As the world goes digital, people’s attention spans get shorter and shorter. Keeping up with the latest technology is a no-brainer if you want to satisfy your audience’s new demands. Transitioning from being a static YouTube content creator to an interactive live streamer is a good way to keep their interest.
But that’s easier said than done. There are a lot of things you need to consider to become a successful live streamer. One of them is choosing the right streaming software. This tool can help make broadcasting your video and chatting with your fans so much easier.
The good news is there are a lot of options available on the market. The bad news is there are so many of them that choosing one can get quite overwhelming. This is where we come in. We’ve rounded up the best YouTube streaming software and divided them into two categories: game and video.
Best YouTube Streaming Software for Live Streaming Games
If you’re a live gamer, you’ll find this list of YouTube live stream software very useful.
1. Xsplit Gamecaster
Xsplit Gamecaster can help you share your creativity and memorable gaming moments to your viewers on YouTube and other live streaming platforms. It has a sleek interface, but many of its premium features like chromakeying (green screen) and capture card console support are locked behind a paywall. Additionally, a license is required for commercial use.
- Scene preview editor. Easily edit your video scenes before going live.
- Intuitive editor. Use this to add donation trains, subscriber goals, follower alerts, and events lists to make your live broadcast stand out.
- In-game steam control HUD. This helps you stop and start the stream, interact with the chat, monitor recent events, and keep an eye on your engagement stats.
- NVIDIA NVENC. NVENC options let you personalize your settings to optimize stream performance and quality.
- Projector mode. Display multiple scenes to all devices connected to your GPU.
- Capture card support. It supports all the latest capture card designs.
- Basic account: Free
- 36-month license: $4.17 per month
- Lifetime license: $199
2. Nvidia ShadowPlay
If you have a Geforce graphics card, chances are you already have ShadowPlay installed as it comes bundled with the drivers. What we really like about this software is it encodes in the GPU instead of the CPU. This means it has little to no impact on your computer performance, but it’s not as flexible as other encoders. For example, there are no multi-sources scenes or overlays. You just get the game itself.
- In-game screenshot capture (with 4K upload). Capture and upload screenshots to Imgur or Google Photos at up to 3840x2160 resolution without leaving your game or using third-party software.
- Instant replay and record. Automatically record the last 20 minutes of your gameplay up to 4K at 60 fps resolution with “Instant Replay.”
- Improved streaming capabilities. Broadcast up to 1080p at 60fps by simply clicking on “Broadcast” and selecting your preferred live stream platform.
- Free for NVIDIA GeForce graphics card users.
Best Free Video Live Streaming Software for YouTube
Want to know what encoders seasoned live streamers use? Check out our top-rated YouTube broadcasting software for video streaming.
3. OBS Studio
OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio) is simply the best free encoder for YouTube. For a free software encoder, it’s quite powerful. Plus, it’s easy to use. Even beginners won’t have a hard time operating it. If you’re tech-savvy, you can also tweak the source code to customize it according to your needs since it’s open-source.
- Hotkeys. Easily set up hotkeys for actions, such as switching between scenes, starting/stopping recordings or streams, and muting audio sources.
- Studio mode. Preview your sources and scenes for last-minute tweaks or create a new scene right before going live.
- Modular dock UI. Rearrange or pop out the individual Dock windows to customize and align your layout according to your branding requirements.
- Multiple OS Support. It works on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
- 100% free
4. Streamlabs OBS
Streamlabs OBS is essentially the same as OBS, but provides a better user experience. It has a free and paid version. The free version is more than enough to create a professional-grade stream, but you can always upgrade to Streamlabs Prime to unlock premium features, such as professionally designed widgets and themes, custom domain, monetization tools, and mobile streaming.
- Streamlabs dashboard. Use the dashboard to manage and adjust all elements without opening your browser.
- Smart video encoding. Reduce your CPU usage by as much as 20% without compromising video quality with Streamlabs’ smart video encoding feature.
- Free overlays and themes. Take your pick from thousands of free overlays, widgets, and themes made by gifted designers.
- Basic account: Free
- Streamlabs Prime: $19 a month or $149 a year
Wirecast is a powerful live streaming software. You can use it not only to produce TV-quality on-demand and live stream broadcast, but also to stream to any RTMP destination. It’s an expensive tool, but it’s the best professional YouTube broadcasting software we can recommend. As long as you have the budget, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- Flexible and intuitive user interface. Easily customize your feed with its intuitive UI. Simply plug in your camera and mic, and it will automatically handle all the encoding for you.
- Unlimited destinations. Stream to any live streaming platform or RTMP destination. Stream to more than one destination simultaneously.
- ISO recording. Stream and record at the same time. Easily archive all your live video inputs without modifications.
- Stock media library. Get unlimited access to over 500,000 media assets, including music, videos, backgrounds, and so much more.
- Free trial
- Wirecast Studio: $599
- Wirecast Pro: $799
All these software encoders serve the same purpose, which is broadcasting videos. Each one has different features and prices. Some are free while others are not. Paid software often has more features, but it may not be what you’re looking for. The best encoder for YouTube Live isn’t always the most expensive. When choosing one, keep your needs, preferences, and budget in mind.