Live streaming has become an essential tool for connecting with audiences and building communities for the past half-decade or so.
A brief look at our day-to-day lives will show us how live streaming is virtually everywhere: content creators and gamers live streaming their content; businesses broadcasting their webinars and virtual events; educational institutions conducting online classes, and so on.
The fact that there are now so many live streaming platforms available –including affordable and free ones— also further increased its popularity.
However, with so many options available, choosing the right solution according to your unique needs can be such a daunting task. That’s where this guide comes in.
We’ve done the research, and in this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 live streaming solutions currently available in the market.
In this guide, we will take a detailed look at each solution, comparing them based on features, user interface, prices, and more. We’ll also provide you with actionable tips and insights on how to make the most of your live streaming.
By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of the different options available and be able to make an informed decision on which platform is best for you.
Without further ado, let us begin this guide right away.
Top 10 Live Streaming Software for Video Broadcasting
Type: live streaming platform
Viloud is an all-in-one online video platform, offering all the tools you need to record, host, and live broadcast your video content.
For live streaming purposes, you can easily broadcast to Viloud from both RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) encoder hardware or software encoder solutions.
Viloud offers several unique live streaming features, including but not limited to:
- The ability to embed your live streaming content directly on your website or application.
- Easily create your own channels. Viloud will automatically adjust this channel into a live state, and when the live session ends, this channel will automatically switch into an on-demand state.
- All streamed content will be recorded automatically so you can use it as on-demand content in your Viloud channels
- Live minutes streamed will be counted like minutes hosted on the Viloud channel, giving you more flexibility in costs.
By live streaming via Viloud, you’ll get the following benefits:
- Create a sustainable branded channel as your long-term investment. Your Viloud channel is your own standalone platform that you own, one where you can stream content, engage your audience, and build a community around your topic.
- Flexibility to start your own live streaming or linear 24/7 live streaming channel
- Amplify your reach to attract more people that are outside your initial audience
- Take 100% control of your live streaming channel, including monetization
Viloud pros and cons
- Unlimited live streaming with reliable and consistent stream quality
- Easy and flexible way to create and monetize your channels
- Mobile device support
- Integration with popular applications and software
- Embeddable HTML5 video player
- SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD monetization options
- Flexible plans for every budget
- Small learning curve to make the most of all the features
Viloud’s live-streaming pricing starts at $29/month, with varying sets of features to cater to different live streaming needs.
- Pro: $29/month, 300 minutes storage, 10k minutes viewed per month, 5 channels, 200 video links
- Business: $79/month, 900 minutes stored, 30k minutes viewed per month, unlimited channels, unlimited video links
- Premium: $199/month, 3,000 minutes stored, 120k minutes viewed per month, all Business features plus M3U8 links for linear channels, ads monetization, and priority support.
- Custom pricing: contact for price, all premium features plus server-side ad insertion, integrations, volume discount, SCTE-35 ad markers, and enterprise support
2. OBS Studio
OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio is one of the best and most popular free live streaming and video recording software.
Being an all-in-one solution, OBS studio can help in capturing, recording, compositing, encoding, and streaming video content. It is especially popular as an encoding solution, with many users using it as an encoder alongside other (paid) live streaming solutions (like Viloud above.)
As a live streaming/video recording solution, it doesn’t really offer any advanced features—which is okay considering it’s free—but it does offer pretty solid basic features like RTMP broadcasting, the ability to seamlessly switch between multiple sources, green screen (chroma-key,) and so on.
If you are going to use it as a live streaming solution, a key highlight is that it’s very easy to use, even for beginners. It’s also worth noting that although OBS does not support any popular plugins, there are many community-developed plugins that you can use to enhance OBS as a solution.
OBS is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. OBS Studio no longer supports Windows Vista.
OBS Studio’s pros and cons
- It’s 100% free with a 4 pretty decent set of features
- Great encoding performance
- Easy-to-use even for total beginners
- Can still perform well even on slower internet
- Doesn’t offer any advanced features
- Doesn’t support popular plugins
OBS Studio is open-source and completely free, an ideal solution for those on a budget.
Switchboard Live is a live streaming solution focused on simulcasting (streaming your content to multiple platforms simultaneously.) Similar to Viloud, it also supports video embedding, so you can embed its player on your website or application and stream directly on your website. However, we found that Viloud’s embedding function is more seamless with easier implementation.
Another unique feature offered by Switchboard is StreamShare, allowing users/viewers to easily share the live stream content on their social media networks without any difficult setup. It is a fully cloud-based platform with an easy-to-use interface for quick setup, and you can stream to unlimited destinations simultaneously. Switchboard also offer seamless integration with other popular video streaming/video hosting platform solutions.
Switchboard Live offers three different pricing plan tiers:
- Indie Unleashed: $29/month. 1,500 streaming minutes/month, unlimited streaming destinations, unlimited team members
- Pro Unleashed: $59/month. 4,000 streaming minutes/month, unlimited streaming destinations, unlimited team members
- Business Unleashed: $99/month. 10,000 streaming minutes/month, unlimited streaming destinations, unlimited team members, branded StreamShare page
4. Prism Live Studio
Prism Live Studio is another free software that allows you to create and edit photos, videos, and live streams where you can add beautiful effects and transitions.
For its live streaming function, Prism Live Studio allows you to stream to multiple platforms simultaneously (simulcasting). With its advanced editing features, you can easily create dynamic and engaging live stream content by adding various types of content to your videos, such as animated text, web pages, external music, interactive effects (Gifs, stickers, etc.,) and even gaming content.
Prism Live Studio is available on mobile devices (iOS and Android) and on Windows PCs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support macOS devices at the moment.
As a simulcasting software, it is also pretty decent, supporting the majority of popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook via RTMP, Twitch, Afreeca TV, Naver TV, and so on
While it doesn’t offer any advanced features, it is pretty decent as a free live streaming solution.
Prism Live’s pros and cons
- Great content editing features to facilitate interactive streaming
- Great mobile version, easily live stream and produce content from mobile devices
- Easy to set up and configure, even for total beginners
- Completely free with pretty decent set of features
- Limited simulcasting destinations
- Limited live streaming production features
Prism Live Studio is completely free to use, offering both mobile and desktop (PC-only) versions
OpenShot is an open-sourced and free video editor that is surprisingly powerful, considering it’s a free tool. You can easily use the video effects engine to adjust various aspects of your live stream content, with various ways to trim and slice your video.
It also offers pretty decent 3D animation tools that you can use to add 3D animated titles and effects to your videos. All of these features are available with an easy-to-use interface. You can easily drag and drop video, images, or audio files from your computer into OpenShot, and use the user-friendly tools for your editing immediately.
OpenShot is cross-platform and supports macOS, Windows, and Linux, and is available in 70+ languages (LaunchPad translation available)
OpenShot’s pros and cons
- Intuitive and easy to use editing interface
- A more technical free live streaming solution with cloud API and C++ library
- Great customer support and comprehensive user guides, again, great for a free option
- Only focused on editing with limited live streaming features
- Sometimes unstable and crashes
OpenShot is completely free to use, offering both mobile and desktop (PC-only) versions
VidBlasterX is an RTMP-enabled live video production solution that also offers built-in software encoder and live switcher functionalities.
While it’s not a free tool, it is pretty affordable, with the basic plan costing just $9/year and the most expensive plan being $999/year. VidBlasterX supports live streaming to popular live streaming platforms.
It offers a robust set of features with a unique modular design (you can add more features via modules.) There are a lot of powerful features offered, such as the ability to display outputs on different monitors of your choice, record streams to your local disk, intuitive video routing, and more
VidBlasterX is available on Windows devices.
VidBlasterX’s Pros and Cons
- Competitive price, has plans for three different ranges of budget
- Considering its price, offering very robust sets of features
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Customizable to cater to your unique needs
- Steep learning curve if you want to use its full potential
- No macOS support (Windows only)
VidBlasterX offers three different pricing plan tiers:
- Home: $9/year. 7 modules
- Studio: $99/year. 25 modules
- Broadcast: $999/year. 100 simultaneous modules with multiple recorder and streamer modules support in one profile
vMix is another impressive live-streaming platform geared for professional streamers, offering advanced features like multi-bitrate streaming, instant replay, slow-motion tools, NDI (Network Device Interface) input to allow low-latency HD inputs, and 4K Maximum resolution, among other nice features to power your next broadcast. It also allows you to start your live stream with various input options, including professional cameras, smartphone cameras, webcams, capture cards, DVDs, and photos.
vMix also offers comprehensive customer support and is available with lifetime licenses at several price points, so you can get one according to your current budget and upgrade later when necessary.
You can combine vMix with a video hosting platform like Viloud to simulcast live to multiple platforms simultaneously.
vMix’s Pros and Cons
- A robust set of advanced live streaming features
- Lifetime license may be preferable to some; available in various price point
- Accepts multiple types of inputs for professional streaming setting
- At the moment, Windows-only (capture program available on macOS)
vMix offers both a subscription license and lifetime licenses:
- MAX (subscription license): $50/month,4K maximum resolution,1,000 total inputs, 1,000 Camera/NDI inputs, 4 overlay channels, 2 recorders, 8 instant replay cameras
- Lifetime licenses:
- BASIC HD: $60 USD, 1080p maximum resolution,4 total inputs, 3 Camera/NDI inputs, 1 overlay channel, 1 recorder
- HD: $350 USD, 1080p maximum resolution, 1,000 total inputs, 1,000 Camera/NDI inputs, 4 overlay channels, 1 recorder
- 4K: $700 USD, 4K maximum resolution, 4 overlay channels, 2 recorders, 1instant replay camera
- PRO: $1,200 USD, 1,000 total inputs, 1,000 Camera/NDI inputs, 4 overlay channels, 2 recorders, 8 instant replay cameras
Wirecast is an all-in-one video production solution with a great encoding feature, making it a favorite as encoding software.
As a live streaming platform, however, it also offers impressive features like the capability to handle unlimited camera inputs (important in live broadcasts), live video editing tools, the ability to stream to any RTMP destination, green screen, screen sharing/web feed sharing, built-in graphics tool, on-screen Facebook/Twitter comments sharing, and more.
You can also integrate Wirecast with Viloud to easily stream your content to multiple platforms simultaneously.
Wirecast’s Pros and Cons
- A great collection of advanced video production features
- Great instant replay feature
- Reliable multi-bitrate streaming
- Can turn iOS devices (iPhones) into additional video/audio input
- Multi-channel audio ingest support
- Not the most affordable solution, and the best features only available in the expensive
- Wirecast Studio: $599 one-time lifetime license. Unlimited inputs, 1-4 slot multi-viewer output, built-in animated lower thirds title library
- Wirecast Pro: $799 one-time lifetime license or $35/month subscription. Multi-track audio recording, sports production (scoreboards, instant replay), additional output options (NDI, hardware, software, 1-17 slot multi-viewer output.
9. XSplit Broadcaster
XSplit Broadcaster (not to be confused with Xsplit VCam, a webcam background editor tool,) is an excellent live streaming software platform worth considering.
It is pretty affordable (from just $7.5/month) but offers pretty decent live streaming features like an integrated green screen, projector mode, scene preview editor, and stream delay for broadcasting later.
XSplit Broadcaster is also easy to use with its intuitive interface, and you can integrate various third-party apps and plug-ins with XSplit.
A downside, however, is the fact that XSplit doesn’t come with presets, so you’ll need to manually configure your encoder.
XSplit Broadcaster’s Pros and Cons
- Intuitive and easy to use, even for complete beginners
- Great customer support, responsive and fast
- Affordable considering its features, and there’s a working free plan
- A bit of learning curve if you want to use the advanced features
- Only works with Windows at the moment
- Free plan available with watermarks on the virtual camera, 4 scenes
- $7.5/month or $100 one-time license fee for the Broadcast Premium, unlimited number of scenes, no watermark, simulcasting, audio source, local streaming etc.
- Also available as a bundling with VCam (Xsplit’s webcam background removal/editing tool) for $10/month or 115 one-time license fee
Lightstream is a browser-based live streaming platform and encoder. Lightstream will let you broadcast your content on any major streaming platform or other destinations that support RTMP.
Simple and easy to use, Lightstream is a decent option if you’re looking for an affordable live streaming solution and/or encoder. While it doesn’t really offer any advanced and groundbreaking features, it does offer nice features like the ability to control your stream from the Lightstream mobile app, intuitive scenes and layouts, and the ability to use texts, images, video clips, and webcams as sources.
Lightstream’s Pros and Cons
- Cloud/browser-based, no download
- Compatible with all major operating systems (desktops and mobile)
- Intuitive, will automatically configure the ideal encoding settings on your computer
- Pretty affordable with decent features
- No 4K resolution
- No chroma key/green screen feature
- $20/month: 720p 30 FPS max resolution
- $25/month: 720p 60 FPS max resolution
- $40/month: 1080p 30 FPS max resolution
Lightstream also offers “Gamer” plans to facilitate console streams with overlays, starting from $7/month (720p 30FPS), $11/month (720p 60FPS), $14/month (1080p 30FPS).
There it is! Above, we’ve shared our recommendations for the best live streaming solutions available in the market today. While live streaming is much easier and affordable than ever, live streaming software is critical, and it’s important to choose the right one based on your needs, budget, and other factors.
Even though you may use other software and applications as you continue your live streaming in the future, it’s important to choose the first one right so you can set a solid foundation for your setup.
By reading this article, the hope is that you can better understand your need in a live streaming platform and use this article to help you choose what will work well for you.