offers a selection of virtual environments, props, and effects for streamers to use. It also integrates with existing iPhone or virtual motion capture solutions for facial tracking and allows users to create custom 3D interactions to engage with their audience.

While Movella’s Obskur platform has been largely well-received, some in the streaming community have raised concerns about its naming. The use of the letters “OBS” in “Obskur” has caused some stir, given that OBS is the acronym for Open Broadcasting Software, the most widely used streaming application today.

This situation bears some resemblance to the recent controversy involving Streamlabs. The company had initially named its streaming application “Streamlabs OBS”, seemingly piggybacking on the popularity of OBS. Following backlash from the community and a public call-out from OBS, Streamlabs renamed its app to “Streamlabs Desktop”.

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⚡ News Highlights

Newsletter edition:


Written by:

The founder of Gaming Careers with a borderline unhealthy obsession for cameras, microphones, and all things streaming. He gets mistaken for Stephen Merchant at least 5 times a day.


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More Editions:

YouTube’s AI Future, Twitch’s Chat Tool, & xQc’s Copyright Clash

We explore YouTube's new AI-powered tools for creators, delve into a copyright dispute involving streamer xQc, and spotlight Twitch's beta feature 'Chat & Events'.

Get Paid to Stream? Unpacking Kick’s Creator Incentive Program

Kick has just released the requirements for its Creator Incentive Program, which was initially announced in August. This program offers a unique compensation model that includes an hourly wage for streamers, a stark contrast to other platforms like Twitch's Partner Program.

Stream Smarter, Not Harder: Twitch’s New Viewer Analytics Tool

Twitch has introduced a valuable new tool to its Dashboard that helps streamers identify the best times to broadcast their content.