As a live streamer, it’s only natural to want the best video stream quality. To achieve that, though, you’ll need to use the right streaming platform for you. Most streaming software lets you capture, encode, and publish your video content to Twitch and other streaming platforms with ease, making the whole live streaming process so much easier.
You can use different programs to stream on Twitch, but not all of them are created the same. We’ve spent some time checking out the different Twitch streaming software available today and have narrowed down the list to our top four.
Why You May Need Software to Live Stream on Twitch
Aside from designing a good live stream channel, one of the first things you need to determine as a new streamer is what streaming software to use. But have you ever wondered why you need one? Can’t you just hit the live button and start streaming? Technically, yes, you can do that on Twitch if you’re only doing simple chitchat to catch up with your followers.
But if you want to stream your gameplay, it won’t be as easy sharing your screen on Twitch. Using a streaming software is key to getting your content in front of your audience in the highest quality possible.
Live streaming software, also called an encoder, converts video input into digital format for it to be playable on different devices. Some can even stream your live stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. So if you want to broadcast your live feed on different platforms at the same time, a software encoder is a must.
All streaming software generally have the same basic features. This includes webcam support, local recording, stream encoding, and multiple sources for capturing your live video. But every streaming software has its pros and cons.
Some are pretty much ready to use once installed, while others will need some tweaking to get the settings right. Which software encoder you choose will depend on your technical ability and preferences. Luckily, there are many free streaming software for Twitch to choose from.
4 Best Streaming Software for Twitch: Find What is Right for You
Looking for the best Twitch stream program? Check out our list of recommended streaming apps for Twitch.
1. Twitch Studio Beta
When setting up your streaming software, you need to determine the right video bitrate. To do so, you’ll need to consider your framerate, resolution, and the stability and speed of your Internet connection, especially your upload speed. If that had your head spinning, don’t worry. Twitch Studio has your back.
Twitch Studio, currently in beta, is Twitch’s official streaming software. It simplifies the live streaming process by providing guided customization and auto-detection of settings you’d normally have to adjust manually. It’ll take care of all the technical aspects for you, such as automatically detecting the best bitrate, video, and mic setup for your live stream. This makes it the best choice for new streamers who aren’t very tech-savvy.
Twitch Studio also has a built-in alert system, so you don’t have to set one up yourself. But it’s very basic and doesn’t have many customization options. If you’re a newbie who wants the quickest way to get started without going through hoops, you should check this out.
2. OBS Studio
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) Studio is one of the most popular and commonly used free software encoders. It’s best for advanced users looking for robust features and customization options and aren’t afraid to find the right OBS setting for Twitch without much guidance.
OBS is open source, meaning anyone can view and make changes to its source code. But don’t worry. Other OBS users and contributors review all these changes. Since they also use OBS, they have more reasons to make sure nothing malicious is added to it.
However, this also means that there’s no centralized team to contact if you encounter issues. There are lots of resources and communities you can turn to for assistance, but you’ll still be the one to fix your problem at the end of the day.
3. Streamlabs OBS
Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS) is basically the same as OBS, but with more features and a more user-friendly interface. It has everything a pro streamer would ever need in a streaming software, from backup and themes to tons of customization options. If you’re interested in creating professional-quality streams, this is the perfect software for you.
SLOBS’ rich dashboard lets you monitor your stream events and subscriptions. It also makes it easy to switch between overlay designs. Plus, you get an extensive library of free overlays and design elements for your stream.
For a small price, you also have the option to purchase SLOBS’ Prime subscription. For $149 a year or $19 a month, you get access to unique alerts, hundreds of custom overlays, all apps in the Streamlabs app store, and so much more. The only major drawback to this software is it requires a lot of CPU usage, which explains the occasional performance problems.
Lightstream is another freemium streaming software. It has both a free and paid version. It offers a unique streaming experience without downloading any software because everything is done on the cloud. All the magic happens within your browser, making it the perfect live streaming solution for people who are always on the go.
It meets all the basic requirements to run a live game stream. But if you ask us, it’s also suitable for podcasts and talk show streams because of its link sharing feature. You only need to send your guest a link, and Lightstream will pull their video and audio feed directly to your stream. Doing live interviews has never been this easy.
The downside is its free version is quite limited. For example, you only get to stream at 720p and 30 FPS. You’re also only allowed to stream for a maximum of three hours. You need to pay for the premium version if you want to experience Lightstream’s full features.
We can’t tell you which software encoder is the best. All of them have the same basic features, but each one also has pros and cons to consider. You need to think about what your needs are, how much your budget is, and how much of the technical stuff you’re able to handle. Again, you get a lot of options, and many of them are free or have free versions. So why not give each one a try until you find the best software for you?