What streaming software should you use on Windows or Mac? - 2020

Written:20/07/2020
Last updated:20/07/2020

To stream to YouTube, twitch or Facebook you will need some streaming software, but a question I always hear is “What software should I use?” I decided it was time to evaluate the different free streaming software which is most recommended, and decide what is best for anyone’s needs. Streaming software can capture your game, and have different scenes like ‘Live scene’, and ‘Be right back’ as well as ‘starting soon.’ These scenes can all have different sources, such as webcams or a donation goal. You can have hotkeys on your keyboard, stream deck or even stream deck mobile to switch between these scenes. All streaming software requires a stable internet connection. Check out BoostingInternet to learn how to improve your wi-fi. We state next to the software if they work on Windows or Mac.

Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS is an easy to use, customisable streaming software. You can customise almost anything on it, from your ‘new follower’ sound to the layout of everything. There is also a store built in with lots of free overlays and alert boxes to maximize customisability. You can log in to your account, so you don’t have to find your stream key. Streamlabs OBS can be used on windows or Mac.

Recommended System specs

  • Quad Core processor
  • DirectX 10 capable GPU
  • At least 4GB RAM

If you are going to be playing and streaming PC games, we recommend 8GB RAM minimum, preferably 16GB, however if you are playing console games and streaming via a capture card, the specs above should be ok.

Streamlabs has many built in sources including an Alertbox and donation goal. This image shows all of the sources currently available.

Streamlabs OBS sources

What puts Streamlabs ahead of the game is the mini feed function, as well as the chat box. When you are live streaming, any events that happen, like someone following or subscribing can make an alert on screen, as well as a sound. This is fully customisable so it can look or sound different. This feature is especially useful as it means you can view all of your events on the same screen as your stream preview. You can also see your Chat and your viewer count live, so you will never have to change tab!

You can use this link to get money off Streamlabs prime.

OBS Studio

OBS

OBS is essentially Streamlabs OBS, but built for recording and streaming. This means you can record and stream simultaneously, but you lack most widgets which are in Streamlabs. This is not a problem however, if you want to record and stream but not loose those features you could use Stream Elements to customise your stream. The Sources you can use on OBS studio include basic images/ text, video input captures (Facecams or capture cards) and a browser source, which could be used to get a keyboard overlay, showing what keys you are pressing. OBS can also be used on windows or Mac.

The Recommended specs are identical to those of Streamlabs OBS

Recommended System specs

  • Quad Core processor
  • DirectX 10 capable GPU
  • At least 4GB RAM

Similarly to Streamlabs, if you are going to be playing and streaming PC games, we recommend 8GB RAM minimum, preferably 16GB, however if you are playing console games and streaming via a capture card, the specs above should be ok.

OBS is mainly just to get your gameplay onto the internet, and then you can have widgets using something like stream elements, rather than the advanced customisation that streamlabs gives you.

Xsplit Broadcaster

Streamlabs OBS

Xsplit broadcaster also allows you to stream and record at the same time, however you also lack most widgets, but have a few more sources. You can use capture cards to stream from console, or game capture to ensure you only show your game. Xsplit can only be used on windows.

Recommended System specs

  • Windows 8+
  • 2nd Generation Core i7 CPU or equivalent
  • 8 GB RAM
  • DirectX 10 capable GPU

Xsplit Broadcaster has similar sources to OBS, but a few different ones.

Xsplit Sources

There are some unique features on Xsplit, including changing audio in each scene.

Xsplit Features

Xsplit allows you to login to stream on any platform, so no stream keys are required. This makes streaming a lot easier than on OBS, and the same as streamlabs however finding your stream key is very simple.

So, what is the best streaming software?

We recommend using Streamlabs OBS to stream on any platform if you want to be able to customize your scenes, view your event feed and chatbox all in one program. If you don’t want the advanced customisation, we recommend using OBS studio due to its simple layout, and useful settings. OBS is also the way to go if you want to record and stream at the same time, without loosing too much game quality. We haven’t found any reason for Xsplit to be used over OBS or Streamlabs OBS, because we find the layout is difficult to use, and there aren’t any features than excel over the rest.

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