This is my htop output when I watch something on Twitch:

enter image description here

I use Firefox. When I watch something on Youtube, the CPU%-value is at about 10... or 20% (I installed Intel support via a PPA, which I took from a guide on webup8.org) . Besides that, the video at Twitch is stuttering, it is practically unwatchable.

  • Is there a problem in the way I set up this Intel graphics support for Flash?

  • Or is there a problem with Twitch's Flash stream?

Either way, is there a way to improve the performance when watching something on Twitch?

  • 1
    Is the video quality the same in YouTube and Twitch? – user25656 Feb 1 '14 at 11:42
  • @vasa1 I'd say Youtube is arguably performing better on higher quality: Twitch vs. Youtube, but I had set Youtube to 1080p. – henry Feb 1 '14 at 14:00
  • I don't watch much video from other sites, but it seems that anything other than YouTube is heavier (on my system). – user25656 Feb 1 '14 at 14:02

So I decided to mark this as an answer because there doesn't seem to be a way for the user to improve things when watching Twitch in a browser.

After further research, I found for myself that it's more feasible to look for other methods to mitigate Twitch's poor performance overall. Here is the alternative method which makes it possible to watch a video stream in VLC. I found this guide on xmodulo.com, initially via linux.com:


  • You can paste into the terminal via Ctrl + Shift + V. This should make life a bit easier for you, when you just want to start it up real quick. No need to type it out or use the mouse.

  • Twitch supports timecodes! You can start a video at the 4th minute by adding ?t=4m at the end of the URL.

Livestreamer is a command line interface (CLI) client which, upon given a streaming URL, retrieves live streaming video from the URL, and pipes it into a native video player running on local host. So with Livestreamer, you can enjoy live streaming from various sources via a much stable and lightweight video player such as VLC or mplayer, without opening a web browser. Currently, Livestreamer supports streaming from over 20 different web sites including Dailymotion, YouTube Live, Twitch/Justin.tv, Livestream and UStream.

Install Livestreamer on Ubuntu

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip
$ sudo pip install livestreamer 

By default, Livestreamer attempts to pipe streaming video into VLC player. Thus you also need to install VLC player on your Linux system:

$ sudo apt-get install vlc

Watch Live Streaming from the Command Line with Livestreamer

To watch any live streaming channel/program, first obtain its corresponding URL from its official site.

For example, let's say the URL for the live streaming content that you want to watch is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw4KVoEVcr.

To check available streaming quality (i.e., bitrate) of the given content, simply run livestreamer command with the URL:

$ livestreamer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw4KVoEVcr0

The output for that is

[cli][info] Found matching plugin youtube for URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw4KVoEVcr0
Available streams: 144p (worst), 240p, 360p (best)

To watch a live stream in the best available quality, run livestreamer command in the following format. This will automatically launch VLC player, and streaming will start on VLC:

$ livestreamer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Pw3ofFWgs best 

To watch a live stream in specific streaming quality (e.g., 360p), run livestreamer as follows:

$ livestreamer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Pw3ofFWgs 360p

If you have your own favorite streaming player, you can let Livestreamer launch the player instead of default VLC, as follows:

$ livestreamer --player=mplayer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Pw3ofFWgs 360

Google Chrome has the newest Pepper Flash v 12.xx on board, whereas Firefox is restricted to the os version 11.xx. Adobe announced, that they won't release a native 12.xx version for linux. So try to install Google Chrome (not Chromium) and check if this helps. -- Regards

  • 1
    Thank you for trying to help, but I am using Firefox and did not clarify I would like to switch. Usually a somewhat related talking point or advisement is to be posted in comments and not as a "not-so-concrete" answer. – henry Feb 1 '14 at 13:59
  • However I'd say it's equally bad (click for htop output), but the load seems to be distributed better. – henry Feb 1 '14 at 14:12
  • Never mind! Here is something new: Twitch is streaming via the Http Live Streaming (HLS) protocol from Apple which is quite heavy and new. Youtube uses the RTMP protocol from Adobe which has better support. Here you can test a better flash based hls player: osmfhls.kutu.ru (cpu load is still high) – suqed Feb 1 '14 at 19:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.