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Do you want to get more out of your favorite Twitch streams? There’s no denying that Twitch.TV is the place to go on the internet when it comes to entertaining yourself with live streams for speed runs 3 Sites To Find Awesome Gaming Speed Runs 3 Sites To Find Awesome Gaming Speed Runs If you're familiar with the "let's play" video format that gamers use as a visual way to hold your hand through a game, then understand that a speed run is one of those videos after... Read More , gaming marathons, LAN parties, huge competitive events, and just casual observing and chatting. Maybe every now and then you’re just feeling a little bored and nostalgic, and you want to watch someone play a bit of Mario Kart. Twitch.TV has you covered for everything, even those games that you’d never expect 4 Games You Might Not Expect To Find On Twitch.tv 4 Games You Might Not Expect To Find On Twitch.tv There are certain games that you'd imagine are watched the most on Twitch: League of Legends, StarCraft II, Dota 2, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, etc. Though they may be the most popular, there... Read More .

While Twitch does blow its competitors out of the water, you or I could see it as far from perfect. Sometimes the interface is a bit too much for those of us with smaller monitors (such as with a netbook). A lot of the time, I just want to watch a Twitch stream. I don’t want to open my browser. I don’t want to have an extra window open that’s hogging my resources just to watch someone play a video game. Twitch won’t let you do that. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Let me introduce you to three third-party applications that make the Twitch.TV experience more pleasant for your desktop or laptop.

Desktop Live Streamer

Desktop Live Streamer takes an awesome method to watch streams through VLC using a command-line interface with Livestreamer and wraps a pretty little GUI around it. While Livestreamer is rather simple to use, Desktop Live Streamer makes the entire process even more of a cinch.

The download for Desktop Live Streamer is hosted by MediaFire through links that are constantly swapped out and updated on the project’s GitHub page. All you need is Windows 7 or 8 and administrative rights, and you can run the application. You’ll also need VLC Media Player.

Desktop Live Streamer

The screenshot above shows how simple and effective Desktop Live Streamer is. It not only acts as an alternative way to view streams in a more standalone format, but it even lets you browse through who’s streaming on Twitch in a more compact and easier way. You can see every game that is currently being streamed, and then you’re shown every streamer that is live at that time. You simply select the appropriate game and streamer you’re interested in. You’re also able to select the quality of the stream (which will differ depending on the streamer). You can find that to the right of his or her name (“Source” is the current quality in my screenshot).

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You can also click the heart-shaped icon to add any streamer to a list of favorites (as you see Meteos is). Adding a stream to your favorites will associate it with the current quality that you’ve selected, so keep that in mind.

From here, you can either open the stream in your browser or click to play the stream through VLC.

Desktop Live Streamer

To me, this is by far the best way to enjoy streams on Twitch.

Chatty

Chatty is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to applications for Twitch. In the year 2013, the classic chat room model is nearly dead Are Chat Rooms Dead? 3 Web Apps For Chat Room Renaissance Are Chat Rooms Dead? 3 Web Apps For Chat Room Renaissance If you’re still interested in the wonderful world of chat rooms (or perhaps you just have a hankering to return to the days of IRC), then you might like these web apps that bring chat... Read More . It’s completely true until you venture to Twitch, where the chat is one of the most appreciated features of the entire website. Chatty takes the Twitch chat, pulls it off the web, and turns it into a standalone application. Chatty is coded in Java, so it’s completely cross-platform compatible.

Chatty

Chatty allows you to login using OAuth, meaning that you never have to enter your Twitch password into the application itself. It’s completely secure.

Chatty

To use your Twitch account with Chatty, you simply open the displayed URL in your browser, grant Chatty access, and verify your login. It’s that simple. From here, you just need to have a channel name ready that you want to connect to. The Twitch channel name associated to any streamer’s chat is simply that streamer’s Twitch username (which you can get from their Twitch URL). Enter it, and you’re free to connect.

Chatty

Chatty supports the feature to highlight by keywords or usernames (even in a separate window), the ability to change the title and game of your own stream, run commercials, shows the stream title and viewer count, includes a viewer history graph, allows you to customize all fonts and colors, and more. It’s really minimal and extremely clean, and it is a great way to enjoy any Twitch chat.

Twitch Notifier

Last but not least is the tiniest and simplest third-party Twitch application of them all: Twitch Notifier!

Like Chatty, Twitch Notifier is a Java application. It runs in the background, is roughly 6kb in size, and uses absolutely zero processing power while waiting (which it what it ends up doing ~98% of the time). It’s sole function is simply to alert you when streamers that you’re following go live.

Twitch Notifier

The screenshot above is the only thing you ever have to configure to run Twitch Notifier. From there, it disappears. The only time you’ll ever see it again is if you receive a notification that a streamer has gone live, which will pop up in a window that looks very similar to this one.

If you ever want to disable or quit using Twitch Notifier, you have to end its process using Windows’ Task Manager The Windows 8 Task Manager: A Gem Hidden In Plain Sight The Windows 8 Task Manager: A Gem Hidden In Plain Sight While many parts of Windows 8 are debatable (maybe Modern is the future; maybe it's not), one element of Windows 8 that has undergone a massive overhaul and made it unequivocally more awesome is the... Read More .

Twitch Notifier

Assuming that this is the only Java application you’ve got running (which is generally a pretty safe assumption), you can just end the process shown above.

Having to constantly check your email or the Twitch Directory to see if your favorite streamers are live is pretty annoying. Twitch Notifier makes it much less painful.

Conclusion

As is similarly true with playing PC games themselves, enjoying watching others play games by your PC can be vastly improved if you’re shown the right enhancements and applications. Thanks to the developers of these three applications, we’ve got awesome alternative ways to watch streams, chat with stream viewers, and constantly know when our favorites are live. Enjoy watching and chatting, and if you’re ever interesting in streaming your own gaming adventures to Twitch then I’ve got a post that can help you How To Stream Live Video to Your Twitch.TV Channel How To Stream Live Video to Your Twitch.TV Channel Launched in June of last year, the world of online gaming needed a portal to livestream events and Justin.TV's secondary niche website, Twitch.TV, serves today as just that. What if you're just a guy sitting... Read More .

Do you have any other Twitch desktop apps you’d like to recommend? Who are some of your favorite streamers? Use the comments below to let us know!

  1. e3ng
    January 10, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Speq.me (the website) tackles the issue of notification very well. They allow streamers to do their online scheduling easily and share with viewers. As a viewer, I can see who will be streaming in the future and plan around it.

  2. unknown921774856
    October 11, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I've written a little tool to watch twitch streams without browser/flash/livestreamer, it tracks the channels you are following and allows you to start vlc by one-click.

    the code is on github https://github.com/scuq/agtv and the binary version can be downloaded here http://agtv.abyle.org/

    there are some screenshots on github

  3. AnotherStepUp
    February 2, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Open Broadcaster Software is good once you get used to it; just remember to view you games in full-screen window rather than full-screen as the "game" option doesn't seem to work, however using the "window" version does just fine.

    It also has the added benefit of being able to quickly switch to your Twitch page to see what people are saying too.

  4. Joel L
    October 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I was extremely interested in Desktop Live Streamer until I saw that it was VLC-only. Not a big fan of it and was hoping to see compatibility with MPC-HC. Argh! I always ignore chat and always watch on-demand, so the other two tools don't help me too much.

    Still, they're all very nice and I hadn't heard of them before. :)

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