When you’re a business owner who live streams for a living or a content creator who’s new to live streaming, you need to learn about the different streaming software available. You need to decide which one to use before going live.
But how do you decide which one is best for you? What are the primary differences between your choices? To help answer these questions, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best live streaming software available online.
Easiest Streaming Software
If you’re new to live streaming, here are some of the best easy to use streaming software.
Lightstream Studio is a powerful, cloud-based live streaming software. You can access it through a web browser, so there’s no download or tricky installation required. All you need is your computer, a live streaming service, and a steady Internet connection. It makes mixing live video feed and bringing in remote guests a breeze. It also removes the need for a capture card to record console gameplay.
And true to its name, it’s very light on CPU usage. Well, at least, lighter than other streaming software for the same video quality. To keep things light, it captures the sources from your computer, but all the encoding and composting are done on Lightstream servers. That’s why it doesn’t take too much toll on your CPU. And did we mention it’s free?
For a free streaming software, it has a lot of cool features, such as:
- Guest hosting
- Slick overlays
- Remote scene switching from your mobile device
- Native support of popular streaming tools
- Live chat support
Lightstream Studio automatically chooses the best settings available on your computer. It also adjusts your bitrate based on your Internet speed. This way, you get to prevent your stream from buffering. What else can you ask for?
Telestream’s Wirecast comes in two versions: Studio and Pro. Both are priced at a professional level. In other words, they don’t come cheap. The Studio version is more affordable than the Pro version, but you get loads of powerful features. Wirecast Studio lets you:
- Host guests on your live broadcast
- Add animated graphics and 3D titles to your stream
- Get access to unlimited encoding and capture of video sources
- Stream to different platform and servers at the same time
The Pro version is more expensive. But, in return, you get even more premium features. These include:
- Live scoreboards
- High-resolution ISO recording
- Instant replays
- 3D virtual sets
- NDI (network device interface) output
Aside from these, you also get comprehensive technical support. But if you want to be completely covered, you’ll need to fork out an additional $299 a year.
While its interface may look intimidating, it’s actually quite easy and intuitive to use. Plus, it works on both Windows and Mac. That’s another big plus. You can give Wirecast a try during its free trial period. Just keep in mind it will watermark all your recordings and streams.
OneStream is one of the best overall streaming software. It lets you live stream recorded and live videos to over 40 social media platforms at the same time.
You also get to schedule pre-recorded videos 60 days before your scheduled broadcast. Just upload your video, pick a time and date, and select the streaming destination (YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch). That’s how easy it is.
OneStream also provides you multiple upload options, including camera, files, and screen shares. And you get to do all these without having to download and install anything.
Best Streaming Software for PC
For Windows users, here are our top streaming software for PC.
vMix is a premium streaming software designed with professional users in mind. It lets you record, switch, and live stream videos in standard definition, full HD, and even 4k. You can do all these using multiple sources like DVDs, images, cameras, PowerPoint, and video files.
Some of its key features include:
- Support for all video formats (MP4, AVI, H264, MOV, WMV, MPEG-2, MXF)
- Simultaneous streaming, recording, and output
- Easily integrate Twitch, YouTube Live, Twitter, and Facebook Live content into your live stream production
- Live chat
- Instant replay in HD slow motion
- 13 transition effects, including fade, cut, wipe, zoom, fly, side, and more
- More than 100 built-in animated templates
- Full 3D acceleration feature lets you produce professional HD videos
vMix uses a tiered pricing system (Basic, Basic HD, HD, 4k, and Pro). You get more features at each price level. The Basic version is free, but it has very limited features. All the versions include one-year free version updates.vMix offers a fully functional 60-days free trial, so you can test if it’s compatible with your system.
VidBlasterX is an RTMP-enabled live streaming software that uses a unique modular design. This makes it easy for streamers to add, remove, and rearrange features via “modules.” Unfortunately, it has a steep learning curve. It comes in three versions with different price tags.
Some of its most prominent features include:
- Full-resolution video recording
- Smooth camera switching
- Modular-based user interface
- Professional replay module
- Advanced screen capture
- Live stream in full HD
- Personalized live production
FFsplit is a lightweight streaming software that lets you record videos from multiple sources and combines them into a single live video feed. You can either live stream the feed or record it locally using FFmpeg.
It’s currently distributed as a freeware but may be offered as an open-source in the future. It comes with a traditional interface that’s easy to use and won’t slow down your PC. This makes it perfect for users with computers that have fewer resources.
7. XSplit Broadcaster
XSplit has two versions: XSplit Gamecaster and XSplit Broadcaster. Both have a clean and intuitive interface that contains all the essential recording and live streaming features. Gamecaster is a little bit stripped down to include only the essential features needed for game streaming.
It’s a freemium service, meaning it has free and premium versions. The free version is good enough for standard streaming. But, as expected with free versions, this one has limitations. For one thing, your streams are watermarked. Getting the premium version will remove the watermark and give you access to more advanced features, such as multistreaming.
XSplit only supports MP4 and FLV recording formats. While casual users will find no problems with that, more advanced users may take issue with it. Additionally, this software is only available on Windows.
Free Video Streaming Software
If you’re looking for free streaming software, these are the best we recommend.
8. OBS Studio
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio is a powerful, open-source streaming software. Because it’s open-source, it’s basically built by a community of developers worldwide. Plus, it’s free, which adds to its popularity among streamers.
OBS software offers all the live streaming essentials needed to produce an amazing live broadcast. But being free, it can’t really compete with professional paid software in terms of features.
There’s also a lack of centralized user support. You need to figure things out for yourself. Luckily, there are tons of tutorials and guides on the web you can use. You can also check the website’s forum for discussions of problems and solutions.
9. Streamlabs OBS
Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) is very similar to OBS, but it has a more user-friendly interface. It also has better support than OBS. Many OBS plugins have been made standard in SLOBS. This includes audio filters, free overlays, a video editor, and social widgets. Its noise gain and suppression features are perfect for weeding out unwanted background noise.
SLOBS is primarily geared toward game streaming. It offers smart and game-specific coding, which is why it has lower CPU usage. Unfortunately, it’s only available on Windows. But SLOBS is still working on improving its product, so we may see a Mac version pretty soon, fingers crossed.
Streamyard comes in three subscription plans: free, basic, and professional. The paid plans include unlimited and full HD streaming, but the free version is enough to create professional-looking live broadcasts.
You can access Streamyard directly from your browser. There’s no download or technical wizardry required to get it up and running. You can stream directly and effortlessly to Facebook or YouTube. It doesn’t even matter what device you’re using.
The downside is it’s not as powerful as OBS or the other paid streaming software on this list. But for a beginner, it’s more than good enough.
Each of these streaming software is unique in its own ways. They have different features. Some are free. Some are paid. But they all serve the same purpose, which is to help you broadcast your live feed.
When choosing one, make sure to consider your needs and expertise. If you’re a beginner, start with something easy to use, such as Lightstream. If you’re looking for an open-source solution, we highly recommend OBS and SLOBS.
Now that you know the different live streaming software, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to good use and start streaming.