Live Streaming Gear

With More People Streaming Live From Home, Here’s How To Make Your Video Quality Better

Featured products are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn commissions on purchases made from our links; retailers may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. The advent of broadband internet and low-cost video equipment has led to a live streaming boom. It’s easier than ever to turn your living room, bedroom, basement or closet into a production-quality internet TV station. Twitch, the most popular live streaming platform, has more than 92,000 live broadcasts and more than 2.4 million online viewers as I write this (this number increases at night and on weekends). Streaming on Twitch, or its main competitors YouTube TV, Facebook Live, and Instagram is absolutely free. That doesn’t even take into account Zoom meetings, FaceTime, or Skype calls where you interact with colleagues and friends in front of the camera. If you’re building a streaming setup from scratch, or want to upgrade your current one, we’ve rounded up 10 tech accessories that will increase the value of your streaming production. We’ve covered the basics, from the right camera, to lighting and audio equipment you can use in the studio or on the go for long-distance shots. The only thing you need right now is something to say, and someone to share.

1. Reliable Webca

The most important component in a live streaming setup is the camera. Yes, your computer may already have one, but the camera is designed for video chat, not live streaming. The AUKEY Full HD webcam can record video at 1080P, has a stereo microphone with built-in noise cancellation for clear voice calls, and requires no software to run on a PC or Mac. The webcam’s auto focus will keep you sharp even when you’re moving. This webcam is built into a clip designed to give you the perfect angle during video calls, but you can also place it on a table and tilt it in any direction you want. This non-laptop mode is great if you’re making a presentation, and prefer standing over sitting. If you’re tired of looking rough and sounding compressed during a weekly meeting or important event, this is the first upgrade you should make to your setup.   Note: If you want a webcam that can handle 4K video, we recommend the Logitech Brio, which is available for $199 on Amazon.

2. Sturdy Tripod

If you want to shoot steady video but don’t want to be limited by the position of the webcam or camera, you’ll need a tripod. This one from AmazonBasics can be raised and lowered between 25 and 60 inches, and the rotatable ball head lets you find the right angle for your shot. This tripod has a maximum load weight of 6.6 pounds, and it weighs only 2.7 pounds. It comes with its own bag for easy transportation. If your handheld camera skills are a little shaky, or you want more flexibility when setting up video shoots, this is the tool to get you. Buy:  AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod…  for  $27.99

3. LED Light

Good lighting is essential if you want to get usable video while streaming live, and the Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit is our favorite solution. The Lume Cube itself is a fairly small LED panel that gives off a surprising amount of light. You can adjust the brightness and color temperature by using the small lever on the side of the panel, which is easy to reach and find with a touch. This kit includes a Lume Cube, a tripod, and a suction cup mount, which you can use to attach the light panel to the back of your laptop screen or monitor. The suction cups are very stable, and we had no trouble keeping them on the monitor for weeks on end. Getting better lighting for live streaming usually requires setting up multiple lights which take up a lot of space. The Lume Cube delivers similar performance from a lightweight panel that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. There are still cases where a full lighting setup is required (think multi-person streaming, or broadcasting remotely in a large room), but the Lume Cube is our go-to lighting system. Purchase:  Lume Cube Lighting Kit  for  $99.95 Prefer a ring light setting, as YouTubers and Instagrammers prefer? This set comes with a ring light, a reliable holder/stand, and a built-in phone holder for all your selfies, live streams, and TikTok videos. Ring Light Kit, $89.99, available on Amazon

4. Smartphone Tripod Stand

The most expensive part of setting up a live stream is the camera, but you can get around this using your smartphone. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram all allow you to start streaming with the press of a button, but no one wants to watch a shaky camera. Some tripods come with a smartphone mount, but if yours doesn’t, I recommend Woohoto. It can accommodate most phones, from iPhone to Android, and has a secure clip that locks your device in place for easy hands-free streaming. It has a “hot shoe” adapter on the top and an additional tripod mount on its front side, so you can attach other accessories easily. Buy:  Woohoto Smartphone Tripod Mount  for  $79.99

5. Green Screen

You may be streaming live from the same place every day, but green screens allow you to change the background to suit the mood of the stream. This one from Esmart is 120 inches wide and 134 inches long, so you’ll have no trouble fitting it behind your entire body — even while standing. The display is supported by a pair of tripods, a single rod, and clips (all included) to ensure its stability. Despite its size, Esmart says you should be able to set up this entire system in minutes. Once you’ve got your green screen installed, you can stream almost anywhere — like a beach resort or stadium — without setting foot outside your door.

6. Mikrofon Lavalier

If you plan on making your live stream sound professional, but don’t want bulky audio equipment, your best bet is a lavalier microphone. The Lavalier microphone is small, clips to your shirt, and has a thin cord that you can tuck into your clothes out of sight. I had good luck with Rode’s smartLAV+, which lived up to the company’s claim of “broadcast quality” results. The tiny omnidirectional microphone connects to a computer via its microphone-in port, or the smartphone’s headphone jack (you may need an adapter in some phones ). Once connected, your phone or computer will automatically detect the microphone, and people in your stream will hear clearer, crisper audio. Purchase:  Riding SmartLav+ Microphone  for  $60.00

7. 4K monitor

If you’re streaming live from your computer, you’ll want to keep an eye on how your stream looks at all times. It’s easier if you have a large, high-resolution monitor like this from BenQ. The 28-inch 4K display supports HDR (high dynamic range), so you can play to the colors of your stream. It also has a sleek design that will look great on your desk. This monitor is so large that you can use it as a teleprompter if you are live broadcasting a news event or need to read a lot of dialogue. It has two HDMI and DisplayPort ports, so you can connect any computer without an adapter, and use a spare port for a game console or media streamer. Buy:  BenQ 28-Inch 4K Monitor  for  $299.99

8. A Camera That Lets You Live On The Go

If you want the ability to live stream from anywhere, and don’t want to set up or carry a lot of expensive equipment, the GoPro Max is the only equipment you’ll need. The camera is only 2.7 x 2.5 inches, but is capable of recording videos with resolutions up to 6K. It has GoPro Max HyperSmooth video stabilization, which reduces jitters if you hold the camera, and 2X slow motion as a built-in feature. A screen on the front lets you monitor your recordings, and six microphones are scattered around the camera to pick up audio from all directions. However, the most important feature of the GoPro Max in this situation is that it can connect to your phone via WiFi and Bluetooth, and initiate live streaming directly from the camera itself. It only supports YouTube and Facebook Live, but the ability to start a 1080P stream from the all-powerful action camera at the push of a button makes starting a live stream incredibly simple.

9. Selfie Stick

The humble selfie stick has become a must-have travel accessory for most people, but it’s also a great tool for live streaming. Whether you’re giving people a tour of your home, or want to show off a new part of the world, the selfie stick allows you to keep yourself and the action in frame at the same time. Like a tripod, the selfie stick also allows you to get angles of the video that would not be possible otherwise. We recommend this selfie stick from Mpow because it can fit any phone, and extends between 6.5 and 29.5 inches. The Bluetooth controller built into the handle lets you start taking pictures or videos, so you don’t have to awkwardly start streaming with your phone in front of you. There’s also a pocket-friendly Bluetooth shutter button, which you can use to take pictures if you use this selfie stick in tripod mode. The selfie stick gets a bit of a bum rap, but using Mpow can give you far more control (and a better angle) when livestreaming events outside your home.

10. Headset Gaming

If you live stream video games, the headset will immerse you in what you’re playing, while making it easier to communicate with your viewers. Razer’s Kraken is our go-to recommendation because it works with all major gaming platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. It will connect to your console (or the headphone jack on its controller) using a standard 3.5mm audio cable. Once connected, the headphones will work automatically, there is no app to install. The headset offers a number of immersive features, including simulated 7.1 surround sound, which you can use to hear enemies coming from all directions, and a retractable microphone that’s there when you need it but disappears when you don’t need it. The microphone is designed with noise isolation, so viewers will hear your voice without much ambient noise from your room. The headset itself is a pair of over-ear headphones with large 50mm drivers, and gel pads in the ear cups and headband. This design promotes convenience, which is important for multi-hour streaming, such as long screenings or charity events.