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How to improve your Twitch viewing experience in South Africa

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Many of you reading this probably stay in South Africa, where the daily struggle involves the kind of things that would drive some of the most hardened first-world dwellers insane. There are plenty of things that we simply have to live with here but every now and then there is an opportunity to change the situation you find yourself in.

OK. Maybe that’s an overly dramatic opening paragraph, but sometimes watching a Twitch stream in South Africa is just not fun. There are quality issues, buffering and the inevitable lag. I’m not really addressing the lucky few with fibre in their neighbourhood (or the money to have it), but those likely to be in the majority and that have to deal with poor quality or slower lines at their homes. Actually, let’s not even worry about the quality of your line here, and simply say that if your Twitch viewing experience (brought on by browser cache limits too) is a little more fuzzy-slide-show than VHS at the very least, then the Tardsplaya may just be for you.

Let’s not dwell on the pretty odd name, or the worrying spelling on the site (or the worrying looking site itself) and look at what Tardsplaya is and what it generally does.

The best way to describe it is that it is a media player for Twitch. According to the reddit post it is a “program that reduces lagging and buffering when watching low viewer count streams” but personal testing has led me to believe it reduces lag and buffering for all Twitch streams, but it is not itself without stability issues. That being said, reloading Tardsplaya once in a while because it has frozen is not nearly as frustrating as watching the ghostly white spinning circle of frustration every few minutes.

So let’s give you a step by step guide to installing and using this neat little piece of software.

1. Head over to tards.net (as mentioned, excuse the frightening spelling as the developer is not English).

2. Click ‘Download v1.0.0.5’ (that’s the version currently available). Once downloaded (the file size is around 10MB), unzip and you’re pretty much ready to go.

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3. Find and open Tardsplayaon your PC, as seen in image 1 above.

4. Open the Twitch channel you want to watch, like the MWEB GameZone channel for example (image 2), but be aware that the channel needs to be live streaming at the time to work with Tardsplaya. Select only the channel name as highlighted and not the URL itself.

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5. Paste the channel name in the text field allowed and press ‘Load’. You will be offered a number of quality options (image 3 and 4 above). It is recommended that you pick the bit rate less than what your line speed is capable of. Start with medium though is what I’d recommend. Once you’ve made the decision on quality, click ‘Watch’.

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6. Tardsplaya will now open in a new window (image 5) that resembles a traditional media player. At this point you can choose to close Twitch completely, but if you’re keen to be part of the chat (and help the streamer retain you as a viewer on their channel) simply pause the Twitch stream and resize Tardsplaya as you prefer (image 6) and you are done and ready to enjoy the stream.

While my experience with Tardsplaya has been generally positive (well, actually being able to watch a stream without having the time to go and make a cup of coffee is a real winner in my book), it would be remiss of me not to point out other options too. You could try Livestreamer, or start to watch only YouTube Gaming

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Thanks to Ryno ‘SonZ’ Warwick for input with this article.

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