14 Best Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

March 30, 2021

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal in many areas of life; one of these areas is communication and interactions. There is an increased level of virtual interactions that have previously not been seen or anticipated. This has increased the need to stream videos using platforms like YouTube and Twitch. A live streaming software converts video input into digital formats to enable it to play on several devices. A live stream platform like YouTube or twitch is used to broadcast a stream from live stream apps to a broader audience. Some live stream platforms have some streaming software integrated into them, in which case all you have to do is log in. While others that are not integrated will require the need for additional information, which includes; streaming ID, video presets, and streaming URL. This article will describe the best stream software for people at different stages of utilizing the streaming service. These include professional desktop apps and mobile apps that will suit your use.

Live Streaming Software for Beginners

For those that are just about to commence the live streaming journey, it is better to use highly simplified applications that will guide the user through the process rather than complex applications that may frustrate them in the live streaming journey. This section of the article will present software that will make streaming as seamless as possible for those just starting the live streaming journey. The best streaming software for beginners is considered in the section below:

Best for Windows computers

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars, 307 reviews

Gecata by Movavi is very good video game streaming software available for Windows computers. It features lightweight streaming and game recording with rapid speed and simple steps. It is pretty easy to use. It supports a wide range of video formats and is highly compatible with hardware, including Nvidia intel hardware acceleration, with which 4K videos at a maximum rate of 120fps. Though it requires purchase, a free trial version is available for download.

Pros:

  • It's easy to use.
  • It allows for the streaming of multiple video formats.
  • High Definition 4K video streaming and recording is available.
  • Supports multiple languages.

Cons:

  • Its trial version watermarks video recordings and has a very limited trial period.

Best for live streaming by beginners

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars, 985 reviews

Streamlabs Open Broadcast Software is a simplified form of Open Broadcast Software. Its simplified layout makes it more suited for beginners who may find the OBS interface challenging to deal with. It is free for use and available for multiple devices, including Mac, Android, and Windows. Streamlabs’ use is more simplified because of the presence of its integrated features that allows a user a seamless. It is connected to the Streamlabs website, enabling it to import additional tools for recording and editing.

Pros:

  • Easy installation process.
  • A simplified user interface.
  • It is free.
  • It has lots of integrated features to enhance the user experience.

Cons:

  • It has a high space requirement on the CPU.

Best for beginners who will require a guided installation and streaming experience

It is a streaming software that is suited for beginners. It possesses features that provide do-it-yourself solutions to the streaming process. Those that make it easiest to connect with other members of the streaming community where you can share experiences. It has inbuilt features that enable it to detect the appropriate bitrate for each streaming experience automatically. It is free for users; although it has fewer customization features when compared to other streaming software, it is an appropriate software to get started with live streaming.

Pros:

  • Highly simplified installation process.
  • It is less technique sensitive due to its automated features.
  • It does not require any additional setup after its installation.
  • It is free and best suited for beginners in live streaming.

Cons:

  • It possesses only basic features, therefore not suitable for experienced users.

Best for recording short clips from a game or a game's highlights. It is not suitable for live streaming

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Nvidia cards are one of the best GPUs for personal workstations for gamers and design professionals; Nvidia shadowplay is integrated with many modern Nvidia cards and will not require a download if you're using these cards. It is appropriate only for gamers, not for other types of streaming. It allows gamers to stream and record their gaming sessions. It is free for use and provides for 4k recording.

Pros:

  • It is free.
  • It has a direct sharing feature that enables you to broadcast to different social media pages.
  • It has instant replay features that can be used to record essential highlights.

Cons:

  • It is pretty limited in its live streaming capacity – as it is only appropriate for gamers and only compatible with NVIDIA GPUs.

Best Stream Software for Professionals

Unlike beginners, professionals already have an in-depth knowledge of streaming videos and games, and they are already accustomed to using at least one software in carrying out this task. Unlike beginners, functionality other than ease of use is the more important feature. Professionals need applications that will give a broad range of customizable features. The best streaming software for PC are considered below:

Best for professional live streamers in search of free software with advanced customizable features and are willing to set up everything manually

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars, 44 reviews

OBS is also known as Open Broadcast Software, is an open-source streaming software that is available for free for users globally. It is one of the most frequently used streaming software with multiple customizable inbuilt features. It also has a large community of users who can help troubleshoot if any challenge is encountered during its use. One of its unique characteristics is its multi-view feature that enables users to view the entire stream layout. Due to the complexity that results from multiple options that users have during its configuration process, it not an ideal tool for people that are new to live streaming.

Pros:

  • It is free to use.
  • It is available on multiple platforms – Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • It has a big community that provides support and regularly updates its features.
  • It has a wide range of customizable features and affords users a lot of freedom.

Cons:

  • It can be very complex to use, especially for users new to live streaming.

Best for those who appreciate dedicated customer service support and its advanced premium settings

Rating: 4.1 of 5 stars, 41 reviews

This is a fantastic streaming software for professionals which offers both free and premium services for users. Its free version might suffice for people just getting started in live streaming. Its main restriction relates to the number of scenes you can stream – a maximum of four scenes. This would meet the need of many streamers; however, streamers who desire variety and need more customized settings will find this quite limiting. Its free version also produces a watermarked recording. These restrictions can be overcome by subscribing to the premium version, which costs a $199 one-time bill or a $5 monthly bill. One of the unique advantages it has is the 24/7 customer support it offers to its customers.

Pros:

  • It is easy to use from the setup stage to the streaming stage.
  • It offers 24/7 customer support, especially to premium subscribers.
  • A wide range of additional customizable features.

Cons:

  • It is available in the Windows version only, leaving out Mac and Linux users.

Best for talk show streaming and podcasts and will be the ideal software for the mobile streamer

Lightstream utilizes cloud-based technology for its streaming services, thereby reducing hardware requirements. Its setup is relatively easy as users are guided through the process, and it can be integrated into other streaming tools. It is more suited for podcasts and talk shows though it works just fine for game streaming. It allows users to feature guests by sending them links that directly pull their video and audio into your stream seamlessly. It has both free and premium versions, while its free version has limitations such as the highest quality of 30 FPS and 720p, a maximum streaming time of 3 hours. Its premium version comes at the cost of $89 per month and offers advanced features like headless mode, among others.

Pros:

  • It does not require any additional software download, and you can stream directly from your browser.
  • A guided installation process.
  • It is relatively easy to add a guest if the streaming is meant for a podcast or talk show.

Cons:

  • A costly premium version.

Best for streaming prerecorded videos on social media

Rating: 3.9 of 5 stars, 2155 reviews

It is a cloud-based streaming software that allows the streaming of prerecorded videos across various social media platforms. It features both free and premium services. Its free service allows for the broadcast of up to 5 minutes of prerecorded video and a registered social media account. It has different categories of premium subscribers. Subscribers who will like to stream long prerecorded videos will need to subscribe to the standard plan that costs $45 per month and allows a maximum of 60mins per live stream. It offers various customizable options, including the addition of watermarks, logos, and thumbnails. It does not require any software installation, and it can stream videos that have been stored in an online medium like Google Drive and Dropbox.

Pros:

  • It can stream directly from online sources.
  • It does not require any software installation.
  • It gives a variety of customizable live stream video options.

Cons:

  • Its premium rates are pretty high and have limited streaming time.

Best for streaming for audiences in different parts of the world

Rating: 4.4 of 5 stars, 28 reviews

It is a premium live streaming software that is user-friendly and easy to use. It supports a broad range of input options - video and audio files, webcams, cameras, phones, and tablets through the Wirecast cam. Wirecast supports multi-bitrate streaming, which allows the live stream to be accessible to users with different internet speeds. It also allows simultaneous live streaming of different videos, games, etc., from the same system. It is directly integrated with Twitter and works across multiple platforms. It also has both free and premium versions. Its free version allows for the streaming of watermarked videos or games. While the premium version offers two options - Studios and Pro. The Pro offers additional features and comes at a higher price than the studio. Every update requires a new purchase.

Pros:

  • It allows for multiple simultaneous streams.
  • There is dedicated customer support to offer support for any challenges encountered in the course of use.
  • It allows for multi-bitrate streaming, thereby reaching a bigger audience.
  • It has additional customizable features.

Cons:

  • It is costly to use, with every update requiring a new purchase.

Best for dual purpose of video production and streaming

Rating: 4.2 of 5 stars, 20 reviews

It serves the dual purpose of a video production tool and live streaming software. It is easy to use and remains a software of choice for professionals with intermediate proficiency. It supports input from a wide range of hardware sources. It features different transition effects that can add color to your live stream. It also possesses a live conferencing call feature. It allows multiple input sources that will enable you to display different camera views during live stream sessions. It offers both trial and premium versions. Its trial version lasts up to 60 days, while its premium version offers about six different packages, the most basic being the Basic HD which costs $60 only.

Pros:

  • It offers a relatively long trial period.
  • A broad range of video editing features.
  • It produces high-quality videos for end users.

Cons:

  • Its most advanced features come at a very exorbitant cost, more than $1000.

Best for users conversant with command-line functions

Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars, 18 reviews

FFmpeg is a free, open-source multipurpose multimedia software. It serves multiple purposes, including - playing, converting, encoding, recording, and streaming multimedia files. It uses command lines instead of a graphic user interface which makes it quite technical to use. Due to its highly technical nature, it is more suitable for professionals who are more conversant with using command lines. Its streaming functions allow input from a broad range of hardware, and it can be used in streaming complex live production that requires a mix of different videos. It requires a complex process of installation and use.

Pros:

  • It is free.
  • It offers a lot of customizable features for streaming.
  • It is pretty reliable for use.

Cons:

  • It requires high technical know-how.

Mobile Video Game Streaming Software

For gamers, the satisfaction that comes from the experience is not complete if they cannot show their gaming prowess to their friends. Sometimes these friends are present to watch physically, but at other times, they are miles apart. In this case, streaming becomes the tool with which this objective is achieved. A live-streaming app is necessary to get this done; either you are doing it through your mobile device or a system. We will consider the best application options for getting this done below:

Best for streaming online games from Android and iOS

Rating on Google Play: 4.4 of 5 stars, 700,000+ reviews

Omlet Arcade is a mobile app that enables users to broadcast their mobile gaming experience via twitch, YouTube, Facebook, etc. It is free for use and supports a wide range of online games, and has a community with which you can interact and even play games. It is available to both android and iOS users.

Pros:

  • It features voice chats that enable you to communicate with other players and viewers.
  • Allows for multiplayer mode.
  • Enables live streaming to your platform of choice.

Cons:

  • It features a lot of ads which can be pretty disruptive.

Best for streaming videos and images from iOS and Android

Rating on AppStore: 4.1 of 5 stars, 211 reviews

IRLTV is a mobile app available on the play store and apple store, enabling users to stream directly from their mobile devices via twitch TV. It has automated features that make it select the best server, and it has high broadcast resolution and a fixed bitrate that enables it to broadcast quality images. It has both free and premium versions - the premium version offers additional pro features at a monthly subscription rate of $2.99.

Pros:

  • Integrated social media features to notify your followers of your live stream.
  • High-quality video transmission.
  • Automatically detects the best server.

Cons:

  • Charges monthly subscription fee for advanced features.

Best for iOS users

Rating on AppStore: 2.8 of 5 stars, 14 ratings

It is software used to broadcast from iPhones and iPads to streaming channels like Facebook and YouTube. It has video editing features like the addition of filters and provides variety like changing camera views, landscape and portrait streaming.

Pros:

  • Seamless broadcast from iOS to YouTube/Facebook
  • Video editing functions
  • Free for use

Cons:

  • It is impossible to see the viewer's comments during a live stream.

Comparing Streaming Software

Software

Main Features

Pros

Cons

Gecata by MovaviLightweight streamingHigh Definition 4K video streaming and recording is availableIts trial version watermarks video recordings and has a very limited trial period
Streamlabs OBSAuto-optimize features to give recommended settingsIt has lots of integrated features to enhance the user experienceIt has a high space requirement on the CPU
Twitch StudioInbuilt features to automatically detect bitrateIt does not require any additional setup after its installationIt possesses only basic features, therefore not suitable for experienced users
Nvidia ShadowplayAllows for 4K video recordingsIt has instant replay features that can be used to record important highlightsIt is pretty limited in its live streaming capacity – as it is only appropriate for gamers and only compatible with NVIDIA GPUs
OBSMultiview feature to allow entire stream layoutIt has a wide range of customizable features and affords users a lot of freedomIt has a wide range of customizable features and affords users a lot of freedom
XSplit Broadcaster24/7 dedicated customer service supportIt is easy to use from the setup stage to the streaming stageIt is available in the Windows version only, leaving out Mac and Linux users
LightstreamCloud-based technology-supported streamingIt does not require any additional software download; you can stream directly from your browserA costly premium version
OneStreamCloud-based support for prerecorded videosIt gives a variety of customizable live stream video optionsIts premium rates are pretty high and have limited streaming time
WirecastMulti-bitrate streamingIt allows for multiple simultaneous streamsIt is costly to use, with every update requiring a new purchase
vMixLive conferencing call featureA broad range of video editing featuresIts most advanced features come at very exorbitant cost, more than $1000
FFmpegStreaming complex live production with a mix of different videosIt offers a lot of customizable features for streamingIt requires a high technical know-how
Omlet ArcadeVoice chats to enable communication with other playersIt features voice chats that will allow you to communicate with other players and viewersIt features a lot of ads which can be pretty disruptive
IRLTVAutomatic server detectionIntegrated social media features to notify your followers of your live streamCharges monthly subscription fee for advanced features
StreamtubeAdditional video editing featuresSeamless broadcast from iOS to YouTube/FacebookIt is impossible to see the viewer's comments during a live stream

How to Choose Streaming Software

There are a lot of options for streaming software out there. To make the top choice, you should consider the following factor:

  • Level of Expertise: As highlighted above, some apps have a user-friendly interface that makes them very suitable for beginners, while others have not interfaces that are more suitable for professionals. It is essential to consider this factor before choosing software.
  • Budget: Budget is also another factor to consider; if you have a low budget, it is most advisable to consider free streaming software.
  • Functionality: It is also important to note what you are trying to achieve with your streaming. Will it require essential functions, or will it require additional features? What you want to achieve will ultimately guide as to the choice of software to use.

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a seasoned content creator and web text editor with 7 years of experience in commercial writing and website UX. In 2012, she graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree in English and American studies and art criticism. At the same time, Nataly had worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH where she wrote and managed the content of the company website. An advanced speaker of English and German, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best program for live streaming?

The best program for live streaming depends on what exactly you are trying to achieve and how the software suits your purpose at that time. The following that excellent programs that you should always consider:

  • Gecata by Movavi
  • Streamlabs
  • Twitch Studio
  • Nvidia Shadowplay
  • OBS
  • OneStream
  • Wirecast
  • XSplit Broadcaster
  • vMix
  • Lightstream
  • FFmpeg
  • Omlet Arcade
  • IRLTV
  • Streamtube

Is OBS better than Streamlabs?

Streamlabs is an upgrade to OBS, and it is essentially the revamping of OBS to give a more simplified software with a better user interface. This makes it easier to use, but it also has the drawback of higher CPU requirements. On the other hand, OBS is open-source software that is regularly improved to deliver a better live streaming experience. However, it can be pretty complex for use, especially for beginners.

What software do streamers use?

Depending on the streamer's need, there are many software options available for streamers to use. This includes:

  • OBS
  • Gecata by Movavi
  • Twitch Studio
  • Streamlabs
  • FFmpeg
  • Nvidia Shadowplay
  • OneStream
  • Wirecast
  • XSplit Broadcaster
  • vMix
  • Lightstream