Live streaming is highly popular among the gaming community. It allows skilled gamers to showcase their skills and gain monetary benefits as well. In order to conduct a live stream, one needs live stream software which can take a video recording in raw format and convert it into a digital video output in real-time. Currently, one can find live streaming software which is free and you can also find options which exceed $1000 in costs. The price difference is a result of the quality of the video conversion process and the additional features the software can offer. With that in mind, let’s look at the 7 best live streaming software options available in 2020.
The most popular live streaming software among professional gamers, Streamlabs is a high quality yet free application. It is built upon the open-source Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and comes with a host of features which makes it an attractive package. Depending on the sharing platform, Streamlabs makes the necessary adjustments automatically to produce the best possible results. Furthermore, it offers customization options, like themes and widgets, to make your stream feel unique and fresh. All this and much more can be achieved without the use of technical knowledge as Streamlabs is smart enough to carry out backend tasks by itself.
That being said, there are a few flaws with Streamlabs. It suffers from occasional lags and they are more frequent if the graphic card is not NVIDIA. Also, while the software itself is free, some add-ons are paid and require money to be spent.
XSplit is one of the oldest names in the live streaming business and it continues to maintain its presence. Its user friendliness has kept streamers interested as they find the interface to be intuitive. There are two versions of XSplit. The free version comes with a few limitations but you can get the premium XSplit experience by paying a subscription fee of $25. The premium version includes both Broadcaster and Gamecaster which are useful tools for creating professional streams.
There are few drawbacks of XSplit as well. The free version has ads which some streamer may find to be annoying. Also, while subscriptions suit some users, there are many who prefer a one-time upfront payment in order to avoid frequent payments for continued usage of the software.
A free service that thrives on simplicity, Lightstream is a great option for anyone looking to do their first live stream. It takes care of the technical details by itself so that you can focus on your content. The service is accessed through a web browser so there is not even the need to go through a complicated setup either. All you need to do is connect to the stream platform of your choice after personalizing the stream in accordance to your preference. Lightstream optimizes everything and produces a high quality streaming experience.
The major downside of Lightstream is also its simplicity. There are very limited choices when it comes to customization so one may find it difficult to create something which stands out from the crowd.
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a free and open-source streaming software. It has a large online community that offers great insights. The software can be used to seamlessly stream on all major platforms like Twitch and YouTube. It possesses great versatility when it comes to source of the stream. Possible sources include gameplay capture on selected games, screen portions, complete screens and webcam videos. Additionally, OBS can record your video along with streaming it. It gives the content creator a great opportunity to review their work later and make improvements.
Using OBS is not without its challenges. Since there is no official support, you may need to search for solutions in discussion forums. It is also somewhat technical in nature which means that one may need to learn its operations before proceeding ahead with streaming.
When it comes to paid streaming software, vMix is among the best of the lot. While it does come with a free version which introduces the basic features of the application, there are different paid versions at different price points. The pricing range starts from $60 and can go up to $1200 which offers the complete array of vMix services such as replay options and greater camera control. The interface of vMix is quite fluid and has a plethora of options. In case of any issues, one can reach out to the helpful vMix technical support.
The main problem with vMix is its technical nature which can be overwhelming if you lack the necessary skills. Furthermore, while the price is divided in different tiers, the general feeling about vMix is that it is expensive compared to its peers.
Shadowplay is a great product from the graphics card giant, NVIDIA. What makes it standout from other options is the fact that it uses the resources of the graphic card instead of the processor for encoding the video stream. This reduces the load on the processor and generally leads to better performance of the system as a whole. It comes with various handy features such as the Shadow mode which is essentially a quick record option for the last 20 minutes of the stream.
The main drawback of Shadowplay is that it is only compatible with NVIDIA graphic cards so any Radeon users would be left out. Also some feel that the main strength of Shadowplay is recording instead of streaming so one maybe better off using other streaming software.
Wirecast is the ideal streaming software for producing a stream that can match a professional television broadcast in quality. It can stream to multiple platforms at the same time which makes it a great option for any streamer that wants a large audience with different preferences. There are also no limits for encoding content so you can keep streaming without any worries.
The software has the highest starting prices among its competitors at $650. That is why it may not be a viable option for an individual streamer without a large cash inflow from streaming. Also, one may need an expensive and powerful PC to support this software so that would only add to the cost.