One of the best things about live-streaming on Twitch is that almost anyone can do it. As long as you can create a profile on the streaming platform and have access to a computer (or a console) and a decent internet connection, you can stream. Your choice of content will be limited by the Terms of Service and, hopefully, your good taste. Still, you’d be surprised how many different things people are streaming for an audience.
With the average viewership of close to a million, Twitch pulls in as many eyeballs as do established cable television channels. This alone makes now the perfect time to start streaming on Twitch. But as you pick a niche and consider things like stream scheduling and personal branding, the one really important thing you need to figure out is the streaming software you’ll use.
Paid vs. Free Streaming Software for Twitch
Right off the bat, you’re faced with a dilemma: free or paid streaming software? A quick search online will net you plenty of examples of both. You might even come across the Twitch website page which recommends examples of both types of software for broadcasting.
In reality, though, this isn’t a dilemma. The community is vocal about their preference for free software, and it only makes sense that you’ll use what’s been tried and tested by other people. The fact that it doesn’t cost any money doesn’t hurt, either.
As time goes by and your channel grows, you might want to dabble with paid streaming software that offers more customization options or additional functionalities you might need. Some might integrate with the free software you’ve been using from the start, and that could come in handy if you don’t want to adjust to different software further down the line.
Open Broadcasting Software Studio — the Golden Standard
The Open Broadcasting Software Studio is the software to which all other free streaming software for Twitch is compared. It’s the software streamers recommend to people who ask them which free streaming software for Twitch they should use. A quick online search will show you plenty of answers of Reddit stating that OBS reigns supreme with professional Twitch broadcasters.
The only problem is that a novice and a professional broadcaster probably have different goals, desires, and ideas for the stream. They might also have different levels of tech-savvy. The abundance of options that have made OBS Studio such a popular solution is the thing that will turn off some novice streamers.
But it’s also a reason why novice streamers might instead decide to roll up their sleeves and do their best to figure out OBS early. OBS allows you to create polished streams, and it also has most of the options other streaming software solutions have. It’s just that, to do either of those, you’ll need to learn how to configure the software to get the results you want.
The Heir Apparent — Streamlabs OBS
One of the reasons why you’ll run into so many people advising you to use OBS Studio is because they’ve made those recommendations prior to the release of Streamlabs OBS. Streamlabs OBS can do pretty much everything OBS Studio can do, and it will look better while doing it.
OBS Studio is an open source software, which means that anyone can take its code and improve on it. The improvement Streamlabs made isn’t as much about the features as it is about providing a better user experience. And that’s a goal Streamlabs achieved with ease — it really provides a better user experience, and that’s one of the things that makes it more beginner-friendly.
It’s not completely fair to say that Streamlabs OBS doesn’t offer any new features, even though the ease-of-use seems to be its selling point. Streamlabs OBS comes with built-in text-to-speech, alerts, and layouts, which are the things you would usually get with third-party tools.
The one reason why you might have to skip Streamlabs OBS is because it’s available only for computers running Windows . So if you have an Apple computer, or if you run Linux on your computer, you won’t be able to use Streamlabs OBS. OBS Studio, on the other hand, will work perfectly fine.
The Rest — Free and Freemium Solutions for Streaming on Twitch
If your computer has a GeForce graphics card, you can use Nvidia’s video capture and streaming software GeForce Experience. You might not get it with the graphics card’s drivers, but you can download it for free. After you install it, it’s ready to start streaming your videos.
Many people use GeForce Experience for the Shadowplay feature which makes it incredibly easy to capture gaming footage. As a streaming solution, the Experience might be good for dabbling, but the lack of features you get from it will soon become apparent.
As for freemium solutions, Xsplit Broadcaster is a popular one. The features it offers are decent, and it is very easy to use. But unless you pay for the premium or full version of the software, the restrictions will be noticeable. The Xsplit watermark will be displayed on your stream if you stream at a framerate over 30fps, or a resolution higher than 720p. And there’s a whole host of other limitations.
How and Why to Start Multistreaming
The things about free streaming software for Twitch is that you don’t have to use it on Twitch alone. Other platforms offer live streaming too, and it would be a shame not to use them to reach an even wider audience. With multistreaming software, you can simultaneously stream to multiple platforms.
Restream.io is a multistreaming software that works with OBS. It’s a cloud platform you can use to stream your feed to several websites, schedule the streaming of pre-recorded video, and even chat with your audience. If you’re looking for a platform you can use with the software you love and that offers great features in its free version, Restream.io is a good choice.
Streaming video content can be a very rewarding experience. You can use your Twitch channel to grow a community, to reach out to other streamers, and to find people who enjoy doing the same things as you. To get the most out of your streams, however, you need to make sure that your video doesn’t look much worse than the standard. Some of it will have to do with the hardware you use, but a lot of it will depend on the software. And while it’s possible to find good software for free, make sure to choose carefully.