So, you have decided to either share your knowledge with the world or entertain people. The next step is to choose the best live streaming software.
There are so many options in the market, and some even offer an alternative like whiteboard animation software. It can be confusing, but I have used several live streaming software programs myself, and I want to share my feedback.
Today, you will learn the nine best streaming software programs I tried in the past. In the end, you should be able to pick one that best fits your broadcasting standards.
Here is a quick view of the nine best live streaming and recording programs:
1. OBS Studio – Best for people who want a complete live streaming software program at no cost.
2. Nvidia Shadowplay – Best for gamers who also use the Nvidia GeForce graphics card.
3. Xsplit Gamecaster – Best for people who want to live stream games in a simple way.
4. LightStream – Best for people who want a professional streaming software program.
5. Wirecast – Best for professionals who want the best streaming software that money can buy.
6. vMix – Best streaming software for people who want a guaranteed HD video stream.
7. Streamlabs OBS – Best streaming software for people who want something free with plugins that can enhance streaming quality.
8. Restream Studio – Best streaming software for people who want multi-channel chat functionality.
9. Wowza – Best for professional hosting live events.
1. OBS Studio
Best for people who want a complete live streaming software program at no cost.
Pricing: OBS Studio is 100% free. It is up to you if you want to donate.
Unique Feature: Supports multiple platforms as an open-source software program.
Hands down, the best streaming software is OBS Studio. Like the best automation software programs, sometimes, the best ones come in a free package.
OBS Studio is open-source software that is easy to use. It has five main sections, which are scenes, audio mixer, transitions, controls, and sources.
Here are the things you can do with OBS Studio:
- Broadcast live streams on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch
- Capture audio and video and mix them in real-time
- Make use of the configuration options
- Re-arrange the dock layout according to your preferences
Overall, OBS Studio is the golden standard of a free video streaming software program. Most live streaming software does not even come close.
- High Video Quality – you can optimize the fidelity of your video without impacting the stream time. You can choose how many frames per second you want the software to stream.
- Easy to Use – the interface of the software makes it easy to use. You can even change the layout of your control dock if you want to.
- Multiple Platforms – you can use the software on several operating systems and on popular live-streaming platforms.
- Editing – the platform comes with an editing system; you may no longer need a separate editing software like the best alternatives to Camtasia.
- Screen Recording – apart from live streams, you can record your screen and audio. What it means is that you can recycle your content and then publish it later on YouTube or TikTok.
Everyone loves OBS Studio. It does not matter if you are starting out in your steaming career or not: it is by far the best free streaming software in the market today.
- Has advanced features like chroma key, audio mixing, etc.
- Completely free with no strings attached
- Has a friendly user interface
- Offers high video quality for streaming
- Has several streaming tools that work on multiple platforms
OBS Studio is totally free. You can download the softer program in Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Best for gamers who also use the Nvidia GeForce graphics card.
Pricing: Nvidia Shadowplay is free to use.
Unique Feature: The live streaming platform is the best one for the Nvidia graphics card.
Nvidia is a top-notch manufacturer of gaming software, particularly graphics cards. The company has seen how the gaming industry has changed, so it decided to launch a streaming and recording platform.
Take note that you cannot use Shadowplay unless you have the GeForce Experience. The GeForce Experience is a software program that serves as a companion to the GeForce GTX Graphic card.
As such, you must also have the hardware to be able to use the streaming solutions that Nvidia has. Without the hardware, you cannot use the live streaming platform.
Here are the things you can do with it in a live stream:
- Record your videos
- Stream your games live
- Use an in-game overlay while streaming
- Capture your screen
Nvidia Shadowplay also comes by the name Nvidia Share, so do not get confused if you come across this term. Overall, this is one of the best software programs you can use if you are a gamer in the Nvidia universe.
- In-Game Overlay – you can add graphics and other stuff to make your game streaming unique.
- Instant Replay – it is something that works like a DVR. It records up to 20 minutes of your game time.
- Record – use this to record your screen and audio so you can upload it on YouTube later on.
- Broadcast Live – it is a live streaming platform where you can broadcast on YouTube and Facebook in real-time.
- Screenshots – you can take screenshots of your game so you can use them for other content types. You can also add game filters so you can add post-processing filters to change the appearance of your game.
- It has an Instant Sharing feature
- There is an instant replay for game highlights
- You can use a built-in GIF creator
- There is a list of games where you can do highlights while streaming
There is no fee to use Nvidia Shadowplay, but you must have Nvidia GeForce. It is one of the best live streaming software options that you can partner with your Nvidia Graphics Card.
Best for people who want to live stream games in a simple way.
Pricing: There is a free plan and four paid plans.
Unique Feature: You can stream on multiple platforms simultaneously.
While many people are busy learning how to make money on TikTok, there are those whose passion is to stream games. In this case, Xsplit Gamecaster is one of the best live streaming paid platforms.
Here are the things it can do:
- Video streaming
- It has a broadcasting software for presenters, not just gamers
- Project slides like a PowerPoint Presentation
- Stream in multiple channels
It does have a free version, but the functionalities are extremely limited. If you get the free one, there are many things you cannot do except for the live stream.
For example, the free version has a watermark. So, if you are concerned about your brand, the watermark of the company’s name may interfere.
- Integration – the software program works with other programs like Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and Skype.
- Mobile Phone as Webcam – there is an app you can use where the mobile device will communicate with your PC. The result is you no longer have to purchase a separate webcam.
- Presenter – this is the software program for meetings where you can make your presentation interactive.
- Record Screen – a screen recording system where you can capture your desktop contents and share them with your audience. You can also select which areas of your screen the system will capture.
- It has 3D positioning
- There is a transition for different cameras
- You can do simultaneous broadcast
- There are plugins you can add to expand the functions
- Vcam Premium – you can remove the loading screen and the watermark from the free version.
- Presenter Premium – get 24/7 support.
- Broadcaster Premium – you can use the chroma key, which means you can edit video scenes as you broadcast.
- Premium Bundle – get all the features of the software program plus access to new features.
The prices of these plans vary per region. If you want the free version, you need to get the Gamecaster Software.
Best for people who want a professional streaming software program.
Pricing: Free to use with an option for special features for large companies.
Unique Feature: It has reporting features you can use to make business decisions.
LightStream is one software program that encourages you to have an eCommerce mindset. It has reports you can view so you can analyze how your live videos are doing.
From here, you can make decisions that come from data, not hunches or conjectures. One thing I also like the most is the custom RTMP.
It means that instead of relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitch, your followers or audiences can watch your video feed or live streams from your website.
Here are the things you can do with it:
- Do video streaming on several platforms, including your website
- Stream video files or codes without affecting the quality
- Use board conversations
- Do web recordings and even interviews
LightStream is a professional live streaming tool, and yet it is free. It has a simple interface that allows you to use innovative controls, manage behind-the-scene tasks, and showcase your video content on social media.
- No Set-Up – there is no need to buy costly equipment such as cards. The only thing you need to get started is a browser and a strong internet connection.
- Mobile Device-Friendly – you can use your mobile phone as your control panel. This way, you do not have to navigate the controls on your PC.
- Support – the customer service is live. You can talk to somebody instead of beating your brains out with a robot.
- Many Scenes – you can choose from several scenes and modes. For example, there is an independent mode, BRB screen, and also alternative perspective for a live stream.
- Multiple Platforms – you can stream on your YouTube channel and Facebook. If you want, you can set up your website as a destination for the live stream.
- No need to set-up
- Supports multiple platforms
- You can use the custom RTMP streaming and choose a destination
- Different scenes and modes for your video content
LightStream is free to use for video streaming. If you want an enterprise-grade software program, you need to contact their admin.
Best for professionals who want the best streaming software that money can buy.
Pricing: Available in two plans; you can either buy the entire software or subscribe monthly.
Unique Feature: This software program allows you to source your live videos or video clips from an unlimited number of resources.
Wirecast is a professional tool, but it is not one of the popular streaming software options. It does, however, deliver what you need for broadcasting.
Here are the things it can do:
- Live streaming with only an internet connection
- YouTube production
- Facebook integration
- Slide sharing and presentation
- Use stock media files with no copyright issues
The software is expensive, and it is why it is not popular. However, its cost justifies its price. With it, you can have an unlimited number of inputs, save video files, and stream live.
- Unlimited Inputs – you can have as many camera sources as you want. This works great for big shows or if you have guests in a show seated in different locations.
- Animations – the animations here are lower thirds, which you can use to add information as you are doing a live stream. It is like an anecdote at the bottom of the TV when you are watching the news.
- Audio Mixer – the mixer here is not a run-off-the-mill product. It is a high-end mixer that can help you improve your tone, voice, and overall sound.
- Media Library – from soundtracks to images, you have a ton of options with Wirecast. Because of this, you no longer need to buy stock media from other companies.
- Screen Capture – aside from live streaming or recording video a video f yourself, you can also set the tool to capture your screen, which you can show your audience while you are broadcasting live.
- There is a built-in lower thirds media library
- There is no limit to the destination output
- You can use it for sports production
- Instant replay is available
Wirecast Studio has no free plan, but you can buy it for $599 for a lifetime license. The other option is to subscribe monthly for $35. The PRO version costs $799 for the lifetime license.
Best streaming software for people who want a guaranteed HD video stream.
Pricing: Two types of licenses are available: lifetime and subscription.
Unique Feature: You can accept callers to your show.
A live stream works best if you use a software program that can transmit HD video. The problem with many software programs is that even if you have an HD camera and fast internet, the stream is of bad video quality.
vMix fixes all these. The minimum resolution that it sends out is HD. Of course, you need HD inputs, too, like an HD camera.
- Camera Input – this is one of the software programs that can accommodate 1,000 cameras. It is a great option for broadcasting sports events.
- High Resolution – different plans come at different resolutions. The minimum, however, is 1920×1080.
- Two Recorders – you can have up to two recorders, which means you can record at different angles.
- Simultaneous Streams – with this tool, you can do up to three simultaneous live streams.
- Animation – you can add anecdotes for your live streams. For example, if you want to show a scoreboard, you can do that in the backend.
- Callers – you can accept up to eight callers; these are people you can talk to live on air as you are broadcasting.
- There are several price points; choose what applies to your channel
- You can do instant replay
- The program comes with professional color correction
- All your live streaming activities are broadcast in HD.
- Basic HD – costs $60; the maximum resolution is 1920 x 1080, and you can only have one channel overlay plus few video inputs.
- HD – costs $350; you get 1000 total inputs, and you can now accept one caller.
- 4K – costs $700; you can stream with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. In addition, you will get access the animation software.
- Pro – costs$1200; with this plan, you can accept up to 8 callers and then do instant replay from eight camera sources.
All the prices above give you a lifetime license. If you want a subscription-based payment, you will pay $50 per month with the Subscription Max plan.
Best streaming software for people who want something free with plugins that can enhance streaming quality.
Pricing: Streamlabs OBS is 100% free.
Unique Feature: There are widgets or apps that you can use.
Streamlabs OBS is different from OBS Studio. Both of them are free, and they are contenders in the live streaming space.
Here are the things you can do with Streamlabs OBS:
- You stream on several platforms
- Your video file is saved and backed in the cloud
- Stream on multiple platforms at the same time
- Alert your viewers while you are streaming
What I like about Streamlabs OBS is that you can monetize your platform without depending on traditional methods. With Streamlabs, you can earn in many ways.
For example, you can put sponsor banners. What it means is you can have a floating banner in your video stream. You will do this after you get paid, of course.
- Stream Overlays – there are many items you can choose from to add zest and personality to your streams. For example, you can add a floating image.
- Alert Box – you can send alerts to the viewers while you are talking. There are also themes to choose from, so you do not have to create a design from scratch.
- Multiple Platforms – you can stream on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and more.
- Branding – the platform comes with a logo maker and an intro maker. You no longer have to pay a video or graphics artist to do it for you.
- Widgets – you can get widgets from the website; these widgets help you make your streams more entertaining and engaging. For example, you can add a widget that shows your viewer count.
- Monetization – you can monetize your content in different ways. The options are Goals, Tip Ticker, Tip Jar, and Sponsor Banners.
In addition to these features, you can also add a chatbox so your viewers can message you while you are presenting.
- You can start a live stream in minutes, not hours
- You can personalize your streams
- No fees to pay
- Lots of widgets to choose from
Streamlabs OBS is free, and you can download the software from the homepage.
Best streaming software for people who want multi-channel chat functionality.
Pricing: There is a free-for-life plan and two paid ones.
Unique Feature: Can split the recording of audio.
Restream Studio is a software program that has a strong focus on engagement. You will like it if you are a creator who covers a lot of ground on social media.
With Restream Studio, you can live stream in eight channels and also have a cross-platform chat. There is even a relay bot feature that allows your fans from different platforms to chat with each other.
To be clear, if you have fans on YouTube and Facebook, they can chat with each other while you are presenting.
Here are the things you can do with it:
- Launch a product
- Conduct a live webinar
- Chat with your participants
- Have a co-presenter
- Real-Time Engagement – the software has a chat feature that allows you to engage with your audience. This chat feature is cross-platform.
- Multiple Streaming Channels – you can stream to eight channels, which means you can reach more people depending on the social media platforms that you use.
- Integration and Compatibility – you can integrate the software program to OS, Zoom, XSplit, and many others.
- Pre-Recorded Stream – you can upload a pre-recorded video and make it look like a live stream. It is an excellent option for people who are hesitant to do live stream due to nervousness.
- Cloud Storage – the system will save your files in the cloud. However, there is a maximum number of days for this, and the system will eventually purge it.
- Easy to use
- The free version offers many features good for a beginner
- You can add participants to your live stream
- Music is free to use
- Basic – free forever; you can integrate the software with Zoom and OBS with limited functions.
- Standard – costs $19 per month; you can multi-stream to five channels and add your custom logo and branding.
- Professional – costs $49 per month; you can now unlock full HD streaming and use the software with four seats or co-presenters.
The free version is available to anybody, and you do not need to provide a credit card number.
Best for professional hosting live events.
Pricing: Available in three paid plans.
Unique Feature: It allows you to live stream on location, like a hotel or a gym.
Wowza is unique in the sense that it was made for large companies. Apart from streaming, it is also a video-on-demand platform.
Essentially, it is a software progra you use for big-event broadcasts. It is not something that you should buy if you are a solo creator.
Here are the things you can do with Wowza:
- VR captioning
- Live broadcast
- Personalized solution for enterprise use
- Comprehensive APIs and SDKs for your app
- Live Streaming – you can launch videos and charge participants before your event starts.
- HTML 5 Platform – your participants do not need to install any software to watch you; your videos will run on a browser.
- Reporting – Wowza is a business-oriented platform, so you can expect excellent reporting that you can use to make business decisions.
- Excellent tool for video-on-demand platforms
- It can be used for big shows like WWE wrestling, other sports events, or a big gathering
- Highly reliable with 99.9% uptime
- Has a single integrated platform
- Basic – costs $195; you get to use the service only once in an event.
- One Month – costs $295; you can use the service for 30 days.
Wowza offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required.
Live streaming software is a program that you use to broadcast to a lot of audiences all at once. It is the internet version of live television.
Think of it as a Facebook video call, but the viewing is open to almost all people. The advantage of live streaming software is that the participant, or audience, does not need a code or a link to join.
A live streaming software program also allows you to switch from one camera to another. Think of a news broadcast or a live TV show where the camera angles change according to how the director wants it.
Like the best virtual conference platforms, streaming platforms have advanced features, and some streaming software options only offer the basic tools.
To help you make a decision, below are some of the fundamental things you need to look for from a streaming software program.
Not all software programs run on all devices. Some prefer a faster processor, and some require a high level of internet bandwidth.
If you are streaming, I am guessing that you are using either a mobile device or a laptop. For mobile devices, check if the live streaming software program works on Android or iOS.
For PC, check the program’s minimum system requirements. Then, pay attention to the processor and graphics cards that it needs.
Companies make products for a specific market. Some of these are too niched that they only serve a specific purpose.
In relation to this, some developers prefer to offer a free service where the only thing the software does is broadcast. You must identify what you need, and this will help you decide what types of software to use.
Here are some considerations:
- Camera Shifting – a feature that allows you to transition from one camera to another. Some software programs only allow one camera. As such, you can only live stream from one angle.
- Recording – can you record your live stream? Many people do this because they edit the video and upload it on YouTube.
- Multiple Platforms – can you use the software program on Linux, Mac, and Windows? In addition, does the software work with several platforms like Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube?
- Audio Mixing – mixing audio means you are altering your real voice. Not all of us like how our voice sounds on digital platforms. With an audio mixer, you can adjust the treble or bass of your voice.
- Scenes or Backgrounds – many live streamers do not have a set-up at home. It makes sense to use a green screen and then replace that with a scene or background directly from the software during your live streams.
There are platforms where you can enjoy a multi-view. It is a feature where you can view up to eight different monitors. With this feature, you can easily transition from one camera to another in a single click.
Furthermore, there are streaming tools that do not allow you to save video files. With programs like that, you can only do a live stream. It would be a waste since you can always recycle recorded content for other purposes.
Other streaming tools do not have advanced features. So, ask yourself if you need it. Of course, there is always money involved. You would be so lucky to have all these features you want for free.
1. Is OBS good for streaming?
Yes, OBS is one of the best software programs you can use for live streaming and recording. Many users have praised OBS Studio, claiming that it is the best streaming software among free ones. It is highly flexible, and many gamers on Twitch use it in their channels.
2. What is streamer software?
A streamer software program is the same as live streaming software. It is a tool that allows you to do live streams, recorded streams, and broadcasts. Many live streaming software work with multiple platforms. Of course, it is best used by people who want to do live shows, not recorded ones.
3. How to get the most out of your streaming software
To get the most of your live streaming software, make sure it is compatible with your PC and your desired broadcast platform. For example, some live streaming platforms do not work with Twitch. You must also consider whether or not you need features like recording, chat, payments, etc.
The best overall streaming software is OBS Studio. It is free, and it has almost all the features that you need to launch a streaming show or career.
The next one that I recommend is Xsplit Gamecaster. It is a versatile software that you can use not only or gaming but for other purposes.
Before you choose a software program, I recommend that you list down what you need. Pick up three of the best streaming software on my list and try them all out.