Streaming to websites like Twitch has exploded in popularity and a wealth of free streaming software has surged onto the digital landscape. Whether you want to create seamless transitions, drop in a custom logo, enable top notch audio or ensure you’re live streaming at the highest quality, here is the best streaming software for Twitch.
What is the Best Streaming Software for Twitch?
There are a plethora of options for the best streaming software that you can use for Twitch and this will help you make a better and more informed decision. Choosing the right streaming software can often blur the lines between an amateur streamer and a professional streaming to Twitch.
Also take note which operating system you’re currently using if you’re on a PC or Mac or if you require a cloud-based streaming solution, perhaps if you’re gaming and streaming from a modern console like an Xbox or PlayStation.
Which Streaming Software is Best for Twitch?
I think what we’ll find out is many people fall into two camps — the DIYers that don’t mind working with a more advanced streaming program or those that prefer ease of use and don’t mind a less customisable, slightly less feature rich streaming software for Twitch.
There is also a very popular paid streaming software solution that although might not be required for most streamers, offers a great deal of support should you require it. In contrast, the open source streaming solutions will require you to hunt down and fix your own issues, though there is a rather large community that can help.
Let’s take a peek at the Best Streaming Software for Twitch:
Open Broadcasting Software is a robust and flexible streaming software solution, powered by the community through an open source initiative. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux it receives frequent updates from an enthusiastic community. OBS Studio is built around a powerful API, enabling plugins and scripts to provide further customization and functionality specific to your needs. They are sponsored in part by Logitech, GamesDoneQuick, Xsplit and their community.
OBS Studio provides all manner of options to the user and sometimes the manual approach to streaming includes more technical difficulty for those new to live streaming. There is potential for a lot of complexity with more sophisticated streaming setups, including multiple sources, mixing in different audio sources and the ability to adjust all aspects of your stream.
Best Twitch Streaming Software for PC
- Free and open source software. Source code is available to everyone to contribute and improve
- Can stream directly to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook
- Highly customisable – choose from a number of different and customisable transitions for when you switch your scenes or add your own stinger video files
- Create hotkeys for almost all possible actions – start/stop recording, muting audio, switching between transitions or scenes
- Windows, Mac and Linux supported
Streamlabs began as a series of tools for streamers to use alongside OBS Studio. Due to the popularity of the two programs, Streamlabs OBS was created to take their place. It is built on top of OBS Studio, leveraging their open sourced approach to streaming software. Designed for ease of use for brand new streamers while offering full customization options for professional streamers. Currently only available on Windows.
With Streamlabs OBS you can be up and running in under 60 seconds after installation. One configuration wizard will optimize the best out of the box settings for your computer. The Streamlabs team has been working on bringing new advancements to live streaming through software optimizations with the x264 encoder. Allowing a better stream for your audience without any additional cost to you, the live streamer.
Best Live Streaming Software for Twitch
- Fast, reliable and feature packed live streaming application
- Reduce costly CPU usage by more than 20% while giving you the same video quality or make your video look 2x better with the same CPU usage
- Optimized game specific x264 & Nvenc encoder settings if you have an NVIDIA gpu
- Thousands of free overlays and themes
- Free and open source software
Xsplit is a commercial streaming software solution for live streaming and recording. There are two versions to keep in mind, Xsplit Broadcaster and Xsplit Gamecaster. The free versions of both programs are highly customisable and powerful applications for broadcasting to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.
As a freemium service, there are some limitations. This includes watermarks on streams above 720p resolution and/or 30fps framerate. Paying for a license removes these watermarks and grants access to more advanced features like chroma key support, customisable overlays and widgets, as well as multistreaming support. Currently available only on Windows.
Unlike other live streaming applications, Xsplit does offer technical support and releases regular software updates to ensure feature parity with competing products. One potential drawback of Xsplit is the lack of a configuration preset for popular live streaming destinations like Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook.
Post installation setup for Xsplit requires more technical knowledge than Streamlabs OBS and you might find yourself digging through support forums or have to wait for Xsplit technical support help you fix your issue.
Best Software for Game Streaming
- Good introductory streaming software environment with a lot of potential for the more technically inclined
- Freemium service, highly customisable and access to a powerful suite of tools
- Advanced users might prefer more recording formats than MP4 and FLV only
- Xsplit Broadcaster is designed for more professional use cases, requiring more technical knowledge
Gamecaster is a new and free software streaming app that makes it super easy for anyone to download, install and start streaming to Twitch.
They aim to provide a seamless experience for the live streamer with a tutorial upon initialization that will automatically provide the best possible streaming options for the current hardware configuration; a truly noob-friendly approach!
Gamecaster can provide this by leveraging already built-in technology within NVIDIA or AMD GPUs. This helps to make it a smooth and a lag-free process while you can focus on the important things like live streaming and customising your overlays.
They also have a huge library of ready to go scene overlays that anyone can use that will help you craft a professional streaming experience within minutes. Additionally, Gamecaster comes with it’s on scene editor that makes creating complex alerts and widgets a simple and quick process.
Best Streaming App for Twitch
- Stream effortlessly in 1080p
- Automatically configures settings per your PC hardware
- Gamecaster remote – Android and iOS app
- Windows only
Twitch Studio Beta
Twitch Studio Beta is a brand new offering from the live streaming giant and while it’s still in beta it’s designed for new streamers. Very easy to install and use, Twitch Studio Beta is a fantastic option if you want to quickly get up and stream.
The guided installation also includes a tutorial that will help to detect the best possible settings and options for your PC hardware. Some of these include, chroma key setup for your green screen, monitor resolution and streaming bitrate.
Additionally, it will automatically detect your webcam and microphone so you don’t have to hassle with choosing input and output options or deal with Windows defaults. It also comes with several customisable templates for your overlays and scenes. If you’re brand new to streaming and want to jump in without worry or hassle, Twitch Studio Beta is a great option for you.
Easiest Streaming Software for Twitch
- Great for beginners
- Automatically detects best possible settings
- Integrated with Twitch
- Windows and Mac only
Lightstream is the most interesting streaming software for Twitch on the list and mainly because it’s the only cloud-based solution. What this means is you don’t have to download, install or go through multiple steps in order to setup and configure your stream.
You can go live within minutes.
The entire Lightstream creative suite exists in a browser and you can customise your overlays, alerts and various widgets to accommodate your stream. If you’re a prolific console gamer that wants to stream without having to purchase and install a capture card, this is the solution for you. Great for both Xbox and PlayStation, Lightstream is designed to work with Xbox One X|S, along with Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 4(PS4) and PlayStation 5(PS5).
Lightstream also has an Android and iOS app that allows you to use your mobile phone as a remote control for your stream.
Lightstream offers a 7-day free trial and has two paid tiers:
Gamer – for consoles
- $7 per month for 720p 30fps
- $11 per month for 720 60fps
- $14 per month for 1080p 30fps
Creator – for advanced live video production
- $20 per month for 720p 30fps
- $25 per month for 720 60fps
- $40 per month for 1080p 30fps
Best Twitch Streaming Software for PS4
- Easy to use
- No capture card required
- Cloud-based live streaming technology
- Overlays, alerts and widgets
- Drag-n-drop editor
If you already have a relatively modern NVIDIA GPU then Shadowplay is the best option for you. NVIDIA Shadowplay is a part of the GeForce Experience; this is software that comes with every NVIDIA GPU and allows you to stream to Twitch with two simple clicks.
It’s incredibly user friendly and easy to use and doesn’t cause major frame rate drop or overhead, just a minor 5% frame rate reduction that you won’t notice.
NVIDIA Shadowplay also supports chroma key and green screen replacement, making it even easier for live streamers that don’t have a green screen.
It also supports webcams and custom graphic overlays, but it’s far less customisable than other streaming software options like OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS.
But you are able to leverage the benefits of a modern NVIDIA GPU and no live streaming software can do that. You can take 8k screenshots and automatically upload them to Facebook, Google Photos or Imgur. Additionally, you can capture up to 15 second GIFS and share them with your friends or audience.
NVIDIA Shadowplay Instant Replay feature is one of its highlights, with one press of a button, you can save the last 30 seconds of gameplay to create a highlight or a series of clips and share it within seconds. Incredibly easy to use and free of charge, NVIDIA Shadowplay is a good option if you’re streaming to Twitch.
Good Streaming Software for Twitch
- Easy to use
- Instant Replay to create highlights and clips
- Low overhead
- Great for PC or Laptops
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Streaming Software for Twitch
What’s the Best Streaming Software for Twitch on a Mac?
OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS both support Mac OS and receive constant updates for feature requests and bug fixes. They’re both two of the most popular streaming software for Twitch and you should find them both simple and easy to download and install.
What is the best free twitch streaming software?
The best overall free Twitch streaming software is OBS Studio. It is the most robust streaming software and is updated with constant feature improvements and requests. It can be downloaded and installed on Windows, Mac and Linux.
What are the best streaming programs for twitch?
Twitch Studio Beta
What streaming software do streamers use?
Most professional streamers use OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS. Streamlabs OBS is a little more user friendly and therefore easier to use. However, if you want the most cutting edge features, OBS Studio is for you.
What’s the best software to stream on twitch?
Depends on your use case: If you’re on a PC at home, then OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS are both robust and frequently updated options. If you own an NVIDIA graphics card then NVIDIA Shadowplay is one of the easiest options to stream on Twitch.
Lightstream is great if you want to stream from a console without a capture card and Twitch Studio Beta and Gamecaster are catering to a noob friendly audience that still want to have a great streaming experience on Twitch.
With the recent surge in live streaming popularity, the days of struggling with online help desks, searching forums or just plain trial and error, are a thing of the past. Today we have several options for simple and elegant streaming software, and therefore, the barrier to entry for a brand new streamer has never been lower.
Additionally, the best streaming software for Twitch outlined above can handle most of the dirty work for you. The ability to drop-in some custom artwork, interact with your chat and handle all media through hotkeys can easily be done through a single interface, saving time and avoiding useless clutter on your desktop.