You’ll find tons of live streaming software on the Internet, but not all of them are compatible with Mac, especially with a huge percent of streamers using Windows. With the increasing popularity of macOS to business users and multimedia professionals over the years, streaming software for Mac has become an essential tool for pro streaming solutions.
If you’re a Mac user aspiring to be a live streamer, this article is for you. We’ll discuss what a software encoder is, why you need one, and the best ones for macOS.
What is Live Streaming Software?
A live streaming software is a program that converts the raw format of the video files into digital files. It sends your stream from your camera to your live stream platform in real time for broadcasting.
Software encoders appeal to many live streamers, especially beginners, because they’re easy to set up, customizable, and affordable. Plus, they have graphic interfaces to manage and control the conversion process of stream elements, such as stream quality and bitrate.
But since software encoders aren’t dedicated devices, they share resources with other programs on your computer, compromising their speed and robustness.
So if your machine isn’t powerful enough, you’ll get one laggy computer while your audience will experience buffering and dropped frames. To live stream with ease, you should have a computer with at least an Intel Core i5 2.8 GHz (or equivalent) with 8GB memory.
Key Features of Software Encoders
To choose the best broadcasting software for Mac, you need to look at its specific features and compatibility. Let’s take a look at some of the most common features you may need.
1. Operating system compatibility
Before deciding on anything, the first thing you need to check is OS compatibility. Some software encoders have a very impressive list of features and functionality but may not work with macOS. So carefully check your choice, especially if it’s a paid software.
2. NDI support
NDI (Network Device Interface) is designed specifically for broadcasting. It lets you pass video-compatible feeds and other data from one computer to another on the same network in real time. This also lets you offload tasks, such as generating graphics to external computers.
3. Scoreboards and instant replays
These are essential features if you’re streaming a sporting event. Some encoders like Wirecast have built-in instant replay and customizable scoreboard templates, while other encoders like OBS support instant replay via a plugin.
4. Multi-bitrate streaming
Multi-bitrate streaming helps improve your viewers’ overall quality of experience by letting them access the right streaming quality based on their Internet speed. They can choose the highest stream quality their device or connection can handle without interruptions.
5. Video conferencing
If you plan to bring in remote guests or do live interviews, it’s vital you choose a streaming software with video conferencing features. Some encoders like Wirecast have robust, integrated tools for live streaming video conferencing, but other encoders like OBS Studio can only be used for virtual live streaming conferences via external applications.
10 Best Streaming Software for Mac
Now that we’ve discussed what a software encoder is and the important features to consider, it’s time to check out our 10 best Mac streaming software.
1. OBS Studio
Does OBS work on Mac? Absolutely. In fact, it’s one of the few encoders that supports all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux.
OBS Studio is a free and open-source encoding software. It’s one of the best choices for new live streamers looking for free live streaming software for Mac. It already offers robust features, but you can still expand them using a variety of plugins. It has a set of OBS-specific system requirements and settings to ensure your viewers get the best live streaming experience.
- Real-time audio/video capturing and mixing
- Intuitive audio mixer
- Unlimited number of audios, videos, and file sources
- Supports MP4/FLV video formats and MP3/AAC audio file
- Green screen/chroma key support
- Modular “Dock” UI
- Video and audio mixing, transitions, and filters
- Expandable functionalities via plugins
- Offers a wide range of editing tools and filters
- Free and open-source
- Works with most online video platforms
- Works with macOS, Windows, and Linux
- Easy to use
- Frequent updates
- Great for both new and experienced streamers
- Some limitations on features and capabilities
- Doesn’t support multi-bitrate streaming
OBS is absolutely free. You can download the latest version on its official website.
2. Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS)
Streamlabs OBS is the chosen broadcasting software of many professional broadcasters. It offers lots of features for multicasting and editing live streams. Almost everything you need is conveniently grouped in its dashboard.
Like OBS, it’s free and open-source but more user-friendly. Additionally, features that are only available via plugins on OBS have been seamlessly integrated and made standard in SLOBS.
SLOBS is new to Mac, which is why it’s still being offered in an open beta capacity. To qualify as a beta tester, you simply need to be a live streamer using a computer running macOS. There isn’t any definite date yet when the macOS version will be publicly released since SLOBS is focusing on collecting feedback from the beta testers to create the best version of Streamlabs OBS on Mac.
- Integrated Twitch chat panel
- Built-in widgets
- Smart video encoding
- Audio filters
- Large library of animated and regular overlays and themes
- Create custom alerts
- Dynamic bitrate support
- Allows manual editing of bitrate
- Powerful mod tools
- Multistreaming support
- Automated setup
- User-friendly interface
- All-in-one program
- Easy stream management
- Lots of stream design options
- Free customization options
- Test alerts without going live
- High CPU usage
- No sound commands
Streamlabs is free to download and use. But you have the option to upgrade to Streamlabs Prime for $149 per year or $19 a month if you want to access exclusive and premium features, such as professionally designed overlay packages, partner discounts, and many more.
Wirecast is best known for its intuitive platform. It provides one of the best quality streams, making it a favorite among professional broadcasters. You get many customization tools on both Studio and Pro versions, but the latter is specifically designed for business use.
Wirecast is compatible with a wide range of devices, camera inputs, and capture cards. Some of its features also include picture-in-picture composition, live switching, and audio delay. It also makes streaming pre-recorded videos seamless.
- Supports multiple video capture and live inputs at the same time (NDI, capture card, USB, webstream IP sources, Wirecast Go)
- Chroma key support
- GPU-accelerated encoding support
- Multi-channel audio ingest support
- Instant replay support
- Advance ISO recording capability
- Built-in scoreboard generator
- User-friendly interface
- Jam-packed with useful features
- Cross-platform compatibility
- High CPU memory usage
Wirecast Studio costs $599 while the Pro version costs $799. You can also take advantage of its free trial. The trial is fully functional and not time-limited but has video and audio watermark. You’re also limited to two guests, and it doesn’t allow ISO recording.
SplitCam isn’t an encoder per se, but it’s a great tool for simulcasting, webcam splitting, and audio mixing. It’s primarily used for its webcam splitting capability, which is especially useful when doing peer-to-peer streaming. This includes webinars, training sessions, and other live events that involve interaction with your audience.
It’s compatible with a lot of major peer-to-peer streaming solutions. So even if it’s not a full-fledged encoder, it’s still quite useful to broadcasters with a wide range of streaming needs. Plus, it has a special community forum where you can ask questions and share ideas.
- Stream to popular video-sharing sites
- Cool webcam video effects
- Realistic 3D masks
- Webcam splitting
- HD video and other streaming resolutions support
- Use IP camera as a source
- Video zoom in/out feature
- Session recording
- Multistreaming support
- Support for different video stream sources
- Video splitting using a single webcam
- Video and audio mixing
- Supports HD streaming
- Lack of mobile streaming support
- No encoding tools
SplitCam is a freeware, meaning you don’t pay a license fee to use the software.
5. Restream Studio
Restream Studio puts professionalism and simplicity in one software. It lets you go live on different platforms at the same time in just two clicks. You simply choose where you want to stream and go live directly from your browser—no third-party tools required. That’s how easy it is.
- Full HD streaming
- Multistream to as many live stream platforms as you want
- Cross-platform chat
- Built-in moderation tools
- Easy screen sharing feature
- Wide range of branding tools and visual customizations
- Split track recording support
- Allows videos to be played midstream
- Stream directly from a browser
- Easily invite guests via invitation links
- 24⁄7 support
- Easy to set up and use
- Allows streaming to most platforms, even the less popular ones
- Maintains stability while multistreaming
- Doesn’t use a lot of CPU resources
- Stream quality is highly dependent on your bandwidth
- Cost is much higher compared to its competitors
Restream Studio comes in a three-tiered pricing structure: Free, Standard ($16/month), and Professional ($41/month). The higher the plan you have, the more premium features you get.
6. CamTwist Studio
CamTwist Studio is a free video app for macOS. It offers many original and special effects to streamers. It requires a bit of effort to set up. Once you’ve got it up and running, it works well with popular video chat services like Skype.
Its studio section lets you do classic mixing and add overlays and slideshow elements to your video. Overall, it’s a great app for beginners who want to produce professional-like streams without breaking the bank.
- Supports output resolution of 720p and up to 1080p if you have an input card
- Allows users to stay connected directly with live streaming platforms
- Allows easy switching between Composite or Component HD to HDMI
- Allows customized effects
- Over 50 built-in effects, including titles, overlays, and many more
- Built-in effects
- Access to video chat services
- Initial setup requires extra effort
- Doesn’t work in 64-bit applications
CamTwist is completely free to download and use.
Mimolive is designed specifically for Mac. It provides real-time scene composition, source and device capture, recording, encoding, and broadcasting. It offers native support for streaming services, such as Twitch, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live.
It can also be used to connect multiple cameras to Mac devices via SDI and HDMI adapters. It also lets you easily edit with operations, such as cropping, keying, frame rate adaptation, scaling, and rotating. You can also send your video to Final Cut Pro for post-processing execution.
- Performs multiple actions on single keystrokes
- Unlimited streaming
- Switch multiple cameras, add graphics, insert presentations, and chroma keying
- Multiple mimoCalls from mimoLive Reporter App or web browser.
- Record and stream to various services at the same time
- Easy to use
- Fully optimized for macOS use
- All-in-one solution for professional live broadcasting
- Full support for an NDI IP-based workflow
Mimolive is available in three plans: Non-Profit ($20/month), Studio ($70/month), and Broadcast ($200/month). It doesn’t have a free version or free trial.
StreamYard’s easy-to-use and straightforward interface sets it apart from its competitors. It’s a popular choice among new broadcasters looking for a quick and easy way to produce professional-grade streams. Plus, it runs on your web browser, so you don’t need to have a ridiculously powerful computer to stream.
- Custom RTMP destination
- Unlimited streaming
- Invite up to 10 participants on screen at the same time
- Stream on multiple platforms simultaneously
- Presets that let you easily between different views
- Record your live stream or record your video even if you’re not live
- Allows easy audience engagement management with comment moderation
- Powerful recording capabilities
- Comment moderation
- Not CPU-intensive
- Go live across all major social media platforms
- Great for beginners
- Not a lot of advanced settings for customizing bitrate
- No keyboard shortcuts available
StreamYard comes in three plans: Free, Basic ($20/month), and Professional ($39/month). It’s important to note that there are streaming limits on the free version. Plus, your streams will be watermarked. But for simple live streams, it should be more than enough.
Lighstream is a popular live stream platform that allows custom overlays on services like Twitch. It makes it easy to broadcast directly from your Xbox as it’s now officially integrated with the Twitch app for Xbox. That means you get to stream with custom effects and overlays even without a capture card or PC.
Many of Lightstream’s features are locked behind a subscription service, but the free features are still great for experimenting with broadcasting straight from your Xbox.
- Web-based software encoder
- Automatically adjusts bitrate based on your Internet connection
- Automatically selects the best encoding settings
- Add guests by sending an invite link
- Intuitive interface
- No software to download
- Less CPU usage
- Live chat support
- Allows remote guests
- Stream directly from your Xbox console
- Sound issues
- Recommended upload speed is at least 5Mb/s
Lightstream offers three plans:
- Free Trial. Try Lightstream for free for four hours every month
- Gamer. 720p 30FPS ($8/month), 720p 60FPS ($12/moth), 1080p 30FPS (will be available soon)
- Creator. 720p 30FPS ($20/month), 720p 60FPS ($20/month), 1080p 30FPS ($40/month)
10. Ecamm Live
Ecamm Live is one of the best broadcasting software for Mac on the market. It’s specifically designed for Apple products, providing Mac users tons of great live streaming features. This encoder will help you get the most of YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Twitter, and Twitch.
- Add viewer comments to your live stream
- Add scrolling stickers, texts, countdowns, images, animations, and PDFs on your overlays
- View a live feed of your reactions and comments
- Bring in up to four guests at the same time
- Share your screen
- Play pre-recorded videos during your live stream
- Green screen support
- Automatically record live streams on your Mac
- Record a video without going live
- Specially built for Mac use
- Many useful features
- Session recording
- Fully customizable
- Live chat
- Screen sharing
- Free trial is only for 14 days
You can try Ecamm Live for free for 14 days or get the Standard ($16/month) or Pro ($32/month) version.
These are our top live streaming software for Mac. We can’t tell you which one is best for you. You have to determine that on your own based on your needs and preferences. But we hope our article helped you understand what a software encoder is and why you need one.