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OPEN BROADCASTER SOFTWARE REVIEW
Video streaming software is useful for many different applications. Many of the options on the market today can be quite pricey. Free options tend to lack features that are essential for a smooth broadcast. There is however one option out there that is both free and loaded with features. That software is called Open Broadcaster Software, or OBS. This powerful program makes screen-casting incredibly intuitive and is one hundred percent free to use.
Outline of OBS Features:
Real-time audio/video capturing and mixing
Multiple video sources filters
Powerful configuration option
Streamlined settings panel
So if you are looking into software to screen-cast for your podcast or other internet broadcasts, read on to discover the features of OBS in some more details.
1. Key Features
Open Broadcaster Software offers many important features that will make your online broadcast stand out. With real-time video and audio mixing and capturing and unlimited scenes to switch between using transitions that you can customize, you'll be able to create an incredibly dynamic stream with ease.
OBS has filters that allow you to use chroma keying, masking, and color correction and an easy to use an audio mixer that can filter sounds for noise suppression and gain. Use the robust yet accessible configuration options to add new sources and adjust their properties without hassle. Studio Mode allows you to check your sources and scenes out before you start broadcasting so that you can adjust anything, or create additional ones to make sure your stream is just right. You can easily set hotkeys for pretty much any action, including switching between scenes, starting or stopping your stream, muting audio and more.
The settings panel has been designed to allow for easy, a quick configuration of broadcasts and recording, and you can view all of these features in the default "light" interface theme, or choose the "dark theme" to take some strain off of your eyes.
OBS is lightweight and offers high performance comparable to pricier options. OBS supports streaming to Twitch, Hitbox, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and more.
Open Broadcaster Software maintains ease of use through a clean and easy to read interface. The main user interface is organized into five sections: Scenes, Sources, Audio Mixer, Transitions and Controls. The interface allows you to easily add sources and images, capture cards, specific windows, and more. You can add multiple sources with ease, and you are offered many different settings that allow you to configure nearly every aspect of your stream. As previously mentioned, you can also switch between light and dark program themes, a small feature that many people who use computers constantly will appreciate.
3. Video Quality
When it comes to video capture software, one of the biggest concerns for streamers is video quality and how many frames per second can be captured. Open Broadcaster Software doesn't fall short here. OBS allows you to customize your capture quality, a feature missing even from some of the most expensive capture software. You can set your own resolution, or choose to use the resolution of your monitor. You can also choose how many frames per second, and apply any resolution downscale that is necessary. Finally, you can customize your bit rate for the best possible quality video for your situation.
4. How to record and stream game-play
With Open Broadcaster Software, users will find it easy to record gameplay and live stream using the easy to use interface. It is important to experiment with different encoding settings to get the best possible stream. OBS offers an official settings estimator on their website to help figure out what your optimal settings might be. OBS also offers the ability to use an encoder other than the standard CPU encoding. For online streaming, the standard is preferred, but otherwise, the other encoders are worthy of tinkering with. OBS also allows you to use a constant bit rate, which will ensure that the stream is broadcast at exactly the bit rate that you specify. This can help solve any latency or other quality issues that you may be having during your stream.
When recording game-play, using a custom buffer size affects motion quality. The higher the buffer size, the better the motion size. However, the downside to increasing the buffer size is that if suddenly there is a scene change, the buffer will fill up faster than the average bit rate, which can cause a network data spike, leading to latency both in the recording and in your gameplay. Lower buffer size will make transmission less rocky but will reduce motion quality. While playing with custom bit rate is fun to play with, it is best to leave custom buffer alone, and just use the same rate as the bit rate.
5. Pros and Cons
Every piece of software has its pros and cons. Open Broadcaster Software is no different. OBS does an excellent job of streaming to most live streaming platforms like Twitch, Facebook Live, and YouTube live. OBS also offers more than 20 plugins to enhance functionality, including plugins for countdown implementation, server ping, and Teamspeak implementation. The best part of OBS, however, is that it is completely free, forever, with no hidden costs. Unfortunately, OBS does not work on Windows XP and is unable to link to an audio file as a source.