To keep it simple; a broadcasting software is a program that turns your webcam, desktop view, or gameplay into what people see on the livestream. It is also this program that shows your alerts, playback your audio, and more.
The program that is transmitting what your livestream is going to see is called a broadcasting software. Should you decide to google it, then you will probably find the mainly used programs. So let us dive into those programs and maybe by the end I will include some lesser-used ones.
Just a quick note; this article is to inform you about the various programs and help you understand which is for you. Not help you how to set up the programs or use them in-depth.
Open Broadcasting Software (“OBS”)
I will first go into the program that changed the scene by being easy to use, has a lot of advanced features, and is free to use by anyone. It makes no difference if you are using it for personal or commercial projects. You get a clean and professional tool that suit most scenarios.
If you just want to start a simple livestream, then you can ignore most of the features in this program. You can structure your different scenes, sources, and audio feed in any way you want. It even allows you to have global and local sources.
Are you, on the other hand, interested in a more advanced set-up, then you can also configure OBS in a way that suits you. Should you find yourself missing a feature; then check out the library of third-party plugins made by the community. You can find these plugins here: obsproject.com/forum/resources
If you are interested in checking out OBS for yourself, then it can be downloaded at obsproject.com
Streamlabs OBS (“SLOBS”)
Streamlabs started out as a donation platform that also shows alerts on these donations and also other notifications from the platform. Today it is a full-fledged service that provides anything from merchandise to their own extension of the OBS program – Hence the “SL-OBS” name.
You can find their version of the program at streamlabs.com/streamlabs-obs
OBS Live by StreamElements
Following the growth of livestreaming, another platform was born with the name StreamElements. The main difference from Streamlabs is that StreamElements is all web-based. You can check out their version at streamelements.com/obslive
Before the free alternatives of a broadcasting software, the best offer was XSplit. They do provide free and limited software to try out their basic features, but the real deal is packed into the paid version.
If you are interested in trying their full program, then look out for gaming and stream-related hardware as they often have a 1-year XSplit premium included.
Getting started with XSplit is easy as you connect with the streaming platform, set up your layout, and then go live. If that sounds interesting, then you can have a look at their website and features list to see if you want to check it out at www.xsplit.com
Modern graphics cards are equipped with a chip that buffers the monitor output and keeps it in the internal system. In other words, the computer can access whatever the graphics card is processing, such as your gameplay.
This technology is called NVENC and comes with all high-end NVIDIA graphics cards. The buffer can be accessed by any program made to support it, but NVIDIA has their own program named ShadowPlay.
ShadowPlay merely allows you to show your gameplay and a small webcam in the corner. It is limited compared to actual broadcasting programs.
ShadowPlay is software that lies within the NVIDIA Experience program, which can be found at www.nvidia.com/en-gb/geforce/geforce-experience
Psst! It also gives you other neat features that are worth checking out if you have a modern high-end NVIDIA graphics card.
There is a new software that has come to the market that I do not have hands-on experience with. Should you decide to try the program, then please use the comment section to let us know what you think of it! Check it out at player.me
Looking at the market of broadcasting software can be a jungle as all of them are advertised well. What I advise for you is to figure out how advanced of a set-up you will be needing. Once you know what features is required, then you figure out what software fulfills your needs the best.
If you, for example, choose OBS, then figure out if you are going to use Streamlabs or StreamElements as you might as well use their version then. If you are uncertain, then go with the original OBS.