Streaming live has become popular this year, and experts predict that it will be more prevalent in the coming years. With more people stuck at home due to pandemics and their associated lockdowns, people have had to look for ways to make their time busy and occupied. The most popular form of video streaming is gaming.
However, you cannot just switch on your laptop or desktop and begin streaming. The tool or software is not built into Mac, Windows, or any operating system. If you’re serious about streaming live, first and foremost, you have to download suitable streaming software. This blog will help you analyze the best streaming software available and find the best one.
What is Live Streaming Encoding Software?
Live streaming encoding software is a tool that converts video files into another format. The primary purpose of video encoding is to make a digital copy of the video transmitted online. You can embed and streamline digital video content right on your site.
Streaming live is time-sensitive, and it needs a professional encoder that can process the video feed in real-time.
You can use software or a hardware encoder for live video streaming.
What is a Hardware Encoder?
- Hardware Encoder: This encoder utilizes a real box to read video and audio information from the camera or any device. This directly links to the transmitter or internet and generates the right format for streaming live. A more common hardware encoder includes live broadcasts on TV and cable studios. The hardware encoder operates well on the field with a hotspot, and you can easily incorporate variations and instability in the bandwidth.
- Soft Encoder: Soft encoder does the same work as a hardware encoder. The only disparity is that rather than a physical device, this encoder reads the information from a device and compresses it into the right format for streaming live. The source of video conveys this data to a device where software is able to read it.
However, hardware and software encoders have their unique advantages. A soft encoder enables the freedom to modify the codecs and bitrate, thereby increasing the video output quality. It is also cheaper compared to hardware. However, hardware works faster as it is made particularly for encoding, which makes the process streamlined and stress-free.
Things to Consider When Looking at Live Streaming Software
At present, amongst a big heap of live video streaming software on hand, it is a bit perplexing and mystifying to select the best streaming software that suits your budget and needs, particularly because the renowned streaming software has some other factors in common. If you want to get the best one, I consider looking at the different details to determine the ideal solution.
So, if you’re firm about picking the most reliable live video streaming software, you should be on guard for some of the significant factors, including the following:
Some live video streaming software available is freeware. As a matter of fact, the most common solutions are accessible for free. However, keep in mind that for some streaming software you will have to pay to get the best features and benefits.
A lot of stream ingestion takes place over Real-Time Multimedia Protocol or RTMP. You can use a lot of live streaming tools with streaming websites and social networks. However, if you utilize a substitute content delivery network, I suggest checking the streaming tool for server ingestion.
The live streaming tool comes in tiers, with diverse levels of difficulty, intricacy, and features. You may fall in love with software only to learn that it does not meet your demands. Scope out these features prior to committing to software.
The best streaming software will enable you to edit the components of the stream prior to reaching your audience. It is easy to do last-minute edits and make new parts of a video clip to make sense for the audience. You can also put in things like a live caption for clarity.
A template is also a factor to consider when looking for reliable streaming platforms. Templates make it easier to begin recording and sharing the content because you do not need to design an environment from scratch. Some of these solutions will also come with easy access to different customization features, so you are able to put in your branding to welcome as well as the “, please wait” screen.
Multiview streaming provides users multiple camera angles of a scene, enabling them to pick which one they wish to view. The most convincing application for Multiview and watch together is streaming content, including live television shows and premium sports events.
Integration of Social Media
This is also a very important factor to consider when looking for the best streaming software. Extensive integrations with renowned social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You need software that allows you to stream on all the important social media platforms at once, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.
Analytics it Provides
The more we can learn about our audience in real-time, the simpler it is to adapt the live stream to our needs. We must search for a streaming service that can track metrics such as new subscribers, engagement, number of viewers, and demographics to better know our target audience and what they want from us.
Does it Offer Live Chat?
Make sure the streaming software offers a live chat feature. With this feature, you give viewers a way to communicate with you in real-time if they have problems or questions they cannot solve. This is better than sending an email to support teams, as with email, it is so hard to determine when you will get a response back,
How do you Multistream
When streaming, the speed of the internet of your viewers is a big consideration. A superb way to give an amazing experience to your viewers is through streaming in many bitrates at once. All products available are able to multi-stream.
When you look at the characteristics mentioned above can help you get rid of the streaming software you absolutely can’t use. If they are not within your budget, never support the platform you use, or don’t have the best features, then you should not use them.
The Best Streaming Software the Streamers Use
There is a ton of streaming platforms available today. Each one is armed with an exceptional set of characteristics and functionality at a diverse price. So, to know which the best live video streaming software is, you need to think of your unique needs and goals. As you compare these encoders, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
- Is the live streaming software compatible with my streaming platform?
- What features does this encode offer? Is it the most excellent choice for my streaming needs?
- What is my budget?
So, keeping these questions in mind, let us explore the best live streaming software available on the market today.
1. Streamlabs OBS – Awesome for Live Streamers
Streamlabs OBS is my favorite live streaming software. This is one of the most reliable and dependable tools for live streamers. If you are eager to get started with a free live streaming encoder, Streamlabs OBS is the best choice. Based in the cloud, this encoder supports Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch, with many stream templates, overlays as well as customizations, so you are able to bring your brand personality into an event. Also, it comes with custom pause screens.
One convincing feature of this streaming software is that it has its own app store. Here, you can access a wide array of additional tools for many things, such as multiple platform streaming, streaming automation, and in-depth analytics. Also, you can embed things such as goals, alert boxes, and notifications on the software website.
A complete back-end environment provides us with more control over the customizations we share on our online platform. Widget themes are also available for diverse broadcasts. There are also themed visual layouts; it depends on the type of content we like to make and the product.
- You can use this live streaming software for free. This is appropriate for those with a limited budget
- Simple customization options with split merge as well as multi-screen
- Monetization options for passive income creation
- Editing and video stabilization features
- Needs the application of different add-ons
- Can be relatively basic with no premium toolkit.
2. OBS Studio – Free Streaming Software
OBS or Open Broadcaster Software is an undeniable open-source recording as well as a cross-platform streaming solution. Suppose you want to make superior videos for engaged audiences. In that case, OBS Studio has so many things to offer when it comes to mixing, audio editing as well as capturing real-time content.
This is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac, all you have to do is to download this software, and you can begin setting up your live streams in no time. There is no option to change between screens during a live stream, access many features like noise suppression and noise gate, and a whole lot more.
OBS Studio user interface may be a bit harder for newbie users without a lot of experience in an open platform; however, the modular setting means you are able to rearrange functions to meet your needs. Also, there is a studio mode for altering the scene and a section of hotkeys for setting up simple access to its features.
- Multiview and studio mode features for tracking and checking content
- Powerful integration of API with different plugins
- This is compatible with many operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Mac
- High level of customization as well as modular user interface
- You can use the free streaming software option
- This is tricky if you have not utilized an open-source platform before
- Clunky setting in places
3. vMix – Great for Live Production
A renowned name in the world of live video streaming, vMix is a premier visual mixing solution that supports all forms of streaming through audio and video. You can make and share superior content in 4K and record live streams for later applications. The superb output means that it is simple to make a professional-looking video quickly.
One important thing that makes this live streaming software apart from the rest and particularly amazing is access to an extensive array of movie formats such as AVI and MOV. What is like about this encoder is that I could utilize up to 13 different transition effects without spending any amount, and there is a three-dimensional acceleration. Graphics, animated titles, and sticks support the personalization options on the live stream, and you are able to put in guests if you need.
vMix is a renowned choice for creators and companies in search of a live concert tool as well as a streaming service provider. It also comes with pre-built templates to help you get started, easy integrations on social media, and slow-motion replays as well.
- Integrated with many powerful features
- Professional platform
- Dependable customer support
- Added accuracy for specialized codecs
- A little bit hard to use
- Just compatible with Windows
- A high-value point for inclusive plans
4. xSplit – Great for Live Streaming
I’ve been spending a lot of time looking for a live streaming app for console gameplay until my friend recommends xSplit. This encoder is ideal for recordings, capturing streaming live gameplay, and a whole lot more. xSplit made sure I was able to begin sharing my gaming skills with the world in just a few seconds. Not like some live streaming encoders out there, this one also comes with an array of useful ways to develop a good and long-term relationship with your viewers via live chat, stat monitoring, and recent event alerts.
This comes with project mode that allows you to display many screens to many devices which you connect to your computer’s graphics unit. This live streaming software makes the art of streaming live easier and simpler by tackling encoding requirements on your behalf and making sure you have 100% control over the quality options.
Options like NVIDIA NVENC are also available to customize the settings for superb quality and performance. There is also intuitive editing setting where you can put in donation trains, tips spaces, follower alerts, and many others easily and quickly.
- Record and stream in 4K video without log
- Superb connections to social media sites such as Twitch, Facebook as well as YouTube chat
- Live annotations and illustration
- Branded stream and custom transitions components
- Just runs on Windows operating system
- You May need extra plugins for complete functionality
5. Restream – Best Overall Streaming Software
Sometimes if you concentrate on streaming live to only one streaming platform, the number of audiences can be minimal than you would anticipate.
Restream performance insights are able to assist you in monitoring audience statistics together with video stream metrics. With the capability to multi-stream to more than thirty social platforms, this live streaming software is able to connect with the viewers basically regardless of their location.
Restream has been extensively utilized by my favorite gaming companies, such as Ubisoft and Activision, together with presidential campaigns as well as non-traditional broadcasters. Together with Restream Studio for real-live production, the Scheduler enables users like us to stream a video at a future date. Through organizations, scheduling can focus on different time zones at the right time or pre-produce video in a content editing program they are more comfortable with, like Adobe Premiere.
So, it could be so hard for those who are just starting out to forecast which software your video will perform the best. Therefore, why not stream to many platforms at once? A live streaming software like Restream can help you with this matter.
- Allows you to stream to more than thirty international platforms simultaneously, which takes account of Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter as well as Periscope
- Allows you stream to pre-recorded content live as well as get insights into the live streams
- Allows audience interaction through inviting guests to live stream as well as hosting interviews or Question and Answer sessions
- Restream logos are included in the streams even with a paid plan
- The free streaming software option has heavy limits; this will limit you from making a live stream to Facebook
6. OneStream – Best Streaming Software
I highly recommend OneStream live streaming software to everyone, both newbie and seasoned streamers. This is one of the best streaming software solutions on the market, as it has the whole thing a streamer and content creator may need. This user-friendly software enables users to stream and record content with just one press of the button. Also, you can easily distribute the streams to more than forty social media sites.
Multi-cast the video to different social networks in real-time and at once, and schedule pre-recorded content to appear on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites up to two months in advance. Also, you can embed your live streams into your site, put in captions and subtitles to improve clarity as well as try with the integration of cloud storage for things such as Google Drive and DropBox.
Features take account of playlist streaming to custom RTMP streaming and many different upload options without the need of installing software. Also, you can set up live chat to interact with your audiences.
- Superb live chat as well as team management engagement
- Subtitles and captions for the clarity of the playlist
- No software installations are needed and have an array of upload options
- Embed options and custom RTMP
- Integration with more than forty social media platforms
- It will take some time for beginners to get used to this platform
- Can get costly; It all depends on how much you live stream
7. Wirecast – Best for Professional Streamers
Are you a professional content creator or a streamer searching for live streaming software that will meet your needs? If so, look no further than Wirecast.
This software was made by Telestream and is considered one of the best streaming software on the market. This software was made to make experiences that feel similar to watching professional television.
Users can tap into a very flexible as well as user-friendly user interface to make the entertainment feed that suits them the best. It is easy to get started, with plug and play features and without complex and intricate encoding.
Wirecast also comes with an array of essential features to boost the superiority of the stream, which include a production kit. Therefore, you are able to adapt the sound and look of the content. Even if this software is a bit costly compared to other solutions, it covers all forms of streaming conditions, regardless of geography.
Features such as ISO recording helps in keeping the video archived for use later. You also acquire a multi-viewer setting where you can check every live stream, and there is a stock media library with quick access to music, backgrounds, and videos.
- Superb multi-channel encoding and audio management
- Record file format or videos of your choice with ease
- Lots of free content resources that help in improving the video
- Playlists, QR Codes, Chrome key
- Extremely costly for many newbies
- Needs high RAM as well as Intel processors
8. Dacast – Good for Video Monetization
This software offers streaming and video hosting solutions with integrated software encoding abilities. While this one is not only an encoding solution, it also supports transcoding and live encoding. This software is armed with the tools needed to host the video content. This unified streaming platform integrates with some encoders like Wirecast, vMix, and OBS to offer the resources needed for superior broadcast.
Dacast offers complete live streaming as well as online video hosting solutions. Those who utilize this software keep 100 percent ownership of their video content. Among the other features, this also provides password protection, an integrated video paywall, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.
- Unlimited simultaneous live channels and viewers
- Integration of zoom live streaming
- Live channels are unlimited
- White label solution
- There is a plan for each budget
- HTML5 video player is embeddable
- TVOD, AVOD, and SVOD monetization options
- Support for mobile device
- Recording of live stream
- Need some learning curve
9. Twitch Studio – Best for Live Stream on Twitch (Gamers)
I highly recommend this live streaming software to gamers out there, not only because it is free to use but also intended for those who use Twitch. Though relatively simple if you compared to some solutions available, Twitch is ideal for people who love the idea of showing their files on Twitch.
There is a simple setup experience, so you can begin streaming the content fast, and there is also support for newbies in the type of hardware detection, step-by-step onboarding, and suggested settings for audience friendliness. Starter layouts help users jump in, and also, there is support for different audio sources.
Users can customize streams by combining content from iPad and iPhone tools, and including it with live chat, activity feed, and a whole lot more.
- Free to use
- Convenient for beginners
- Chat content and activity feeds to handle engagement
- Many support for newbies like on-boarding and FAQs
- Adjust your audio
- Intended for Twitch streaming only
- Can be basic for some experts
10. Lightstream – Cloud-Based
This is a very popular cloud-based live streaming solution; thus, getting started is easy and fast. All you want to do is to access the software in your browser. It comes with a drag and drop editor that has projects, scenes as well as creative controls. This is simple and easy to use.
Extensive 3rd party integration for social platform displays, motion graphics, and on-stream alerts assist you in improving viewers’ engagement.
- Utilize mobile device to stop and begin the live stream and switch scenes remotely
- It needs an internet connection and your laptop; downloading any software is not needed
- Invite guests with ease by sharing the link
- You need a 5MB upload speed
- There are no backgrounds and templates available
As live streaming becomes popular at this point, the number of remarkable streaming solutions available is growing. We have stated just a handful of encoders for you to consider, like OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, Dacast, etc., if you want an open-source streaming platform.
Always keep in mind to take time to consider what you want from software prior to investing. If possible, it is always advisable to try some free version prior to spending your money.