Live streaming of videos and games has become the latest craze in today’s world.
If you were to go back to the days of our founding fathers to tell people that one day they would flock in the internet watching people play games, you would be dismissed as one of the most nonsensical time travelers in history.
Today, a lot of people are making a fortune from game streaming sites like Twitch.
So let’s say you want to join the streaming bandwagon whether for fun or to earn some cash. Do you need a degree in IT? A super-complex software? A 4K monitor or a computer with an incredibly powerful graphic card?
Thankfully, No. All you need is a decent computer, a good internet connection, and the right streaming software.
In this article, we will introduce you to the best streaming software so you too can broadcast live feeds to Twitch, YouTube, and other social sites.
What are the best free and paid streaming software for PC?
How to choose a good streaming tool? As a beginner, you will need some information about the basic features that streaming software has. Thus, we will help you to answer a series of questions :
- Can you find a free streaming software?
- Is it easy to use for a beginner?
- Does it support 3rd party music players?
- Will you need to install any 3rd part plug-ins?
- Can you use this streaming software on Twitch?
- Does it let you change the image options while streaming?
- Has-it a green screen (chroma key) support?
You will find the answers to these questions below.
|Rating (1 to 5)||Free/Paid||User friendly||Plug-ins included||Image options changing on-air||Green screen supported(chroma key)|
|Telestream Wirecast||4.5||Paid(has trial)||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|OBS (Open Broadcaste Software)||4.5||Free||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ustream Producer||4||Paid(has trial)||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Telestream Wirecast (recommended)
Wirecast is a video streaming software and a switcher from Telestream. With this software, you can record videos, set up scenes, or stream to your favorite platform.
The latest version, Wirecast 7, comes with redesigned features and improvements to the software to work better on PC. It also comes with advanced gaming functionalities.
Gamers will be happy to know that you can now stream games up to 1440p at 60fps, perfect for Twitch or any other site that can stream their gameplay.
Wirecast 7 is not the cheapest streaming software out there, but it comes with robust features that justify the price. Telestream Wirecast starts at $495 and you can choose the version that meets your needs and budget.
Game Show (recommended)
With a large panel of functions, Game Show has the reputation of a non-expensive and friendly-user streaming software.
Besides the prepared templates which can be easily used for streaming, this software allows you to create your own design and logo, thus helping you to become a brand. It also has a multi-scale layout system for building your spectator screen.
This is also a software that is offering you some of the features used by pro-streamers and it is not a payable feature, because it comes with the program itself.
Another helpful feature is the playlist automation, thing that will keep you away from 3rd party music sites&software to listen to your favorite music along with your chat.
This is one of the feature that makes Game Show unique in its daily usage and makes of it a powerful streaming tool.
1AVStreamer enables you to broadcast live video and audio content over the internet.
Designed for live media streaming, 1AVStreamer captures streams from various sources and also comes with additional functions to help you take screenshots, record audio, and capture the screen.
The inbuilt broadcast wizard helps you broadcast from multiple sources be it from webcams, cameras, TV tuners or from your desktop. IAVStreamer allows live broadcasting with or without sound and saves recorded copies of the content you broadcast.
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software)
OBS is a free, reliable, and open source software for streaming games and live video content to the internet or to video files.
The software allows you to record video from webcam, the current game that is playing, a section from the desktop, or the entire screen.
OBS is also capable of live streaming so you can share your video to different online services such as Twitch, YouTube, or even to a custom server address.
It comes with a simple and intuitive interface that allows you to add multiple sources as well as create your own profile. You can add your own hotkeys to start and stop recording with a single key.
There is also an option to customize the video resolution as well as frames per second. After all setting and configurations are complete, OBS will record a lag free video with quality sound.
XSplit broadcaster is a desktop application specifically designed to make broadcasting easy and fun.
It has an inbuilt live output that makes it possible to broadcast through the internet, be it video game streaming, tournament broadcasting, conferences and more.
Unlike OBS, XSplit is a paid program and is available in three licenses each with different features. These features include Skype video capture, LAN broadcasting, No stream watermark, the number of scenes among others.
By adding a webcam, you can broadcast yourself dancing or hosting your own talk show. XSplit also allows you to send an update across social networks right within the app with the URL and full details of where you are broadcasting live from.
And with inbuilt video projector feature, you can connect your computer to a projector and use it to make presentations at work.
vMix is a live streaming software that allows you to broadcast your live productions directly to the internet. The product is not just an ordinary streaming software.
It’s also a video mixer software and a Switcher that utilizes the latest technology in computer hardware to provide live HD mixing.
In a nutshell, vMix has the right hardware and software solutions you need to compete with your local TV networks in real time from your living room.
Whether you want to broadcast big budget live concerts, church proceedings, sporting activities, or small webcasts, vMix can handle them all.
It’s a complete video production software capable of recording and live streaming of SD, full HD (1080p), as well as 4K videos. vMix is not a freeware.
However, it offers a generous 60 days trial period after which you will have to pay to continue enjoying the service.
Ustream is one of the largest streaming service providers and offers free ad-supported live streaming service as well as premium versions starting at $99 per month.
Its desktop application, Ustream Producer allows broadcasters to stream in full HD just as they would from Ustream’s website. Its features include:
- Ability to manage video and audio sources
- Drag and drop video and audio files
- Pop out a chat room or a social stream
- Start and stop recordings
- Record your desktop via screencasting
- Update your status and syndicate to social media accounts
You can also use the Ustream Producer to broadcast using Picture in Picture (PIP) and create multiple transitions.
It also allows you to add background music, create opening slates, and incorporate pre-recorded video clips with your live camera shots.
Advancement in technology has made live broadcasting popular and straightforward. Not long ago, live broadcasting was only limited to local and national TV stations.
Thanks to the proliferation of streaming software for PC that broadcasting is now easier and affordable.
For newbies in the broadcasting space, you can start with a free, yet powerful streaming software like OBS.
But if you want more functionalities and advanced features like 4K video broadcasting, we have also included the streaming software that can do precisely that. We hope that you will find this article useful.
If you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2016 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.