We have now reached the moment in time wherein streaming is a norm. And whether you want to live stream or capture content from the web, your options are endless. Anything can be the best streaming software for your Mac or PC — it all depends on finding the right program that fits your needs.
Below are five top of the line choices out of the overwhelming number of streaming solutions. Whether a seasoned livestreamer or a newbie at the scene, there’s one for you.
If you’re new to the scene, it’s fair to say that you’ve already heard of Streamlabs. Well, this year the company has shaken things up with Streamlabs OBS, another software intended to make streaming convenient for newcomers.
One of the key draws of Streamlabs OBS is power. According to the firm, you can save up to 25% of your computing power with their automated framework. We didn’t measure it but most users believe that CPU and memory consumption is lower than comparable streaming applications.
The interface is also streamlined, but you still have access to all the functionality that made the original OBS popular. This game recording app has everything you need to send your game to Twitch, including a mask option that lets your crowd dress you up with donations. There are more themed templates where you can shake a (joy)stick, and we’re huge fans of any software that’s easy to use. SLOBS definitely falls into that category, which makes it an app we highly recommend.
This one is still a little green relative to other programs on our list, but it’s still a choice for the best free streaming app in its Beta state. You can only use Streamlabs OBS at this time while you are operating Windows, but we expect this to improve soon, considering the current state of the program.
Our top streaming software alternative comes from XSplit, which has two separate streaming programs available. Both are targeted at users who want to post their excitement online, whether it’s a couple of rounds of Fortnite or an in-depth technological breakdown.
Although both programs share some characteristics, we’re beginning with XSplit Broadcaster. It’s not perfect for beginners who want anything simple, but it’s the only way to go for pros or those who need access to third-party plugins. Broadcaster lets you change and set everything from resolution and overlay to personalized scenes for your viewers. You can call up tech stats like lost streams or set security keys.
On the flip side, Gamecaster is great if you want something easy and you need to get your stream up on Twitch or YouTube. Almost all is automatic, meaning you can spend more time focused on the game and the viewers, and less time tinkering about transitions. It’s ready to go after activation and fits for consoles as well as provided you have the right gaming capture card.
Which way you roll out, XSplit has a solution for you and we’re happy to report that both programs are free to use if you’re on a tight budget. Broadcaster can issue you a watermark if you surpass those settings and you cannot use the content commercially without a license.
Open Broadcaster Software is a fine piece of technology that helps you to construct the right material for your show. This involves people who only want to edit a short clip together with power users who can blast their feed to Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook.
This full-featured software will do a little of anything, and while we’re not going to suggest it’s intuitive to use, it’s very capable of doing it. The Multiview function helps you to track several scenes at once and edit with a click of the mouse. There are a variety of customizable transformations available and a hotkey for each feature. It’s not bad in the audio department either considering in-depth editing equipment, including a mixer with per-source filters such as gain and noise gate.
Based on your skill with these types of systems, you will have a little trouble setting up this one. That was the key concern from users, as some had trouble setting up accounts, and the number of settings could be daunting to some, combined with scant documentation. It’s a program that you need to work out when you go, but one that won’t let you down if you can live with a few glitches.
OBS is available on Windows, Linux, or Mac platforms, and it won’t cost you a cent. This open-source approach is free to download and has a big, active community at your fingertips if you happen to find a sticky spot or get confused by settings. It’s a brilliant app, and potentially Twitch’s finest streaming tech.
Lightstream is an intelligible streaming solution that operates directly from your browser and allows you to go live in a matter of minutes. By the way, Lightstream is cloud-powered and makes for a full creative suite that allows you to stream on the world’s largest channels in a matter of minutes.
Lightstream is compatible with YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch, and is a perfect medium if you want to become an Internet celebrity since you can use it for your internet podcast, where you welcome guests to your show for interviews, product releases, you name it. To encourage you to complete creative power, Lightstream features a drag-and-drop editor, and its 3rd party integrations support motion graphics, on-stream notifications, screen sharing, and viewing social media stuff to improve connectivity and participation.
Because it is cloud-based and created from your web browser, no downloads are needed, and your show will remain live even if your connectivity is not the best in the world.
Wirecast is a service many people have heard of, but not many have attempted. We’ll get to the explanation soon enough, but first of all, we want to talk about what makes this one special and why it could be the last piece of software you’ve ever owned.
Compared to our other options, Wirecast is a professional application. Telestream also has two separate models of Wirecast available, but both share a similar collection of features. The app allows you complete control of your presentations with items like 3D animated titles, video conferencing, and infinite feedback support. Like layers, huh? Well then you can use up to 250 of these programs to connect to every service under the sun.
Widgets, playlists, and accelerated GPU coding are all common features for the Studio and Pro models of Wirecast, although there are some key variations. The Pro version adds stuff like multi-track recording and NDI production along with ISO recording from various sources. It also comes with three virtual sets along with Instant Replay and Live Scoreboards.
We’ve just touched on a couple of features that Wirecast brings to the table, but believe us when we say it’s not a beginner’s platform. It’s something pros will definitely enjoy in spite of the huge expense. Both models are compatible with Windows and Mac OS, and the Studio version is $695, while the Wirecast Pro is $995.