First, check out this video that breaks down the topic in 3 parts
Before we discuss fixes, here are the 3 types of frame issues and reasons for each:
- Lagged frames, which are caused by a compositor overload, and common with high GPU usage.
- Skipped frames, which occur when the encoder is overloaded, often with high CPU usage.
- Dropped frames, which happen when network issues exist and could be caused by servers or equipment.
And here is a breakdown in writing of how to improve stream quality, spot CPU/GPU issues, and fix dropped frames:
To fix lagged frames:
- Try lowering the quality of the game so Streamlabs OBS has some breathing room to compose the frames of the encoder. You can also limit the FPS or use V-sync.
- Lock your settings in your game to 120FPS and 120Hz, as this nicely divides for 60FPS and 30FPS streaming.
To fix skipped frames:
- Check for high CPU usage. If you’re using software x264 encoding, consider using a faster preset or start using hardware encoding (NVENC/AMD) and this will be less taxing on your CPU to encode the stream.
Potential solutions for dropped frames and stream disconnects:
First and foremost when it comes to dropped frames or stream disconnects, you must understand that this is almost always a network issue. Some, if not most, times it can not be fixed unless you call your ISP (internet service provider, IE: Xfinity, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to let them know that you are experiencing issues with your connection. However, there are a few fixes that you can try to do. We would recommend starting with the following to rule out that it doesn't have anything to do with your local network.
- Try manually connecting to the closest or second closest streaming server on the streaming platform you are using, do not use Auto in Settings > Stream.
- Restart your network gear, like your modem, router, or switches, and see if that helps
- Check that the video and audio bitrate are not exceeding your internet upload speed
- Disabling your computer's LAN adapters and re-enabling them.
- Note: Speed tests are a snapshot of your speeds. A speed test might say you have 5mbps upload, but this does not mean it is stable to upload at 5mbps. Also, these speed tests do not show that you could be experiencing other network related issues such as packet loss or demonstrate stability of your connection overall.
Here are a few additional things you could try to resolve your issues with dropped frames/stream disconnects if the above does not help:
Flushing your DNS:
- While on the desktop, press the Windows Key and type CMD
- Right-click Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator"
- Type ipconfig /release in the command prompt
- Wait a few seconds for a reply that the IP address has been released
- Type ipconfig /renew in the command prompt
- Wait a few seconds for a reply that the IP address has been re-established
- Type ipconfig /flushdns in the command prompt
- Close the command prompt and attempt to stream or check the Twitch Test Tool again
Another potential fix for your issue could be reinstalling your network drivers for your computer by going to your motherboard/laptop manufacturers website and downloading them from there.
It could also be a local issue with your network. Open the outbound port 1935 for TCP, we recommend checking out PortForward for assistance with that.
If reinstalling your network drivers and opening the port does not fix your dropped frame issue then you would have to call your ISP and ask them for assistance and let them know you're experiencing connection issues/packet loss.
For further troubleshooting, please see this post from OBSProject's Github.
If none of these fixes work, your dropped frames or stream disconnects are likely due to an ISP issue.