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How to Live Stream on YouTube for Free [PC, XBox One, PS4, Switch & Mobile]

Last Updated on Dec. 23, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Whether you’re a gamer, influencer, entertainer, or marketer, YouTube is among the most valuable platforms for streaming content and interacting with your audience. 

Initially, starting live streams on your YouTube channel might seem like a daunting task. However, you can create professional content in real-time with the right resources without spending a dime.

This guide takes an in-depth look at how to YouTube live stream for free using your PC, gaming console, or mobile device. We also discuss everything you need for your streaming setup and answer frequently asked YouTube streaming and content-editing questions.

If you’re in need of streaming software make sure to check out the 5 Best Streaming Software for Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook.

What You Need to Start Live Streaming on YouTube

The equipment you need for YouTube streaming depends on the type of content you want to create. For example, if you want to stream a talking head commenting on a live chat, all you need is a computer with streaming software and your built-in webcam.

However, suppose you are a gamer looking to add multiple audiovisual elements. In that case, you might require a more extensive setup consisting of a gaming console, PC, multiple cameras, and a mic.

Video Sources

A camera is the foundation of any live streaming setup. While your computer’s webcam might be suitable for informal and short streams, investing in a quality camera with a high video resolution will help make your content look better.

The number of cameras you need depends on the nature of your streams. Most YouTube live streamers only use one camera. On the other hand, a comprehensive simulation rig might need cameras pointing at your face, pedals, and steering wheel.

Audio Sources

Quality audio is critical when live streaming to YouTube, giving your content a professional edge. External webcams typically feature a built-in microphone, which is often sufficient. However, if you want to upgrade your setup, consider an external microphone connected to your computer via USB.

Many live streamers use their ear pods’ built-in mic. However, the quality of these microphones is generally lacking.


While it’s possible to plug in your camcorder and mic, log in to your YouTube account, select Go Live, and start streaming directly, we recommend using software for optimal streaming functionality. For example, if you want to bring on a guest, connect a gaming console, or share your screen, a responsive software will give you all the tools to perform those tasks.

In the section below on how to YouTube stream using a PC, we provide a step-by-step guide on streaming live video using PowerDirector video editor and Screen Recorder 4. You can download it for free below and follow along. 

Gaming Console

If you want to live stream gaming content to YouTube, you can incorporate a gaming console, such as Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch, into your setup. Some consoles, such as PS4, can stream directly to YouTube.

However, if you are using an Xbox One or another console without a direct streaming capability, you need to use a capture system with a PC and streaming software. Below, we provide a step-by-step guide on streaming Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch to YouTube.


An encoder converts real-time video into a suitable format for live streaming over the internet. You can use a hardware encoder, an external device, or a software encoder that you install on your PC.

If you are a beginner, consider using a free software encoder that you can easily update whenever a new version is available. When using a software encoder, you also need a capture card to stream raw on-screen video content.

In 2018, YouTube incorporated a significant technical change, allowing content creators to stream live from their notebook or desktop computers without using an encoder.


Proper lighting is essential to give your YouTube streams a professional edge. Various lighting options are available with a specific design and color temperature to illuminate your subject for the camera, whether you are filming a talking head, art videos, or any other type of content. However, these lights can be expensive, and if you don’t have a generous budget, experiment with regular lighting to ensure proper illumination.

A software, such as PowerDirector, will give you the ability to edit your stream recordings to enhance your video, offsetting the effects of insufficient lighting.

If you’re a beginner content creator and want to live stream to YouTube without spending any money, you can create professional streams using only your computer and Screen Recorder 4.  

How to Live Stream on YouTube Using PC

You need responsive and professional screen recording software to live stream to YouTube using your PC. Screen Recorder 4 is a versatile video recording, streaming, and editing video, and you can even incorporate feed from your gaming console into your stream using this software. The product is a component of PowerDirector, a robust software you can use to edit and enhance your stream recording or any other video.

To stream to YouTube using your PC, download PowerDirector for free, and launch it on your PC.

Step 1: Manage Your Preferences

After launching PowerDirector open Screen Recorder under the Plugin menu. Then click on the gear icon on the top right of your screen, opening the Preferences window. By navigating the categories to the left of this window, you can customize the app’s functionalities to personalize your stream.

Plugin - Screen Recorder Stream - Preferences

Under General, you can choose what happens to the app after launch and during streaming. Other settings include automatic updates and language. Under the File tab, you can select the export folder for your screen recordings and add a captured video prefix, plus the file name for your screenshots.

Under the Video tab, you can select whether you want to record your primary, secondary, or third monitor. You can also use these settings to lock your screen recording to a specific window.

In the Audio section, you can select the microphone you want to use for your stream. You can also turn on your system audio and balance it with your mic volume. Under Webcam, select the camera you want to use from the drop-down menu, and select the size of the webcam’s picture-in-picture window.

After configuring your preferences, click on OK.

Step 2: Configure Recording Settings

Under the Record tab, you can choose from multiple recording options, including Full Screen, Game, Lock to App, Custom, or Device. Under each option, you can select your video resolution and frame rate and whether or not you want to record mouse clicks, your webcam, and your microphone.

Under the Game tab, you can select an application to record on your computer. If you want to record a device, you can select the input device from the drop-down menu under the Device tab.

Screen Recorder - Record Tab

Step 3: Stream Video to YouTube

After configuring your recording settings, you can start streaming on YouTube. Click on the Stream tab next to the Record tab, and then select YouTube from the streaming platform icons. Follow the on-screen instructions to log in to your YouTube account and give access to the platform.

Next, click the gear icon to open Settings, and then enter a title for your stream and select your privacy settings. Go back to the Stream tab to select the video resolution and frame rate. If you want to share your stream to social media, you can also copy the live URL from the Stream tab.

Screen Recorder - Youtube Settings

You are now ready to stream your PC to YouTube. Check Save streamed video to disc, and click Go Live. A countdown timer will appear, and then whatever is on your computer screen will appear live on YouTube. After streaming, click Stop in Screen Recorder 4.

How to Live Stream on YouTube With Xbox One

Xbox One doesn’t allow for direct streaming to YouTube. However, you can stream Xbox One to YouTube using your computer, Xbox Console Companion, and Screen Recorder 4.

To stream to YouTube using your Xbox One, download Screen Recorder 4 for free below and follow along. 

Step 1: Start by installing Xbox Console Companion to your computer from the Microsoft Store, launch the app, and sign in to your Microsoft account. Click on the hamburger icon on the top left of your screen, select Connection, and click on Add a Device.

Step 2: Next to My Xbox Device, click on Connect. If your console doesn’t appear, make sure it is on. You might also need to enter your console’s IP address. Click on Stream above the Now Playing panel, and your Xbox feed should appear on your computer screen.

Screen Recorder - Go Live

Step 3: Click the full-screen icon at the top right of the application screen. This icon looks like two arrows pointing at each other.

Step 4: Open Screen Recorder and configure your preferences using the instructions above. In the Record tab, select Game, and then choose Xbox Console Companion from the Application drop-down menu. Now you can select the Stream tab, choose YouTube as your streaming platform, and start your live broadcast.

How to Live Stream on YouTube With PS4

Your PS4 lets you stream directly to YouTube, which is handy if you don’t want to add additional video elements. 

Step 1: Start by turning on your PS4, and select Settings from your console’s main menu. Under Account Management, select Link with Other Services, and select YouTube. Follow the on-screen sign-in instructions to connect your YouTube account to your console.

Step 2: Open the game you want to stream. Then, tap the Share button on your controller once, opening the Share menu on your screen. Select Broadcast Gameplay from the Share menu, and select YouTube again.

Step 3: Next, you can configure your video options, add a title to your stream, and select your video resolutions. If you have a PlayStation Camera, you can stream a video of your face as well.

Step 4: To start the stream, select Start Broadcasting. After finishing your stream, press the Share button on your controller, and select Stop Broadcasting.  

How to Live Stream on YouTube With Switch

Like Xbox, Nintendo Switch doesn’t offer a built-in live streaming capability. However, using a capture card and software encoder, you can broadcast your gameplay to YouTube.

To stream to YouTube using your Switch, download Screen Recorder 4 for free below and follow along. 

Step 1: Start by docking your Switch, and connect your dock output to your capture card via an HDMI cable. 

Step 2: Next, connect the capture card’s output to your monitor using an HDMI cable, and connect your capture card to your PC via USB.

Step 3: Launch Screen Recorder 4 on your PC, click on Video in the Preferences menu, and check the Enable hardware encoding box. Select the capture card from the drop-down menu in the Device section under the Record tab.

Screen Recorder - Record Tab

Step 4: Head to the Stream tab, and then select YouTube as your streaming platform. Connect to your YouTube account before starting your broadcast.

How to Stream on YouTube from Your Phone/Tablet

You can stream directly to YouTube from mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. However, before you can live stream on mobile, you need at least 1,000 subscribers to your channel, and you need to have a verified YouTube account.

To start your live stream, open the YouTube mobile app on your device, tap the + button at the top of your screen, and click Go Live. If you are streaming for the first time, you need to allow YouTube access to your device’s camera, microphone, and storage.

In the Go Live section, you need to choose whether to capture the live stream using your front-facing or selfie camera. If you are using an Android device, you have the option to broadcast your phone screen as a PiP image. In this section, you also need to enter the details of your live stream, including the video name, age restrictions, location, and privacy settings.

Tap Next to start the countdown timer. When the timer reaches zero, the app will take a picture of you as a thumbnail. If you are happy with the thumbnail, tap Go Live to start the stream. You can also upload a thumbnail from your local storage and share the live stream’s link to your social media. 

After finishing your live stream, tap the X button at the top of your screen. Your stream will upload as a video to your channel within 24 hours.

Start YouTube Live Streaming [Free Download]

YouTube is among the most popular platforms for broadcasting live video and interacting with your audience. The live streaming feature lets you showcase your unique talents, market your business, or entertain your followers. As a novice content creator, you can create professional live streams without needing to dish out a bunch of money, provided that you have a computer and the right software.

Using the Screen Recorder 4 plug-in of PowerDirector, you can capture video and audio feed from your screen, an app, or external advice, such as a capture card. This software lets you stream directly to YouTube, and setting up your streaming feed and signing in to your YouTube account only takes a few minutes.

You can also save your stream to your computer and use PowerDirector to cut highlight reels of your streams before you upload them to YouTube or other platforms. Download PowerDirector with the Screen Recorder 4 plug-in for free today.

Streaming on YouTube FAQs

How do I save YouTube streams? 

You can save your broadcast in the Stream tab when using the Screen Recorder 4 plugin of PowerDirector by checking the Save streamed video to disk box before going live. 

Screen Recorder 4 will automatically download the video to the folder you selected in the preferences window. 

How do I enable live streaming on YouTube?

If you are streaming from your PC follow these steps:

Step 1: Open YouTube using your Chrome browser. 

Step 2: Then, click on the Create button on the top right of your screen, which looks like a video camera with a plus sign. 

Step 3: Then, select Go Live.

To stream from your mobile device:

Step 1: Open the YouTube app on your phone.

Step 2: Tap the + icon at the bottom of your screen.

Step 3: Tap Go Live

How do I record and edit gameplay?

The process for recording gameplay is similar to the process for live streaming. However, you don’t need to connect to a streaming platform with gameplay recording. 

Record gameplay with Screen Recorder 4:

Step 1: Connect video capture device

Step 2: Adjust device capture settings

Step 3: Adjust webcam settings

Step 4: Adjust microphone settings

Step 5: Add any video overlays

Step 6: Record

Edit gameplay with PowerDirector:

Step 1: Import footage into PowerDirector

Step 2: Add footage to the timeline

Step 3: Edit footage

Step 4: Add titles and transitions

Step 5: Export

What is the best video editor for cutting gameplay videos?

PowerDirector is among the best video editors for cutting and editing your gameplay videos. The software has an intuitive interface with comprehensive video-editing capabilities.

The gameplay-editing toolkit you get with PowerDirector includes:

  • Advanced motion tracking.
  • Speedy no-freeze rendering.
  • Direct sharing to YouTube and other platforms, such as Twitch.

With PowerDirector, you also get access to voiceover options, creative special effects, and extensive royalty-free music, images, and motion graphic title libraries.  

What features should I look for in streaming software?

When shopping for streaming software, look for the following features:

  • An intuitive interface
  • Direct streaming to YouTube and other streaming platforms
  • Feed importing from cameras, microphones, applications, and external devices
  • An automatic saving feature
  • Video resolution and frame rate options
  • Live URL sharing to social media

Should I pay for live streaming software?

Paying a premium for high-end streaming software is likely a worthy investment depending on your streaming needs. With tools such as PowerDirector and Screen Recorder 4, you can get all the streaming, screen recording, cutting, and editing tools you need to create engaging content.

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