YouTube is still the king of online video sites, as well as being a popular social networking destination, but when it comes to live streaming content (particularly of video games), Twitch is the big name in town. Yes, YouTube has its own streaming service (YouTube Live) but Twitch is still the market leader by a large margin. Twitch came into being back in July of 2011 as a gaming-focused spin-off of Justin.tv, which was live streaming service at the time. Justin.tv itself is long-gon e but the company lives on at Twitch, which quickly became the primary focus; Amazon purchased Twitch not long thereafter and the service has continued to grow astronomically since that time; on average, more than 1.3 million people are watching a Twitch stream at any particular moment in time.
With all the content available on Twitch, it isn’t surprising that users want to take some of their content offline, either to have it to watch later (perhaps at a time when they don’t have wifi) or to work with it in a video editing program. Unfortunately, unlike YouTube, which keeps all content archived by default, Twitch has you archive your content in order to save your videos to your account. You can archive your videos for a fixed period of time after broadcast depending on your membership level. If you’re a free user, you can archive your Twitch videos for 14 days. If you’re a Twitch Prime user you can archive your videos for up to 60 days. You can also download your videos to keep forever. Let’s take a quick look at archiving broadcasts on Twitch
The Difference Between Clips and Videos
Unlike YouTube, there are some pretty significant differences between a video and a clip. While full-length on-demand videos do exist, not all Twitch streams are saved automatically. Streamers have to enable the ability for their streams to be archived; it’s not automatically enabled by default. Once you or your favorite streamer has enabled the ability to save their streams to their own channel, there are still limits on how that content is saved. While YouTube might hold onto the content for an infinite amount of time following a live stream or a video upload, Twitch puts some limits on how clips are saved to the website. Once you or another user has enabled auto-archiving on their videos, their videos will appear saved on their page for 14-days for regular streamers. If you have Amazon Prime, you can upgrade to Twitch Prime to gain access to 60-day archives; alternatively, if you’ve been made a Twitch Partner, your streams will also archive for sixty days.
Highlights are different than videos. If a highlight is saved to your account, it lasts forever, as opposed to just for the 14 or 60 days on standard accounts. That said, highlights are much longer than a clip, often taking up full videos at a time. Meanwhile, clips are only up to sixty seconds long, typically ranging from 30 to 60 seconds depending on how the content was edited. While highlights are made by the creator or specifically-chosen editors, but clips can be made by anyone looking to save content to their own page. Clips from other streamers that you create save directly to your own account inside your clips manager, which allows you to save content right to your own page.
Overall, archived videos on Twitch are a bit confusing. Between videos, highlights, and clips, there are three distinct tiers of content saved to a streamer’s (or your) page. This might make things a bit confusing, but at its core, the goal is the same. You want to save content right to your computer, phone, or tablet to watch without an internet connection. Let’s talk about saving clips and saving videos right to the device of your choice.
Archive Your Broadcasts in Twitch
Twitch’s focus on live broadcasting means that they tend to keep the experience focused on what’s currently live, as opposed to older broadcasts. As a site, Twitch loves to emphasize community-based livestreaming, as opposed to the solitary experience you get on YouTube’s site. So, in order to ensure you keep your broadcasts archived on your account, here’s what you need to do.
- Log into Twitch and select Settings from your dashboard.
- Check the box next to Store Past Broadcasts under Stream Preferences.
This will enable that storage option for your videos. We need to do this first in order to be able to archive your broadcasts in Twitch. You can go ahead and broadcast now and your videos will automatically be archived for 14 or 60 days.
Viewing archived videos in Twitch
Once you have a bunch of videos you have broadcast, you will want to know where to go to find them right? Fortunately, they are available in your Twitch Dashboard like most other settings. You can then access the Videos menu in the left pane of page and you should see a list of all the videos you have archived.
Downloading Clips from Twitch
Let’s start with the basics. If you’ve found a clip that you think is worth saving offline—whether it’s an epic juke in League of Legends, a last-second goal in Rocket League, or the final shot of the game in Fortnite, there’s no shortage of reasons why you might want to save content to your account and to save it offline. Creating a clip from your own content, or the content of your favorite streamer, is easy, completed right within the actual video player on the platform. Once you’ve saved a clip right to your own account, you can start saving the clip right to your desktop.
Twitch used to allow for clips to be downloaded right from the video player in Firefox and Chrome, simply by right-clicking on the video and selecting the “Save Video As…” prompt in the context menu. Unfortunately, a recent change in May of 2018 to the Twitch platform caused clips to become no-longer downloadable. According to developers on the Clips team at Twitch, this change was unintentional, and potentially, download buttons for video creators and streamers on Twitch will come back to allow creators to save clips to their computers for archiving and playback. The post that detailed these upcoming changes noted they wanted streamers to have more control over their content, so don’t expect the download button to go site-wide anytime soon. That said, there is a way around downloading clips without the old “Save Video As…” prompt command, and strangely enough, it involves using AdBlock Plus, uBlock Origin, or any other ad blocker on your computer.
We tested it using Chrome and uBlock Origin, but the original instructions use AdBlock Plus, showing the flexibility and the ease of use involved with this system. To start, save a clip you want to download to your own account, or find the clip on someone else’s clips page. This only works with clips, so make sure that the segment you’re downloading are sixty seconds in length or shorter. Theoretically you can download multiple clips of moments next to each other in a video to edit them together and create a longer video, but that takes a serious time commitment and a lot of work. It’s best to use this method for clips only; for longer videos, we have a guide below.
Start by opening your ad blocker’s settings on your device by right-clicking on the icon in your browser and selection options. This will open a tab for your blocker right inside your browser, where you can edit or save settings at will. Find the “My Filters” setting in your ad blocker. For uBlock Origin users, it’s the “My Filters” tab; for AdBlock Plus users, it’s under the advanced menu options. You’ll then need to create two custom filters for two separate links at Twitch.
Once you’re in the custom filters tab, copy and paste both of these links into your blocker’s filters editor:
Apply your changes and leave the settings page. Refresh Twitch and find the clip you want to download, either from your own clips manager or from the actual streamer’s page. Any time you find a clip, you can now right-click the clip inside the video player to select “Save Video As…” This will download the video to your computer as an mp4 file, playable in almost any video player app and on almost any device, be it Android, iOS, Windows 10, or MacOS. These clips download at their full resolutions, and look great for playback, editing, and uploading.
Again, if you try to do this on a video that isn’t a clip, you’ll run into issues performing the task, so make sure to stick only with proper clips and not the actual videos, highlights, and archives that can be multiple hours long.
Export Twitch archived videos directly to YouTube
If you want to cross pollinate your Twitch video onto YouTube, you can do that too. You can either download it to your PC as above, make edits and polish it up and upload, or export directly into YouTube. If you’re happy with how the video looks, why not skip a step and export it directly?
You will need to have your Twitch and YouTube accounts linked before you try this in order for it to work. This changed recently. To link the accounts, go to Settings in Twitch and Connections. Check the box next to YouTube Export Archives and add your account.
- Navigate to Video Manager from the menu to access the list of videos you have created.
- Select Past Broadcasts and More.
- Select Export. Select a title and any settings you want to add.
- Set the privacy options, Public or Private.
- Select the Export button.
Depending on the time of day, this process can take a little while. What you end up with is a video accessible through YouTube that will stay there for as long as you need it to.
Whether you’re looking to download small clips of your favorite streamers, or you want to save your own full six-hour streams for storing offline, it’s pretty easy to download content from Twitch. While we’d love to see an official offline playback and download option for Twitch Prime users added sometime in the future, as long as you have a Windows PC lying around your house, it’s easier than ever to save Twitch streams right to your PC once they’ve been put online. This also makes it easy to help save streams from your favorite livecasters before their 14 or 60-day archives disappear for good.