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11 Best Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube in 2022

Last Updated on Jun. 24, 2022 – by Jayed Miah
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Best Software for Streaming

Revenue from live streaming is in the billions and rising by 20% each year. More than half of all internet traffic is due to video streaming, and there is no time like the present to get a piece of that internet pie. To be successful at live streaming, you will need high-speed internet and reliable live streaming software. 

It seems like every week there is a new software being released for live streaming. With so many streaming software options, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. In this article, you will learn about the best streaming software and have all your live streaming questions answered.


Top 3 Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube Snapshot

PowerDirector Logo

1. PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 - Best Overall

An all-in-one streaming software for live streaming, screen recording, and video editing. It is beginner-friendly and minimizes CPU so you never need to worry about lag. Detailed Review >

Gamecaster Logo

2. Gamecaster - Best Live Status Display

A streaming software for gamers with customizable scenes and a smooth, lag-free experience. Detailed Review >

OBS Studio Logo

3. OBS Studio - Best for Gamers

An open-source platform for intermediate to professional live streaming. Detailed Review >

What is Live Streaming?

Live streaming refers to streaming media over the internet that is being recorded in real-time. It is used in many different industries and for different purposes. Some live streams are performances that viewers can watch but not actively participate in, such as musical performances, and sports. Other live streams are used for business meetings with multiple participants from different locations. Live streaming is also very popular in the gaming industry.

All you need to live stream is a device with internet and live streaming software. A good live streaming software will let you craft a professional-looking broadcast with no prior experience.

11 Best Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube in 2022

1. PowerDirector With Screen Recorder 4 - Best Overall

PowerDirector With Screen Recorder 4 Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 10 / 10

Streaming Tools: 10 / 10

Price: Free
*Premium version available for $49.99

Key Features

  • Picture-in-Picture
  • 2 Unique audio tracks
  • Customizable hotkeys
  • Real-time Webcam and Mic preview

PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 is a streaming software, screen recorder, and video editior in an easy-to-use format for beginners or professionals. PowerDirector is the #1 choice of video editors and coupled with Screen Recorder, you get high-quality screen-casting and capturing plus desktop video editing all-in-one. 

Using this streaming software, you can connect directly to your favorite social media platforms like Twitch or YouTube using custom streaming servers and multistream up to five platforms at the same time. Change the background of your live stream with Chroma Key technology. You can even overlay your logo or unique watermark onto your recordings. And with PowerDirector, you can integrate webcam footage into your live streams and edit your recorded gameplay after with features like royalty-free background music, titles, and transitions.  

Even though Screen Recorder 4 comes with so many features, it minimizes CPU and GPU load for your gameplay, so you never need to worry about lag during live streaming. It’s the perfect solution for streaming gameplay, vlogging, or cutting together YouTube videos.

Pros
  • Screen recorder with video editor all in one
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Minimizes CPU and GPU load
Cons
  • Not yet available on Mac

Download PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 today.


2. Gamecaster - Best Live Status Display

Gamecaster Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 9 / 10

Streaming Tools: 10 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium version available for $3.95/month or $29.95/year

Key Features

  • Audio mixer
  • 100s of overlay packs
  • Customizable hotkeys
  • Copyright-free music

Gamecaster is a streaming software for Windows that is perfect for beginner to intermediate gamers. It offers in-game control with chat and the ability to monitor stats. Gamecaster has donation trains, subscriber goals, follower alerts, and more to make your gaming live stream stand out. The live status display shows new followers, the number of current subscribers, cheers, bits, and more. 

With this live streaming software, you can use your smartphone as a remote to control your audio, stream, and chat. Incorporate your branding, then use a template with different graphic sets to make your stream look professional. Scenes are completely customizable with tons of color schemes, layouts, and animations to choose from. Gamecaster uses the latest NVIDIA and AMD optimizations for a smooth and lag-free streaming experience. 

Until recently, Gamecaster was entirely free streaming software, but being unable to support a completely free model, they now offer a premium version. We like that this version still retains all the same features it did before, the only difference being a small watermark. The premium subscription removes the watermark, plus boasts perks like extra tokens redeemable in their store. This streaming software used to be part of the XSplit company, but is now independently owned. That being said, it can take a while for updates to be made, and many features are still in beta or are “coming soon,” which is why this streaming software is behind Screen Recorder 4, which is updated monthly. 

Pros
  • All features available for free
  • Good amount of analytics to monitor stream
Cons
  • Only available on Windows 10
  • Still in beta

3. OBS Studio - Best for Gamers

OBS Studio Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Overall Rating: 8 / 10

Streaming Tools: 10 / 10

Price: Free

Key Features

  • Noise suppression
  • Color correction
  • Chroma key
  • Customizable hotkeys

OBS Studio is an open-source streaming software that is a go-to for serious gamers. It offers an unlimited number of sources, including window capture, webcams, gaming consoles, and many more. OBS runs in the background and doesn’t use an in-game overlay, which means you can easily capture gameplay to use in a playthrough guide. Mix audio and video simultaneously while live streaming, and switch from one scene to the next with customizable transitions. 

Make sure your scenes and sources are perfect before going live with Studio Mode. You can also use the Multiview feature to monitor 8 different scenes. Easily transition to any of them with one click using this streaming software. 

OBS Studio is a streaming software, screen recorder, and video editor with a great range of features. However, we found it to be overly complicated and not beginner-friendly. The user interface is also outdated. OBS is a great source for intermediate to advanced gamers who are familiar with live streaming software. While both Gamecaster and OBS Studio offer all their features for free and are a great choice for gamers, Gamecaster is much more user-friendly, which is why we placed OBS Studio 3rd on our list.    

Pros
  • All tools and features are completely free
  • Supports all major streaming platforms
Cons
  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Outdated user interface

4. Streamyard - Best for Branding

Streamyard Interface

Image from Streamyard.

Compatibility: Web Browser

Overall Rating: 8 / 10

Streaming Tools: 9 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium subscriptions available for $20/month for Basic and $39/month for Professional

Key Features

  • 7 video layout templates
  • Separate audio files
  • Detailed analytics
  • Downloadable recordings

Streamyard is a streaming software for anyone from content creators to businesses. We found it easy to add your own branding and customization to your streams with this live streaming platform. With Streamyard you can add your own colors, overlays, logos, and even your own green screen and backgrounds. 

The free version is fairly robust with screen sharing, banners, on-screen comments, brand colors, a green screen, and 6 on-screen participants. We found the free version streaming limits to be doable, at 20 hours per month. However, you can’t multistream unless you subscribe. The Basic plan allows multistreaming to 3 destinations, while the Professional plan allows for 8 different destinations including Twitch, YouTube, and custom RTMP outputs. 

Streamyard allows 6 on-screen participants on its streaming software, however, we were frustrated with the 10 on-screen participant limit on both the Basic and Professional versions. Streamyard is a good option for performances where there are only a few active cameras, but not for large business meetings needing more than 10 participants. It also requires a lot of RAM, so is not a great choice for gaming. If you are a gamer, try one of the top 3 streaming software on our list instead.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent customer support
Cons
  • Uses a lot of computer resources
  • Only 10 active participants even on paid versions

5. XSplit Broadcaster - Best for Recording

XSplit Broadcaster Interface

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 8 / 10

Streaming Tools: 8 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium subscription available for $60/year

Key Features

  • Split mode
  • Source masking
  • Layout wizard
  • Multiple broadcast effects and animations

XSplit Broadcaster is a streaming software and recording studio for content creation and gaming. The highest quality video recordings are available with XSplit, making it a great way to create on-demand video content. It comes with audio volume management that is easy to use and a noise suppression tool. 

Live stream to multiple platforms simultaneously and record your broadcast as it happens. With this streaming software, you can stream and record multiple outputs at the same time and use multiple recording profiles to stream different scenes at once.

While the free version of XSplit Broadcaster comes with some good features, the ability to remove, blur or replace your background is only available through a separate app, VCam, which costs extra. Even subscribers to the premium version of Broadcaster have to pay extra to bundle the service. It also has a bit of a learning curve and can be confusing for new users. 

Pros
  • User-friendly UI
  • High-quality video and audio recordings
Cons
  • Remove, Blur, or Replace background costs extra
  • A bit of a learning curve

6. Streamlabs - Best Monetization Tools

Streamlabs Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 7 / 10

Streaming Tools: 8 / 10

Price: Free 
*Prime toolkit available for $19/month or $149/year

Key Features

  • Link protection
  • Drag-and-drop video editor
  • Selective recording
  • Replay buffer

Streamlabs is a streaming software with an easy guided setup, professional overlays, and themes. It has monetization widgets to help you earn passive income, such as Goals, Tip Jar, Stream Boss, Tip Ticker, and Sponsor Banner. Streamlabs works especially well for businesses looking for an open-source solution.

This streaming software comes with an app store and 46 apps to help stream to multiple platforms like Twitch and YouTube at the same time, add automation, and more. Streamlabs lets you chat and interact with viewers and offers a test feature, so you can make sure your technology is working before going live. 

All these built-ins require extra CPU power, so you will need a very powerful computer. If you have a mid-range computer and prefer speed and performance over visuals and effects, then Streamlabs might not be for you. Try a streaming software like PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 with visuals and effects plus optimized performance.

Pros
  • Customizable UI
  • Test feature to preview stream before going live
Cons
  • High CPU usage
  • Easy-to-Use

7. SplitCam - Best for Peer-to-Peer Video Streams

SplitCam Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 6 / 10

Streaming Tools: 9 / 10

Price: Free

Key Features

  • Screenshare
  • Slideshow tool
  • Screen recording
  • Color adjustment

SplitCam is a streaming software used for live streaming to Twitch and YouTube, video recording, online classes, presentations, gaming, and more. This software offers split streaming from a single webcam, and we found it is best used for peer-to-peer video streams. You can use your webcam for multiple applications like Skype and Google Hangouts simultaneously without receiving a busy error. 

Multistream to Twitch, YouTube, and many more. Create different scenes and switch between them or split them to show multiple scenes at once during a broadcast. This streaming software lets you set up a Tip Notifier that can be customized and seen by all participants to encourage additional tipping. 

We liked that you can write text on the screen, blur parts of the video, and add shapes while the broadcast is live. What we did not like is that SplitCam tended to lag, and the longer it ran, the worse it got. This is another reason we recommend this streaming software for catching up with friends. If you need live streaming software for gaming or professional use, it would be better to go with a more stable streaming software like PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 or OBS Studio.

Pros
  • Supports HD streaming
  • Minimum CPU load
Cons
  • Lags
  • Not appropriate for large groups

8. Wirecast Studio - Best for Professionals

Wirecast Studio Interface

Image from Telestream.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 6 / 10

Streaming Tools: 4 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium versions available for $599 for Wirecast Studio or $799 for Pro. Monthly subscriptions are also available.

Key Features

  • Layer-based compositing
  • Chroma key
  • Animated graphics and overlays
  • Screen sharing

Wirecast Studio is for TV-quality live streaming production. It can stream from webcams, IP cams, microphones, and cameras. It offers unlimited simultaneous streams and records. Wirecast Studio comes with over 100 built-in graphics and more than 500,000 media assets in its stock library. It has a variety of features for broadcasting live sports such as instant replay, scoreboard, and timers.

Mix up to 8 separate audio tracks and archive all live video inputs with ISO Recording. Wirecast also offers live viewer counts, web page display and capture, and a built-in animated lower thirds title library. With so many professional tools and features, we were disappointed that virtual sets and backgrounds only come on the Pro version, and even then only has 3 options.

Wirecast Studio is great for live streaming sports, radio and news broadcasts, or worship services, but unlike PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4, isn’t a great option for a casual vlogger or gamer. Wirecast is for extremely professional broadcasts, and the price confirms it. While the free version has no time limit, it is really only meant as a free trial and is very limiting.

Pros
  • Unlimited video capture and live inputs
  • Thousands of media assets including titles, graphics, and lower thirds
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not for beginners

9. Restream - Best for Multistreaming

Restream Interface

Image from Restream.

Compatibility: Web Browser

Overall Rating: 5 / 10

Streaming Tools: 3 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium version available for $19/month for Standard and $49/month for Professional.

Key Features

  • Video scheduler
  • Screen sharing
  • Royalty-free background music
  • Overlays and logos

Restream lets you multistream to over 30 platforms and multiple channels. You can go live from your browser without needing an encoder and it allows you to edit and add more channels without exiting your broadcast. We found you can also invite up to 10 participants with an invite link. 

We liked all the tools this streaming software offers to measure your live stream’s success, including tracking the number of views, the most popular part of your stream, and peak viewing times. With its chatbox design templates, you can overlay a chat box during your live stream and interact with viewers.

The problem with Restream is that the free version doesn’t come with much. No pre-recorded streaming, no video uploads or storage, and no stream recording. The Standard package offers stream recording, but it is costly, and only allows up to 6 hours per month. If you need advanced tools at no cost, try another option like Screen Recorder 4 or Streamlabs.

Pros
  • Robust multicast features
  • Chat without tab switching
Cons
  • Limited free version
  • Paid versions are expensive

10. Livestorm - Best for Live Events

Livestorm Interface

Image from GetApp.

Compatibility: Web Browser

Overall Rating: 5 / 10

Streaming Tools: 2 / 10

Price: Free 
*Premium version available for $99/month

Key Features

  • Screen share
  • Personalized meeting rooms
  • Unlimited replays
  • Automated beginnings and ends

Livestorm is a streaming software for hosting virtual meetings, webinars, and live events. 

The platform offers tools to help you host an event from start to finish - from creating and publishing an event page to analyzing audience stats after the event. Livestorm comes with plenty of audience engagement tools, including running polls, upvoting, chat, question and answer, and more. 

With the Premium version, you can have up to 16 speakers at once and up to 4 hours of event time. 100 live attendees are included, and you can pay extra for up to 1,000. The free version comes with 10 live attendees, 4 active speakers, and only 20 minutes per event. 

Livestorm is a good tool for large businesses that conduct a lot of webinars and virtual meetings. It is rather cost-prohibitive for home use, and the free version is so limiting it really is only worth using as a trial before purchase, which is why it is 10th on our list of streaming software. 

Pros
  • Detailed analytics
  • Premium customer support
Cons
  • Expensive for Premium version and free version is limiting
  • Doesn’t support RTMP custom locations

11. Ecamm Live - Best for Apple Users

Ecamm Live Interface

Image from Ecamm Live.

Compatibility: Mac

Overall Rating: 4 / 10

Streaming Tools: 2 / 10

Price: Free trial for 14 days, then $16/month for Standard and $32/month for Pro

Key Features

  • ISO audio recording
  • Green screen
  • Comment stream
  • Picture-in-Picture

Ecamm Live is a live streaming software for Macs. It offers several apps so there is a version of Ecamm for your iPad and iPhone as well, covering any of your live streaming needs. You can also use your iOS device as a webcam or plug it into your computer to share your screen. Add custom animations from Apple ProRes for a unique and polished look. 

With this live streaming platform, you can add custom overlays and branding, share your screen, and see bandwidth stats in real-time. It has a wealth of input options including DSLR camera connect, HDMI capture, screen, and a Blackmagic DeckLink. Through our research, we found that video playback could easily be rolled into a live stream - without reformatting or uploading to the cloud. 

Ecamm Live does not offer a dedicated free version, only a 14-day free trial, but you can try out all features during that time. The biggest complaint is that you can only multistream using Restream, which is another cost. If your budget requires a no-cost or low-cost option, try one of our other streaming software like PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4. 

Pros
  • Unlimited streaming to all platforms
  • Broadcast to any RTMP compatible server
Cons
  • No free-forever version, only a 2-week trial
  • Multistream requires a third-party app

Best Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube Comparison Chart

PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 vs

OS

Windows, Mac

-

Beginner-friendly

Yes

-

Editing Tools

Remove background, add sound effects, titles, overlays, and transitions

-

Royalty-Free Music

Yes

-

Custom Location Support

Yes

-

How to Stream on Twitch and YouTube

How to Stream on Twitch 

  1. Create a Twitch account if you haven’t already. 
  2. Make sure you turn on Two-Factor Authentication and establish your Moderation and Safety settings to keep your account safe before you begin.

  3. Customize your channel so viewers know how to find you.
  4. Choose your streaming software and make sure it is set up properly and you know how to use it. Explore all the features before going live so you look professional from day one.
  5. When you are ready to go live, remember to title (the text in bold below your video stream), tag, and categorize your stream.

  6. From your mobile device, log in on the Twitch app, tap the Profile icon in the top left corner and tap the Go Live! button.

From your desktop or laptop, you can go live directly from your streaming software.

For a more in-depth look at live streaming on Twitch with our #1 choice for streaming software, check out How to Stream on Twitch.

How to Stream on YouTube

  1. Head over to the Live Streaming page on YouTube and activate the feature through your account. It can take up to 24 hours for this activation to be approved.
  2. The live dashboard for YouTube can be more overwhelming than the video dashboard, so take some time to familiarize yourself with the new features, such as fan-funding cards and live chat.

  3. Select a streaming software and connect it to YouTube. On the live stream page of your YouTube account is a button that says Encoder Setup. Name and describe your stream.
  4. Go live between 12-24 hours of announcing your live stream so viewers can plan to tune in. Do so through your live streaming software, or on your mobile device through the YouTube app.

Please note you can only go live through your phone if you have more than 50 subscribers.

For a more in-depth look at live streaming on YouTube with our #1 choice for streaming software, check out How to Live Stream on YouTube for Free

Download the Best Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube

PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4 is the best streaming software for Twitch and YouTube. It offers the professional bells and whistles of other streaming software but without the steep price. 

Screen Recorder 4 is easy-to-use for beginners and experts alike and seamlessly connects live stream video with video editing. And although it comes with hundreds of features, it does not use up CPU, so there won’t be a lag in your streams.

Download PowerDirector Screen Recorder 4 today!

Streaming Software for Twitch and YouTube FAQ

1. What is the Difference Between Live Streaming Software vs Hardware Encoders?

Live streaming software runs on your laptop or desktop computer. It is typically cheaper than a hardware encoder and is more popular for beginners. They are easy to set up and you can install updates when available. Hardware encoders are separate from your computer and therefore more expensive. However, they run faster because, unlike your computer, a hardware encoder’s only job is encoding your content.

2. What Does a Live Streaming Software Do?

Live streaming software converts video content into digital content. Most live streaming software offers more than just encoding, such as editing, adding graphics, using multiple cameras and audio sources, slides for presentations, and so on.

3. What is Encoding?

Encoding refers to converting video files from one format to another. It takes the raw video files from your camera or smartphone and converts them into streamable content.

4. What is the Best Capture Card?

Elgato is the most popular brand of Capture Cards among gamers for its excellent capture quality. The Elgato Game Capture Card HD60S is the most popular of Elgato’s cards.

5. What is the Best Mic for Live Streaming?

The best seller and best-reviewed microphone for live streaming is the Blue Yeti. Blue Yeti offers clear sound, a simple set-up, and is affordable.

6. What is the Best Web Camera for Streaming?

If you want the best picture quality at an affordable price, the Logitech C920S HD Pro is best. It also features dual microphones for excellent voice capture.

7. What Features Should I Look for in Streaming Software?

Below are the top 10 things to look for in streaming software: 

  1. System compatibility – Does the software work on Mac/PC or both? Does it work with my gaming system? Is my computer too old to download the software?
  2. Advanced features – Make sure the features that are important to you are included in the streaming software you choose.
  3. Price – Price points vary from free to exorbitant, so make sure you don’t pay for what you don’t need. If you are a vlogger with 100 subscribers, you don’t need the features of a professional TV broadcaster.
  4. Ease-of-use – Whether a beginner or professional, everyone benefits from a user-friendly interface.
  5. Low CPU usage – Don’t make the mistake of spending time putting in fancy graphics on your stream, only to have it freeze and lag.
  6. Camera capability – Make sure the software will work with your camera.
  7. Multistream – Does your streaming software allow you to stream on several platforms at once?
  8. Image Quality – What is the streaming bitrate on your software?
  9. Customizable – Customize and brand your channel’s theme to make it stand out and easily found.
  10. Support – Does it have a dedicated support team to go to when issues arise?

If you’re looking for a streaming software that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PowerDirector with Screen Recorder 4.

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