Live Streaming System Requirements Comparison: OBS vs vMix vs Wirecast vs Streamlabs OSB (SLOBS)

By Max Wilbert

25 Min Read

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Max Wilbert

Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

    As a broadcaster, there are several tools you need for a successful live stream. One important decision you’ll need to make is which streaming software to use for encoding your live broadcasts. 

    There are a variety of choices available, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Price points for streaming video software vary widely as well. Furthermore, each application may run better on some hardware compared to other apps.

    In this article, we’ll consider and compare the main features and minimum system requirements of some of the top live video streaming software products on the market. We will compare Streamlabs vs obs, as well as vMix and Wirecast. 

    Our goal is to help you choose the best streaming solutions and broadcasting software for your needs. Now, let’s introduce each of the four encoding software options under comparison here. All four are functional options for particular live streaming needs, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide if you want to use Streamlabs vs OSB or vMix vs OBS, or Wirecast vs OBS. We will help you compare all of these encoding software solutions against each other, so that you can select the best one for your business. 

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    Table of Contents:

    • Top Streaming Video Software Contenders
    • Streaming System Requirements
    • OBS Studio System Requirements
    • Wirecast System Requirements
    • vMix System Requirements
    • Streamlabs OBS System Requirements
    • Features to Look for in Streaming Software
    • How to Choose the Right Video Streaming Software 
    • Conclusion

    Top Streaming Video Software Contenders

    live streaming system requirements
    You want to make sure your streaming video software is set up with the correct live streaming system requirements.

    In this post, we will talk about several specific streaming features and how they are incorporated into four popular streaming video software encoders. Let’s quickly review the four streaming video software providers that we will compare in this post: OBS Studio, vMix, Wirecast, and Streamlabs OBS. 

    1. OBS Studio

    First up is OBS Studio. OBS Studio is a free and open-source live streaming video software. Since it uses a command-line interface, OBS Studio streaming with this software requires a bit of technical know-how. The latest version of the classic OBS Studio is Version 27.1.3 released on October 4, 2021. This professional video streaming and broadcasting software are available for download here for macOS 10.13 or newer, Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 operating systems. For the Linux version, FFmpeg is required.

    For Dacast users, OBS Studio is especially easy to use, since we offer a customized version of OBS Studio that includes Dacast as one of the default streaming services. This gives our broadcasters an automated setup to start streaming live, including easy and secure video upload capabilities.

    To access this Dacast version of OBS, log in to your Dacast account and click the “Encoder Setup” tab. You’ll find a download link there.

    2. vMix

    The next software we’d like to mention is vMix. vMix is a highly powerful live streaming application, though it does have a learning curve. We’ll get more into the details for each of these offerings momentarily. The latest version of the Windows-specific software is 24.0.0.71 and includes an upgrade to a free 60-day trial of vMix PRO for download. While vMix 24 is for Windows only, the software can be installed on a Mac via Boot Camp if the machine has a Windows partition.

    3. Wirecast

    We’ll also discuss Wirecast. Wirecast is easier to use than OBS Studio, but it adds significantly more functionality and power. Wirecast is a paid tool, and the latest Wirecast version was released on October 4, 2021. 14.3.3 is the newest full version in this latest update.

    4. Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS)

    Last but not least, we will cover Streamlabs OBS. Streamlabs OBS, which is also knowns as “SLOBS,” is another powerful software for live streaming. It has similar functionality to OBS Studio, but it uses a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface, so it is easier to use. The latest version of Streamlabs OBS is v1.5.2 and is available for download here.

    Streaming System Requirements

    Each streaming software has unique system requirements. Here are the Wirecast, OBS Studio, vMix, and Streamlabs OBS system requirements. 

    OBS Studio System Requirements

    obs system requirements

    Here are the system requirements for OBS:

    • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
    • AMD FX series or Intel i5 2000-series processor (dual or 4-core preferable) or higher
    • DirectX 10 capable graphics card
    • At least 4 GB of RAM (recommended, but not necessary)

    Wirecast System Requirements

    Wirecast system requirements

    Here are the system requirements for Wirecast:

    • Windows 7 or newer or macOS El Capitan or newer
    • Intel Core i7 CPU at 3 GHz or higher (for full High Definition 1080p streaming)
    • Integrated or discrete graphics card compatible with DirectX 10
    • At least 4 GB of RAM
    • 2 GB of free disk space

    vMix System Requirements

    vmix system requirements

    Here are the system requirements for vMix:

    • A Windows PC running Windows 7 or newer (Windows 10 recommended)
    • A 2 GHz dual-core processor or better (Intel Core i7 at 3 GHz or higher recommended)
    • 1 GB, DDR2, or faster RAM (8 GB recommended)
    • A 7200 RPM hard drive (SSD recommended)
    • DirectX 10 compatible graphics card (Nvidia card with at least 1 GB RAM recommended)

    Streamlabs OBS System Requirements

    streamlabs obs system requirementsThe beauty of Streamlabs OBS is that it is highly compatible with most streaming setups.

    Here are the system requirements and settings for Streamlabs OBS:

    • Compatible with macOS and Windows
    • 1280 x 720 resolution is suggested (1920 x 1080 will also work)
    • Enable dynamic bitrate streaming
    • ​​Software codec = x264; Hardware codec = NVENC
    • Set CPU usage to “Very Fast”

    When choosing the best live streaming software to use for your broadcasting needs, you need to consider the type of system you will be working with. You need to know what operating system your computer uses, and how much ram and storage your computer has. This will help you narrow down and figure out what streaming software is best for your business.

    Features to Look for in Streaming Software

    vmix vs obs
    OBS Studio, Wirecast, and vMix are three of the best streaming video software.

    As you compare streaming software, it is important to consider what features are important for your broadcasting experience. Determine which feature you need to reach your goals, and look for a platform that offers everything that you’re looking for.

    We will compare all four streaming software options in terms of the following features:

    • Pricing
    • Capture and input sources
    • Multi-source streaming
    • Multi-bitrate streaming capabilities
    • Chroma key support
    • Cinemagraphic tools
    • OVP and social media integrations
    • Sports-specific features
    • Ease of use

    Let’s start by comparing the pricing options for each software.

    Pricing

    Pricing is a major consideration when it comes to choosing streaming software. Here’s a pricing breakdown for OBS Studio, Wirecast, vMix, and Streamlabs OBS.

    OBS Studio Pricing

    OBS is free and open-source software. You can download the application for free on as many devices as you like. You can also modify the code to create new features for your specific needs.

    Wirecast Pricing

    Wirecast offers two packages: Studio for $599 and Pro for $799 per license. Pro adds a few additional features not included in the Studio version. These include:

    • Recording isolated sources
    • Additional support inputs (Teradek Cube, IP cameras, Web streams)
    • 3D set support
    • Support for Firewire HDV cameras
    • Live scoreboards, instant replay, and audio effects
    • Output feed to Blackmagic Design or DeckLink capture cards

    Wirecast offers premium support for an additional yearly fee. Users of earlier versions of Wirecast can upgrade to the latest version at a reduced cost. They also offer a free trial version of their software that includes watermarks.

    vMix Pricing

    vMix has the most complicated pricing structure of the encoding software we’re comparing here. It comes in six versions, which are priced as follows:

    • BASIC: $60 
    • HD: $350
    • 4K: $700
    • PRO: $1200
    • MAX: $50/month

    Each license does not expire and includes free upgrades to new versions for one year. To view up-to-date pricing information and to see which features are supported in which version, check out vMix’s pricing page

    Please note that vMix offers a 60-day free trial.

    Streamlabs OBS Pricing

    Users can access Streamlabs OBS for free, but a paid upgrade is required to access premium features.

    Prime, which is the paid software from Streamlabs OBS, costs $19/month or $149/year.

     

    When it comes to Streamlabs vs OSB, they both offer free versions, but OSB is always free. When comparing pricing for vMix vs OBS, the pricing structure for vMix is much more complicated and is based on the quality of video you want to encode. With Wirecast vs OSB, you have to pay for a license with Wirecast, whereas you don’t have to pay anything for OSB. However, Wirecast provides you with access to top-tier features with their licenses. With vMix vs Wirecast, vMix offers some lower-priced plans and allows for low-cost upgrades to new software whereas, with Wirecast, there are two top-tier pricing options, with lifetime licenses.

    Capture and Input Sources

    The second feature we’re going to take a look at is capture and sources supported by each of these streaming video software apps.

    OBS Studio Sources

    OBS Studio supports a slightly smaller range of sources compared to for-pay software options. These include:

    • Video via capture cards
    • Webcams
    • Images and GIFs
    • Video and audio files
    • Web pages
    • Desktops
    • Specific application windows

    OBS also has a special “game capture” mode and the ability to insert an image slideshow.

    Also, as mentioned above, Dacast broadcasters can access an easier and faster version of OBS setup right through your Dacast account.

    Wirecast Sources

    Wirecast supports many input sources as well. These include:

    • Cameras and PTZ optics (again, often via capture cards)
    • Webcams
    • Video and audio files
    • Images
    • Application windows or desktops via Wirecast’s free Remote Desktop Presenter software

    One interesting video source is Wirecast Cam. This mobile app allows you to stream wirelessly from an iPhone or iPad during a live broadcast. Wirecast also includes an image slideshow feature.

    vMix Sources

    vMix supports a huge range of inputs. These include video cameras (via supported capture cards) running at up to 4K resolutions. Other sources include:

    • Webcams
    • Video and audio files
    • DVDs
    • Audio devices, such as sound cards
    • Playlists
    • Desktop applications
    • Photos
    • PowerPoint presentations
    • Web browsing

    vMix also supports NDI (Network Device Interface) for sending video over gigabit ethernet networks.

    Streamlabs OBS Sources

    The Streamlabs website does not specify any limitations on input sources, so one can assume that any of the inputs supported above will be supported with Streamlabs OBS. 

    When it comes to comparing Streamlabs vs OBS for video input sources, Streamlabs supports all input sources, whereas OBS only supports a limited amount of video sources.

    Multi-Source Streaming

    OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, and Wirecast all support as many sources as you can connect for your broadcasts. With Wirecast, you can even stream multiple, separate live streams from the same machine.

    Generally, the limiting factor here is your hardware, rather than the software itself. Once you start inputting a range of cameras, animations, and so on, the load to a computer becomes taxing. Sufficient RAM, a fast RAID or SSD disk, and a powerful processor make all the difference here.

    As we mentioned, vMix comes in six versions. Each version supports a different number of inputs. The Basic and Basic HD versions of vMix only support four total inputs. Each camera, image, animation, audio source, or other input counts against that limit.

    Additionally, the Basic version limits you to two cameras/NDI inputs. The Basic HD version limits you to three.

    However, the SD, HD, 4K, and Pro versions of vMix each support up to 1000 total inputs, including cameras or NDI devices. That should be more than enough for even the most complex live presentation.

    With OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS, and Wirecast, there are no limitations from their software in regards to how many sources you can connect. With Streamlabs vs OBS or Wirecast vs OBS, things are equal when it comes to multi-source streaming capabilities for these live streaming software options.

    Multi-Bitrate Streaming

    streamlabs obs requirements
    Multi-bitrate streaming helps improve the viewers’ experience.

    Multi-bitrate streaming is a feature that makes your video files available in a variety of sizes so that viewers can use the optimal size for their internet speed. Paired with an adaptive video player, viewers are automatically served the best quality live stream possible at a video quality level their internet connection supports. 

    One drawback of OBS Studio is that it doesn’t support streaming in multiple bitrates simultaneously. Depending on their chosen online video platform (OVP), this can be a drawback for some streamers.

    Wirecast and vMix both have native support for multi-bitrate streaming. Streamlabs OBS supports dynamic bitrate streaming. This allows users to send out multiple simultaneous versions of a live stream, each at a different quality, at the same time.

    This process does use more bandwidth and processing power. It also allows content to reach users with varying internet speeds and in various locations.

    With Streamlabs vs OBS for multi-bitrate streaming, Streamlabs wins as it allows for dynamic bitrate streaming, and OBS doesn’t support streaming at multiple bitrates simultaneously. With Wirecast vs OBS and vMix vs OBS, both Wirecast and vMix come out on top, allowing for native multi-bitrate streaming as well. If you want to provide your viewers with multi-bitrate streaming, you are going to want to choose something other than OBS.

    Chroma Key and Color Effects

    chroma key green screen
    Chroma key “green screen” tools are important for professional broadcasting.

    Chroma key is the technical name for what’s commonly called a “green screen.” Other colors besides green are sometimes used, however. OBS Studio, Wirecast, Streamlabs OBS, and vMix all support this technology.

    Wirecast and vMix both come with several “virtual sets.” These allow you to easily use a chroma key to isolate your subject, then put them on a virtual scene such as an office room or news headquarters.

    Virtual sets are also available from various third parties if you’re looking for something in particular.

    In the battle of comparisons between Streamlabs vs OBS, vMix vs OBS, Wirecast vs OBS, and vMix vs Wirecast, they are all pretty equal in regards to chroma key and color effects. Wirecast and vMix stand out a little more than Streamlabs or OBS Studio, as they offer their own virtual scenes, so you don’t have to use another third-party software to fill in your green screen.

    Animations, Lower Thirds, and Titles

    As far as animations, OBS Studio doesn’t have a built-in tool. OBS Studio handles text as a “source” just like a camera or video file. To set up a title or transition, you have to set up these sources beforehand. Use the text source tool to enter text, or to select a text file as a source. The latter option is useful for situations such as news tickers or captions.

    Starting with Wirecast 7, Telestream began collaborating with NewBlueFX. This allows them to include a 3D animated title tool in their application. The free version included with Wirecast is somewhat basic.

    However, you can upgrade this tool if you’re willing to pay for the Standard, Advanced or Ultimate versions with Wirecast. This tool adds limited NDI support for pulling in animated titles from another computer on your network.

    vMix includes a built-in title tool. Titles that you create in this tool can be animated using XAML, but this requires some basic programming knowledge. Using an application like Microsoft Blend or Adobe After Effects may simplify this process. There are various tutorials available to help you through this process with vMix. 

    Streamlabs OBS offers animations, text overlays, and graphic overlays with a Prime membership. Dedicated tools for each of these functions are available in the Prime app store.

    If adding titles and animations is important to you, in the battle for the best live streaming encoding software between Streamlabs vs OBS, Streamlabs stands out for its dedicated tool available with a Prime membership. With vMix vs OBS, vMix has a more robust built-in title tool, but you will need some programming knowledge to be able to fully use it. With Wirecast vs OBS, they both offer basic animation abilities, with OBS standing out because you don’t have to pay to access these tools. For vMix vs Wirecast, they both offer some animation features, with Wirecast winning because you don’t need programming knowledge to use them.

    Online Video Platform Integration

    online video platform
    Make sure your streaming video software integrates with your online video platform (OVP).

    Integration with various online video platforms can simplify the process of setting up a new live stream. This saves you a few minutes of setup time by offering presets for commonly used services.

    It may not sound like much, but in a production environment, any time saved is golden. OBS Streaming video software integrates directly with Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Live DailyMotion, and several others. Again, Dacast offers a version customized with the best OBS Studio settings to use with our online video platform.

    Wirecast has direct integration with more than 30 services. These include online video platforms (OVPs) and content delivery networks (CDNs). Dacast is one of the many supported services.

    vMix also features integrations, including Dacast, TikiLIVE, Twitch, StreamingChurch.tv, and more.

    Streamlabs OBS does not have any native OVP integrations, but it can be connected to most streaming platforms.

    With each of these streaming video software apps, connecting to a streaming server is quite simple. This is true regardless of the provider when using the “Custom RTMP Server” option.

    Social Media Integrations

    Many live streamers strive to interact with their audiences via social media during broadcasts. One of the best ways to do this is to showcase live social media comments on-screen during your stream.

    OBS Studio doesn’t have a dedicated tool to integrate social media. However, it is possible to set up some powerful integrations using a free plugin called CLR Browser. It requires some setup, but the result is a transparent, borderless, scalable, and auto-updating tweet overlay. You can learn more about the process on the OBS site.

    Wirecast has direct Twitter integration, allowing you to pull feeds into your broadcasts. This features a slick look and simplifies interacting with your viewers. As a bonus, this is an integrated feature ready to go for every Wirecast user.

    vMix integrates social media using a plugin called vMix social, which is available free. This plugin is powerful, as it allows you to insert social media posts, feeds, and other content from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any IRC chatroom.

    Streamlabs OBS has integrations with Facebook Gaming, YouTube, Twitch, and Discord. It also has tools for converting live streams from Twitch into short-form clips for streaming on TikTok and other social media platforms.

    It’s possible to bring in content from other social media sources on OBS and Wirecast by using screen and window capture tools. However, the native vMix method is smoother and less buggy.

    Instant Replay and Sports-Specific Features

    obs studio minimum requirements
    There are several critical minimum requirements and features that are specially designed for live sports streaming.

    OBS Studio supports instant replays using a pretty simple method. You’ll also need a plugin called “Video Source Plugin.” This supports the broadcasting of live streaming sports and instant replays using a configurable length of time. Then, you can press a keyboard shortcut to save and then replay that content.

    When it comes to scoreboards, OBS Studio uses an add-on called “Scoreboard Assistant.” This plugin is not free, but it’s available for a sliding scale “pay what you can” donation.

    Wirecast has several valuable sports features. These include customizable live scoreboards, instant replays, and more.

    vMix is also ideal for sports use with an instant replay feature supporting up to four camera angles simultaneously. Slow-motion is also supported. Selected clips can also be exported for showcasing on social media. Scoreboards are supported via templates or a build-your-own feature.

    Streamlabs OBS does not offer any sports-specific tools.

    Ease of Use

    In terms of ease of use, different streaming video software packages have advantages. OBS Studio, vMix, and Wirecast are all relatively complex. Streamlabs OBS, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward.

    However, each of these applications is possible to learn within a few hours. Mastery will take longer, but between YouTube tutorials and dedicated forums, you’ll be able to answer just about any questions you may have.

    Generally, we’ve found Wirecast, Streamlabs OBS, and OBS to be similar in their ease of use. Wirecast may have a slight edge. vMix is a bit more complex and may take additional learning.

    How to Choose the Right Video Streaming Software

    Selecting the right streaming video software is an individual decision.

    To narrow down your options, consider these questions:

    You’ll have to factor in your equipment, workflow, necessary features, and budget. If you need a certain feature that’s offered in one of these applications and not in the other, your decision may be easier. 

    We highly recommend taking advantage of the trials from these software options. That way, you can test them out to see which you prefer, and you can answer for yourself which is best for you. 

    If you prefer a simple solution for use with Dacast, we offer a themed version of each streaming video software for simple integration with our platform. You also have the option to stream live video on your website through our video streaming platform.

    Conclusion

    Video streaming software is very valuable for professional broadcasters. It’s essentially a real-time video editing system with control capabilities, audio and video mixing, inputs and sources from a wide range of files, and an encoding backend to stream over the internet.

    These applications are highly functional and complex so they do require some trial and error. To that end, we hope this guide has helped you to make sense of some important features.

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    Finally, we love to hear from our readers! If you have any questions or experiences to share about streaming video software, let us know in the comments. We will get back to you. And for regular tips on live streaming, you’re welcome to join our LinkedIn group.

    Thanks for reading, and happy broadcasting.

    author avatar

    Max Wilbert

    Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

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