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Are you planning to run live streams? If you’re reading this guide, you probably want to select the streaming software to help you create professional streams.
Funny enough, most people never think of streaming software when they watch live streams they love. They admire the video layouts, overlays, ability to feature guests, and more.
Then, they decide to run a live stream for their business. But, unfortunately, they discover that YouTube (or Twitch) doesn’t have all the tools to run excellent live streams.
Luckily, in this guide, we will go through the best streaming software options and the key features to look out for when selecting streaming software for your business.
Over the years, live stream events have become a popular video content type. No wonder every major social media platform now allows you to run live streams.
This may be one of the side effects of the COVID 19 pandemic as people had to stay at home. But beyond that, live videos have the unpredictability that’s absent in edited videos.
Whatever the reason for its growing popularity, your business can reach more potential buyers. For instance, Statista estimates that the audience for live videos in the United States alone will grow to 164.6 million viewers by 2024.
Without further ado, let’s explore the 5 best streaming software.
What is the best streaming software?
In this guide, we’ll consider the 5 best streaming software to meet your needs. These options include various types of streaming software. So, no matter your needs, you’ll likely find a suitable streaming software package here.
The streaming software options we’ll consider are:
Without wasting any time, let’s get into the details of each one.
Best for users who record and schedule streams
Live stream recorded videos: this is the primary feature on Onestream. This feature allows you to record videos and stream them at a later date. Furthermore, you have many options for uploading your video. For instance, you can upload from your computer, cloud storage, or record with Onestream.
Capture screen recording: if you want to teach people how to execute a task on their computer, there are few better ways than recording your screen. Onestream allows you to record your screen with the “Capture” feature. Then, you can schedule your stream for a later date.
Queued streams: this feature allows you to create a list of scheduled streams. So, if you’re busy, you can create many streams at once and schedule them at intervals.
Event notification: before users can watch your live stream, they must be aware of it. You can send event notifications to your followers to increase their awareness of your upcoming event.
Team members: streaming to many platforms can get tiring fast. That’s why having your team members execute some tasks is a no-brainer. Onestream lets you add your team members for this purpose.
Streaming analytics: with the numbers available, you can see how your streams perform and where to improve. For instance, you can see streaming on platforms by percentage, number of streaming minutes by platform, number of streams by platforms, etc.
- Ability to stream on over 40 social media channels at once
- Stream pre-recorded videos
- Simple and intuitive interface
- No installation is required
- Embed live streams on your website
- A free plan is available
- Limited scene editing features compared to other options
- Limited monetization features
Apart from the free plan, there are three paid plans. The Basic plan costs $10 monthly ($8 if you pay annually), while the Standard plan costs $39 monthly ($32 on an annual subscription). Finally, the Professional plan costs $79 monthly or $66 if you pay annually.
Best for non-technical users
Restream pairs: sometimes, your stream guests will love to have the streams on their channels, too. With Restream pairs, you can achieve that in a few steps. First, click on “Pair Channels” after creating your event and follow the steps.
Schedule stream: if the time of your live stream is inconvenient for some viewers because of their time zone, you can schedule your stream at a more convenient time for them.
Stream layouts: below your stream, there are different layouts. These layouts help to customize the view of your stream guests and other video sources you use during the stream.
Audio preferences: while people join live streams to watch, the audio is also vital. Therefore, you’ll find the audio preferences handy in having better audio. These include echo cancellation, noise suppression, audio gain control, and high-resolution audio.
Chat: the major way viewers can provide feedback is through chat. There’s a chat section where you can follow the conversation during your streams. Furthermore, there’s a chat overlay feature that allows you to display some comments on your stream.
Brand settings: since you want users to identify your stream easily, branding is essential. In the brand settings here, you can select a theme, primary color, default graphics, logo, and more.
Analytics: with analytics, you can easily track your live stream performance and discover improvement opportunities. On Restream, you can access statistics such as the average number of viewers, maximum number of viewers during the stream, number of watched minutes, peak time, etc. Beyond that, there are statistics for followers, chat messages and more.
- Ability to stream live to multiple platforms simultaneously
- It has a free plan
- Connects with many streaming platforms
- Easy to use
- Limited features in the chat
- Inability to stream to a Facebook page on the free plan
- Full HD streaming is only available in the professional plan
- No encoding tools
Apart from the Basic plan, which is free, the Standard plan costs $19 monthly or $16 if you pay annually. Finally, the Professional plan costs $49 monthly or $41 if you pay annually.
Best for OBS users who need more functionality
Overlays: by using the Own3d pro plugin on OBS, you’ll find over 200 professionally designed overlays. Furthermore, you can sort them according to various criteria such as games, events, styles, etc. When you select an overlay, you can preview it before applying it to your streams.
Alerts: just like the overlays, you have a huge selection of alert themes. If you’ve applied an overlay, there’s a corresponding alert theme. This will help improve the consistency of design in your streams. After selecting a theme, you can set up alerts for events such as subscribes, donations, follows, etc.
Chatbot: running a stream and moderating chats simultaneously can sometimes be tiring and infeasible. As a result, you’ll find the own3d pro chatbot handy. However, before using the chatbot, you have to permit it. After that, you can set up commands, moderation tasks, timers to display messages, and giveaways.
Donations: Own3d pro allows you to receive donations into your PayPal account. On the donation page, viewers can enter their name, donation amount, and messages for you.
- Easy to use
- Huge library of overlays and alerts
- It has a free plan
- Only available for Windows operating system (at the time of creating this guide)
- Targeted at Twitch users
Own3d Pro costs €15 monthly. Fortunately, this drops to €8.21 monthly if you pay annually.
Best for free users
Docks: while running your streams, you may need to monitor some information. OBS allows you to dock various elements such as sources, audio mixer, chat, stats, etc. Beyond that, you can have custom browser docks. So if you need to find information online or check activities on some web pages, this will come in handy.
Replay buffer: this feature will help you create clips from your streams to share on social media platforms or other websites. Select “automatically start replay buffer when streaming” in the output settings. To save the buffer, navigate to hotkeys and indicate the hotkey to save replay in the replay buffer.
Separate audio tracks: this allows you to record audio from different sources during your streaming. If you plan to release your recorded streams in the future, you can easily edit these sound sources. For instance, you can boost some sounds, reduce some, or even eliminate them.
Transition override: sometimes, you want to use different transitions for different aspects of your streams. To achieve this, you have to add all the transitions you want to use. First, you have your main transition. But to apply secondary transitions, navigate to in-game settings and select transition override to pick another transition.
Screenshots: if you need to take a screenshot of some events during your live streams, there’s a screenshot feature. Navigate to your hotkeys and enter the command key to take screenshots.
- Gets frequent updates
- Simple and intuitive navigation
- Supports major operating systems
- Free to use
- Limited features
- Audio quality can be poor
- It can be laggy sometimes
- Steep learning curve
OBS Studio is free to download. However, you may have to pay for plugins that extend its functionality.
Best for advanced users
Webcam filters: webcam filters on Streamlabs allows you to change filters while running streams. For instance, you can sharpen your live stream, add contrast, or change it into white and black.
Camera angles: when your face looks away from the action on your stream., it looks unnatural to viewers. To correct this, you can change the camera angles by flipping your camera source horizontally.
Transition connections: while switching scenes, you need to use transitions to make the switch pleasing to the viewer. Fortunately, Streamlabs provides transitions you can use for your scenes. To add them, navigate to the settings on your scenes.
Selective recording: this feature allows you to select the video sources you want to record during streams. To use this, navigate to your sources and enable selective recording. Then, you can select whether a source will be visible only on stream, recording, or both.
Alertbox: if you want to get alerts of important actions such as follows, likes, subscriptions, donations, and more, Streamlabs make this possible through the Alertbox widget. All you have to do is go to the widget section and select “Alertbox.” This way, you’ll never miss important actions.
Themes: in the Streamlabs theme store, you’ll find many themes for your scenes, widgets, and sites. With these themes, you can give your streams a professional look.
- Huge theme library
- Easy to use for beginners
- Has gaming overlays
- Has donation and tipping tools
- It has a free option
- Only available on Windows
- High CPU usage can make a less-powerful computer laggy
- Limited features in the free plan
Streamlabs is free to download. But to get all the features, you’ll have to subscribe to the Streamlabs Prime plan. This costs $19 monthly or $149 annually.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is streaming software?
The streaming software is a piece of software that allows creators to deliver live video events to their audience. While you can stream on popular platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, etc., they lack tools that can make your stream look professional.
This is where streaming software comes in. It provides tools to stream on these popular platforms and obtain extended functionality. These include alert boxes, transitions, multiple streaming sources, and more.
Some streaming platforms require you to download and install program files before use, while others work in your browser. Naturally, it’s vital to have a powerful computer that will let you exploit all the useful features of your streaming software.
Key Features of Streaming Software:
Before deciding to use a streaming software package, you have to consider your needs. More so, you should analyze how your preferred streaming software will meet those needs.
Whatever your purpose of streaming, there are standard features most streamers will need while streaming. Here are 7 key features you should look out for while researching streaming software:
1. The number of streaming platforms supported
What’s the point of using streaming software if it doesn’t support the best platforms to reach your ideal audience? Therefore, a software package should support the platforms you want to stream.
On many streaming software options, you’ll find support for YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and other popular social media networks that support streaming. This way, you can reach all your followers and fans.
2. Scene editing features
Undoubtedly, scenes are a big part of your streams. For example, you can have multiple scenes, including your guests and video sources.
Having effective editing tools will improve the viewer experience during your streams. So naturally, there are common editing features to look out for.
How well can you customize the scene to reflect your brand? This will include adding themes, logo, background, etc. Another feature you should check is the transitions available when switching scenes.
In addition, you should be able to create alert boxes for various actions and use overlays to give your streams a great look.
You can create more buzz for your live events if you’re streaming on many channels simultaneously. This means you can reach a bigger audience without running the same event multiple times.
Some streaming software packages allow you to select many streaming platforms while planning your streams.
No matter how great your marketing, some viewers will miss your live streams due to different reasons. You can record your live streams and replay them at a later date.
Depending on your streaming software, there are many options here. For example, some software allows you to select the sources to record during streams. In another sense, you can record a video and stream it to your audience in the future.
One of the main attractions of live streams is the engagement it generates with viewers. As a matter of fact, a major aspect of this is the chat feature that facilitates conversations during your stream.
Your software should provide this feature. More so, there should be tools to moderate your chat. You’ll even find chatbots in some software packages to manage your chats.
6. Monetization features
Live streaming is a lot of work. In return, some viewers want to appreciate your efforts through tips. Therefore, your software should provide tools to take payments and messages from these viewers.
Like other marketing efforts, you want to track your live streams’ performance. This will help you determine the success or failure of your efforts. Then, you’ll have more information to improve your results in future streams.
Some statistics you want to see include the number of viewers, the number of minutes watched, maximum viewers, time in the stream with maximum views, performance on various streaming platforms, and more.
Whether you’re gaming or running a tutorial, streaming software will make your live video events more professional. In turn, you’ll deliver a better user experience and increase the chances of converting your audience to customers.
However, there are too many streaming software options on the market. So many that making a choice can become confusing. In light of that, we’ve streamlined the huge list of options into the five we’ve featured in this guide.
Whatever your needs, go through this guide to discover the right streaming software for your business.
What’s your most significant need in streaming software? Tell us in the comments!