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OBS Studio – Open Broadcaster Software Review

OBS Studio | by Hugh Baily ("Jim") | FREE Open Source (no watermark)

What started as a simple one window application on Sept. 1, 2012, OBS has evolved into what is now known as OBS Studio. Having a robust UI has caused the development team to set aside it’s one track minded predecessor. OBS not only streams to the web via RTMP, but also works for in-house recordings to .flv, .mov, or .mp4 formats. Perfect for making quick, HQ videos using features like: pre-built scenes, multiple local and remote devices, graphic overlays, lower 3rds, and screen sharing to name but a few. Transitions between shots are also included in the mix.

This software looks simple, but it has nearly every feature you’d need, and as of the end of 2017,  one thing that was always missing in OBS, a virtual camera device was finally added as a plug-in featureOBS didn't originally work with WebRTC protocols in use on most of the newest streaming platforms during 2016-2017.  Sites like Smiletime, BeLive, Firetalk and others. This new feature now allows OBS to work INSIDE other 3rd party streaming websites or apps like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, BeLive.tv, and any other app that have virutal camera capabilities, making OBS more competative within the live stream software market, and with FFSplit out of the picture (website down - end of life) at the time of this printing, I see it as the only real Open Source product left that's reliable.

OBS isn't currently using the Facebook, Youtube or Twitter (Periscope) API connection you will typically find in most of the softwares.  Yet, OBS still sends signals via RTMP that connect to pretty much any remote location (URL). A user-generated Stream Key is created to “unlock” the resource on the receiving end. The key is simply an alpha-numeric string (letters & numbers) that act as a password to connect your stream to the server. Never let anyone see your streaming key, (ie. Facebook Live/YouTube Live), or someone could stream to your channel whenever they want.

REMEMBER: Most sites allow you to refresh your stream key, so if it's ever been compromised create a new one! This will require you to change any presets you have established in your streaming software.  Either way, protect your keys!

Note: If you open OBS and Start Virtual Output before using your 3rd party software, the virtual webcam will set the OBS setting as a default setting. Otherwise the default setting of virtual webcam will be 1920x1080 @ 30fps.

OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster)

FREE
8.1

Ease of Use

7.5/10

Stability

9.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Price

10.0/10

Upgrades

6.0/10

Pros

  • It's FREE! Open Source!
  • Works on Older Systems
  • Many Recent Upgrades (Studio)
  • Features + Customizations
  • Virtual Camera Plugin

Cons

  • It's Open Source, Has Some Bugs
  • Not Much Upgrade Interest
  • Complicated for New Streamers
  • Virtual Camera is New/Still Buggy
  • Relies on Local Resources

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