How to Watch Twitch on Linux without a Web Browser

Have you ever wanted to watch Twitch outside of the browser on the Linux desktop? It is now possible, with the help of Gnome Twitch. This software breaks the entire Twitch experience out of the browser and doesn’t sacrifice too many features along the way. Best of all, the software makes use of different stream back-ends, meaning Gnome Twitch users can pick and choose how streams are delivered onto the Linux desktop!

This tool is a great experience for those that are fans of the Twitch service. For starters, it allows users to have the same experience as the website without having to keep a web browser open at all times. To watch a stream Twitch fans will not need to enter any user information. When Gnome Twitch starts up, streams can be viewed right away. However, to get the most out of this software, logging in is the best option. Login is accomplished by clicking the prompt at startup. Doing so brings up a box that asks for a username and password. Entering this information allows users to experience the rest of the features that Gnome Twitch brings to the table.

gnome-twitch-gaming-broadcast

To watch a stream of a game, click on the Games button at the top. From here users can scroll through all of the most popular games to stream on Twitch. The same can be done with popular streaming channels that are broadcasting. Just select from the list and go.  Once the user selects a game from the list, popular streams of that game will load and be accessible. When Gnome Tweak loads a stream, it’ll then be possible to participate in the chatroom, send messages, use stickers and everything else a Twitch fan would expect from the regular web experience.

gnome-twitch-browse-games

Note: alternatively, users can load broadcasters that they follow on Twitch and enter a stream that way.

gnome-twitch-browse-channels

Gnome Twitch can be installed on almost all modern Linux distributions via a package or compiled from source here. The main operating systems the developer officially supports are Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian and Fedora. If a package isn’t listed below, it might be necessary to head to the developer’s github and look for it.

Ubuntu

Gnome Twitch has a Ubuntu package, and installing it is easy. First, start by installing the Ubuntu restricted extras package. It contains some non-free tools and libraries necessary for getting things working. In this case, an h.264 video decoder is needed.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

Now that the video decoder is out of the way, the rest of the installation can move forward.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:samoilov-lex/gnome-twitch

With the PPA added, it’s time to update the system’s software sources. Running the update command should do the trick.

sudo apt-get update

Now, all that’s left is the installation.

sudo apt-get install gnome-twitch

Arch Linux

To run Gnome Twitch on Arch, just point an AUR helper towards this package and install it. Users shouldn’t need to worry about this process, as the AUR helper will take care of everything from gathering dependencies to building and installing the software.

Fedora

Setting up this software on Fedora can take a bit of time. Gnome Twitch has dependencies that Fedora users must satisfy before the program will install to the system. Users will need to add other software sources, as Fedora does not contain any non-free software. To install, open a terminal and enter the following:

sudo dnf https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-24.noarch.rpm -y
sudo dnf install gstreamer1-libav
sudo dnf copr enable ippytraxx/gnome-twitch
sudo dnf install gnome-twitch

Change video quality

Get to the settings by clicking the activity menu bar in Gnome (or the Settings window on other desktops). Inside the Settings area click on “Default video quality,” and select a stream setting. Alternatively, users can change the stream quality at any time during a broadcast in the player itself.

gnome-twitch-gnome-activities-settings

To change the quality during a stream click the hamburger menu (the icon with three horizontal lines). From here, users can choose from many different video quality settings they want. Select the one that best matches your bandwidth, and the stream will adjust accordingly.

Refreshing Twitch Login

If there is an issue with the Twitch service and the Gnome Twitch client, it is possible for a user to refresh login information. To do this open the hamburger menu (or click on the Gnome Activities bar, then refresh login). This will bring up the user login box and allow users to re-enter login information. This setting is perfect if Twitch is giving you trouble. Essentially you are resetting the entire program and all of Gnome Twitch.

Different Back-ends

Gnome Twitch can use different video rendering back-ends, but in order for users to take advantage of this, users need to specify various settings in the source code during the install process or select from a pre-compiled package with a different video rendering back-end.

Though it may be a long time until Gnome Twitch is as good as the Twitch web experience in every way, it’s certainly a start and currently one of the only ways to get a web browser independent experience on the Linux desktop, without any sort of compromises. It might not be perfect, but at the very least it allows Twitch fans the ability to move away from relying on the web browser for gaming entertainment.

Image credit: Wikimedia commons, Github

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