Anyone with a slight interest in video games must know about Twitch because the platform is immensely popular these days.
Twitch is a streaming platform that allows user to broadcast their gameplay in real-time.
To prove how enormous the service is with the gaming community, it has over 15 million daily users.
Besides building a following, many people are compelled to join Twitch because it offers money-making opportunities through donations, merch, and brand partnerships.
Another way to make money on the platform is by becoming an affiliate. If you want to be in the program, you must meet a few requirements, like having 50 followers and broadcasting for at least 500 minutes.
You also have to stream on seven different days each week. Basically, you need to be more active in growing your channel.
How do you live stream on Twitch?
First, you’ll need a powerful PC because it’s supposed to handle intensive tasks simultaneously. Second, you’ll need a Twitch account. And the third one is a software encoder.
What is live streaming software?
What people refer to as live streaming software actually falls under encoders. A software encoder is a program that converts elements of a stream like a video and audio into data before it’s transmitted via the internet.
You may have heard of OBS studio or StreamLabs OBS. Both are examples of software encoders. The main function of an encoder is to produce a digital copy of video content to be shared on various platforms, such as websites and streaming services.
Streaming particularly requires data to be processed in real-time, making the use of quality broadcasting software even more crucial.
What’s the best streaming software for Twitch?
Here are you should check out:
Best Streaming Software for Twitch
1. OBS Studio
When it comes to free software for recording and live streaming, OBS Studios comes to mind instantly. It’s actually one of the best free, open-source solutions for streamers.
While it may surpass others in popularity, the software isn’t perfect. It kind of falls short in advanced features, but for the basic ones, it has them covered.
If you’re tech-savvy, OBS Studio will satisfy your desire for customization; however, you may not receive premium dedicated customer support because it’s open-source. That’s what makes some gravitate towards paid alternatives because they need guidance when they face trouble along the way.
Increasing knowledge of its setup requires some time investment on your part. Since there’s no direct support, you should seek it yourself by watching online tutorials or reading articles.
One major appeal of this program is its wide support for operating systems. Computers running Linux, Mac, and Windows all can load this software. Not only that, but the platform support is also diverse. It can be integrated with streaming services other than Twitch.
Updates are published regularly, and they’re quick to come by. As said before, this encoder is not perfect. The rather difficult setup and nonexistent alerts are quite hard to ignore.
Lightstream has a free version, but it also offers paid plans which cost from $8 to $50 per month.
This software program is stored in the cloud, so it won’t hog up your PC resources. You don’t need to install anything. Besides that, setup is easy as it can guide you through the whole process.
Another noteworthy feature is pulling in streaming tools from other services like StreamLabs. Needless to say, the software is developed with streamers in mind.
Why? That’s because it doesn’t abandon other streaming platforms.
We know that Twitch reigns supreme today, but others also have devoted users, like Youtube and Facebook. And for those playing Xbox or PlayStation, Lightstream can accommodate the need for broadcasting gameplay to Twitch.
There are 2 tiers offered, the Gamer plan and the Creator plan. Each is further divided into 3 monthly subscription options.
There are features shared by both, such as webcams, pictures, and third part synchronization. Still, the Creator tier has enticing additions like RTMP sources. And if you like to create podcasts, the guest mode will bring inclusivity to the space.
For starters, we’d like to inform you that a free version of this program is available, but you probably want to upgrade to the premium one for those extra benefits.
Onestream is the full package because it has the essential features and supports many platforms. It really goes the extra mile with its +40 social media integration. Besides, it also allows you to pre-record a stream and set a publish date for it up 60 days ahead.
Another benefit you can reap is it won’t strain your hardware since it doesn’t require software installation. There won’t be a large file on your PC due to using this encoder.
Suppose you like to take time before uploading content. In that case, it has a couple more features for upload purposes, such as screen shares and a camera.
Here’s the breakdown of the pricing plans.
The free version grants users access to unlimited streaming, but the duration is restricted to 5 min per stream. The file size shouldn’t exceed 5GB. That basic plan charges $10 per month extends the maximum duration to 15 minutes.
The higher tiers after these two offer unlimited file size and up to 8 hours of stream time.
Wirecast’s main selling point is its wide support for online video services. A new version released a while ago offers substantial improvements and features, such as a better virtual camera and Facebook live polling.
You can also enhance your creativity by experimenting with the video compositing that the software supports. More settings are waiting to be explored, like picture-in-picture mode, swapping of streams, and audio delay.
This live stream software is value for money because it can step up your broadcasting game. For instance, merging pre-recorded footage has never been easier.
The pro version has added functions, including virtual 3D and 8-track audio output. These extra perks would make it a serious contender to other programs in its niche.
Unfortunately, the advanced features also raise the price tag to a level many must stretch themselves to afford. But all things factored in, it’s still a worthy purchase.
The footage input from various devices makes it stand out. And besides cameras, it’s also compatible with capture cards, NDI, and IP cameras. As you delve deeper into the system, you’ll unveil more hidden gems, like titling tool, scoreboard, and multiple bitrate values.
5. Streamlabs Desktop (Previously named Streamlabs OBS)
Streamlabs Desktop is a name frequently chanted by those in the sphere of live streaming. Simply put, it’s one of the top-rated choices for those seeking a free solution to stream on Twitch.
There are two facts you should know about this program.
First, it’s open-source, and second, it’s cloud-based. It spares you the agony of providing significant space for an encoder file on your PC.
It has no direct correlation to its performance, though. It’s just as capable as other similar programs. It adds in other entries of a supported platform besides usual Twitch, namely Facebook and Youtube.
Speaking of features, you can navigate through heaps of options. There are templates, overlays, widget themes, and more. It also carves out its own lane with the app store.
There are 46 apps to deliver added functionality. The following ones should be underlined; comprehensive analytics, concurrent live streaming across platforms, and diversified interactions with fans.
To tweak the settings, just head to the dashboard. All the customizations can be done right there. Your viewers will also be entertained by the string of eye-popping visuals and games that the software can display.
6. OWN3D Pro
This software program is ideal for those who want to jumpstart a streaming career but are perplexed by the overwhelming choices.
Some programs are not just premium but downright pricey. Even if a hefty price tag is not a hindrance, a difficult operation can be a major turnoff.
OWN3D Pro is a paid program with a recurring monthly fee of $10. For those unaware, it is actually a plugin of OBS Studio. They make a killer combo and allow you to bring out the full potential of your live streaming.
We know that OBS Studio can be cumbersome for inexperienced users. It’s no longer a problem because OWN3D Pro comes through with a straightforward setup process.
The features are generous; for instance, you can access over 600 overlays, widgets, and alerts. There’s also an option to alter alert settings for hosts, subscribers, and others.
And in case you’re eager to see how your channel’s doing, the analytics can give a better understanding of its performance, including changes in followers, raids, and tips.
Moreover, the program also has a designated chatbot called Lynn, which operates similarly to other bots. It can shorten written messages through commands, set timers, and handle giveaways.
XSplit can assist the user with its intuitive interface, although some might say that the learning curve is rather steep.
By the way, there are several products sold under the brand name and the broadcaster software. The rest are Presenter (Beta), Capture (Beta), and Connect Webcam.
The first mention is what you should get your hands on to launch your live stream on Twitch. This multifunctional program isn’t only suited for gamers but also businesses.
The installation requires a computer running the Windows OS. According to their website, the developer plans on adding MacOS to the list of OS support in the future.
Since it’s quite demanding, you’ll need a decent PC to handle the load. And as for the pricing, several license options are available starting from as low as $2.50 per month. It comes with solid customer support that works round the clock to help you with questions regarding the use of the software.
That aside, the watermark added to streams above 720p quality is quite a nuisance. Besides, the right to use it in commercial streams is also restricted to paid users, meaning that you can’t profit from using the free version.
Overall, you probably have mixed feelings about this encoder. However, it’s still necessary to check out the plans before making up your mind.
If you’re looking for a powerful live streaming software, vMix might be right for you. It’s simple to set up and pairs nicely with Twitch’s streaming platform.
Yes, there are drawbacks, but they don’t outweigh the positives. The customization provided is somewhat limited, especially when other encoders enter the equation.
Instead of composing your own, you have to take advantage of the provided framework. It’s like a double-edge sword because although it offers easy operation, it’s still limiting for some reason. It can be resolved by hosting on a dedicated server, but it requires extra work.
Having said that, if you’re just starting out, this would be appropriate. The streams can be broadcasted to many major platforms, such as Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook Live. It’s freemium, anyway, so you can upgrade if the free version doesn’t live up to your expectations.
The maximum resolution permitted for a stream goes from 768 x576 for the basic package to 4096×2160 for the paid plan priced at $1200. Other incredible features also come with the premium pack, like 4 overlay channels and a thousand inputs.
9. NVIDIA ShadowPlay
Does the name ring a bell with you? Apparently, to use it, you’ll need an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card.
NVIDIA is a beast for graphics processing units, so it’s safe to say that quality is assured. This program can record high-quality content and broadcast it to Youtube Live, Twitch, and Facebook Live.
Unfortunately, the features aren’t as rich as other encoders, but it also features graphics overlays. They’re necessary for the better personalization of a stream. You’ll also have a fair share of fun using it to share precious moments on your social media.
Another useful feature is instant replay that can be triggered through the hotkey. Enabling it allows you to save a small piece of gameplay (30 sec. long) for future use like sharing to Youtube or Facebook.
Since it utilizes the NVENC encoder, it relies on the GPU for encoding a stream, while in some cases, it’s the CPU that takes this role.
Quite frankly, this approach has a good impact on performance, although a higher bitrate needs to go with it to make it on par with CPU encoding.
What to look for when choosing a streaming software
Some programs are more suitable for intermediate and advanced users who already have a basic knowledge of software encoders.
Using one when you’re still new to encoders will slow progression to understanding its operation and setup.
An encoder can have a myriad of features, but you should focus on the main ones. These basic features are the ones you’ll use frequently and make a live stream complete.
The maximum video resolution is an example, with higher numbers being favorable. Platform support, custom overlays, screen share layouts, switching between cameras, and special effects are important features.
Price is a big deal for some, especially those who just got their feet wet in the live streaming industry. Many streamers would love to try out a free program to kickstart their streaming channel.
Luckily, free encoders exist, and they can also be powerful despite being free of charge. But if you want to make the most of the stream, features present in paid programs might work like a charm.
4. Platform support
Every live streaming program is built for specific platforms. Do some research to find out if a program is compatible with the streaming service you use.
And if it requires installation on the local drive, make sure it supports the operating system running on your PC. Otherwise, it won’t work, which could be disappointing if you actually paid for it.
What streaming software do twitch streamers use?
Streamlabs OBS, Vmix, XSplit, and Lightstream are recommended by Twitch itself, so we believe some have found their way to some gamers’ setups.
In terms of popularity, though, we hear StreamLabs OBS and OBS Studio a lot, so they might be favorite picks for many.
Is OBS better than Twitch Studio?
They’re stunning in their own right. Twitch studio is designed solely for Twitch, while OBS supports 50 platforms.
So in terms of versatility, Twitch Studio still lags behind. They are, however, equally rich in terms of features.
Twitch Studio includes scenes, automatic game detection, and internet speed adjustment. In comparison, OBS has a wide range of useful plugins and scenes.
What does Pokimane use to stream?
Pokimane’s streaming setup consists of quality hardware like the HyperX Alloy Origins 60, Noblechairs Epic, and Sony a6000.
We couldn’t find the software she uses for streaming if that’s what you’re looking for.
What is the best free streaming software for Twitch?
Some websites rank Streamlabs OBS, OBS Studio, and OWN3D Pro higher than others, probably saying something.
But to the brutally honest, it’s tricky to narrow it down to one pick because encoders are too diverse.
Wrapping Things Up
A software encoder is a program that facilitates the encoding process of video content, making it more practical for transmission over the internet.
There are many choices, and some have been included in this review. We can’t jump to the conclusion that the best streaming software for Twitch is the most popular one because they don’t always go hand-in-hand.
Sure, some gain wider recognition, but we shouldn’t rule out other alternatives as they may bring new things to the table.
Of all the software encoders, which one entices you the most?
They all have different sets of features, so better read the specs to find out if an encoder suits your needs or not.