How to live stream to a YouTube Live event

YouTube logoYouTube Live Events
allows live streaming of video to your audience via YouTube, similar to other commercial Content Distribution Networks (CDNs). The data sent to YouTube Live starts as an encoded video stream and is transcoded by YouTube into the format(s) and resolutions it needs. Pearl and Pearl-2 work with YouTube Live Events by providing the encoded video stream. Using a feature called RTMP (real-time messaging protocol), your live broadcast, lecture or event is pushed from your Pearl system to YouTube.

Note, for the steps outlined in this procedure you’ll need firmware version 3.15.1 or greater.
Diagram showing different video sources like cameras and presentations using Epiphan Pearl and YouTube for live video streaming


  • A YouTube account in good standing (YouTube Live Events are only available to accounts in good standing)
  • Epiphan Pearl or Pearl-2
  • Pearl must be configured for a wired or tethered internet connection (on a network with access to YouTube)
  • Configure a channel on Pearl with the content you want to live stream
    • The channel must use the H.264 video codec
    • The channel must have audio
    • The audio codec must be either AAC (preferred) or MP3 (44 kHz)
    • Key frame rate should be 2 seconds or lower (as per YouTube’s recommendations)

Step 1: Confirm your content

Before getting started with the YouTube Live Event, make sure your content is configured correctly with the Epiphan device. The best way to do this is to preview the stream.

  1. Connect to the admin interface of your Pearl using your preferred connection mechanism. See the user manual for options.
  2. Login as admin.
  3. Click Info from the Configuration menu; the device information page opens.

  4. Make any needed adjustments. Refer to the user manual for help.

Step 2: Prepare the YouTube Live Event

Open a new browser window, or a new tab in your current browser window for these next steps. This way you can switch easily between Pearl’s admin interface and the YouTube Live events page / control panel.

  1. Log into your YouTube account.
  2. Select My Channel.
  3. Select Video Manager; the YouTube Video Manager opens.
  4. Select Live Streaming from the video manager; the Live Events page opens. The Events page is just below the Stream now page.
  5. Click New live event.

  6. The Live Event Info and Settings configuration page opens. Add the event information including title, start time, and description, tags, etc. If needed, read the terms and conditions and click the check box if you agree to them.

    YouTube livestream setup

  7. If desired, select the Public drop down and pick Private (this is a good idea when testing).
  8. Select Custom under Type.

    YouTube livestream setup

  9. Optionally, select Advanced Settings and enter more information about your live event such as video category, types of promotion, whether or not comments are permitted and if the recording should be made private after the event completes.

    YouTube livestream setup

  10. Click Create event; YouTube saves the changes.

    YouTube livestream setup

  11. The Ingestion Settings page opens.
  12. If desired, upload a thumbnail for your event.
  13. Select a Basic ingestion bitrate. YouTube provides suggestions based on the frame size of your content. If you know your network bandwidth is limited, select a smaller bitrate, otherwise, pick the value that most closely matches the frame size of your content.(Note all questions relating to your encoder relate to your Epiphan broadcasting or recording device.)

    YouTube livestream setup

  14. After selecting a bitrate, the page expands providing more details.
  15. Leave the encoder as Other encoders.
  16. The fields below the encoder selection provide the RTMP details needed to configure your Epiphan device. Make note of the top two lines [Stream Name and Primary Server URL].

Encoder settings provided by YouTube. Copy the stream name and primary URL into the Epiphan admin interface.

Step 3: Configure Pearl for RTMP streaming

The next step is to transfer the RTMP configuration data to Pearl and ensure the stream is set up correctly. Reminder: You must be running firmware 3.15.1 or higher on your Pearl. Use the Firmware Upgrade menu in the admin interface to install the latest firmware if you do not have it.

  1. Return to Pearl’s admin interface.
  2. Click the channel you wish to stream, and then select Encoding.

    Encoding setup on Pearl

  3. Verify the following items for your stream (all other options can be set any way you wish):
    1. The codec is set to H.264
    2. The key frame interval is 1/2 second, 1 second, or 2 seconds
    3. The frame rate is between 5 and 30 (the live stream will fail if this value is too low)
    4. The bitrate matches the value selected in the YouTube live event Ingestion Settings page
    5. The stream has audio enabled (the live stream will fail otherwise)
    6. The audio codec is MP3 at 44kHz or AAC
  4. If any changes are made to the stream setup, click Apply.
  5. Click Streaming for the channel you want to stream; the stream publishing setup page opens.

  6. Create a New Stream, and select using RTMP push from the drop down list; the stream options panel opens.
  7. Return to the YouTube browser window.
  8. Highlight and copy the Primary Server URL.
  9. In the Pearl Admin interface, paste this value into the URL field.
  10. From the YouTube window, highlight and copy the Stream Name field.
  11. In the Pearl Admin interface, paste this value into the Stream name field.
  12. Leave the username and password fields blank.
  13. Click Apply.
  14. Use the Start and Stop buttons (or the Stop All and Start All buttons) to begin and end the stream when you like.
  15. Alternatively, you can use touchscreen controls to start the stream.  Touch the grey circle in the top left-hand corner of the touchscreen.  It will turn blue and start timing the stream.  Press the blue circle again to stop the stream.

touchscreen_streaming-button touchscreen_streaming

Step 4: Preview the live stream on YouTube

  1. From your YouTube Live Event page, click the Live Control Room link; the live control room page opens.
  2. For a minute or two, YouTube will indicate that it isn’t yet receiving data from Pearl.

    YouTube livestream setup

  3. After one to five minutes (depending on network bandwidth), the page refreshes to indicate the signal is being received.

    YouTube livestream setup

  4. If the page does not refresh after a few minutes, return to Pearl’s admin interface and verify all the settings again. In particular, make sure an audio signal is enabled for your stream. YouTube will not process the video content unless an audio stream is present. The audio stream doesn’t need to have any sound, but it must be present.
  5. Click Preview to prepare your stream for preview on the Live Control Room page; YouTube processes the stream for a moment.
  6. Press play in the preview player to begin to play the event preview.

    YouTube livestream setup

  7. Verify the STREAM STATUS section for any problems or warnings. In the example above,Pearl is set to stream a bitrate of 700 kbits/sec, but when selecting the Ingestion Settings, a higher bitrate was selected. The system warns us of this discrepancy. It’s not possible to change the Ingestion Settings, so return to the Epiphan admin interface and make any recommended changes (such as increasing the bitrate).
  8. When you are ready to begin sharing your live presentation, click Start Streaming; the event will be live.

    YouTube livestream setup

  9. You’re streaming live!
  10. When your live event is complete, click Stop Streaming; the event will be closed.
  11. If desired, return to the Streaming page in your Pearl admin interface to disable publishing.