There are times where your stream settings can be scuffed, causing bad framerates among other problems. It would be very beneficial if there was an option to do a test stream that allows you to stream without pushing a notification to your followers.
I understand that there is a flag you can put at the end of your stream key so that your stream doesn't broadcast at all. However, this only allows you to monitor your bitrate and doesn't allow you to monitor your framerate. When i want to test my stream settings I will have to constantly start and stop a stream which I imagine can be very annoying to anybody who has their notifications turned on for my stream.
(I AM NOT REFERRING TO BANDWIDTH TESTS OR TWITCH INSPECTOR. I AM AWARE OF THESE TOOLS, BUT NEITHER ALLOWS YOU TO CHECK YOUR STREAM'S AUDIO/VISUAL TRUE BROWSER OUTPUT.)
I think it would be very useful if we were able to go live without viewers knowing, for testing purposes.
Right now, I am experiencing a problem where my stream visually flickers once every two seconds, but only when alternative transcoding options are selected. I stream at 1080p, but if a viewer changes it to 720p or lower, the flickering issue starts happening.
Of course, this means the problem does not occur when I check my stream in OBS's stream preview, since OBS doesn't show me how my stream -really- looks once it reaches Twitch - only Twitch itself can do that. OBS only shows what's being sent to Twitch, meaning issues that arise on Twitch itself - like transcoding issues - cannot be detected until my viewers begin to notice it.
There have also been times in the past where I wished that I could test my stream before actually going live, such as perceived audio levels in Discord calls. When I take a recording in OBS, or watch the Audio Mixer levels in OBS, it sometimes doesn't reflect the actual output that my viewers are getting. These problems would have been caught if I was able to go live for a test without them being notified. Watching Twitch VODs back can be very enlightening for discovering problems or things that aren't functioning quite as intended.
Testing is at the heart of quality. It would be nice if we creators had more tools for actually testing our streams and content before bringing it to our viewers.