As greater numbers of streaming services arrive, streamers have become more discerning of the tech that they use for their broadcasts. Gone are the days of a simple, clean gameplay presentation – replaced with green screens, overlays, and all sorts of flashy effects.
To better assist with the high-end streaming setup, Elgato has introduced the Stream Deck, a sleek piece of tech that could be an essential piece to a streamer’s arsenal.
The best way to describe the Elgato Stream Deck is that it is a studio switcher for the home consumer. It offers 3 rows of 5 customizable buttons (with individual digital displays) that streamers can use to control any number of functions. And all of those buttons can be customized as folders, which opens up even more streaming control.
The buttons on the Elgato Stream Deck are as responsive one would expect. But what’s really cool about the Stream Deck’s buttons, though, is that they can be customized with any display image that the streamer wants. Those that want a very matter-of-fact look to their Stream Deck can go for it, or those who want flashy images for stream transition buttons can do so.
The button customization process is extremely intuitive as well, and lets the user import any image they want. Elgato also includes a helpful tutorial tool in case the user needs any additional assistance.
Setup on the Elgato Stream Deck is fairly simple. Plug in the device to any open USB port and download Elgato’s software. Although Elgato does have its own brand of separate streaming software, the Stream Deck can work with any of the popular options, including OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) or Xsplit.
Once the software is installed, the options are seemingly endless. Buttons on the Stream Deck can be programmed to do everything from toggle mic inputs to switch scenes. As we mentioned, the Stream Deck buttons can even be customized to house folders, which will open up to a new set of 15 button options. The Stream Deck can even control options outside of the stream, like sending a Tweet when live, with a press of a button. It may sound cliché to say, but the possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to customization.
Admittedly, the Elgato Stream Deck is not going to be for everyone. Streamers that are just starting out can easily accomplish the basic scene switches and toggles with keyboard macros and likely don’t need a $150 accessory. But that’s the beauty of streaming today – the industry has grown to support those that use it as a hobby and those that use it as a profession.
It’s those people that are more serious about streaming that will want to take a look at the Stream Deck, as it offers a robust tool for fine tuning a stream. Basically, if you have a very active stream with a lot of things going on (start screen, pop-ups on funny moments, audio cues, etc.), then the Stream Deck is worth the investment. The device also offers the freedom to expand or upgrade an existing stream since it is now so much easier to handle a variety of tasks. I’ll admit, before getting my hands on the Stream Deck I didn’t think it would be that useful, but now I can’t imagine running a stream without it.
The Elgato Stream Deck is available now. For more info visit Elgato’s Official Site.