Chances are, if you're a fan of video games you've watched a streamer play on Twitch. Twitch is a live-streaming platform where people come together to stream a huge variety of content live for audiences of all ages. You can watch and interact with your favorite streamers, watch live E-Sports competitions and concerts, and stream your own content for free. Although most of the content streamed on Twitch is video game related, there are many streamers who are here to just chat or create art of all types of mediums. For the watcher, using the app is simple, and for the streamer, setup is a bit more involved but still very user-friendly. Major broadcasts are streamed from Twitch as well as content from the everyday streamer.
A live-streaming platform for audiences of all ages
The best platform to watch, play, stream, and interact.
If you watch YouTube, you've most likely heard of Twitch as well. Twitch is home to millions of people streaming more content than Twitch has categories for. If you're a gamer, Twitch is a must-have. Usually, as soon as a new game is released, thousands of streamers all over the world are playing it live. If you're not able to grab the game as soon as it's available, this is an awesome way to see some gameplay to hold you over until you can play yourself.
Signing up for an account on an Android device is super easy. Just enter basic information like your email, username, password, and birthday. Then enter the verification code sent to your email, and you're all set to go! In order to customize your experience, Twitch asks you to pick a few of the games and categories you'd most like to watch. From there, you can navigate to the Discover page. At the bottom of the screen, the icon for the discover page is shown with the icon for the page to view which streamers that you're following, and the browsing page. The discover page starts by showing you some channels that you might like based on your earlier selections, and later, it changes based on what you've watched. Scrolling down, you'll then see popular categories, clips, and full videos.
To look for a specific streamer or category, tap the 'browse' icon. On the top left, you're automatically shown categories, but if you tap the menu you can change this to search by live channels. Each of these categories contains streamers playing a specific game, or if the category is 'art' or 'just chatting', you'll see streamers doing artistic activities like drawing, body painting, singing, playing instruments, or just hanging out and talking to the audience. Tap on the stream that you want to watch, and the stream will appear at the top of the screen with the chatbox located below. Here, you can interact with the streamer. Send messages, add icons, and bits. Bits are items that you can purchase and when sent to a streamer, act as currency. Twitch gives the streamer a portion of what you spent on the bit. You can also donate to the streamer to further support them.
On a streamer's profile, you can see their profile picture, number of followers, number of views that they've accumulated, and a short biography. Scroll down the page and you'll see live broadcasts, past broadcasts, and highlights of streams that they've put together. Underneath the biography is the subscribe button. Once you've subscribed to a streamer, you're able to get alerts when they go live and also have access to the chatbox in follower-only broadcasts.
Where can you run this program?
Twitch is available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android mobile devices and tables, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Twitch was previously available for smart televisions using a Roku device, but has since been removed.
Is there a better alternative?
The top competitor to Twitch is YouTube. Previously only for viewing video, YouTube added a gaming component that works similarly to Twitch. There are lots of creators on YouTube who upload videos playing games, so when YouTube added the option to stream live, they also included ways to subscribe to the YouTuber and donate in stream. You can also purchase a membership to the streamer, which gives you access to members-only streams, like Twitch. If you're just looking to watch streams, Twitch's layout is a lot more simple and easier to navigate. You'll also only see content that is related to the categories that you follow, whereas YouTube's app sometimes recommends random categories or streamers. As for the apps, YouTube's app runs nearly no issues during navigation or playback. Twitch's app tends to have longer loading times for playback and the chatbox also runs slowly.
Twitch is a lot of fun, and there's a category for everyone. The content is there, but the usability of the app does need some improving upon.
Should you download it?
Honestly, we would recommend downloading Twitch on a console or viewing it on a computer. The Android app is a bit clunky, the loading times are slow, and the playback gets extremely pixelated, no matter the internet speed. It's also unfortunate that you can't actually stream on most Android tablets like you can on mobile devices. There is an option to cast from a device, but the connection speed is not worth the hassle. Another frustrating element is that on mobile devices and tablets, in order to watch a stream in landscape view, you have to find and tap the icon to allow that. This is a feature that iOS devices don't have - just turning the device sideways triggers the landscape view. The ads for Twitch are really over the top - the app does not remember your history of viewing a streamer when it comes to ads. Switching streams and coming back means that you'll have to watch the ads all over again. Sometimes, this is enough to want to close the app altogether.