The Best software for streaming in 2021

Finding the Best Live Streaming Software can be difficult. Live-streaming is becoming increasingly common these days. Today, there are many choices available for all kinds of people who use live streaming applications. This includes people who want to capture content from the Internet and those who wish to live-stream their activities.

For obvious reasons, having so many choices is both a good and a bad thing. However, if you manage to find the best live streaming software for yourself, you can stream like a professional in no time.

We have taken care of the most challenging part for you, i.e., finding the best live streaming software. Now, you won’t have to spend hours looking for the best live streaming software. We have listed four leading streaming solutions and made it easy for you to choose one software.

Before we show you the list, there are some things that you need to keep in mind while choosing streaming software. First, always check if your system can even run the software that you’re choosing. If you have a modern, high-end computer, there will most likely be no issue. However, you might want to stay alert if you have an outdated PC.

Also, considering bandwidth, the quantity of total inputs, and quality is essential. Video streaming software can have a resolution of 720p up to 4K or 4096×2160. It is also not reasonable to assume that you would get the full range of resolution without paying extra and upgrading the software to a premium plan.

Here are the four best programs to live stream with in 2021.

1. OBS

obs streaming software

Open Broadcaster Software, also known as OBS, is the go-to software for most live streamers. This is primarily because of its versatility and lightweight. A great OBS feature is that it allows live streaming with a camera, streaming off your desktop, recording video games, and recording your computer screen. All recordings are saved as mp4 files.

Also, with OBS, audio and video mixing are convenient. Users can easily switch between sources and mix their audio in real-time. This allows them to make a professional-looking broadcast. 

Besides, OBS allows streaming to several destinations, such as Twitch, Facebook Live, Mixer, Youtube Live, and many more. For free encoding and live streaming software, this feature is very generous. 

Apart from that, OBS gives you complete control over your video quality—so much so that you can even adjust the resolution and frame rate. Besides that, you can adjust the audio latency as well. This comes in handy if your sound speed doesn’t match your video speech. Moreover, if you’re into video editing, you would love the chroma key/green screen option of OBS. 

Furthermore, OBS offers various critical scene transitions, such as cut and fade, for your post-production. If all these features aren’t enough, you can hit the OBS plugin repository to expand its functionality. You can find amazing plugins that allow you to add stream effects, use your smartphone as a remote control, and much more. 

The only limitation of OBS is that it offers too much. Such a powerful video streaming software with so many impressive features can overwhelm a beginner. A beginner may even find it hard to set up the software. Remember, OBS is free, and free software doesn’t always provide 24/7 customer support. 

2. Streamlabs OBS

streamlabs obs

Streamlabs OBS, abbreviated as SLOBS, is specially made for people who face issues while using OBS. In other words, Streamlabs OBS is a variant of OBS with more straightforward features; therefore, it’s easy to use.

Not only that, but Streamlabs OBS is also very simple to set up. You just have to install Streamlabs OBS, and the program will then check your system and configure the settings of the live streaming feature for maximum performance. This procedure depends on your internet speed and system hardware.

With Streamlabs OBS, you get live streaming add ons as well. These add ons are interactive, but you can also directly insert them in your live stream. For instance, Alert Box is a famous Streamlabs OBS add on. It notifies you whenever someone subscribes to your channel when you’re in the middle of your live stream session.

Additionally, SLOBS offers themed layouts too. To be precise, it comes with 340 themed layouts. These are important if you want to produce professional-looking live streams. 

The themes also allow you to create different animations quickly. For example, the “be right back” animation is widely used. Since live streams are usually used for gaming, most themes are related to game streaming. However, you can find other options as well, such as themes for sports streaming. 

Streamlabs OBS also supports a mobile application. With that app, you can control your live streams remotely. What’s more, Streamlabs OBS uses machine learning and automation to improve its live stream feature. 

However, there’s a downside to SLOBS. Even though it’s a variant on OBS, it’s not precisely OBS. Therefore, you won’t get any OBS updates on your SLOBS software. But with SLOBS, you won’t even feel the need for such updates. 

3. XSplit

XSplit streaming software

Developed and maintained by SplitmediaLabs, XSplit is a video-mixing and live streaming application. XSplit has two versions: XSplit Gamecaster and XSplit Broadcaster.

XSplit Gamecaster is free and, naturally, has limited features. In contrast, XSplit Broadcaster is the premium, feature-rich version of the application. One thing is common in both the versions; they’re both considerably user-friendly. 

That being said, a beginner would find the premium version, XSplit Broadcaster, a little confusing. Despite that, XSplit Broadcaster is much more user-friendly than OBS. Even after that, XSplit gives you complete control over your live streams.

Moreover, XSplit Broadcaster has a fantastic video mixing feature. It allows you to broadcast from several sources easily. As the software calls it, these sources or scenes will enable you to switch between your webcam, desktop, or browser window.

Furthermore, XSplit allows multi streaming to social media. This means that, with XSplit, you can connect to your Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts and broadcast to various destinations at the same time. 

Streaming and encoding are much advanced in XSplit. It gives you complete control over both the encoding and rendering options. With XSplit Broadcaster, you can stream in up to 4K UHD at 60 FPS. In addition to that, if you want extra flexibility while editing, you can record your microphone and system audio on separate tracks.

Even though XSplit Broadcaster is paid, it’s highly affordable. For only $8.32 per month, you can get a 3-month license. The 12-month license costs only $5 per month, and the lifetime license costs only $199. What’s more, XSplit also offers 24/7 tech support. 

However, XSplit is not a flawless application. There are two major issues related to XSplit. First, it is not made available for Mac yet. Also, users often complain that the application slows their systems down when it’s working.

4. Lightstream

lightstream studio

Lightstream Studio is known for its powerful and intuitive live streaming ability. Lightstream even calls itself the Google Docs of live video production. We believe it aims to become as successful as Google did with GCP. Lightstream works similarly to the Cloud. 

After sources are captured from your system, Lightstream servers do all the encoding and compositing. Due to this particular feature, Lightstream achieves what many software cannot. It decreases CPU usage on the local system, so much so that no streaming software can reduce CPU usage as much as Lightstream without affecting the picture quality. 

Even though Lightstream Studio is a cloud-based, free of cost software, it offers tons of impressive features. These include guest hosting, live chat support, professional overlays, remote scene-switching (from a smartphone or tablet), native support of well-known streaming software (like Streamlabs), and much more. 

Lightstream also saves all your scenes, assets, and projects in the Cloud. This particular feature comes in handy and protects you from rebuilding your content every time. 

Another fantastic feature of Lightstream Studio is that it automatically selects the best encoding settings on your computer. Moreover, this software keeps track of your Internet connection as well. This allows Lightstream to adjust the bitrate to prevent the stream from buffering. 

All the features, as mentioned earlier, are freely available on Lightstream Studio. Interestingly, even with all these features, Lightstream is easy to use and quick to set up. 

That being said, users of Lightstream have complained about its sound issues many times. Also, since Lightstream is quite essential and not too feature-rich, we believe it is better for beginners than professionals.

Choose The Streaming Software That’s Best For You

You might be wondering which software you should choose now. We believe that there is never single best live streaming software. Each software has an entirely different set of features to offer that might be ideal for one person but not for another.

For this reason, we recommend you review all the streaming mentioned above software thoroughly. This will allow you to choose the software that fits your specific needs. We recommend you make use of the free trial versions to better understand how each software works and what it offers.

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