As far as popularity is concerned, Twitch is the most popular streaming platform on the internet, especially for the gaming community.
But for beginners, it often comes as a shock that purchasing the best laptop for streaming twitch isn’t enough to become a professional or even an amateur. You cannot access Twitch directly through your Windows or Mac operating systems. You need to use external software.
For all the newbies, this is an irrevocable fact. Twitch does not allow you to stream directly through your laptop or computer system, although its performance and capabilities are crucial to the process. Instead, users need to download a separate software that will conduct the streaming process.
So what makes a good Twitch streaming software? Only those who venture into the world of streaming know about needing external software. The general awareness in this regard is abysmal.
Through this article, you can get to know everything you need to have a seamless streaming experience, aided by the best twitch streaming software you can find anywhere.
Why Finding the Right Software is Important for Twitch Streaming?
The Twitch community is massive. If you want to start your venture as a streamer of the gaming community, Twitch should be your go-to place. There, you can showcase your skills and abilities in front of a million-strong audience. But that requires immense popularity and some tough times of struggle and hard work.
But no matter how hard you toil, if the quality of your streaming is not good, nobody would watch your stream. This is why professional streamers pay a lot of importance to two of their most prized possessions – a good streaming system (like a computer or a gaming laptop) and excellent software for streaming on Twitch.
The right software can make a lot of difference. For instance, it determines how smooth and lag-free your stream will be to the viewers.
On the other hand, it also dictates the quality of your stream, and how easy on the eye it will appear to your audience. Either way, without proper streaming software, your Twitch career will be dead before it even starts.
Read Also: Is Gaming Laptop Good for Streaming?
Nine Best Twitch Streaming Software in 2023
There are a lot of variables that one must consider while finding the perfect streaming software for themselves. Often, when the awareness is so low, it’s only natural that people struggle while picking the best option out there.
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back – streamers stick together, that’s the code of the community. As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best streaming software for Twitch available on the internet.
You can use any of these to have a wholesome, seamless, energetic, and hopefully successful streaming experience on Twitch.
So without further ado, let’s explore some of our options.
1. Twitch Studio (BETA) – Free
If you want a safe and reliable option, you cannot overlook Twitch Studio, the Beta version. The application is sponsored by the official brand of Twitch itself, so you can believe that there is no foul play involved.
It is the ideal and the most convenient option for most Twitch users. The best thing about this software is how easy and simple it is to set up and integrate Twitch with your system. There isn’t a lot of manual work involved, as the software will guide you through the whole process.
The software is also smart – meaning that it can automate several things to bring out the optimum performance.
For instance, the Twitch Studio will decide the bitrate according to your requirements, leaving the users with little to do in terms of worrying about their internet connection, frame rate, and so on.
In terms of interaction with the community, Twitch Studio provides alerts whenever you get subscribers or followers, their messages, and so on.
However, professionals tend to stay away from the software as they like to customize the setup themselves, which is not possible since the software is heavily automated and does the job by itself.
For beginners, however, Twitch Studio is the dream.
- The best option for newbies.
- Convenient to use, easy to set up.
- Doesn’t require a lot of knowledge about the technical details.
- Only available for Windows and Mac.
- Lack of customizable options.
2. OBS Studio – Free
OBS Studio isn’t primarily designed for just streaming. It originally served its purpose of video recording but was soon admired by the streaming community as well.
Nowadays, OBS Studio is one of the best free software on the internet for video recording and live streaming, particularly for gamers.
It is open-source software, free to use, and convenient for users. The availability of the software is good as well, working with operating systems like Windows, Mac, as well as Linux.
The software is also a great option for streaming on other platforms.
As it is an open source and free software, there are both upsides and downsides to that.
For instance, because it’s readily available to everyone, it is highly accessible to everyone within the community. At the same time, being open-source and unpaid, the software isn’t as technologically advanced as some of the paid alternatives.
Also, if you ever face any issues and need to contact a helpdesk team, you won’t be able to – OBS Studio unfortunately does not have any support team. But don’t worry, everyone in the streaming community has each other’s back. Should you ever need help, you could reach out to your peers directly.
The one thing that OBS Studio offers ahead of the Beta version of Twitch Studio is customizability.
With OBS, users have options for a myriad of features that they can customize. As such, it is the perfect streaming software for people who might not be tech geeks but know a little something-something about how everything works.
Twitch Studio, on the other hand, catered to a wide market of people who are absolute beginners. Once you get used to the interface of the OBS Studio, there is a lot of exploring options for the users.
As far as convenience and usability go, Twitch Studio would take lesser time to get a hang of. OBS Studio would require a little more work from your end, but in the end, it’ll be worth it as it will offer you greater flexibility.
- Many options for customizability.
- Free and open-source software.
- Huge community base, always eager and ready to help.
- Available across multiple platforms and operating systems.
- Does not have any support staff.
- Not very easy to learn.
3. Streamlabs OBS – Free Version/Prime Version at $12/Month
There are a lot of similarities between OBS Studio and Streamlabs OBS. If we were to make a distinction based on basic definitions, it would be fair to say that Streamlabs OBS is perhaps a bit more updated version of the former, with many new exciting and additional features, which come at the cost of a paid fee.
The highly useful software is developed by the popular software company Streamlabs. The thing about Streamlabs is that the added features, although excellent, are not considered necessary by many people.
They won’t make your core streaming experience any better; instead, the features will improve the overall streaming experience for both the users and the viewers.
There are some areas in which the Streamlabs version is way better than the free version that we saw earlier – the OBS studio.
For instance, the former has the option where users can simply click once for a fool-proof integration of their entire suite of alerts.
OBS Studio, on the other hand, does not have alerts at all, which is a big let-down for many professional and serious streamers.
The Streamlabs OBS software also comes with an excellent and beautiful dashboard which makes it easier for the users to monitor and navigate through their content without any issues.
There are some other exclusive features that the software offers. For instance, it allows users to control and work with several overlays, graphics, streams, and so on. In addition, users can also stream on various platforms at once.
In terms of availability, the software allows users to stream whatever content they want on popular streaming platforms like Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. On the other hand, it only works with two operating systems – Windows and Mac.
- Allows integrated alerts.
- Great and expansive feature sets to deepen the streaming experience.
- Get access to a myriad of gaming overlays and other elements of design.
- Comes with a chatbot.
- Most premium features are only available in the Prime version.
- Works for Mac and Windows devices only.
4. XSplit Broadcaster – Free Version/Paid at $5/Month or $199 Lifetime
XSplit Broadcaster, also known as XSplit simply, is a great streaming and recording software that was designed primarily to work on Windows devices.
The company is well-established and uses a myriad of streaming features that are compatible with multiple platforms like Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, Skype, and so on.
The best thing about XSplit Broadcaster, which many experts and users alike have come to love, is the ability it offers to record videos in 4K at about 60 frames per second.
We mentioned that the software is compatible with multiple streaming platforms, right? But that’s not all, XSplit Broadcaster also allows users to stream simultaneously across various platforms. The software also allows a high degree of control for the users.
For instance, it comes with a host of built-in features like transition styles that users can play with to make their streaming look better. Moreover, it offers many stream management features using which the streamer can create their own identity within the community.
Other features like custom stinger transitions allow more leeway for the users to enhance their streaming prowess as best as they can.
We were surprised to find out that these weren’t the only remarkable features offered by XSplit Broadcaster – there are more.
For instance, the Scene Preview feature of the software allows users to edit certain scenes before they go live to the audience. The software will also support you if you want to transcribe different scenes in a virtual space.
The visible downside is that all of these action-packed features are available for a fixed fee of five dollars a month. The free version is there, but it’s nothing special – just does the job right.
On the flip side, if you can afford it, the software will be worth the money. You can even splash in $199 for a lifetime subscription if you want to go professional.
Moreover, the good thing about paid streaming software is that there will always be a readily available, expertly knowledgeable support team to help you.
- Premium users get high-quality service from the support team.
- Huge range of features for customization and creating a unique streaming identity.
- Easy to set up and navigate.
- Only available for Windows devices.
- Adds a watermark on your screen.
5. LightStream – Free Version/Premium Starts from $89/Month
The Lightstream streaming software is highly expensive, but is it worth it? In terms of availability, the software is compatible with multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, or any other custom RTMP that you might be interested in.
Lightstream uses a unique, cloud-based technology for providing its streaming services. Thus, it offers a smart solution to the streamers who might be traveling a lot and don’t always have access to their complete setup.
One benefit of using cloud technology for streaming is that it significantly reduces the amount of stress that your local setup faces. The benefit goes as far as to even prevent you from the hassle of having software on your system.
The tool sounds complicated but is very simple because of the extensive guidance system that will aid you during the setup phase. It also allows you to integrate some external services to increase flexibility and functionality while streaming.
While most people would opt for Lightstream for heavy gaming, the software is also perfectly designed to host watch parties and podcasts. Because the feature allows users to add a guest instantly, everything becomes a hundred times easier. All your guests need is an invite link from your end and they can join the broadcast without any hassle.
There are several versions of this software. The free version, unfortunately, is the most basic. It has many limitations. For instance, the max streaming quality offered by the unpaid edition of the software is 720p or 30 fps, which is not great by today’s standards.
- No need to download or store the software on the device.
- Easy to install because of the good guide available.
- Allows users to control through their smartphones.
- Highly expensive.
- Not the best option for game streaming.
6. NVIDIA Shadowplay
We’ve had enough of paid applications now, let’s go back to our old unpaid ways, discussing one of the most popular streaming software that is available free of cost.
You know the relationship between gaming and NVIDIA – there’s just something auspicious about it. That being said, NVIDIA Shadowplay is great, free streaming software, especially for the gaming community.
The software has some built-in NVIDIA GeForce graphic cards to optimize the streaming experience. Because of the high power and streaming prowess, users can glide through heavy games smoothly, making it one of the best Twitch Streaming Software.
In terms of availability, the software is compatible with multiple streaming platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and so on. With this built-in software, gamers can expertly stream and record their streams from the Graphics Processing Unit.
Thus, the software allows users to have a great, wholesome streaming experience that the viewers can enjoy. The downside is that this streaming software is only meant for gamers, and can’t be used for other purposes like hosting podcasts, watch parties, and so on.
A cool feature of the NVIDIA Shadowplay is its ability to replay recorded footage. This instant replay specification allows the software to capture around 30 seconds of live gameplay and store it with a single press of the key. Users can then review these recorded moments later on.
Customizability is an issue; it lacks some basic flexibility that you might enjoy in other streaming software. The broadcast experience is not the most wholesome or the smoothest. However, the software allows users to add custom overlays to improve upon this weakness.
Lastly, the most glaring downside is that the NVIDIA Shadowplay software is only available for the users who are using an NVIDIA Graphics Card. For users who don’t have a GPU of that brand, you’ll have to find a good alternative from our list.
- The instant replay feature is amazing.
- No strain on the CPU while recording and streaming.
- Needs a high bitrate for functionality.
- Can only be used by users who have NVIDIA GPU.
7. Gamecaster – Free
Remember when we talked about XSplit? That was a great Twitch streaming software in itself. But there’s another interesting fact – Gamecaster, now a popular software alone was earlier a part of XSplit.
Over time, the brand split up and became an independent, cool, and reliable broadcasting tool.
The software is available for multiple streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. It allows users to stream at a good, 1080p quality. The software mainly focuses on the gaming community, so if you want to stream high-end games, you don’t have to worry about the smoothness, lag, or anything else. The software is one of the best Twitch streaming software out there for games.
One of the reasons why the software is still free is because it is relatively new. This fact becomes interesting for the users as they can expect the developers to keep adding new features to make the streaming experience more wholesome for both the viewers and the streamers. The setting up and navigation are convenient as well. The tool is heavily automated and will be able to detect the settings of your system to optimize everything accordingly.
The software is also good with overlays, allowing users access to important details like alerts, goals, widgets, and so on. The software also hosts professionally animated overlays which is a huge plus for serious streamers.
Apart from these, there is one more exciting feature that streamers should look out for – the scene editor for making alerts and widgets.
In terms of customizability, the software is not lacking on many fronts. For instance, the software allows users to work with different, exciting themes. These particular themes are accompanied by a “Starting Soon”, “In-Game”, and “Intermission” condition, and streamers can change, edit, and format everything as per their whims and wishes.
Many professional streamers, who haven’t been able to build a huge rapport for themselves yet, are also interested in this software. Part of the reason is the inexpensive, basically free, nature of the software.
But apart from that, the customizability allows them to create a distinct identity for themselves.
The software also has features through which users can keep tabs on some important things like their chats. They will have a certain degree of control over their live stream while they are playing their games, and will also be able to monitor certain streaming events if needed.
- Comes with in-game stream overlays, making it a great alternative for streamers who use a single monitor.
- Features a myriad of pre-defined overlays that users can work with.
- The software keeps the community motivated by offering them achievements and seasonal rewards.
- The streaming software is only compatible with windows.
- There isn’t a lot of room for flexibility as the software is heavily automated and detects system settings by itself.
8. Elgato Game Capture – Costs $149.99
Another strong, reliable, and premium Twitch streaming software, the Elgato Game Capture offers a lot in terms of an expansive feature set. It optimizes your streaming quality and performance to ensure that your content, whatever it is, appears better to the viewers.
The software covers all the required basics for a streaming tool. But apart from that, it also offers a lot of customizable settings and options that allow users to create their own identity within the Twitch community. Tweaking these settings will also trigger considerable changes and improvements in your own experiences and gameplay. The software is available for both Windows and Mac.
With Elgato, streamers can use a variety of tools like the capture settings through which they can set multiple options – from bitrates and profiles to picture settings and gameplay options.
The software is also very easy to use and set up – all you need to do is follow a few basic steps and then you can start streaming live. You can also make changes in how your content appears in the middle of a stream as well.
To create a vibe around your stream, Elgato allows various exclusive features like live commentary and clean audio to keep the audience hooked.
That is all for the streaming side of the software. It goes a step further and makes everything more convenient for the user as well. For instance, the Elgato Game Capture has an excellent interface with comprehensive file management systems that the users can navigate through easily. Even if you have a ginormous archive, you can find the desired file in a matter of seconds because of the user-friendly interface.
Another notable feature offered by this software is the flashback recording.
- Offers tons of customizable options.
- Comes with neat audio and commentary features.
- Great interface and file management system.
- Allows flashback recording.
- Expensive option.
- Cannot work well without the card.
9. vMix – 60-Day Free Trial or $50/Month or Lifetime License from $60 up to $1200
Are we saving the best for last? That depends on your requirements. If you are a beginner and only want to stream for your friends, this might not be such a great option for you.
However, if you are a professional, or at least aspire to become one, vMix should be your go-to brand, even if it is one of the most expensive packages in the market.
vMix is a great Twitch streaming software, used by a large number of professional streamers. It is a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, high-end production and streaming application that you’d need to purchase for the optimum experience. It allows streamers to broadcast their content on all major platforms like Facebook Live, Twitch, and others.
The pricing system is a bit complicated, but it’s been done to make the software more accessible to all kinds of streamers.
For instance, you don’t need to spend $1200 if you want to purchase a lifetime license for using the software. You can get one of the cheaper options, starting from as low as $60.
In simpler terms, there are 5 versions of the software that offer different specifications and feature sets. The most basic plan would cost around $60 for a lifetime membership, and the pro version is as high as $1200 for a lifetime, and $50 per month. The versions differ from each other in regards to the number of inputs, overlays available, and the maximum resolution that the software will offer while streaming.
If you go for the most expensive packages, you get some of the coolest, exclusive features like 4-camera replays, and so on. You can also start with a cheaper version and upgrade later if you want.
But even if it is one of the best and most expensive Twitch streaming software, it is not perfect. There are some limitations like the software is available only on Windows. To get around it, many pro streamers try and use Boot Camp for installing a separate partition, but that involves a lot of hassle.
On the good side, the software does some things that customers could earlier only get through dedicated hardware devices.
For instance, the HD video mixing features that come with the software are a huge hit in the market. This is a high-end software that requires a high-end system. So if you purchase and use it, remember that it may take a huge toll on your laptop, computer system, or whatever device you might be using for streaming.
- Compatible with all the major streaming platforms.
- Great, premium feature sets.
- Available for different prices at different packages.
- Offers live HD video mixing.
- The Premium version is expensive.
- Only compatible with Windows devices.
Twitch streaming is becoming increasingly popular. As the community grows, more and more applications are being introduced to make streaming more accessible to newbies and professionals alike.
In this article, we shortlisted some of the best paid and free versions of Twitch streaming software that can help you kick-start or grow your career as a streamer.