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Live stream videos are one of the best ways to grow audience engagement, build your brand, and interact with your viewers in real time. But most professionals aren’t simply hopping on their phone camera to live stream to their audience. Instead, they’re using live streaming software to create outstanding content and share it across multiple platforms.
The best live streaming software makes it easy to switch between camera angles, add music or graphics, and live stream simultaneously on different channels.
7 Best Live Streaming Software
I collected and reviewed the best live streaming software available today. Read on for a closer look at my top picks, including their pros, cons, and pricing.
1. OBS Studio
OBS Studio offers open-source and free live streaming broadcasts and video recording. It’s great for content creators who are new to live streaming or on a tight budget. It’s compatible with a variety of channels, making it one the best live streaming software for YouTube and other platforms.
OBS updates its software frequently, but here are some of its major pros and cons as of the time of writing:
- Easy to use
- Customizable layouts and transitions
- Supports RTMP broadcasting
- Lets you switch between different sources
- Provides a chroma key (green screen)
- Offers video and audio streaming
- Doesn’t support multi-bitrate streaming
- Doesn’t natively support any plugins
- It is open-source which can be a downside, as it offers no official support
- Does not offer virtual sets, guest-hosting, or multi-streaming
Free. You don’t have to pay anything to download or use this software.
OBS is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
According to XSplit, its live streaming product is trusted by organizations like Google, Microsoft, Netflix, WHO, and Zendex. XSplit offers five tools:
- Connect Webcam
- Capture (beta)
XSplit Broadcaster offers professional-level, high-end live streaming solutions for businesses and creators. Popular among gamers, XSplit is another of the best live streaming software for YouTube.
- Easy to use
- Offers both free and premium versions
- Provides support and feature updates
- Plenty of add-ons and plugins
- Both streaming and recording are available
- Limitless customization
- XSplit Broadcaster is currently only compatible with Windows
- Requires a bit of a learning curve
- To access all features and avoid watermarks, you must buy a paid license.
- Puts strain on some processors
XSplit has a free version and premium versions that provide 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, and lifetime licenses for all its tools. Prices range from $8 to $230.
XSplit pricing for Broadcaster Premium are:
- 1 Month License: $15.00
- 3 Month License: $30.00
- 12 Month License: $60.00
- Lifetime License: $200.00
Windows users who are looking for live streaming software for gaming, presentations, or business uses.
Wirecast is a professional-level live streaming software that allows you unlimited inputs, destinations, and simultaneous video conferencing. It lets you create live or prerecorded broadcasts for your viewers.
This video streaming software supports a variety of technologies that enable live streaming to any RTMP destination, meaning you can broadcast your video to multiple platforms at a time. It is also one of the best live streaming software for Mac.
- Loaded with valuable features, including live switching, picture-in-picture formatting, titles, audio delay, and green screen
- Studio program has guest-hosting capabilities, animated titles and graphics, unlimited encoding of video sources, streaming to different servers and outlets, and more.
- The pro version has more components, with high-resolution ISO recording, 3D virtual sets, and instant replays
- Comes with technical support
- Relatively high cost
- Some features exclusive to the studio version
- Can take up a lot of device storage
This live streaming software is available in two versions with a free, 30-day trial:
- Wirecast Studio with pricing of $599
- Wirecast Pro with pricing of $799
You can buy premium support for $299 a year, as well.
Wirecast is compatible with both Windows and macOS.
vMix is suitable for pro streamers who are looking for live mixing, switching, recording, and live streaming of various video sources.
This Windows-based software supports several inputs. These inputs include:
- Video Cameras: 4K, HD, and SD capable. Support for webcams and capture cards
- NDI: Send and receive high-quality video and audio
- Video Files: Support for all popular formats
- Audio files and audio devices
- Video and audio playlists
- Web Browser, RTSP, PowerPoint, Photos, Solid Colour, and others
- Support multi-bitrate streaming
- Includes green screens and a built-in titling tool that has animation support
- Provides prompt replay and slow-motion features
- Offers multiple subscription tiers
- Is useful for professional broadcasters who value user experience
- Offers a 60-day trial
- Compatible with Windows, but Mac users might be able to use it via a third-party called Bootcamp
This software has a free live streaming trial for 60 days called vMix Pro. It has two types of subscriptions:
- Basic HD: $60
- HD: $350
- 4K: $700
- Pro: $1,200
- MAX: $50 per month
vMix is only compatible with Windows, but it can be installed on macOS via Boot Camp.
5. Twitch Studio
Twitch developed Twitch Studio to help users live stream video from within its platform. It is a free live streaming software that lets you broadcast your live streaming directly on Twitch.
Twitch Studio helps you get started with a guided setup and step-by-step onboarding instructions, automatic hardware detection, and suggested settings to make your live streams look good with minimum work.
You can personalize your live streams with starter layouts and overlays. Twitch also provides build-in integrations, so you can set up things like alerts, an activity feed, and a chat box.
- Can boost engagement by setting up comments and reactions
- Can connect your mic and webcam and set up a green screen
- Lots of resources to help you troubleshoot issues
- Some features are not supported on Mac
Twitch Studio is one of the best free live streaming software by and for Twitch.
Twitch Studio is compatible with Windows 8 or newer. It’s also compatible with macOS 10.14, but some features are not supported.
Lightstream is an easy-to-use, browser-based live streaming software that lets you create professional-level live streams in minutes.
Its products include:
- Lightstream Studio: Allows you to live stream from your browser and offers features like remote guests, mix live video feeds, and capture console gameplay without a capture card.
- Rainmaker: Lets you track all your analytics to grow your channel or business. Free and premium options are available.
- Lightstream Cloud: In Lightstream’s words, this is the “the world’s first and only live video production API.” A cloud-native live streaming production API (application programming interface) means your computer and an internet connection are all you need. You don’t have to download anything, but instead can save your projects in the cloud and work on them remotely.
- Live chat support, drag-and-drop editor, green room, and private chat with guests
- Third-party integration for motion graphics, on-stream alerts, and social media displays to drive engagement
- Guest hosting (they can share their screens to increase viewership)
- Reliable integration with Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, and Custom RMTP
- Browser-based software, so may not be suitable for someone who’s looking for a software they can download
Lightstream Studio has a 7-day free trial and two premium plans, the Gamer and Creator:
- Monthly: Three plans at $8, $12, and $16 per month
- Annually: $7, $11, and $14 per year
- Monthly: Three plans at $8, $12, and $16 per month
- Annually: $20, $25, and $40 per year
Lightstream is a cloud-based solution accessible via a supported browser on a PC, Mac, or tablet.
OneStream is another of the best live streaming software for streaming and pre-recording videos. With this video streaming software, you can post your videos to multiple platforms. You can pre-record videos and schedule them to broadcast on social media platforms up to 60 days in advance.
Like LightStream, OneStream is a cloud-based broadcaster. It can broadcast media across multiple channels, allowing you to reach audiences on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, Snapchat, or any custom RTMP at the same time.
- Lets you stream to 40+ platforms at once
- Designed to cater to your business needs
- Countless integrations
- Offers a free plan
- Lets you schedule videos in advance
- Allows you to have multiple team members in one account
- Add captions or subtitles to pre-recorded live streams
- Makes it easy to manage viewers’ incoming messages, comments, and replies from streaming platforms
- May not be suitable for someone who’s looking for a software they can download
OneStream provides a completely free plan, as well premium plans:
- Basic: $10 per month, or $8 per month when paid annually
- Standard: $39 per month, or $32 per month when paid annually
- Professional: $89 per month, or $74 per month when paid annually
OneStream is a cloud-based solution accessible via a supported browser on a PC, Mac, or tablet.
What is live streaming?
Live streaming lets you share a video over the internet in real time. On platforms like Facebook and Twitch, you can have people watching and commenting on your video as you stream it.
Live streams also tend to get more views than static posts, allowing you to grow your audience. They’re a great way to increase audience interactions and help people attend events they can’t visit in person.
What is live streaming software?
Live streaming software helps you create professional-looking videos by adding graphics, music, watermarks for your brand, or other effects.
It might also allow you to stream your video on multiple platforms at the same time, so you can reach your audience on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch or wherever else you have an account.
Finally, the best live streaming software lets you use and mix multiple cameras for high-quality broadcasts.
If you’re also looking to edit your prerecorded videos, head to this list of my recommendations for the best video editing software.