Twitch is an awesome platform, but sometimes it bogs down the browser, especially on Linux PCs that don’t have a lot of resources. To solve this issue, it’s best to try to watch Twitch streams without a web browser. If you use Chrome, you might want to find an alternative way to watch Twitch streams anyway considering the browser has become a majorr resource hog over the years.

Perhaps the best way to wacth Twitch streams without a browser is by utilizing a tool called Gnome Twitch. It’s a standalone tool that makes use of the Twitch API, and a few other things to make it so that users don’t need to open Chrome or Firefox on Linux to watch their favorite streams. Best of all, because the heavy browser is taken out of the equation, performance is saved.

Installation

Ubuntu

Gnome Twitch can be installed on Ubuntu, provided a few requirements are met. The first one is the “restricted-extra” package. The restricted-extras bundle will give Ubuntu the ability to use the proprietary h.264 video decoding software. To install this package, open up a terminal window and enter:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

With the h.264 decoder installed on the system, all that is left is to install Gnome Twitch. This is done via a PPA, since Gnome Twitch isn’t on Ubuntu software sources by default.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8

After adding the software source that will provide Ubuntu with the Gnome Twitch software, update Ubuntu to reflect these changes.

sudo apt update

Lastly, install the software with:

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sudo apt install gnome-twitch gnome-twitch-player-backend-gstreamer-opengl

Debian

sudo apt install gnome-twitch gnome-twitch-player-backend-gstreamer-opengl

Note: you will most likely need to have non-free software repos enabled on your system to install this package. An alternative would be to download this package.

Arch Linux

To install Gnome Twitch on Arch Linux, you’ll need to manually build an AUR package. To do this, go to the AUR page and select “download snapshot”. Then, open up a terminal and use the CD command to enter the Downloads folder.

Note: for this package to build, ensure you have the git package. If not, do sudo pacman -S git in terminal before following the instructions below.

cd ~/Downloads

Using the untar command, extract the snapshot from the tar.gz archive.

tar -xvzf gnome-twitch.tar.gz

Then, use CD once more to enter the extracted folder.

cd gnome-twitch

Next, install the required dependencies for the package to build:

sudo pacman -S gobject-introspection webkit2gtk libsoup libpeas json-glib gtk3

When ready, start the building process:

makepkg

The build may take a bit of time, depending on how fast (and powerful) your CPU is. Upon completion, makepkg will generate an installable pacman package. Install it with:

sudo pacman -U sudo pacman -U *.pkg.tar.xz

Along with installing the program itself, you’ll also need to build and install a Gnome Twitch Back-end. Grab it from here, build and install it.

Fedora

Installing Gnome Twitch on Fedora requires some packages not included on the operating system. To fix this, Fedora users will need to go through the process of enabling RPM Fusion. Open up a terminal, and use the dnf package manager to enable the Free RPM Fusion repository.

sudo dnf https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-27.noarch.rpm -y

Then, install the missing library with:

sudo dnf install gstreamer1-libav -y

Lastly, install Gnome Twitch:

dnf copr enable ippytraxx/gnome-twitch

dnf install gnome-twitch

Other Linuxes via FlatPak

Looking to get Gnome Twitch working on your Linux distribution but can’t find a package to install? Consider using Flatpak instead. Before attempting to install this Flatpak package, ensure that you’ve got Flatpak setup already. When it is, open a terminal window and enter these commands to install Gnome Twitch.

flatpak remote-add flathub http://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install flathub com.vinszent.GnomeTwitch

Using Gnome Twitch

To use Gnome Twitch, open the app. If the program installed correctly, you should be able to click on any stream that pops up and watch it just fine. Launch a stream by either clicking “search”, and looking for something specific, or by clicking on one of the streams shown at startup. You can control the volume of the stream by clicking the speaker icon.

Note: When you select a stream in Gnome Twitch, it should automatically start playing. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to install a backend. For the most part, these are set up when you install the program. If for some reason this software didn’t install, consider re-installing it, or checking the official documentation.

Once inside a stream, you’ll be able to experience Twitch much like on the desktop, from the comfort of a native Linux desktop application.  To participate in streams via the chat section, you’ll need to sign in. To sign in, click the Twitch icon in the top left corner, and select “login”.

Upon clicking login, a Twitch web prompt will appear. Enter your username, and password and you’ll be good to go.

Changing Stream Quality

Changing the stream quality is always the best way to reduce lag when watching a Twitch Stream. With Gnome Twitch, there are multiple ways to change it. To change the quality of the stream in progress, select the dot menu, and click “stream quality”. From here, you’ll be able to adjust how the stream plays back. Options include: source, 720p, 480p and etc.

Looking to always control the video quality instead of always having to manually change it? Click the Twitch icon, then click “preferences”. Find the setting that says “default” video quality, go through the menu and select a default video quality setting. From here on out, Gnome Twitch will make sure that all future streams respect these settings.