Live streaming has grown tremendously in the recent past, and it is more popular now than ever before. This huge demand has led to various streaming software in the market. Are you a business person who earns by live streaming? Maybe you are just getting started with creating live-streaming. There is a solution for you, the best streaming software.
There is numerous streaming software, and it can be challenging to find the right software that will meet your needs. You can use ways to know the best streaming software that suits you and your business. The main hurdle remains how do you choose the right software?
In this article, we will cover:
- Understanding Streaming essentials.
- What is Software encoding?
- Steps to use to ensure you choose the right streaming software.
- Advantages of using Streaming software.
- The 8 best streaming software to choose from in 2021.
- Features to look out for when searching for streaming software.
What is the Best Streaming Software?
The best streaming software is a tool that helps you to stream live videos when you are creating content for your audience. It is real-time and enables you to interact with your customers. The software allows you to broadcast your content and old live events.
The best Streaming software helps you engage with your audience in the comment section, where you can reply to your viewers’ concerns. It also allows you to see the number of views and the new subscribers each live stream gets, which is essential for your analysis.
Some streaming software enables you to share your streams on your site, social media platforms, and mobile apps you may want to use.
Most of the streaming software in the market today has a hardware encoder. This encoder helps transform RAW video into a digital format for various devices.
Depending on your needs, you can use software to broadcast on several platforms like mobile apps, websites, social media, and OTT platforms. This software also helps you edit, modify and customize the stream according to your preference.
What are Streaming Essentials
Before you can choose a streaming software, you need to understand the streaming setup. When making an average live streaming setup, you need to understand some permitted and fundamental variations that are a must.
These fundamentals are video or audio that provides material for your stream. When you are using a non-USB camera, you will need a capture card to connect the camera and computer.
The Internet connection is stable to transfer your data to the destination. An encoder encodes the output to your preferred platform and streaming service that acts as your destination for providing work.
When you have the basic setup for your streaming services will work perfectly well. It’s a simple setup that you can design in your home or office. The streaming software includes the encoder.
What is Streaming Encoder Software?
A streaming encoding software compresses the raw data you put in when you turn your camera in a rolling mode making it transferable to the destination.
There are two types of encoding, the much costly hardware encoding and software encoding that depends on your laptop’s hardware.
Choosing the Right Software
Most streaming software popular in the market has a lot in common, making it challenging to choose the right software. Despite the commonality, some characters set streaming software apart.
When you focus on finding the best streaming software, you can look at some characteristics that differ like:
There is free and paid streaming software, and the most popular programs are free ones. However, some providers charge fees for better quality and more functionality which can go a long way in boosting your business.
Most if not all software has advanced features that involve different levels of complexity. The parts are mainly used to improve your streaming. You may choose a specific software but later realize it doesn’t help meet your needs or offer you the right solution. Before you settle for a particular software, it’s good to know all its features early on.
Most streaming software use Real-Time Multimedia Protocol (RTMP). You will use most social media and websites to stream your content. It may be challenging to stream when you are using other delivery networks. Ensure the software you choose is compatible with your destination.
Advantages of Using Streaming Softwares
Live streaming is new, and it’s gaining popularity fast. It’s a great way of delivering content, especially for people who are always looking for ways to deliver their content in more innovative and unique ways.
If you want to start streaming your content, here are the advantages of live streaming and one more reason to start now.
When you want to start streaming your content, you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is a camera, laptop, or smartphone, active account on your chosen platform, and you are ready to start streaming.
Unlike blogging, which will require hosting sites that will require money and software configured to work, Streaming is available with just one click.
Live streaming offers flexibility. You can choose to make it as long or short as you want, unlike blogs restricted to several words. You can also make it more personal and do not need to meet a certain threshold. Any restrictions are the ones you want to impose. You can do so freely without the need to feel like it’s a requirement.
Creates a Sense of Urgency
People who watch your content consume it on your time, which comes as urgency on their part. You are sure that people watching your streams are interested and care about your brand. They are likely to follow and convert into customers. No other marketing tool can transform the way screaming does.
Real-Time Customer Engagement
One of the most significant advantages of streaming is not only is it helping you reach many people. However, it also makes it easier to engage with customers because you can offer to interact with your audience in real-time via an office tour. Also, showing your customers what goes on in the background and behind the camera.
You can also offer a question-and-answer session to get your customers to ask their questions while you answer. This real-time engagement generates a lot of leads than you can imagine.
When you stream your content, you can educate potential customers about your brand and the products. Your content is more decadent than a blog article because you can go in-depth about your brand.
It creates more awareness that creates interesting awareness, bringing forth more opportunities. These opportunities can be ideal breakers and increase your brand exposure.
8 Best Streaming Software for 2021
The best streaming software is the one that fits your unique requirements and meets all your tasks to the core. A good streaming software provides you with various tools to make your streaming easy and give you the best quality videos. You also have to be willing to put on more work and money to get the best.
Below is a review of the 8 best streaming software that comes with a mix of pricing, features, and functions.
1. OBS Studio
When looking for free streaming, powerful and flexible best streaming software, look out for OBS Studio. It’s an open software broadcaster that is friendly for new people to live stream. It’s easy to set up when you want simple streaming.
The software is compatible with Windows, Linus, and Mac. It also receives updates regularly from its contributors. While it may be complicated to set up, it’s also easy for people seeking simple work.
The best part of this software is that you can use multiple sources like images, audio mixes, texts, or even a webcam to create different scenes. All the functionalities are listed well, making it easy for you to use.
The OBS Studio can stream to various platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Mixer, and Twitch, among many others. The range of platforms you can stream using OBS Studio is much more comprehensive than any other platform you will ever find.
Even though OBS Studio is free software and offers the best quality videos. You can use it to stream your content or games with your computer. The tools are flexible and straightforward to cover different types of streaming.
The OBS Studio is free with no hidden cost. The latest version, 26.1.1, was released on 6th January 2021. It is available and free to download for Windows and Mac operating systems.
- Studio Mode; Helps you to do last minutes previews when you are doing your last-minute previews.
- Modular “Dock” UI: This makes it easy to rearrange the layout to align with your brand’s needs. When lacking greater customization, you can remove all dock windows that individual.
- Hotkeys: You can use hotkeys to take various actions like start, stop, switch between scenes, streaming, mute audios, and many other activities you may require.
- The software is entirely free.
- Can It automatically change the Video Bitrate based on your streaming speed?
- Suitable for beginners.
- Can work on low-quality internet.
- You can explore a lot of features without any restriction.
- It can monitor eight scenes that are all different using the Multiview feature at once.
- Updated regularly.
- Enable high functionality that you can easily customize and has a powerful API integration with many plugins.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Can stream on different platforms.
- Limitations on some features.
- Can be Improved plugins.
- It can be complicated to set up when you want to use more sophisticated settings.
2. Streamlabs OBS
Streamlabs is another version of OBS that is also known as SLOBS. It’s a cloud-based system that you can use to stream Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. It has a hundred features that help you to customize your streams professionally. These templates, overlays, or assets help you use templates like “starting soon,” etc.
If you are a broadcaster seeking to take your streaming to the next level, Streamlabs is ideal. One thing that makes the app truly unique is its ability to broadcast to platforms with just one click without leaving its browser. It enables its excellent live-streaming app, the MelonApp.
Streamlabs OBS is free to use, but if you want to access all the resources offered by Streamlabs, you need to upgrade to the prime version. It’s compatible with most operating systems, so you don’t need to worry about the system you are using.
It has an app store that contains 46 apps that help you undertake various actions. With these apps, you can stream to several platforms at once, have in-depth analytics and use multiple to interact with viewers.
- Widget Themes: Use the widget themes to choose a theme for various broadcasts. Each theme is separate, making it easier when moving from one to another.
- Dashboard: Use Streamlabs dashboard to make all the adjustments you need by clicking on the alert box and manage everything without using your browser.
- Visual Themed Layout: Another unique feature of Streamlabs is themed layouts. You can use specific themes that are for particular games. When you combine pieces with effects, graphics, and animation, you will have a more impressive experience.
- It’s free.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Has tools that make it easy to make your stream layouts.
- Great for gamers.
- You can use video stabilization or speed adjustment tools to edit your stream for quality broadcast.
- You can monitor your streaming performance through performance metrics by looking at the number of views and subscribers.
- There are limitations on graphics.
- The software has no scoreboard.
- Some features are hard to use.
Developed by Telestream, Wirecast is a high-end streaming software that creates live streams similar to the tv production. It’s also the software to go for when making on-demand web broadcasts.
Wirecast provides you with unlimited features and destinations. It’s the perfect best streaming software for live streaming broadcasting, conference calls, and several goals.
It has a flexible user interface that you can use to tailor your live feed easily. All you need to do is plug your camera, microphone, and other equipment into the UI. It will handle the encoding and provide you with a ready-to-use live stream at any geographical scale.
Wirecast covers every live stream you may think of, be it live events, television production, online news broadcast, or even radio. Whatever your live-streaming, Wirecast is designed to handle basic bedroom projects as well as complex high-budget broadcasts.
Wirecast has an iOS camera app that helps you to capture content easily and transfer the content to various destinations all at once. It also allows you to reach different abled people through embedding live captions.
- ISO Recording: keeps all the live videos you have to without modifying them separate from your recording program.
- Stock Media Library: the stock media Library has more than 500,000 assets of media.You can access that include video, backgrounds, and music you can use when streaming your videos.
- Multiview: it enables sending and monitoring several source grids up to 17 grips.
- The user interface is friendly and easy to use.
- It is compatible with the most common operating system.
- Loaded with great features like reply and scoreboard.
- Easy to record in MOV and MP4.
- It comes loaded with more than 100 built-in graphics.
- You can mix audio tracks and use FX processing.
- Supports ISO, WASAPI, and all Core audio.
- It is costly.
- Features are in-studio versions.
- It takes a large part of your computer memory,
XSplit is a live streaming broadcast for streaming games recording and streaming. It’s high-end and best streaming software that has free and premium categories. The software receives occasional updates and can be used alongside other apps and plugins.
When using XSplit, you will need to know to encode because the software has no presents. However, you may not need to know when you are using Mac or Linux to encode.
Can use the application in the most popular operating system. XSplit will handle all the required encoding settings card’s performance, also guiding the perfect setup. This setup will help you stream the best quality videos through this setup.
XSplit displays several of your scenes connected to your device through projector mode. It’s easy to use as you can manage all controls from just one screen. You may require an update to premium to access locked features and the free watermark’s themes.
- Intuitive Editor: Make your streaming stream stand out when you use the intuitive editor to add subscribers’ goals, list events, tips, and follower alerts. Scene Editor Preview: the screen editor preview lets you edit your stream before going live.
- NVIDIA NVENC: This unique feature helps you customize settings to achieve the perfect quality live streaming.
- Live Chat: The live chat features enable you to view and comment while streaming on social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
- Organized with title tags.
- Easy to record and stream using the software’s streaming and recording tools.
- Supports YouTube chat, Facebook chat, and Twitch chat, and thus you will have 24/7 support.
- It is suitable for a business like the game industry that may need to stream their games live.
- Easy to use several streaming devices.
- It has a live status feature that enables you to know the number of new followers, subscribers, and chats.
- It gives you the freedom to add your transitions or use the preloaded change.
- Some of the features need you to watch them before you add them and before accessing them.
- Not ideal for beginners as it can be a little confusing.
- Some processes are challenging.
- You need to have some basic streaming knowledge due to a slightly steep learning curve.
vMix is a powerful encoder and vision software that helps stream live audio, video, and even cameras. It enables you to stream quality HD videos and live broadcasts live. It supports various inputs like cameras, capture cards with funding, 4K resolution, PowerPoint, webcams, playlist, MOV, MXF, MVM, and many more directly to the internet.
One of the unique features of vMix is multi-bitrate streaming, which gives your viewers a great user experience. It comes with a free basic plan, but you need to upgrade to a premium package to access more advanced features.
It Supports Network Device Interface (NDI) used in sending and securing your video upload to ethernet networks. The software has a titling tool for instant replay, using slow-motion features and animation support.
- A unique feature of vMix software is full 3D acceleration, enabling you to create your HD videos on a PC.
- The software gives you thirteen creative transition effects. These are Zoom, Wipe, Fade, Slide, Cut, Cube, Fly, FlyRotate, CrossZoom, CubeZoom, and Cube.
- It has over a hundred stickers, animated titles, and other excellent graphics.
- You want to spice up your recording. You can do that by mixing various audio or videos simultaneously, streaming and output.
- vMix allows you to add remote guests to your streaming.
- vMix Social: you can easily mix all your content for a live stream from YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.
- vMix Replay: With vMix replay, you can see instant replays in HD slow motion while up to four cameras in use and use two different angles.
- You get to enjoy a 60-free trial.
- There is a plan for every budget.
- All you need is a webcam and browser to start streaming.
- Perfect, you’re streaming by using templates, overlay channels of the virtual settings.
- You can be able to add events to your production.
- Not suitable for beginners.
- Streams on a low bitrate.
- Limitation on compatibility.
Lightstream is a live best streaming software that enables you to create resourceful and professional live streams on the web. Lightstream is well equipped with drag and drop features, which help edit and control unlimited creative buttons, scenes, or projects.
Lightstream is a third-party extension that integrates motion graphics, live stream alerts, and social media display to increase and manage your engagements. You can use the live stream alert to invite the third party or guests to your stream.
Intuitive Editor: Make your streaming stream stand out when you use the intuitive editor to add subscribers’ goals, list events, tips, and follower alerts. Scene Editor Preview: the screen editor preview lets you edit your stream before going live.
With Livestream, you can host various events like live discussion, launch your product, host interviews, podcast, competitions, and much more. While holding these events, you can increase your outreach by encouraging your guests to share their pages which will display them.
The software is web-based, so you don’t need to download it for your use. All you need is to open the software on your browser, set and create your productions easily.
It has three versions, with the free version providing minimum features with a maximum of three streaming hours and 720p 30 fps video quality. With a premium plan of $99 per month, you get unlimited streaming hours and the maximum output of 720p 60fps quality.
Lightstream has three unique products that it provides for its users. These are:
- Lightstream Studio: You can use Lightstream studio to personalize it to invite third parties to your live stream.
- Lightstream Cloud: it’s a cloud-based software with native streaming API production.
- Lightstream Arsenal: use Lightstream Arsenal for analytical monitoring to grow your channel.
- Live Engagements: It offers live chat support to help you when you need to solve an issue.
- No Setup: When using Lightstream, you don’t need to download the software that may require storage hardware. You need to have an internet connection and computer, and you are ready to roll.
- Control Remotely: You can use your smartphone to start or stop your streaming or switch between scenes. This feature comes hard when produced remotely.
- You can Streamseveral videos indifferent qualities like 720p60,1080p30 and 720p30.
- Use the green room feature to chat with your viewers remotely when you share your live stream link.
- Unlimited streaming hours.
- In case of disconnection when streaming live, Lightstream will keep you alive and ensure your viewers understand when you get back live.
- Easy to integrate with Twitch, Facebook, Mixer, and YouTube.
- You will need an upgrade to access many great features.
OneStream is the best streaming software you will find in the market today. You can stream live or record your streaming and plush it to more than forty social media sites simultaneously. Live streaming doesn’t get more interesting than that.
If you are on a hectic schedule and still need to stream for your business, you can record your streams and schedule them over 60 days before they go live. By doing so, you can multitask and move along with your schedule without any interruptions.
When you live and want to share your stream on several platforms, you can configure the streaming toll and get started mistaking.
To configure, you need to go to the streaming setting (RTMP), copy the server URL, and stream key from the OneStream dashboard. Set up an external streaming tool like Zoom, OBS, XSplit, or any other external streaming tool and send it to OneStream servers.
Start multitasking by selecting the destination of your stream. Choose a couple of streaming platform destinations where you want to multi-stream the incoming steam.
If you want to schedule pre-recorded videos, all you need is upload your video, schedule the date and time you want it to go live. Then add your preferred streaming destinations like YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, Facebook, Periscope, or other desired platforms.
OneStream offers various pricing options, including free options that include unlimited streaming, 5GB file size, five minutes for each stream, and one social account.
There is no multi-casting for free memberships. For the basic membership, you part with $ 10 per month. You get pre-recorded multicasting, 15 minutes on every stream—5 GB maximum size of the file with unlimited streaming.
For standard membership of $39 monthly, you get the unlimited file size and streaming—real-time multi-casting with pre-recorded videos and up to one hour of the stream. Professional $89, you get 8 hours of recording time, unlimited streaming, and file size. The pre-record and multicasting.
- Zero Setup: you don’t need to download and set up while using OneStream.
- Custom PTMP: Stream using stream key found on streaming settings and using server URL.
- Ability to stream on 40 platforms.
- Able to manage and add several team members in one account.
- You just need a PC and connection to start streaming.
- Flexible plans.
- You can schedule your videos for a later production date.
- You can use numerous upload options like cameras, files, or screen share.
- No regular updates.
7. Twitch Studio
Twitch studio is a free streaming app that is the best for gamers looking to stream live on Twitch free. It lets you stream live on Twitch. Its design helps gamers stream live video games from the same site.
Twitch Studio is considered one of the best streaming applications by experts. It has a simplified setup that offers superior live stream broadcasting regardless of the hardware setup. The software provides you step-by-step automatic onboarding hardware detection. You also get the recommended settings that will enable your streams to appear professional with fewer efforts.
If you want to make some personal statements, you can personalize settings to suit your brand. You can personalize the starter layouts, multiple audio sources, and starter layouts. Alternatively, you can use an in-built feature to broadcast audio from the computer to the stream.
- Content Mixing: You can connect your iPad or iPhone and mix your content and share the screen on your live feed.
- Personalization: Twitch software has a built-in feature that provides alerts, chat, and live feed. When you use this feature, it helps you from installing the plugin.
- Extensive Integration: you get the chance to customize your stream to meet your personality or brand.
- It is free.
- Has several layouts.
- Has dedicated chat feeds and uses widgets to reply and comments on your stream.
- Has numerous FAQS and answers to answer any questions you may have.
- Works well with both macOS and Windows OS.
- No regular updates.
VidBlasterX is a versatile and best streaming software for broadcast that helps you capture and broadcast wherever you want. It’s an encoding software with RTMP-enabled live production. It enables video streaming to most platforms.
Many of the input features are similar to those of Wirecast and vMix. The VidBlasterX studio uses software supporting the Blackmagic Deck connection card’s performance. Users can view it on any monitor they like, and it records streams to the local disk D.
VidBlasterX works well with the Window Operating System. If you are a broadcaster, you can add a feature through a module, then add, remove, or whenever you want.
When you are at a studio with VidBlasterX, you stream and record on a local disk, select the monitor you need for output display.
VidBlasterX has three membership plans starting with $9 per year, a home version that offers only seven modules. The second plan is the studio version that costs $99 per year with 25 modules, and the last is the Broadcast version for $999 a year and supports 100 modules. It also supports multiple recordings and streaming.
- Chat Support: VidBlasterX has a chat support feature that enables you to read and reply to your live stream’s comments.
- Powerful Display: you get the chance to choose the monitor you want for your display.
- Flexible membership plans.
- Easy to customize and personalize to feature your brand.
- Rich features.
- Quality live stream production.
- Not suitable for beginners.
- It does not support the macOS.
- VidBlasterX is slightly complex to use.
Features You Must Lookout for in a Streaming Software
Certain features are needed for your brand and audience when searching for the best streaming apps. You can not skimp on these features because they are crucial to your company’s success.
A preview editor helps you preview your video and make some adjustments before going live. A streaming software with this tool comes in handy because you were sure the tape is perfect and meets your standard. Sometimes you can edit a clip and even make a new video from the edits.
The live chat feature is found on VidBlasterX, one of the best streaming software. With live chat, you can interact with your audience and comment and reply to questions. It also helps you gauge how your viewers react to your videos in real-time. Through live chat, you get to ask and know what your audience wants and cooperate in other live streams.
When you are using multiple cams, it can be hard to keep an eye on all of them simultaneously. With Multiview, you can look out for all the cams without stretching much. You can also use Multiview to switch between several cams with several clicks.
An analysis is crucial for monitoring growth. The same goes for your live stream. Having a real-time analytic tool, you will know your stream success. Using the real-time analytical tool, you can see the number of viewers and new subscribers. If you want to make your live stream more centric, the analytic tool uses demographics and geography.
You can customize themes and templates to make your streaming more personalized and livelier. You can do so by creating a welcome temperate or a filler interval that can make your streaming look personalized with a theme color that reflects your brand.
API and SDK
When looking for the best streaming software, it’s good to check if the software is mobile-friendly. The SDK and API help you integrate digital media, cloud video with your stare to flow smoothly.
Integration with Social Media
Streaming in social media is the norm from small businesses to cooperates. Getting a streaming software that integrates with social media helps you stream on multiple platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch simultaneously.
How to Use Streaming Software?
The usage of streaming software is almost the same in various software in a few different ways. Most of the best streaming software in 2021 support streaming on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, among other social media platforms.
When you are streaming on Twitch, you will need to set up a broadcast output and two-factor authentications. You can’t stream on Twitch without two-factor authentications. To set it, go to Twitch settings and click the two-factor authentication.
To broadcast, you need to set up new output and select your chosen platform. Click authorize and sign in on your account and choose next. For Twitch users, you will need to verify your credentials and browser setup, identify the connection speed, server, and resolution for your live stream. Then click Finish, and you are ready to start streaming.
You have gone through the eight best streaming software for 2021. This software all serves the same purpose, streaming live videos. Despite them doing the same purpose, each software comes with unique features. Some of the software is entirely free, while others require upgrades to access the best parts.
The software’s covers are suitable for different streaming levels, from the beginner level to experienced games that require little knowledge on encoding. The free streaming software comes with the necessary features to produce a quality stream.
If you are new to streaming, we recommend OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS because they are free and easy to navigate. Once you have mastered the live streaming process, you can seek more complex streaming software of your choice.
The streaming process can take you through a process and starts by selecting the best streaming software. Your choice can change shortly. It is crucial to understand the streaming software setup, the right features you need, and find more ways to maximize your software functionality.