The Best Live Video Streaming Apps of 2018!
Besides the ever common Facebook Live or YouTube/HOA broadcast, I either own, currently have installed or previously reviewed every application listed here. I certainly use some more than others, and there are a few similar applications out there, but I wanted to keep it to the Top 10 so you wouldn’t get caught up in any kind of shiny object syndrome, (ie. wasting your time). I focus specifically on apps that can at least stream to Facebook Live. Below are what I consider to be the best, and most reliable live streaming apps available in the market today.
There are other enterprise platforms available, but they are designed and operated by very large content delivery networks such as Ustream, LiveStream, DaCast, and other professional network-level corporations. Here's my list, in my order of preference:
2. VidBlasterX | Home/Studio/Broadcast | PC/Mac |
3. WinBroadcaster v.1.2/JustBroadcaster | PC/Mac |
4. ManyCam v. 6.4 | Free/Standard/Studio/Enterprise | PC/Mac |
5. OBS Studio | PC/Mac/Linux |
6. FFSplit (End of Life) | PC only - Link Expired
7. XSplit Broadcaster | PC/Mac/Linux |
8. Wirecast v. 9.0 | Studio/Pro – PC/Mac |
9. Ecamm LIVE | MacOS ONLY |
10. Mimo LIVE | MacOS ONLY |
Follow the links above to the site's respective home page. Click on the "Overview" button to get an overview of each application.
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Why use a 3rd Party Software App?
As I've mentioned numerous times in the past, you could just go jump into a Facebook Live or Youtube Live or [insert site here], and use the native user interface, and stream away all day long to your hearts content. The only problem with that is it can actually start to get B-O-R-I-N-G! With no branding, lower 3rds, graphics or maybe even screen sharing capabilities, the “Plain Jane” look and feel is going to show up to the party just like everyone else. Is that how you want your brand to be remembered? I think not.
There is, however, a variety of 3rd party applications available for live streaming to both social media or other CDN (Content Delivery Networks). The purpose behind each app remains the same; deliver an audio/video feed to servers of any platform via a network protocol designated to receive a stream. These 3rd party apps give you unlimited control over sending your content to the channel of your choice, without even having to be on the site to pull it off!
To recap the entire process in a nutshell:
Software encoder apps contain all of the tools necessary to facilitate a professional looking broadcast and are usually capable of creating their own High Definition recordings. Most of these software apps have professional features and abilities that are rarely, if ever, duplicated on any kind of website that promotes itself as being able to stream live video. With cloud-based server processing what it is today, the gap between apps and websites is closing. It won’t be long before websites will be able to compete (as some already are) with the higher priced software in the market.
But, that's not the only purpose behind a 3rd party application. The real appeal to using these apps is that most SaaS websites like Belive.tv, Vidpresso, Twitch, Periscope, even Facebook and YouTube Live offer support for what are called DirectShow virtual cameras. While not all websites have this ability, the one's most often used (Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, etc.) can be brought to a new level of professionalism just by adding this one additional component to your live streams. Now imagine taking advantage of all the features available on your favorite live streaming website, then being able have an additonal toolbox of graphic features, not to mention virtual sets, simulcasting, multiple inputs, video playback and recording features of the live streaming app!
Now I’ll be the first to admit, it does take a certain bit of technical know-how and type of person to produce a show while it’s playing out LIVE on the air. It’s not for everyone. In fact, many people prefer to be just a talent. Producers work the scene as back-end program directors, able to pull all the strings, ring all the bells and blow all the whistles needed to run the show. This is easily achieved with the right software or SaaS streaming website.