If you want to see the best live streaming software in one place, then you’ll LOVE this ultimate guide for 2022.
Live streaming is more popular than ever than ever before, leading to a large selection of live streaming recording software tools on the market this year.
That’s why I personally tested and reviewed the best free and paid live streaming tools to make it a lot easier for you as an online content creator to decide which one to go for (some are definitely better and more user friendly than others).
For example, if you’re on Mac and want to create professional live streams with ease, I highly recommend Ecamm Live.
Or if you want a solid easy-to-use browser based live streaming platform, then StreamYard is a good option to get started with.
To level up your live stream video and audio quality, you need to also make sure you have the right live streaming hardware (aka the perfect live streaming equipment setup).
Alright, let’s dive right into the best live streaming software platforms out there.
What Is Live Streaming Software?
Live streaming software allows you to broadcast live video and event feeds over the internet and connect with your target audience live.
A live streaming software is actually a software encoding program.
Although you can use YouTube live or Facebook live natively, a live streaming video software platform is essential if you want to level up your live streams and make them look a lot more professional.
To simplify for you, a live streaming software allows you to go live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Periscope and in some cases other platforms with ease.
With a top live streaming software you can do a lot of things you normally can’t do natively, like adding overlays, doing interviews with guests, playing recorded videos, music, sound effects and much more.
What Is The Best Live Streaming Software?
With live streaming getting more and more popular for every year, there are now many different live streaming software platforms out there.
But what is the best live streaming software this year?
As you might imagine, the question to this question depends a bit what you’re looking for.
The best live streaming software should allow you to create professional live streams with ease (preferably in up to 1080p or 4K resolution).
You should be able to add overlays, bring in different camera sources, do interviews with guests, play videos, add music, sound effects and much more.
I’ve been using live streaming software in to grow my online lifestyle business since 2017. It has definitely helped me level up my brand as my online videos and live streams now look a look more professional than before.
These days I’m really liking Ecamm Live (Mac only) as it’s a lot easier to use and I can live stream and create my content a lot faster.
Here’s an example of what it can look like when you use a professional live streaming software with the right live streaming hardware (just to show a bit of proof that I actually use this stuff in my business every day to connect with my audience, which allows me to make money online).
I’ll get into my top live streaming video software recommendations below.
Live Streaming Software Reviews (Comparison)
Here are my picks for the 10 best live streaming software, platforms and tools to create professional live streams this year.
After the quick navigation, you’ll find an in-depth review of each live streaming software. Enjoy!
- Ecamm Live
- Vimeo Premium / Livestream
- OBS Studio
- Streamlabs OBS
1. Ecamm Live
Best Live Streaming Software For Mac
Ecamm Live is the best all-in-one live streaming software for Mac.
Ecamm Live allows you to easily run professional live streams as you can do screen sharing, picture-in-picture, add overlays, animations, countdowns, music, sound effects, play pre-recorded videos and much more.
You can live stream in up to 4K resolution to YouTube if you’re on the Pro plan (otherwise it’s up to 1080p if you’re on the Standard plan).
You can also use Ecamm live to record videos directly to your computer (and when you live stream to YouTube, Facebook etc, it also saves a high quality video file to your computer in the resolution you set in preferences).
You can bring in up to 5 guests via Skype for interviews and smaller panels. I was even surprised how well this integration works when I started using it (and Ecamm will come out with their native feature at some point soon as well). You can do full screen and split screen easily.
There’s a ton more useful features in Ecamm Live like comment overlays, live camera switching, virtual cameras (Pro plan only), realtime monitoring (Pro plan only), Newtek NDI and much more.
I will be coming out with a full review and demo of Ecamm live pretty soon, so stay tuned for that!
Here you can see a screenshot of Ecamm Live in action during a case study interview I did with VSM student Mitch Asser (I brought him in via Skype and worked without any issues):
Who Is Ecamm Live For?
Ecamm live is perfect for any online creator, marketer, videographers, educators, producers, church leaders and practically anyone who would like to share their message via live video.
Just keep in mind that Ecamm Live only works on a Mac.
Key Features of Ecamm Live Live Streaming Software
- Unlimited live streaming to all platform YouTube, Facebook, Twitch or Periscope
- Live camera switching
- Add up to 5 Skype guests for interviews or panels (super easy to use, Ecamm Live takes care of everything)
- Comments and reactions
- Event scheduling for YouTube live or Facebook live
- Local high quality recording – every live broadcast is automatically saved to your Mac
- Play pre-recorded videos
- Screen sharing with picture-in-picture
- Multi-streaming possible via Restream.io and Switchboard
- Add finishing touches like overlays, comment overlays and green screen
- 4K live streaming and recoding possible (Pro version only)
- Virtual webcam – you can use this in Skype or Zoom for example (Pro version only)
- Realtime monitoring – monitor your broadcast on a connected display (Pro version only)
- Very easy to use and get started with (you can be up and running in no time after you install the live streaming recording software on your computer)
- Supports 1080p and even up to 4K live streams and recordings
- Very good knowledge base and step-by-step training
- Great, responsive personalized customer support (business hours)
- Super helpful Ecamm Live Facebook group community
- Very frequent feature updates
- No audience analytics available directly in Ecamm live
- Works only on Mac
- Not possible to set your custom stream bitrate at the moment
- Ecamm Live Watermark when using 14-day free trial
Ecamm Live offers a 14-day free trial so you can see for yourself how awesome it is. The only downside is that it adds an Ecamm Live Watermark during the trial.
Pricing for Ecamm Live is divided up into 2 plans (Standard and Pro):
Standard Plan: $12/month billed annually – $144 per year
Pro Plan: $20/month billed annually – $240 per year
Ecamm Live offers a full 14-day trial to their with full access to their Standard and Pro plan (it adds an Ecamm watermark to your broadcasts though).
You can get started with a free 14-day trial period, then decide if you want to continue using this awesome live streaming software (I think you’ll stick around and become a massive fan like I am though).
Best Live Streaming Software For PC / Windows
vMix is the best and most advanced live streaming software for PC, and I’ve use it since 2017.
You can live stream or record in 1080p or even 4K resolution (as long as your computer can handle it).
At first I used it with a custom built PC and these days I use it with my iMac Pro (you need to run Bootcamp and install Windows 10, then vMix works without any issues).
The only downside with vMix is that it definitely takes some time to get used to as there’s so many features and options. That said, I was able to figure it out and I’m not the most techy person in the world… if you decide to go with vMix, I’m sure you can make it work for you as well.
Who Is vMix For?
vMix is a live streaming software intended for creators and professionals alike who want the very best of the best. It is very advanced and you can do more or less anything.
Just keep in mind that vMix only works on PC / Windows though.
Key Features of vMix Live Streaming Software
- All your inputs in one place
- Simultaneous live streaming, recording, and output
- 13 transition effects
- Professional HD production on a modest PC (very efficient live streaming software)
- vMix Call: Add up to 8 remote quests quickly and easily
- Web browser input (I use it to add Google Slides and view pages)
- Built-in audio mixer
- Tons of advanced pro features and customization options
- Supports up to 4K resolution for live streams and recorded videos
- Guest / call-in-feature with vMix call (up to 8 callers / guests)
- You can buy vMix according to the quality of the stream and the features you need
- You can bring in comments (Facebook, YouTube etc)
- The most efficient live streaming software
- Great training and knowledge-base
- Solid customer support
- Long 60-day trial including all the features (without watermark)
- Steeper learning curve if you want to master all of its functionalities
- vMix call feature can use some work (as there’s no screen sharing functionality for guests)
- Relatively expensive for Pro/4K version if you’re just starting out
- Not the best integration with vMix social (for comments etc)
- Works only on PC (Windows)
vMix offers a very generous 60-day free trial (without watermark).
vMix offer a completely free plan (although not the best resolution), and five paid plans starting from $60 USD.
Basic Plan: Free (Not recommended, it’s extremely limited and low resolution)
Basic HD Plan: $60 (Not recommended)
SD Plan: $150 (Not recommended)
HD Plan: $350 (This plan can work, but you only get 1 caller on vMix call)
4K Plan: $750 (this is the plan of vMix I currently have and what I would recommend to most people as you also get up to 4 callers on vMix call)
Pro Plan: $1200 (great if you want to have up to 8 callers on vMix call)
Best Browser Based Live Streaming Software
StreamYard is a super easy to use and very popular browser based live streaming software.
It has a ton of really awesome features, while still keeping things really easy to use for a complete beginner to live streaming.
StreamYard is essentially a live streaming studio in your browser (so it works on both Mac and PC without any problem).
You can interview guests, share your screen, and much more. You can stream directly to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other platforms.
The quality can’t compare with what you can achieve if you use Ecamm Live or vMix though.
StreamYard’s max resolution to YouTube, Facebook and the other platforms it supports is 720p (which is fine for something like Facebook live, but for me it’s too low to stream to YouTube where you want at least 1080p).
Who Is StreamYard For?
StreamYard is best suited for creators who want to use the absolute easiest to use live streaming software, and you’re okay with the live stream video quality not being top notch (just 720p).
StreamYard is also a solid option if you can’t use Ecamm Live for some reason, for example if you’re on a PC (and you’re not ready for a more advanced live streaming software like vMix).
Key Features of StreamYard Live Streaming Software
- Unlimited streaming
- Multistream to up to 5 destinations
- Recording up to 8 hours/stream
- Guest / interview feature with 6 on-screen participants
- Q&A and audience engagement
- Customizable branding, overlays etc.
- Can use a green screen
- Stream to YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Periscope and Twitch
- Super ease to use and get started with
- Can have up to 6 on-screen participants on all plans (interviews and panels)
- Completely free StreamYard plan available
- Can add overlays, your own logo etc.
- Multi-streaming to many platforms at the same time (up to 5 on Pro plan)
- Only 720p resolution
- StreamYard watermark/branding in your streams when using the free plan
- Streaming limit on the free plan (20 hours per month)
- No 24/7 support
StreamYard offers no free trial. But on the other hand you can get started with StreamYard’s forever free plan, and then see if the basic or pro plan is for you.
Here are the pricing plans for StreamYard:
Free Plan: $0 (note that you’re streams will have a watermark and 20 hours per month streaming limit)
Basic Plan: $20/month billed annually (save $60 vs monthly $25/month)
Professional Plan: $39/month billed annually (save $120 vs monthly $49/month)
Vimeo Premium (formerly called Livestream before Vimeo bought it) is another solid live streaming software platform that allows you to create professional live streams and videos.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know about Vimeo when it comes to video hosting. I’ve used them for years to host all videos for my online courses, membership sites, virtual events and much more.
Since Vimeo purchased Livestream, they now offer some very impressive features for professional live streaming in Vimeo Premium.
You get the best of video hosting and one of the best live streaming software all-in-one when you get Vimeo Premium (which also makes the price point quite a bit more than other options out there).
Who Is Vimeo Premium For?
Vimeo Premium is for seasoned entrepreneurs and live event professionals who want to create high-quality live streams easily.
Although Vimeo Premium is pretty easy to use, I would not recommend it to beginners as it’s pretty expensive and there are more affordable options to get started with.
If you’re already a Vimeo Pro or Business customer and you need more storage, then you can also consider Vimeo Premium as you get both video hosting a live streaming all-in-one (which is unique on this list of the best live streaming software).
Key Features of Vimeo Premium Live Streaming Platform
- Unlimited live events and viewers
- Create recurring or one-time events
- 12 hours per live event
- Up to 1080p streaming (using Vimeo Premium natively)
- Live stream to multiple destinations at the same time
- Stream health monitoring
- Live audience chat, Q&A and polls
- Live graphics and overlays
- Screen sharing feature
- Auto archiving (in up to 4K)
- Live and post event analytics
- Browser-based encoder
- Studio encoding software included for free
- Live stream to Facebook live, YouTube live, Periscope, and Twitch with ease
- Up to 1080p streaming (or up to 4K if you’re using Studio encoding software)
- Easy to use out of the box (with the browser-based encoder)
- You get both a live streaming software and video hosting platform all-n-one
- Live and post event analytics (super useful feature!)
- Adaptive streaming – gives your viewers the best quality across devices, even with limited bandwidth
- When your live stream is over, it’s auto-archived in up to 4K
- Studio encoder software comes with the subscription (works on both PC and Mac)
- Very good knowledge base and training
- Great, super fast customer support via email and live chat (Vimeo Premium customers get priority support)
- Studio encoding software has a little bit of a learning curve (but it is quite powerful when you get used to it, similar to vMix)
- Relatively expensive to get started for beginners (compared to other options)
Vimeo Premium doesn’t offer a free trial.
It starts at $75/month billed anually which is quite an investment, especially if you’re just starting out.
That said it comes with a lot of other features such as video hosting (7TB of total storage) and much more.
5. OBS Studio
Best Free Live Streaming Software for PC and Mac
OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software) is a free alternative to Ecamm Live and vMix, but you’ll most likely encounter more issues as it’s a free open source software (and definitely not as easy to use as Ecamm Live). OBS works on both PC and Mac.
That said when it comes to the best free live streaming software for PC and Mac, I’d say that OBS Studio up there.
My personal experience with OBS Studio is that I had more issues than when I use Ecamm Live or vMix. I also don’t really like the interface and user interface that much in OBS Studio.
Who Is OBS Studio For?
OBS is best suited for online creators who want to use the best free live streaming software.
Just keep in mind that it comes with quite a few cons because it’s free (and you won’t have customer support etc. if you have issues).
Key Features of OBS Studio Live Streaming Software
- Live stream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and more
- Multiple source options
- Set up different scenes
- Can add overlays / branding
- Record your screen
- It’s a completely free live streaming software
- Can stream in high resolution (1080p or even 4K)
- Customizable and overall very flexible
- Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating system
- Huge OBS Plugins library (so you can add extra features)
- Not too much impact on your PC’s performance
- Steep learning curve (especially for beginners)
- No multi-streaming functionality
- No presets or templates
- User experience is not the best
- No centralized customer support (only community support)
OBS Studio is free, and there’s no paid version available.
You can download it for free from their website. Just chose the operating system you use and get started.
6. Streamlabs OBS
Best Free Live Streaming Software For Gamers
Streamlabs OBS is overall very similar to OBS Studio, but it has a much cleaner and simpler looking interface.
Who Is Streamlabs OBS For?
Streamlabs OBS is great if you’re a gamer, and many people in the gaming community are raving about it.
Although it can work for anyone who would like to live stream, I wouldn’t recommend it for that as there are better options available like Ecamm Live.
Key Features of Streamlabs OBS Live Streaming Software
- Clean, modern user interface
- Stream to any platform (Facebook, YouTube, Twitch etc.)
- Personlize streams with pro themes
- Viewer tips with alerts that appears on screen
- Apps to enhance your streams
- It’s free (although there’s an upgrade)
- Works on both PC and Mac
- Automatic optimization
- Presets and templates
- Twitch chat pane included in the software
- Organized folders for your sources
- Cleaner and simpler looking interface than OBS Studio
- Uses less CPU power than OBS Studio
- Relatively intuitive and easy to use
- Solid knowledge base with answers to common questions
- Lacks studio mode
- Removed some advanced controls
- Can only have one active webcam per scene
- Some bugs reported here and there
- No centralized customer support (just community support)
Streamlabs OBS is completely free to use. They do have some paid Streamlabs Prime for certain things but the live streaming platform itself is free.
Wirecast is a solid live video streaming software you can use for professional, high quality streams and recordings. Wirecast has a Mac and PC / Windows version
Before I started using vMix and Ecamm live, I tried Wirecast for a little while, and I didn’t have the best experience.
First, it’s very CPU heavy and my fans on my computer were running non stop. You need a very powerful computer to be able to use Wirecast without any issues.
Although Wirecast has some advanced features that are very useful, personally I prefer vMix and Ecamm Live much more.
Who Is Wirecast For?
Wirecast is best for companies in the sports, entertainment, religious and education industries who want to provide professional live video streams.
As I mentioned above, if you’re considering Wirecast for some reason, be sure to compare it to vMix and Ecamm Live as well as that’s my preferred options.
Key Features of Wirecast Live Streaming Software
- Unlimited inputs
- 2-7 remote guests via Wirecast Rendezvous conferencing
- 4096×3072 maximum project and encoding resolution
- Add overlays, branding etc.
- Social media integration
- Unlimited output destinations
- Virtual cameras and microphone output
- Advanced customization options
- Offers multi-streaming choices for YouTube and Facebook
- Multiple input sources
- Possible to bring in remote guests
- Works on Mac and PC (Windows)
- Very high resolution live streams possible (1080p or 4K quality)
- New features and updates frequently coming out
- Great training and knowledge-base
- Great customer support via email
- Steeper learning curve if you want to master all of its functionalities (not really recommended for true beginners)
- Can’t view live comments within the Wirecast live streaming software
- A lot of CPU usage (very resource intensive
- Relatively expensive
Wirecast offer a non-time limited free trial, but has an audio and video watermark. The trial also limits you to two Rendezvous guests, and does not allow ISO recording.
Wirecast has two different pricing plans. Here’s the breakdown:
Wirecast Studio: $599 (includes upgrades for one year)
Wirecast Pro: $799 (includes upgrades for one year)