Over the past few years, gaming and streaming have been going through a revolution on its own. Platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook offer great capabilities for showcasing your gaming skills online, offering compensation and fees for the most dedicated gamers with the biggest fanbase.
If you want to start Twitch streaming on your own, it must be extremely difficult for you. In this article, we aim to make it much easier for you by helping you pick the best Twitch streaming software.
We made this guide with mind of everyone who wants to become a successful Twitch streamer. While Twitch is mostly favored towards videogamers, there are a plethora of other niches promoted through the site. Choosing the right streaming software is half of the job done in building your name.
Why is that? The right streaming software adds value and a professional edge towards your videos and online streams. Viewers are more likely to enjoy a video with high resolution and stellar audio quality, rather than pixelated and laggy content.
Choosing the right streaming software is hard, especially if you’re beginner. As streaming grows in popularity, different software companies are fighting to prevail at the top of the industry and promise top-notch performance and features for the price.
New streamers are recommended to use free software because it helps get the right feeling about using it while getting used to the streaming ecosystem. Seasoned streamers who have already grabbed some attention and began building their name on the platform should start considering investing in software worth using.
What to look for when choosing the best Twitch streaming software?
If you’re undecided on which Twitch streaming software to pick, don’t worry. There are a couple of criteria to look into when picking the right streaming software. We outlined the criteria that will help you determine the right software, make sure to check it out.
Tech support – In case you need to purchase software and it doesn’t provide reliable tech support that will help you in case of a bug, is it a reliable software? Tech support that is available at a decent amount of times should help people tinker around the software and in case of a bug or a crash.
Investment – If you’re just walking into these waters, it’s recommended that you don’t spend too much money on software and possibly get a free version. That leaves enough time for you to learn your audience and explore how you want to build your brand.
Complexity – Are you into video production and editing? If so, you shouldn’t get any trouble getting to know another software whether it’s easy or hard to use. If you are getting into the two terms, it’s best to start from a more intuitive option.
Features – Each software offers features and functionalities of its own. For example, some users have machines that can stream with 720p while others stream in 4K resolution quality. Some streamers stream at different locations and invite different people. Some use special effects and overlays that keep their video lively and much more.
Hardware – Video editing and video streaming software require a powerful machine that runs it. Make sure to read the system requirements necessary to run each software smoothly. Software like this mostly demands RAM, CPU, and reliable storage, given that rendering takes some time.
10 best Twitch streaming software
With all the aforementioned information in mind, we’re ready for the list of 10 best Twitch streaming software. We ensured to use a combination of key features and present them as concise and resourceful reviews.
Best Overall: Xsplit Gamecaster
Best Premium: vMix
Best Free: Open Broadcast Software (OBS Studio)
#1 – Open Broadcast Software (OBS Studio) – Best Free Option
Availability: Windows, Linux, Mac.
OBS Studio is one of the best Twitch streaming software you can use if you’re a beginner. It offers a plethora of recording and lives streaming capabilities that novices can enjoy and use to get to know the video recording software better.
The specter of availability for OBS is huge; you can get it for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. There are plenty of features to love, such as color correction, image masking, and color keying which is suitable for sharing videos and other hyperlinked sources.
Because voice and clarity also matter in choosing the right streaming software, OBS also offers innovative mixers and transitions to assist audio rendering. Whether you’re looking for a brighter or more eye-soothing option, OBS sports both dark and bright theme and is extremely easy to use.
Free, beginner-friendly, a lot of imagery filters and audio mixers, comes with the both dark and bright theme.
No technical support in the community edition, no multistreaming.
Streamlabs OBS is the efforts of Streamlabs, a general-purpose streaming tool to combine with OBS to create an ultimate, free, yet powerful streaming software. It has incredibly large community and more user-friendly interface compared to the above option.
The two companies combined their skills for this tool since January 2018, making a customizable and software full of face masks, overlays, audio filters, video editor, and more.
There are additional sub-tracking features for stream, such as game alerts, chatboxes, donations, and subs tracking. There is also real-time troubleshooter and Discord support. While this app is mainly gamer-oriented, other people who make money off Twitch should give it a try.
The only drawback is that this tool is still in the beta mode meaning that not all features work entirely or reliably. Additionally, it’s available only on the Windows platform, so those who somehow manage to use Linux or macOS to stream should refer to the above version.
Free, user-friendly, Twitch-related features, thousands of free customizations
If you want to kickstart your live streaming on Twitch for free and you own an Nvidia graphics card, Shadowplay is the right Twitch streaming software.
It’s a software that usually installs as part of the driver installations in the more recent Nvidia GPUs. Shadowplay encodes the features through the performance of GPU instead of throttling the CPU performance, which is mainly used by the competing software, leaving the computer’s performance at optimum.
Shadowplay is equipped with all the basic features that are necessary for you to start streaming. However, other than the gameplay itself, there’s no way to stream anything else. There are no overlays or multiple-source scenes.
The encoder is fast, although if you’ve already spent some time streaming using this software, you might want to move onto something more complex.
All in all, if you have a weaker computer but a good Nvidia GPU, this software is the right one for you. The app is launchable in GeForce Experience.
A lot of shortcuts encodes using GPU instead of CPU, Great for local recording
LightStream Studio is a beginner-friendly, intuitive and powerful Twitch streaming software that is directly integrated into your browser and saves the recordings on Google Docs.
The software is an ultimate supporter of cloud integration encouraging media to be uploaded there. The video is captured through your computer and communication with a browser, uploaded to cloud storage.
Cloud integration also means that instead of overusing the CPU power, it consumes less, and uses your internet network instead. There are a lot of overlays to choose from, quest hosting, live chat support, and other streaming tools to choose from.
The Lightstream will also take care of your internet connection and alert you if something goes wrong. It’s easily customizable and great to use for beginners, before opting for a more feature-rich option.
Customizable, easy to set up, free, uploads videos to the cloud, uses less CPU
Not as feature-rich, doesn’t support Full HD streaming or 4K, there are some issues with the sounds.
If you’re looking for fee, lightweight and easy to use streaming software for Twitch platform, FFSplit should meet all your requirements.
While it’s not equipped with all the best features like the other options as mentioned above, it works smooth, doesn’t take too much of the computer resources, and it offers good technical support that should come in your aid.
The company hopes to completely open-source its software, but for now, it’s frequently updating it and providing support for many aspiring streamers around the world. It’s currently available only for Windows.
Free, easy to use, lightweight with memory resources
As mentioned above, free options are ideal for beginners and those who aren’t looking to make a serious streaming career.
However, if you’ve been streaming for a few months now and want to kickstart your streaming career, your subs, but also your ranking will appreciate more presets, better video quality and more reliability.
That said, we dedicated five more Twitch streaming software to meet your requirement for a one-time payment or a subscription price. Check them out!
#6 – Wirecast
Price: 30-day Free Trial/ $695
Availability: Windows, Mac
Wirecast comes in two versions, similarly to XSplit – Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro, both being priced at hefty $695 and $995, respectively. However, both versions cover a large scale of functionalities and bells and whistles. There is also a lighter version starting at $249, although it’s not as innovative as the other two.
You can use it to host other streamers as your guests, add animated 3D titles, and another kind of interesting animations. You have unlimited capture and video encoding, as well as possibility to stream to different servers and platforms.
The Pro version comes with high-resolution ISO recording, scoreboards, 3D virtual sets, instant replays, NDI output, and adds more guests to the stream. The software also comes with a free trial of 30 days, although all its features are watermarked.
It also comes with decent technical support, although more sophisticated support is available at $299 per year. Another bad thing about Telestream’s Wirecast is that despite good optimization it juices a lot of your computer’s resources, so you need a really powerful computer to run it.
All in all, use this software only if you’ve made a professional decision to dedicate to Twitch or some other streaming platform. While the software in itself isn’t overpriced, it’s too expensive for someone who’d stream only a couple of times a week or a month.
Various features, free trial, encoding capabilities, decent technical support
Too expensive, soak the resources, the free trial uses watermarks over your streams.
If you’re looking for a streaming platform with top-notch features, vMix is the best what streaming industry can offer. All professional streamers and those who feel like it enjoys its great design and a great scale of features including virtual sets, animated overlays, guest-hosting in the streams, and live video effects.
You can additionally add features like instant replay and more. You can input various stuff like webcams, DVDs, sound cards, NDI, and PTZ cameras with a great range of resolutions.
It also has a professional sound encoding for 4K sound quality. It comes in six packages like Basic, Basic HD, SD, HD, 4K, and Pro. The large package system is good because users can pay exactly what they need and leave out the features they don’t.
The bad news, however, is that its UI isn’t as clean as of Wirecast’s and may appear scary to those who are beginning the streaming journey.
Fortunately, there is reliable technical support that should meet each demand you have. Also, if you still don’t know whether you want to use vMix or not, the company offers a free 60-day trial at full functionality of its features.
The free trial is attractive, especially because there’s no annoying watermark to flatter your streams. Unfortunately, Mac users are left hanging as this option doesn’t come with Mac or Linux support, only Windows.
4K encoding features, various useful features, good support, long trial, a lot of packages
Opting for Xplit leaves you with choice of XSplit Broadcaster and XSplit Gamecaster. No matter which option you choose, you’ll be greeted with a clean and user-friendly interface, live streaming and recording features and more.
Gamecaster is, however, a more basic version that will offer only the most essential and necessary features for you to start streaming. There’s also a new VCam tool which can help users blur, or remove the webcam background for those who don’t want to expose themselves.
While the most basic version of XSplit is free, it’s worth noting that a full version will unlock additional features that make live streaming on Twitch a charm. For example, if you want to stream with quality above 720p and 30fps framerate, you’ll need to be faced with watermarks. The paid version removes the watermarks and gives you access to multistreaming.
Another option that XSplit excels at is that it offers reliable technical support and frequently updates its software that it can be bug-free and more helpful to its users. There’s also a section for add-ons and plugins, mainly made by the large community this software boasts.
In terms of incorporating the software with Twitch or YouTube, XSplit requires encoding knowledge and isn’t as intuitive in that sense.
Various features, technical support, large community
Watermark on free versions on resolution above 720p, no encoding presets, only available on Windows
Streampro isn’t one of the most well-known Twitch streaming software, but it’s equipped with more than basic features to help you enjoy your streaming journey.
It’s effortless to use and fitted with a sleek and user-friendly UI. In addition to that it’s highly customizable and allows you to add polls, labels, charts, graphics, and other animations to make your streams more appealing while incorporating it into the Twitch platform.
It’s as easy as drag-and-drop feature to be added to the software.
Easy to use, lightweight on resources, customizable
Available only on Windows
#10 – VidBlasterX
VidBlasterX is an RTMP-compatible video streaming software and can be used for other streaming platforms other than just Twitch. It starts at $9 a year and goes up to $999 a year.
It hosts a lot of input features similarly to vMix and Wirecast. There are also features like video routing, local disk recording, output to a monitor of your choice, and more. It has a sleek and modern interface and is easy to use.
The only drawback is that it lacks some features other software includes for free or lesser packages and is available only on Windows.
Modern encoding, easy to use, reliable technical support