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How To Broadcast on Nico Live (Beta)

posted Jun 20, 2011, 10:13 AM by ms b0b   [ updated Mar 20, 2017, 5:56 PM ]


Nico Live is a internet video broadcast service similar to Ustream and many others. It is the English version of  the Japanese video streaming service Niconico Douga.

In my last entry, I wrote about the Nico Live beta test. In this post, I will write up about the software I use to stream. I will update this as beta test is over and the normal workflow is implemented. This how to assumes you have already signed up for a Nico Nico Video account.

Purchase the Broadcast Membership

Once you have created an account, verified it and signed in, the next thing to do is to go to the Nico Live page. Click on the Broadcast banner and it will direct you to purchase the membership.

Pay your membership with Paypal and it will return you to the Nico Live page. (I think, working from memory.)

The Community

Next, you will need to create or join a community to broadcast. Once again, click on the Broadcast banner and, if you have no existing community, it will prompt you to create it. Creating a community is a premium feature, and the special beta test accounts can only do it once, so I was unable to get screenshots for it.

From memory, you will need to enter a name and a description for your community. There is an option to make your community public--where anyone can join--or private, where users need approval to join.

Create a Broadcast

Click on the Broadcast banner again and it will bring you to the Create New Program page.

The title of your broadcast. This will be shown to everyone in the category listing.
The description of your broadcast. This will be shown at the top of your broadcast page. You can use limited HTML tags to format the next. <br />, <font> etc. I recommend you keep the title and description in a text file for easy copy and pasting into the form.
Select the community. Different communities have different levels, and levels earns you different features.
Use reservation functions
Reserve your broadcast for a future time. Based on the Japanese site, the reserved 
Access Policy
You can limit the viewers of your broadcast to members of your community only.
If timeshift is enabled, other premium users will be able to watch your program at a later time, up to 1 week later. It is like a DVR function.

Click Confirm and it will bring you to the confirmation page.

Click OK and it will create your broadcast. It may take a few attempts to create the broadcast during prime time, typically Japan time 22:00 to 02:00.

Start Broadcasting

Not so fast! There are few more steps before you can start streaming. First, let's get familiarized with the interface.

  1. This is where you, the broadcaster, enter your comments.
  2. This is where you enter the commands for your comments (to change color, etc)
  3. Click this to use the built-in codec. This is the most straightforward method, but the built-in codec produces poor quality image and sound.
  4. Click this to use an external codec. See the next section about external codec.

External Codec

Once you click the External Tool button, it will show you the following screen.

  1. This is the URL for your external encoder to transmit to.
  2. This is the program number.
  3. Click this to download a xml file that contains the URL and program number as well as the default video settings.
  4. Begin a Test Stream so you may see what you are transmitting. Your viewers will not be able to see at this time. Once you click on this, the button will turn into extend test time.
  5. Start Broadcast.
  6. Return and use simple mode.

The de facto external codec is Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder, or commonly abbreviated as FME or FMLE. It is a free download. FMLE will allow you to stream in VP6 or H.264 codec, but it takes considerable processing power to encode. It works with camera devices installed on your PC. The standard display is as follows:

  1. Open the xml file downloaded from Nico Live screen.
  2. This is the preview of your camera.
  3. This is the preview of the encoder output.
  4. This is your volume level.
  5. Video Settings (my settings are in parentheses after the description)
    • Device: Choose the capture device. See the next section. (I use a webcam.)
    • Format: Choose between H.264 or VP6. H.264 produces a nicer stream given the same bandwidth but is more processor intensive. (I use H.264.)
    • Frame Rate: Choose a frame rate. This will depend on your activity. (I use 29.97 for driving.)
    • Input Size: Choose the resolution for capture. It should be larger than the output size. (I use 640x360 because my webcam is widescreen.)
    • Output Size: Bigger looks nicer but will result in lower frame ratet. The standard Nico Live viewing window is no bigger than 544x384 (I use 480x270 kbps.)
  6. Audio Settings
    • Channels: Choose between Stereo or Mono. Stereo is needed for music and other high quality. Mono is sufficient for voice. (I use mono.)
    • Sample Rate: Choose between 11025, 22050 or 44100. (I use 22050.)
    • Bit Rate: This is a compo
  7. Total bandwidth for the current configuration. You may not exceed 384 kbps. If you exceed 384 kbps, Niconico's server will automatically downscale it to a very low level. If you set your stream right at 384 kbps, your stream may temporarily exceed 384 kbps and trigger the downscaling. Downscaling will remain until the program is over.
  8. This is the URL for the encoder to transmit the stream. If you have configured your settings, you may opt to copy and paste the URL from the Nico broadcast window instead of loading the xml file and overwrite your settings.
  9. This is the program ID. You may opt to copy and paste the program ID from the Nico broadcast window.
  10. Start streaming.
  11. Stop streaming. Rarely FMLE can experience error and stop streaming. You may need to stop and restart the stream to fix it.

Capture Device


Webcam is for capturing the real world. They come in all shapes and sizes from built-in to external HD cameras. Built-in webcams are good for face to face video conferencing but do not offer flexible angles. External cameras usually offer better sensors, optics and placement options, but some may be cumbersome.

I am not in the business of reviewing computer peripherals so I can not recommend one. Personally, I use a Microsoft Lifecam HD-6000 for Notebook that has been discontinued. I like the small size and the flat surfaces on all sides that gives it more flexible mounting options. 

Desktop Capture

You need a desktop capture program to share your desktop. Desktop capture software emulates a webcam and feeds your desktop image to webcam enabled applications as input. 

There are both freeware and commercial offerings in this area. Xsplit is easy to use and capable of capture Direct3D outputs, important games. DxTory is another popular choice.

There are some Japanese software developed specifically for Nico Nico Douga. Nico Desktop Capture and SCFH DSF are some of the more popular ones.

Optional Software

This section will be updated with tools that support English Nico Live.

Comment Viewer

Comment viewer can help you track who are commenting on your broadcasts. These software are Nico Live specific and currently Japanese only. Nwhois and Niconama Comment Viewer (NCV) are popular.

Broadcaster Helper

Broadcaster helper combines the function of comment viewer with the ability to create broadcast blocks and extending reserved broadcasts. The most popular one is Gisshiri Ankochan. Currently it is not compatible with Nico Live because it is hard-coded to use Japanese hosts at, not

Text to Speech

Text to Speech software is immensely useful when you do not have the time to look at the comments. Bouyomichan is free and one of the more popular ones, but some malicious users may exploit it and generate sounds that annoy the viewers. Bouyomichan performs poorly at reading English sentences. Most comment viewers and broadcaster helpers have built-in support for Bouyomichan.