Choosing a Stream Deck

By Krasimir Hristov

Stream decks are an invaluable asset to anyone seeking to increase productivity. Used efficiently, they can quickly launch programs or create shortcuts; control other devices (Philips Hue lights for instance); or quickly test internet speed.

Although designed primarily to address gaming needs, computer power users can also find plenty of use for such devices. They may be utilized for managing audio streams or playing sound effects.


Stream decks are pieces of hardware with programmable buttons that connect to your computer and can control various programs and services. While stream decks are most frequently used by gamers, non-gamers may find they help boost productivity when working from home. Example applications could include using them to launch frequently used applications with just a press of a button, all without using your phone’s touchscreen interface. Though small and sleek in design, they can be expensive; one such device known as Elgato Stream Deck + costs $200 and might not suit everyone. It features 15 buttons arranged in three rows of five and measures the size of a pack of index cards. Each button functions like a small screen that displays icons you can customize through an online portal – for instance, you could display photos of Nicolas Cage or any other icons relevant to you on each button!

Stream decks also help save time when it comes to navigating complex menus and keyboard shortcuts, helping you focus more effectively without becoming distracted by social media or other apps. Furthermore, stream decks can even interact with smart home systems; assign one button for Keyboard Maestro macro that turns lights on or off.

Stream decks are ideal for novice users as they’re easy to install and configure – perfect for beginners. Available in various sizes and configurations to meet all your needs, stream decks can even be tailored specifically to display exactly the commands that will streamline workflow better than using smartphones or tablets alone.

No matter your level of streamer expertise or newness to streaming, a stream deck can significantly boost productivity. Not only can it launch apps, it can also serve as a macro pad to play sounds or perform other actions – plus you can even use it to control microphone volume, change camera angles in OBS, and create countdown timers!


The Stream Deck is a USB peripheral with a grid of buttons that can be programmed to perform different functions. Each button can be labeled with icons and text of your choosing – perfect for simplifying complex commands in live streaming video games! Furthermore, using it makes remembering tasks that would normally involve several keyboard shortcuts easier! There are two variants of the Stream Deck available, with standard offering 15 LCD keys while high-end offering 32.

No matter your skill level or background in gaming, the Stream Deck provides all sorts of features to customize your stream experience. From controlling your video camera or recording a screencast to launching OBS and installing community plugins – not to mention creating Multi Actions which combine several actions into a single keypress!

Create a Multi Action that launches all the apps used when streaming and places them so you can reach them with your mouse easily – this will save time and keep things organized during broadcasts.

One great feature is the ability to set up a custom button that will trigger specific commands on your computer, perfect for streamers who must quickly respond to questions or issues raised by their audience. You can even set one that activates video clips – perfect for streamers doing vlogs or who want to show off their editing prowess!

Add a countdown timer to your Stream Deck by creating a custom key and using its built-in plugin, making use of animations on each timer, or by tweeting out about upcoming streams via an auto tweet button – this can create excitement amongst audiences for future streaming sessions!


Stream decks may have initially been designed with gamers in mind, but they’re useful to anyone needing quick access to applications or tools. A stream Deck provides an efficient way of performing key combinations that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable through keyboard shortcuts – especially when working with complex software applications. Plus, customizing each button for easier identification at a glance as well as assigning multiple actions per button allow complex workflows or automation sequences to be quickly created with this method of quick accessing desired applications or tools.

A stream deck can aid your productivity by making keyboard shortcuts less of a puzzle and helping you stay more focused when working on the computer. Programmable keys allow instantaneous access to files, applications and folders while controlling home and office devices such as microphone muzzling during an important call or quickly launching programs that normally require Tetris-like configuration like audio mixers or Zoom call apps.

Stream Deck offers extensive app support with hundreds of plugins for popular apps and services like OBS, Twitch, YouTube, XSplit, Phillips Hue, PowerPoint, Slack and Toggl – to name just a few! A freemium model gives users access to basic functions of Stream Deck including six keys and actions as well as plugins from popular applications; upgrading to Pro gives access to advanced features like custom layouts and backgrounds.

When it comes to streaming, maintaining a steady Internet connection is one of the key components. Unfortunately, managing this aspect can be challenging when switching between various camera sources in real-time – but don’t despair: several Stream Deck plugins exist that make managing this aspect simpler.

Stream Deck can also help you manage your audio devices during a live broadcast. Simply install a plugin to switch between speakers and headsets as the primary audio output device – an essential feature when testing out new microphones or audio interfaces.

Stream Deck is an outstanding tool for recording and editing video, easily adding titles, effects, and adjusting volumes with quickness and efficiency. In addition, it can help control lighting levels in the field or post production editing reviews as well as being an invaluable remote work collaboration platform.


When selecting a stream deck, it’s essential to consider both its aesthetics and how well it will integrate with your gaming setup. Some streamers might prefer more streamlined designs while others might want something with greater customization options – some stream decks feature customizable LCD keys with easily identifiable icons to launch applications quickly while some come equipped with interchangeable face plates so users can customize their device even further.

Many streamers utilize stream decks to brand their channel and increase viewer engagement, such as animated text, graphics or a background image. Furthermore, stream decks can also be used to set up social media notifications that can be activated with just the press of a button – perfect for posting updates to Twitter, urging viewers to subscribe on YouTube, sharing video clips from gameplay broadcasts etc. Stream decks offer streamers a great opportunity to promote themselves during broadcasts!

Stream decks can also be useful for home workers who require quick and easy access to often used applications. Most often connected via USB, these devices feature customizable buttons which can quickly launch keyboard shortcuts in any application; some even automate Microsoft apps and allow the user to select how many commands can be pressed at one time.

For an added professional touch, some stream decks feature an RGB strip that can be connected directly to a PC’s motherboard and turned on for lighting effects across their setup – helping make their setup stand out amongst its competition. This can help make sure streamers stand out.

While not required for every gaming setup, stream decks can be invaluable tools in creating high-quality content and maintaining a professional appearance across your broadcasts. But bear in mind that they’re not inexpensive if multiple are necessary.

Though a stream deck may seem like an unnecessary luxury for some gamers, they can be invaluable for those who make their living streaming. By eliminating the need for frequent monitor glances and maintaining concentration levels without breaking concentration, stream decks help minimize distractions and maximize productivity.