Best Live Stream Software for WINDOWS PC? 2020 Review!

The live streaming industry has taken off in recent years, growing on a daily basis with no signs of slowing down. 

It’s no secret: live streams are a great way to connect with your audience and build genuine connections in real-time.

Audiences feel more actively engaged during the live streaming experience. Plus the excitement that the live content generates means that they’re also very likely to share it with their friends.

These days, it’s easy to take your live streams to a whole new level of quality with live streaming software. There are a ton of software options available and the features you can access are awesome: from bringing in guests to your live stream to streaming to multiple platforms at the same, now it’s easy to create super polished live streams at a fraction of the cost that professionals are used to paying.

But with a huge range of price points & features, it can be hard to know which software is right for YOU. 

After countless hours of testing all the leading options, we’ll give you our top software recommendations so that you can take your streams to the next level!

Important: When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

Choosing the Right Live Stream Software for You

Given the size of the live streaming industry and its huge growth, many companies have invested a ton of money into creating and developing platforms that facilitate and enhance the live streaming experience.  

Whether you’re looking to go live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch or pretty much any other major platform, there are countless options available with various functionality and features.

So how do you pick the right software for your live streams? Well, that largely depends on the type of live stream you want to do. 

So ask yourself:

  • Are you a beginner or advanced live streamer?
  • How much customization or advanced features do you need?
  • Do you want to bring in guests to your live stream, and if so, how many?
  • How much money are you willing to spend?

Once you’ve considered these questions, take a look at the results from all our testing to see our shortlist for the best live streaming platforms available in 2020.

Our shortlist includes OBS Studio, StreamYard and vMix and we’ve detailed their strengths, weaknesses, pricing, and everything else you need to know to understand which one is the right fit for you. All 3 platforms allow you to stream to all the major platforms and they all support RTMP.

Below, you’ll find a review of each of these 3 options to help you decide which is the best for you!

Let’s jump in!

OBS Studio Review

OBS Studio is one of the most popular live streaming options on the market because of its advanced features and high level of customizability. However, it does have some drawbacks such as its interface which is not overly intuitive. 

If you’re willing to invest the time to learn how it works, OBS does have a lot going for it, especially considering the price tag.

Standout Feature: 100% free software!

OBS Studio Interface
OBS Studio‘s website

Strengths: 

  • A lot of advanced features and customizability.
  • Powerful recording capabilities – you can directly record your live stream (whilst in progress) or use it to record a video even if you’re not live.
  • OBS Community forum and other support material readily available.

Weaknesses: 

  • User interface is not intuitive and can be hard to find what you’re looking for.
  • No feature that allows you to bring in guests to your live stream.
  • No feature that allows you to broadcast to multiple platforms.
  • No templates or presets for different platforms so you’ll need to know what the correct settings are to get the best results out of your live stream.
  • Can be difficult to adjust your settings when you’re live.

User Level: Intermediate through to advanced level.

Price: Free!

Check out the OBS Studio website

StreamYard Review

StreamYard is a completely different platform to OBS Studio and has some stand-out features that really set it apart. 

Its simplicity and easy-to-use interface makes this platform extremely popular with beginners or people who want to get their live streams up and running quickly, without investing a ton of time and effort.

Standout Feature: StreamYard allows you to bring up to 10 guests on screen at once!

StreamYard Interface
StreamYard‘s website

Strengths

  • Super simple interface that is very intuitive. 
  • Runs in your web browser so you don’t need a powerful computer.
  • Super easy to bring in guests (up to 10 guests on screen at once!)
  • Easily broadcast to multiple platforms at the same time, with just the click of a button. Plus any comments or interactions you receive on any of the platforms you’re broadcasting to will be aggregated in a feed in StreamYard.
  • Presets that enable you to quickly switch between different views.
  • Powerful recording capabilities – you can directly record your live stream (whilst in progress) or use it to record a video even if you’re not live.

Weaknesses

  • Fewer advanced settings mean that you aren’t able to customize your bitrate or have access to video layers.
  • No keyboard shortcuts available which makes it hard to switch between different views without moving your mouse and limits the option to use hardware like the Elgato Streamdeck to control your live stream.

User Level: Beginner through to advanced level.

Pricing

  1. The Free Plan gives you access to a lot of the main features such as screen sharing, up to 6 on-screen guests and on-screen commenting but it will add a StreamYard watermark on your live stream.
  2. The Basic Plan is $20 per month. This plan removes the watermark and gives you the option to bring in up to 10 on-screen guests, add your own logo as well as the ability to stream to 3 destinations.
  3. The Professional Plan is $39 per month. This plan includes all the previous features plus you can broadcast in full HD (1080p) to 8 destinations.
Plans and Pricing for StreamYard
StreamYard’s Plans & Prices

Check out StreamYard’s website

vMix Review

If you’re looking for professional-grade live streaming software to produce content that is super high-quality, then vMix is likely to be the ideal choice for you. As one of the most advanced live streaming platforms available for PC, vMix packs in a ton of features and a high degree of control.

Standout Feature: the ability to record multiple camera feeds at the same time as individual files (ISO recording). This gives you the option to edit down your video afterwards and use elsewhere.

vMix Interface
vMix‘s website

Strengths

  • A full suite of advanced features that allow you to customize your bandwidth and create a custom look and feel for each individual video camera.
  • Super easy to bring in guests (up to 8 guests on screen at once).
  • Powerful recording capabilities – you can directly record your live stream (whilst in progress) or use it to record a video even if you’re not live.
  • Isolated channel recording functionality (ISO) which means you can record individual camera feeds as separate files which you can then edit down afterwards and use elsewhere.
  • Great support for live streaming hardware.

Weaknesses

  • Although the user interface is fairly intuitive, it can be more complex to navigate for beginners than StreamYard.

User Level: Beginner through to advanced. 

Pricing

  1. The Basic Plan is free but is quite limited in terms of the features. The maximum recording resolution is 768 x 576.
  2. The Basic HD Plan is $60 and lets you record in 1920 x 1080.
  3. The HD Plan is $350 and unlocks the guest feature which means you can bring in 1 guest.
  4. The 4K Plan is $700 and allows you to broadcast in 4K and bring in up to 4 guests. It also unlocks the ISO recording feature.
  5. The Pro Plan is $1,200 and unlocks all their features and the ability to bring in up to 8 guests.
Plans and Pricing for vMix
vMix’s Plans and Prices

Check out the VMix website

Recommended Live Streaming Software for PC

So there you have it; our top 3 picks for the best live streaming platforms for Windows PC right now. 

All 3 options are best-in-class but ultimately what’s best for YOU comes down to your specific requirements.

For most users, StreamYard would be our top pick. It’s super simple to use, packs in a ton of amazing features like having up to 10 guests and presets that enable you to switch between different views – and there’s almost no learning curve so getting started is easy. 

That said, if you’re looking for more advanced features like ISO recording, then you probably should consider one of the more professional options like OBS or vMix.

So if you are interested in something a little more advanced and aren’t scared off by the added complexity, then vMix is the way to go! It’s got the ability to record videos even if you’re not live as well as ISO recording functionality. One thing to note however is that the user interface is not as intuitive to use as StreamYard so beginners will need to invest some time upfront to learn how to navigate.

And finally, if you’re looking for something in-between in terms of complexity, or you’re looking for the cheapest option, then OBS is the way to go! It has a lot of advanced features and recording capabilities and it’s 100% free but you will miss out on bringing in guests or broadcasting to multiple platforms during your live stream.

Pro Live Streaming Tip!

No matter which software you choose, it’s easy to take your live streams to a whole new level with custom branded animations and titles. Check out our complete tutorial to learn how we use PlaceIt to incorporate animation into our videos to make them look super professional!

Want more tips and editing tricks?
Click here to check out our step-by-step process to cutting your video editing time in HALF.


Links

When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

Recommended Live Streaming Software for PC:


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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