July 19

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13 Best Streaming Software Tools (2021) For Superduper Live Content

By Hanson Cheng

July 19, 2021


These days interactive content is king.

Static content doesn’t cut it anymore. 

People want dynamic live content. With the best streaming tools in your hands, you can produce dynamic live video content and make your audience eat from the palm of your hands. 

I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best live streaming software to make it easier for you to pick the right one. I’ll highlight the key features, pros, cons, and pricing of each tool.

Let’s get started.

What Are Streaming Tools?

Live video streaming software aka streaming platforms are programs that allow you to broadcast live video to an audience. 

Popular examples include native social media streaming platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Instagram Live, and LinkedIn Live.

These tools help you boost audience engagement levels and reach new prospects. Also, live content adds to your business content vault. You can curate it into online courses, sales pages, landing pages, and more.

Best Live Streaming Software In 2021: A 10,000-Foot View 

Here are the best streaming platforms in 2021.

1. OBS Studio: best free streaming software.

2. Twitch: best video streaming service for gamers.

3. Wirecast: best for on-demand broadcasts.

4. XSplit: leading video platform for experienced streamers.

5. vMix: top video streaming program for Windows.

6. Ecamm Live: best streaming platform for Mac.

7. Vimeo Premium: a top streaming system for marketers.

8. StreamYard: best browser-based live streaming software.

9. Be Live: best user-friendly streaming software.

10. One Stream: leading live streaming tool for social media.

11. Stream Labs: best free all-in-one streaming tool.

12. Lightstream: best video streaming tool for podcasts and talk show streams.

13. Live Pigeon: best streaming channel for pre-recorded video.

13 Best Live Streaming Tools For Blockbuster Videos

From multi-camera live streaming to audio mixing, overlays, and other cool streaming toys, here’s the list of the finest tools right now.

Best Free Streaming Software 

First up is OBS Studio a free and open-source software for video recording and professional live streaming.

It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. Their premier sponsors include Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

OBS Key Features

  • Live Capture Tools: capture live video/audio and create scenes from multiple sources: webcams, window captures, images, text, and more.
  • Smart Hotkeys: set hotkeys for muting audio sources, starting or stopping streams, changing between streams, and push to talk.
  • Audio Mixer: instinctive audio mixer with all the bells and whistles such as noise suppression, noise gate, and gain.
  • Studio Mode: preview and polish up your scenes to make sure they are picture-perfect before you broadcast your live stream. 
  • Multiview: monitor 8 scenes and cue to any of them with a single click.

PROS

  • They live stream to Facebook Live, YouTube, Hitbox, and Twitch.
  • OBS Studio has a clutter-free interface that’s easy to use.
  • The software is free but has decent features.
  • They have an outstanding resolution customization feature.

CONS

  • No timecodes and countdown cues.
  • The program gobbles up a lot of memory.
  • It can be a tad overwhelming for new users.

OBS Studio

PLAN

Free

Best Video Live Streaming Service For Gamers

Do you love gaming?

Then you will enjoy Twitch. 

With over 2 million active broadcasters, the live streaming channel is a widely popular gamer’s paradise. Whether you are on Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS, Twitch has the perfect app for you.

Twitch Key Features

  • TV Apps: they support Fire TV, Play Station 4, X Box One, NVIDIA Shield, Chromecast, and Apple TV.
  • Chat: besides live streaming, users can engage and interact with their followers in real-time during a show via live chat.
  • Monetization Tools: viewers can pay anything from $4.99 to $24.99 to subscribe to their favorite video streaming channel.
  • Customization: total freedom to personalize your channel and decide where extensions and tools live.
  • Integrations: the system plays nice with all leading live streaming tools like Lightstream and OBS Studio to enhance your production.

PROS

  • A remarkable user interface for both streamers and viewers.
  • They have a transcoding capability that allows viewers to adjust the resolution of the live stream they are watching.
  • Streamers can make money via Twitch Affiliate.
  • Viewers can watch ad-free live streams.

CONS

  • Competition on the channel is stiff so getting noticed is tough.
  • Spammers and trolls have infiltrated Twitch’s chat rooms.
  • Limited discoverability features so it’s hard for viewers to find what they want.
  • Twitch owns the rights of any live stream for 24 hours after the broadcast.

Twitch

PLAN

Free

Best For On-demand Broadcasts

Wirecast is a video platform that allows users to live stream videos and share their passion with the world.

The live streaming solution helps you share your brand story, explode your audience, and build your community. From worship services to concerts and live sports, Wirecast does it all and more.

Wirecast Key Features

  • Destination Outputs: NDI program output, Secondary Display output, baseband SDI/HDMI output, and Multi-track audio recording.
  • Enhanced Production: 4096 x 3072 maximum project and encoding resolution, built-in transitions, and 5 Main Mixing layers
  • TV Quality: use the rich features to make your live streams look so professional live audiences think they are watching TV.
  • Plug And Play: simply plug in your cameras and microphones and let Wirecast work its magic and bring your videos and graphics to life.
  • Unlimited Destinations: go live on YouTube, Vimeo Live, Facebook Live, Twitter, or any destination via RTMP.

PROS

  • You can capture unlimited inputs including 2 remote guests via the Wirecast Rendezvous conferencing.
  • You enjoy free email support and upgrades for a year.
  • Access over 500,000 unique media assets: videos, music, lower thirds, backgrounds, and more.
  • You can stream and record at the same time.

CONS

  • It needs super-fast processors and a lot of RAM space to get the best results.
  • It’s expensive compared to cheaper alternatives.
  • No free version although they have a free trial.
  • Setting up the software takes some doing, and the interface takes time to figure out.

Wirecast Studio

PLAN

$599

Wirecast Pro

PLAN

$799

Leading Live Video Platform For Experienced Streamers.

XSplit is a reliable live streaming and recording software for gaming, presentations, and live events. 

With over 15 million users, XSplit rates as a top-of-the-class live streaming and recording tool for streaming video content.

XSplit Key Features

  • Phone Broadcasting: broadcast without a webcam: transform your smartphone into a webcam for presentations, conference calls, and live streams. 
  • Screen Share: record your screen, grab images, add notes, voice-over, and then share it as a link instantly.
  • Stream Overlays: powerful multiple recording profiles enable you to record raw gameplay footage with overlays enabled.
  • Plugins: customize your broadcast experience with dozens of plugins such as Gamepad Visualizer, Audio Mixer and DPS Effects, and Replay Source.
  • NVENC Encoding: borrow your GPU’s resources to boost your streaming experience while giving your CPU a much-needed rest.

PROS

  • It’s easy to set up and use, even if you are a technophobe.
  • XSplit is great for live streaming engaging demonstrations of your product or app.
  • You can adjust the audio levels for individual scenes.
  • The software allows you to create pro-level webinars and online classes.

CONS

  • The features they offer in the free version are basic.
  • They embed their watermark on the free version for streams over 720p/30 fps.
  • You need a plugin to add text to your productions.

Monthly

PLAN

$20

Quarterly

PLAN

$35

Annual

PLAN

$70

Lifetime

PLAN

$230

5. vMix

Top Video Streaming Program For Windows Desktop.

Another respected live streaming platform is vMix.

It’s an all-in-one solution that gives you everything you need to level up your live streaming. You can stream, record, and produce quality productions that rival professional ones. With vMix, you can live stream to your favorite platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitter.

vMix Key Features

  • Slow-Mo: supercharge your productions and thrill your audiences with the power of instant replay for up to 8 cameras.
  • Interviews: conduct live interviews with up to 8 guests.
  • Video Files: supports all popular formats like MP4, MXF, MOV, WMV, MPEG-2, H264, and AVI.
  • Transition Effects: woo your audience with 13 transition effects: cut, fade, zoom, wipe, slide, fly, cross-zoom, fly rotate, cube, cube zoom, vertical wipe, and vertical slide.
  • Animated Graphics: spice up your production with 100 native animated titles, scoreboards, and tickers.

PROS

  • You get live social integrations for channels like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
  • They offer simultaneous streaming, recording, and output.
  • Their SRT in and out support feature aids viewing quality when there is an unreliable internet connection.
  • They have industry-standard color wheels and bars for professional color correction and monitoring.

CONS

  • The software has a steep learning curve.
  • It’s only available on Windows desktop.
  • Premium features like instant replays are on the pricey $1200 plan.

Basic HD

PLAN

$60

yearly

HD

PLAN

$350

yearly

4K

PLAN

$700

yearly

PRO

PLAN

$1200

yearly

MAX

PLAN

$50

monthly

Best Live Streaming Software For Mac Desktop.

Hunting for an all-in-one video streaming solution?

Then you’ll love Ecamm Live. 

They are one of the best live streaming tools for Mac. Ecamm has all the latest cool video streaming tools: multiple camera support, iPhone and Mac screen sharing, HDMI capture devices, Blackmagic, and a live camera switcher.

Ecamm Live Key Features

  • Quality Live Stream: get a crystal clear live stream to complete with live scheduling to YouTube, Facebook, and Restream.
  • Advanced Overlays: engage your audience deeply with camera overlays, countdowns, and scrolling tickers.
  • In-App Comments: they baked styled viewer comments right into your broadcast for a highly engaging viewing experience.
  • Smartphone Sharing: use your iPhone or iPad to share your screen via USB.
  • HDMI Capture: superfast for all encoders like Elgato Cam Link and others—up to 4k resolution.

PROS

  • Clean interface with straightforward drag-and-drop functionality.
  • They have superb overlays to make your live stream look stunning.
  • The system connects with cameras smoothly.
  • They support 1080p and 4K live streams and recordings.

CONS

  • The camera scenes feature can confuse you if you are working on many scenes.
  • They don’t have a Windows version.
  • No native audience analytics to help you improve your productions.

Standard

PLAN

$11.20

per month

Pro

PLAN

$22.40

per month

Top Live Streaming System For Marketers.

Vimeo is a celebrated live streaming platform.

On Vimeo, users can use pristine quality streaming tools to broadcast live video content via a camera or computer. Boasting 7TB storage and unlimited live viewers, Vimeo Premium is a formidable option for streaming video live.

Vimeo Premium Key Features

  • Video Library: get a branded video library to organize all your company’s videos and live streams so you easily find the content you are looking for.
  • Collaboration: invite team members to leave time-coded comments and respond to feedback right inside the dashboard.
  • Video Templates: create eye-catching videos from the vast customizable templates library.
  • Smart Promotion: promote your videos everywhere to grow your audience, capture more leads and increase your revenue.
  • Preview Screen: make sure everything looks perfect by checking in the preview screen before you go live. 

PROS

  • You have access to advanced analytics features to help you better understand your audience.
  • They give users royal-free stock video footage to garnish their productions.
  • You can hire top-of-the-class video pros to polish up your video productions.
  • You can monitor chats and engage viewers with a Q&A.

CONS

  • Their studio encoder takes a while to grasp.
  • Priced at $75 a month, Vimeo is expensive if you are a cash-strapped startup.
  • Uploading a video can be sluggish.

Vimeo

PLAN

$75

a month

Best Browser-Based Live Streaming Software.

StreamYard is a browser-based video streaming platform.

It allows you to live stream directly to all major social platforms simultaneously, interview guests, and insert custom branding to your broadcast. StreamYard has both paid and free versions to suit every budget.

StreamYard Key Features

  • Free Version: live stream up to 20 hours of video without paying a penny.
  • Multistreaming: broadcast once and reach multiple platforms—be everywhere your audience is with one broadcast.
  • Recordings: the system automatically records all your live streams but you can also record only without going live—your choice.
  • Engagement: show live audience comments on screen, answer questions, showcase viewers, and deepen relationships with your audience.
  • Interview Guests: use the 1-click invitation feature to invite guests to your studio and have sharp conversations with up to 10 guests.

PROS

  • You have lots of custom banners, backgrounds, and overlays to choose from.
  • They have 7 video layout templates to help you get started faster.
  • You can live stream pre-recorded clips and download recordings.
  • You can multistream up to 8 destinations.

CONS

  • They only offer full HD (1080P) resolution.
  • They cap streaming at 20 hours on the free plan.
  • If you are on the free plan, they watermark all your video content.

Basic

PLAN

$20

per month

Professional

PLAN

$39

per month

Best User-Friendly Streaming Software.

Dubbed the easiest live streaming platform on many reviews, Be Live is a fan favorite.

They have engaged a staggering 700 million viewers globally to date. Be Live helps you grow your business and increase your audience engagement on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Be Live Key Features

  • Browser Support: Be Live works with the latest version of Google Chrome or Safari.
  • Unlimited Viewers: there are no limits on the number of viewers that can watch your broadcast so you can grow your audience and generate leads globally.
  • Customization: you can add overlays, logos, and branding to fit your company’s look and feel.
  • Multiple Platforms: you can stream to multiple platforms.
  • Guests: host up to 10 guests and let them join via their iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

PROS

  • Two-way screen sharing so both the host and the viewer can share their screens.
  • It’s a super easy-to-use platform for newbies and veterans alike.
  • They have excellent customization options.
  • They have rich training resources and a knowledge base for self-help.

CONS

  • They only support Google Chrome or Safari so tough luck if you use another browser.
  • Their free plan offers scanty features e.g. you can only stream for up to 4 hours.
  • Their videos are of poor quality.

Standard

PLAN

$24.99

per month

Pro

PLAN

$37.50

per month

Top Live Streaming For Social Media Streams.

One Stream is a cloud-based live streaming tool.

It’s a viable option whether you want to go live in real-time or via pre-recorded videos. They serve any business from startups to Fortune 500 brands, as long as they want to reach a large audience.

One Stream Key Features

  • Real-Time Streaming: multistream across all streaming platforms using any tool like Zoom, OBS, Wirecast, or XSplit.
  • Social Media Streaming: live stream simultaneously to 40+ social media platforms like YouTube, FB Live, Instagram, and Wowza.
  • Pre-Recorded Streaming: set your pre-recorded videos for automated live streaming to social media up to 60 days in advance.
  • Captions And Subtitles: add subtitles or captions to live and pre-recorded streams via the SRT files.
  • Playlist Streaming: line up your recorded videos and schedule them to go live on many platforms.

PROS

  • No software installations or complex setup since One Stream is cloud-based.
  • You can use the Server URL and Stream Key to configure the system to personalized streaming destinations.
  • Easily import video content from Zoom, One Drive, Google Drive, Box, pCloud, and Frame.io.
  • You have flexible upload options via camera or computer.

CONS

  • It can overwhelm new users because they offer many features.
  • Their support team uses a lot of canned responses.
  • The mobile up needs polishing up.

Basic

PLAN

$10

a month

Standard

PLAN

$39

a month

Enterprise

PLAN

$89

a month

Best Free All-In-One Live Streaming Tool.

For a one-stop video streaming solution, Streamlabs is up there with the best.

Streamlabs burst onto the scene with a bang in 2014. Arrayed with spectacular features to go toe to toe with the big players, the new kid on the block has forced serious streamers to take notice.

Streamlabs Key Features

  • Pro Overlays: look like a pro when you stream by personalizing your streams using complimentary stream overlays.
  • Multistream: toggle the switch and broadcast instantly to multiple platforms like Periscope and YouTube.
  • Mobile App: stream to several streaming platforms from anywhere using your smartphone.
  • Intro Maker: tweak pre-made templates to craft a flawless video introduction for platforms like Twitch and YouTube in minutes.
  • Stream Design: design your video streams like a pro using thousands of thumbnails, sounds, overlays, graphics, and other video design tools.

PROS

  • The paid version gives you access to 46 apps to enhance your stream.
  • You can grab sponsorship opportunities from the Streamlabs App Store and grow your income.
  • They cater to both Windows and Mac so nobody’s left out.
  • Streamlabs has a clean chaos-free interface.

CONS

  • The software has a few bugs that trigger errors sometimes.
  • Strealabs chows a lot of CPU resources.
  • The chat feature is threadbare at best.

Video streaming is free but they sell add-ons on the Prime version.

Best Video Streaming Tool For Podcasts And Talk Show Streams.

Lightstream Studio is a powerful and intuitive cloud-based video streaming platform.

Driven by its cool 1-click guest invitation feature, Lightstream is a magnificent option for podcasts and talk shows.

Key Features

  • Analytics: get detailed live stream analytics to understand what makes your audience tick, so you grow your channel.
  • Live Shows: invite guests for lively interviews, panels, and podcast shows, even allow guests to share their screens.
  • Editor: drag-and-drop editor gives you full design and layout control of all your scenes and projects.
  • Cloud-Based: a cloud-based program so you can design productions from your browser and access them from anywhere.
  • Console Capture Tools: level up your Playstation and Xbox streams: add alerts, overlays, and media without a costly PC or capture card.

PROS

  • Simple setup-no downloads, no technical wizardry.
  • They offer efficient live chat features for all troubleshooting.
  • The system handles stream encoding which decreases the load on your hardware.
  • You can control your stream fully from your smartphone.

CONS

  • Poor sound quality especially during FB Live broadcasts.
  • They limit streaming to 720P and 30FPS resolution on the free version.
  • They have basic gaming features.

Lightstream

PLAN

$25

a month

(720p 30FPS max resolution)

Lightstream

PLAN

$28

a month

(720p 60FPS max resolution)

Lightstream

PLAN

$50

a month

(1080p 30FPS max resolution)

Best Streaming Platform For Pre-Recorded Video

Live Pigeon gives you all the tools you need to go live on Facebook and YouTube using pre-recorded video.

In other words, you go live without being live. That’s super cool if you ask me. 

Live Pigeon is an excellent live video automation tool.

Live Pigeon Key Features

  • Unlimited Multistreaming: stream as many streams as you want to YouTube and Facebook.
  • Scheduled Broadcast: upload a pre-recorded video, schedule it as a live stream at a pre-set time.
  • Sequences: create and schedule a series of high-quality pre-recorded videos for release at specific times.
  • Editor: edit videos before going live so they don’t break at a critical time.
  • HD Streams: live stream in full HD and impress your audience with top-quality content.

PROS

  • They support Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • You have free reign: unlimited multistreaming, unlimited video uploads, unlimited video size.
  • You can automate your entire video marketing strategy.
  • It’s so easy to use that even a clueless non-techie can get it right the first time.

CONS

  • You can only stream pre-recorded videos.
  • They don’t offer round-the-clock support.
  • No analytics for audience analysis and optimization for growth.

Basic

PLAN

$15

a month

Standard

PLAN

$37

a month

Enterprise

PLAN

$97

a month

Get The Best Streaming Software To Get Ahead

That’s it, folks. 

My hand-selected list of streaming tools for top drawer live content. 

Grab the streaming app that suits your fancy.  

Go live.

Grow your business with live content.

Last Updated on July 23, 2021 by Hanson Cheng

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Hanson Cheng

About the author

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles). Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter. Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

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