Video Broadcast Software: 9 Best Options For Publishers
With live video audiences projected to hit almost 165 million viewers by 2024 in the United States alone, it’s clear that nailing down the best streaming software for your publication has never been more important.
Compound that with a predicted worth of over $25 billion by 2025, and the time to act is clearly now: online video content absolutely needs to be part of your core strategy. But how do you choose the best option?
New streaming platforms are appearing by the handful, and all boast similar features and make similar promises. The right choice for you isn’t always a clear-cut decision, but with this guide, we’re hoping to make it smoother than the high-quality stream you deserve.
3 important factors to consider when choosing a live streaming software platform
Choosing the best streaming software isn’t easy, especially for the less technically-minded publishers trying to decipher the lingo or spot the differences between options. If you know where to look though, there’s plenty that sets the various streaming solutions apart from each other.
There are also industry standards you need to be aware of. That’s what this section is here to help you understand. Use this list of key factors to make sure your chosen video broadcast solution won’t leave you high and dry.
Factor #1: Compatibility
It’s generally expected that any live streaming software is compatible with all major streaming platforms, but it’s something you shouldn’t expect blindly. Make sure you know exactly where you want to broadcast your videos, and that your chosen streaming software is compatible with those platforms.
It’s also a wise idea to look for software that lets you stream to multiple platforms at once. Multistreaming, as it’s known, will help you extend the reach of your content and diversify your audience for maximum impact.
Factor #2: Budget
Once you’ve determined a suitable fit compatibility-wise, you’ve got to make sure your chosen video streaming software is within budget. Some streaming solutions can get very pricey, particularly if you choose the wrong one for your needs and costs begin to spiral.
That said, plenty of these software options either have free trials or free plans, which may be perfect for your needs. While it’s likely only those of you with grander plans will need the most costly paid plans (e.g., publishers planning on live streaming a large event across the globe), you’ll often find the additional features of paid plans will improve the quality of your streams and increase their appeal. And that’s something anyone publishing live video streaming content should want.
Factor #3: Advanced features
Most live streaming software comes with a variety of tiers, each increment adding extended features to the platform’s functionality. When a platform has caught your eye, it’s worth examining the additional features available to make sure it’s the right choice for your publication.
Potential advanced features include:
- Streaming to multiple platforms simultaneously
- Enhanced cloud storage space
- The ability to save recordings of live videos so viewers can replay the stream and you can reuse the footage
- Live mixing to include extra audio or visual media in your stream
- Guestlists to include exclusive remote guests
- White-label streaming to allow fully branded, customized experiences
- HD and 4K streaming
Forget to parse the extended features at your own risk.
A brief comparison of video broadcast software platforms for publishers
Before we dive deep into our list of the nine best video streaming platforms, let’s take a quick bird’s eye view of these solutions.
|Software||Best For||Free Trial?||Pricing|
|JWP||Any type of content||Yes||Contact us to discuss|
|Wirecast||Sports events||Yes||From $599|
|Restream||Multiple cross-platform broadcasts||No, but has a free basic plan||From $190|
|Streamlabs OBS||Lifestyle content||No, but has a free basic plan||From $149|
|Xsplit Broadcaster||Any type of content||No, but has a free basic plan||From $200|
|Lightstream||Cloud-based live streaming||Yes||From $20 per month|
|Dacast||Large-scale professional events||Yes||From $39 per month|
|vMix||Internet TV shows||Yes||From $60|
|Livestream by Vimeo||Live events||Yes||From $65 per month|
9 powerful video broadcast software platforms for publishers
We’ve compiled this list of streaming platforms to cover a variety of budgets and needs, in the hopes that no matter what you’re in the market for, you’ll find a solution here.
Our full-service video streaming solution excels in VOD and live streaming. This is absolutely perfect for publishers who need to broadcast big or small events.
Our live streaming software is one of the best in the business and includes multi-bitrate transcoding and HLS adaptive live streaming. You’ll also be able to use JWP to simulcast to Facebook Live and monetize your broadcasts through ads.
We also offer API access for platform customization and are compatible with a wide range of video formats, including MP4, AVI, MOV and 3GP.
Our platform was also originally the open-source code that powered the early iterations of YouTube, so you can trust that we know what we’re doing.
- No complex learning curve, just a straightforward user-friendly platform
- Reliable, hd video player
- Versatile advertising tools
- World-class tech support
- Highly secure streaming
- Powerful real-time analytics
- Live streams are limited to 6 hours
- Monetization is exclusively through ads
We offer a 30-day free no-obligation trial with generous access to JWP features so you can determine if we’re the right streaming software for you. Or, if you’re ready to jump straight in, contact us to discuss pricing today.
A powerful live streaming software for high-level video production, Wirecast is a great choice for virtual and live stream events, especially when you want those events connected to Facebook and Twitter.
With unlimited camera inputs, live video editing and inbuilt graphics tools, green screen features and more, you’ll not want for much with Wirecast powering your broadcast. This desktop-based software supports a range of technologies, from RTMP to GPU encoding and multi-bitrate streaming.
All this, however, comes with a sizable price tag to match.
- Instant replay feature makes it ideal for sporting events
- Compatible with all popular operating systems
- Packed with valuable features
- Multi-channel audio ingest
- User-friendly platform
- The software is highly taxing on your computer’s RAM
- Most of the best features are locked behind a high price tag
Wirecast doesn’t come cheap. You’ll be looking at at least $599 for a full licence, but they do offer a free trial so you can make sure it’s right for you before you buy.
With Restream, you can easily broadcast videos across multiple social media platforms simultaneously. This cloud-based streaming software is perfect for live streaming to Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any live video service that’s compatible with RTMP streaming.
The software also allows you to embed videos to your own website, customize the viewer experience so it feels bespoke to your brand, invite up to nine guests to join the stream and even broadcast to guest channels too.
It’s a versatile kit that’s perfect for any publisher who’s looking for simple multi-platform flexibility.
- Super easy to use
- Loads of integration options for collaborating with other platforms
- Impressive cross-platform data insights
- One of the best ways to handle multiple channels with a cohesive experience
- No full white-label options
- No feature to password-protect live streams
Restream’s paid plans start at $49 per month. They offer a free trial which grants access to their basic features, but to try out the full product you’ll need to dig into those paid options.
4. Streamlabs OBS
An easy-to-use platform that’s made a name for itself as the choice for everyone from budding social media influencers to online gamers and musicians.
User-friendliness is at the height of Streamlabs’ appeal, followed closely by its incredibly affordable pricing and free version. It’s relatively new as a mainstream tool though, and while you can download it for free, it can be quite buggy and has been reported to be prone to occasional glitches.
With live streaming features like Twitch and YouTube chatbots, multistreaming and donation options, it’s easy to see why gamers in particular have found a fondness for this live streaming software.
- Incredibly beginner-friendly and quick to set up
- Highly customizable streaming layout and overlays
- Smooth donation features and other monetization options, including merch store
- Can be clunky and prone to glitches
- Taxing on CPU usage
Streamlabs is the only entry in this list that ticks the “free streaming software” box, with a fully free plan on offer, but you’ll need to pay for their Prime plan to access the full range of features. Expect this to cost around $149 per year.
5. Xsplit Broadcaster
Xsplit Broadcaster is a well-established high-end live streaming solution that’s renowned for being a versatile fit for just about any streaming need.
Of crucial consideration, however, is that this solution works exclusively with Windows operating systems. You’ll also need some level of technical expertise as, while it’s not a complicated or tough-to-use kit, you’ll find no presets in Xsplit to make your life easier.
- Plenty of customization and integration options
- Highly regarded 24/7 technical support
- Multistreaming and stream delay features for maximum broadcast control
- Quite a steep learning curve
- Some features are locked behind ads that you have to watch first
- Can be quite straining for some computers
Xsplit broadcaster has a free plan which offers access to the software’s more basic features. For the full range of features, you’ll need to pay for their Premium plan, which will set you back $200.
Being fully cloud-based, Lightstream is famously easy-going on your computer, meaning you don’t need expensive hardware to run this popular streaming software.
Considered by many as one of the most accessible options for best streaming software available, this browser-based streaming platform lets you easily create and manage unlimited broadcasts on the go, across all the major streaming platforms or custom RTMP destinations.
This is definitely the best option for publishers who need a versatile, powerful cloud-based solution. Lightstream calls itself “the Google Docs” of live video streaming software, and it’s hard to argue with that. While it’s a favorite streaming choice for gamers, you’ll find it an optimal fit for any video broadcasting needs.
- Highly portable, accessible and functional
- Powerful software that’s easy to use
- Automatically uses the best encoding settings available to keep streams smooth
- Customizable third-party integration options
- Compatible with all operating systems
- High-quality Lightstream app to control your stream from
- You won’t be able to stream in 4K
Lightstream offers a 7-day no-obligation free trial. Beyond that, they have two plans with multiple payment options for each. If you’re using the service for anything other than gaming, you’ll want their Creator plan, which has prices that start at $20 per month.
While Dacast has plenty of users who turn the software to smaller use cases, this platform shines in its larger-scale suitability.
With powerful VOD and live streaming services, password protection and user restriction features and integrated paywalls, it’s easy to see why Dacast makes a wise choice for live streaming virtual concerts and the like.
You’ll find plenty of API integrations to connect your apps and OTT platform on iOS and Android operating systems, and a robust video content management system to manage and review your broadcasts.
One of Dacast’s standout selling points is its range of top-tier CDNs, which is an absolute must if you’re planning on delivering high-quality content across the globe (including China, which isn’t an option with every streaming service).
- Fully customizable white-label services on every plan
- World-class 24/7 support for Premium and Enterprise users
- Highly secure video hosting backed by AES encryption
- Unrestricted concurrent viewers and live channels
- Recordable 1080p live streams
- Can be quite pricey
- Quite a steep learning curve
Dacast offers a 14-day free trial. Beyond that, there are three paid plans to choose from, the most popular of which will set you back $165 monthly (billed annually) and give you access to all the Dacast bells and whistles.
An incredibly powerful video broadcast program, vMix is a great choice for publishers and professional streamers who plan on effectively running their own online television network.
With simultaneous streaming, multiview displays, virtual backdrops and a wide range of possible inputs, you can flawlessly produce anything from small to large-scale productions. Throw in the wealth of advanced features, excellent user support and variety of pricing options and it’s easy to see why vMix has so many fans.
That said, this streaming software can be quite taxing on computer resources, so you’ll need to make sure you have hardware that’s fit for the task.
- Innovative built-in tool for creating titles and animations
- Robust and wide-reaching professional streaming features
- Generous free trial plan, multiple pricing options and free software updates
- Instant replay, scoreboards and slow-motion features broaden the usability potential
- APIs to connect simultaneously with social media
- vMix only works with Windows operating systems
- Requires robust hardware to handle the software smoothly
vMix offers one of the most generous free trials of any streaming software on the market — a 60-day trial that includes all the features of their Pro plan, including 4K video quality. After that, you have a range of lifetime license options priced between $60 and $1200 and a subscription license option at $50 per month.
9. Livestream by Vimeo
Vimeo’s premier live streaming and video hosting solution is a favorite of large and small publishers who need to host ad-free branded live events. Livestream is also well equipped for those who need to sell products alongside their video broadcasts and those who have an eye toward private streams guarded by password protection.
From features like automated closed captions to real-time stream monitoring and analytics, multi-platform broadcasting, generous file storage, secure link sharing and more, it’s easy to see why Livestream makes an excellent choice for publishers intended to stream high-quality live shows across the world.
- Beginner-friendly software that’s simple and effective
- Ad-free video streams with versatile monetization methods
- Top-notch tech support
- Limited organic traffic compared with channels like YouTube
- Less native users than other platforms
- Unable to deliver videos to China
Livestream offers a 7-day free trial. After that, you’ll be looking at $65 per month (billed annually) per seat required. For the full range of features, you’ll need to contact Vimeo to discuss their Enterprise plan.
FAQs on video broadcast software
Still puzzling over which stream software is right for your publication? Hopefully, these FAQs will help.
What is video streaming software?
Video streaming software is what runs any high-quality video you watch over the internet, whether it’s on social media, streaming websites or other apps. It’s also called “encoding software” as it converts original video files into a digital format that can be shared in this way.
How do I make a video broadcast?
- Decide what kind of video broadcast you want to produce — a live stream or pre-recorded videos.
- Equip yourself with the right equipment to capture your production (professional video cameras work best).
- Choose the best streaming software for your needs.
- Make sure you have a reliable internet connection and robust enough computer hardware for your broadcasting software.
- Film your content and use your software of choice to broadcast it to your streaming destination.
What is the best software for video streaming?
There’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question, as it will always come down to which streaming software is best suited to your particular needs. Create a list of must-have essentials, then check this guide’s list of top platforms to find the right one for the job.
Conclusion: choose the platforms best for your situation
Choosing streaming software isn’t easy. But by now, you should have a good gut feeling about which streaming software is right for you. Hopefully, you’re leaning towards JWP over the other streaming platforms. But in actuality, the best way to choose the right platform is to use this guide as a starting point for your publication.
If you’re reading this, we’re betting you’ve got what it takes to make your wildest broadcasting dreams come true. Check out our handy resources page if you need more advice, or contact us to chat about how we can help.