The days of purchasing CD’s and DVD’s are fading. In 2005 DVD sales equated to 16.3 billion USD, by 2018 sales were down to just 2.2 billion USD. This isn’t a surprising fact, digital is the way forward.
Between movies on demand, an abundance of new viewing platforms like Netflix, and an array of streaming services, there really is no reason to purchase a DVD or CD. The digital option is cheaper and much more convenient.
Of course, once you start thinking about going digital you’re going to want to know which is the best streaming software for your needs. There are a lot of different options available, regardless of whether you’re new to streaming or have an established streaming site.
As well as checking out the following 6 best streaming software options, you should take a look at the guide to choosing the best streaming software. It will help to ensure you get the right product, regardless of your budget.
Don’t forget, it doesn’t matter if you’re new to streaming, are a serious gamer, or have built a business based on live streaming, there is a software package that will be perfect for you.
6 Best Streaming Softwares 2020
You can purchase streaming software but, there are plenty of great free options that you should consider first. It’s always worth testing a potential software solution to see if it’s right for you.
1. OBS Studio
Open Broadcaster Software (aka OBS)Studio is an open-source option. This means it’s free to use and can be customized by you or improved for others to share. In short, the program is constantly getting better thanks to the input of millions of people around the world.
Of course, you’re going to need a little knowledge in order to tinker with this software and get it doing what you want it to. It should be noted it’s a great option for live streaming but it won’t give the same features as a professional option.
A big plus for OBS software and one of the reasons it’s one of the best streaming software options is simply that it is free.
- Highly Customizable
Thanks to the open-source format there is very little you can’t make this software do, all you need is a little knowledge and patience. You can then tweak it and customize it to suit your exact needs.
- Works On Windows, Mac, and Linux
It’s great to find software that can work on Windows and Mac, as well as other operating systems like Linux. This makes it a good option if you like to stream on different devices as you can use the same software and settings.
- No Customer Support
Because this is an open-source project and built by a community of users, there is no customer support team to help you out when you’re struggling with the software. This doesn’t mean you’ll be unable to find help when you need it, but you’ll have to consult the forums and ask questions.
- Technical Knowledge
Open-source software projects are created and improved by their users. That makes this type of program difficult to use if you don’t have a lot of technical expertise.
It should be noted there are plenty of guides that can help, but this is not a plug’n’play streaming software solution.
Shadowplay actually comes with the Nvidia GeForce graphics cards, this means it’s free, providing you’ve purchased the graphics card. It’s actually designed for gamers and, although it offers basic live streaming capabilities, it is lacking in some areas, such as overlays or multiple source scenes.
While you can argue its free, the amount you’ll have to pay will depend on which graphics card you choose to buy, unless you already have one in your computer.
- Minimal CPU Usage
Because this software is designed for gamers it actually uses the graphics card instead of the central processing unit. This means that the CPU is left to be used by other applications, specifically games.
- Good Local Recorder
A slightly unexpected benefit of Shadowplay is its ability to record locally. A simple key combination on your keyboard will allow you to record a few minutes of gameplay. This can help you to establish where you’re going wrong, or share with friends.
It may be designed with gamers in mind but, while the encoding is good, it can blur the finer details of your game images.
- Need Nvidia Graphics Card
If you have one of these in your computer then you should be able to access Shadowplay for free. However, if you need to purchase a graphics card you’ll find they can be quite expensive.
This is a powerful solution and one of the best streaming software options currently available. It’s specifically designed to minimize the time you need to spend editing while developing multiple scenes.
Interestingly, it also has a very low CPU usage, making it a popular choice for gamers.
Simple tools allow you to access the various menu options and create customized transitions, timing effects, and easily drag and drop scenes to create the perfect live streaming image.
There are also plenty of template options that allow you to simply start streaming in minutes. You can even import from OBS.
- Array Of Options
Whether you’re looking to build complex streams or keep it simple, the tools are included in this software to give you just the right finish. You can even add a logo to your work.
- HD Recording
HD recording ensures you have the best possible image for your viewers. You can also use multiple layers and full scene playlists, helping you to offer better quality images than your competitors.
- Direct Streaming
When you don’t want to mess around you’ll be pleased to find the software allows you to stream directly to YouTube, Twitch, and a multitude of other sites.
While there is a free version it does mean you’ll have to put up with a watermark on your images. Purchasing GameShow is a better option and still represents a significant saving on many of the other streaming solutions on the market.
- Background Noise
It’s nice to see a feature to reduce background audio is included in the software. However, it should be noted that it is more difficult to use than comparable apps. But, you should also be aware that there is an array of settings that allow you to fine-tune the noise reduction.
- Gadget Integration
There is definitely room to develop this part of the software. Compared to some of the other best streaming software options GameShow needs more widgets, and simplifying how to use it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Wirecast has been referred to as the industry-leading live streaming software package. It’s certainly one of the best streaming software options currently available.
It’s very easy to get started with and offers an impressive array of features, including quick capture for 1 live input, multi-channel audio, and screen capture. The maximum resolution is 4096 x 4096 and it gives 3 master mixing layers with integrated text, titles, and other customizable transition features.
You can stream to 1 destination, or to one disk to record it and there’s even a virtual camera and microphone.
- Customer Support
If you purchase the basic package you’ll benefit from free support and upgrades for a year. But, more importantly, you’ll find the customer support is excellent.
- Feature Range
We’ve already touched on some of the features but you’ll also appreciate the animated 3D titles, hosting guests on your stream, and even the ability to multi-stream. It should be noted that multi-streaming is part of the pro version, not the standard studio version.
- Works on Mac and Windows
- Can Be Intimidating
It’s actually quite easy to navigate Wirecast. But, with the array of features, it can seem very difficult and intimidating when you first start using it. That’s why there are plenty of guides to help you and a community ready to assist.
This is definitely not the cheapest option on the market. However, if you’re serious about streaming and want the best streaming software solution then you need to consider this software, it has a lot of useful features.
This could be argued to be the best streaming software currently available. It has a myriad of features all designed to improve the customization of your video, giving your viewers the very best possible experience.
The good news is that it also supports almost any capture card, you can even access your own webcam to improve your image delivery. It’s a great option if you want people to watch you playing games as it streams efficiently as you play.
The program does offer customizable overlays but, to access all the features on offer you need to opt for the paid version of the software.
- Stable Platform
One thing that all users comment on is how stable and consistent this software is. That’s important when streaming, especially if you’re looking to become more professional.
- Supports Gameplay
The Xsplit Gamecaster is designed to be used with games, although it is also very effective if you just want to stream your video content. However, it should be noted that if you’re more interested in streaming than gaming, you should be looking at Xsplit Broadcaster
- Active Community Support Feature
This feature helps to ensure you can always find a solution to your issue, even without contacting customer support. The active community is full of experienced users ad professionals who are happy to help you resolve any issue and improve your experience with one of the best streaming software options available.
- Frame Rates
One of the biggest issues with this software is that the frame rates are set. It’s not possible to customize the settings, you can only choose the pre-set frame rates.
vMix is actually designed as a software video mixer and switcher, allowing you t mix videos in ways that could only be done by the very best professional packages. It is also a very well-designed live streaming app, based on the Windows 7, 8, and 10 platforms.
You can access 4 input channels and HD broadcasting for very little, ensuring anyone can become a streaming guru.
Whether you’re looking to steam your footage, mix it live or even record in HD and 4k, this software is going to help you get the right results.
- Minimal Training
You don’t need to spend hours training to understand how this software works. There are simple instructions and intuitive controls that will ensure you have the basics in no time.
vMix offers enough features to keep any professional happy. Many of these won’t be used by the average streamer but, it’s good to know they’re there and you may use them one day.
- OBS is Free
vMix is a good option but if you have plenty of computer and software knowledge you’ll probably find the free version of OBS offers you more opportunity to customize the software and get the exact results you want.
- A Lot To Take In
This is another software solution that seems very daunting when you first look at it. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to master it.
How To Choose Streaming Software
There are several things you should consider before you commit to any streaming software:
The best streaming software can be free or set you back several hundred dollars. Before you start looking for software consider what you’re prepared to spend and what your budget can afford.
It’s worth taking a few moments to check the reputation of a manufacturer and the specific streaming software. You’ll find there are plenty of comments on social media sites and internet forums. These will help you to decide if this is the right product for you or not.
Don’t forget every product gets some negative reviews, as long as the majority are positive you’re onto a good thing.
Buying the best streaming software is not going to improve your streaming efforts if your upload bandwidth is narrow. Before you purchase any software verify what your bandwidth is. Low bandwidth equals dropouts for your viewers, reducing their viewing enjoyment.
A good rule s to make sure you have a bandwidth of at least 1.5 x greater than the bitrate.
Your Knowledge Level
You can purchase the very best, and most expensive streaming software available but, you need to consider your knowledge level. Purchase the software that matches, or is just above your knowledge level, it will make the experience more pleasurable.
Don’t forget to consider how often you stream while on the move. If it’s a lot then you need a solution that is comfortable with mobile usage, a lightstream option may be best.
Don’t forget that your current hardware needs to be able to support the best streaming software solution that you’ve picked. If it’s not you’re going to have to consider upgrading it, potentially purchasing streaming hardware.
Whatever your decision, one of the above best streaming software options will be just what you need. Take the time to set yourself up and understand the system before you start streaming, the result will be better for it.