The Battle for Internet TV Broadcasting Software: OBS Project vs XSplit vs VIDBlaster vs Wirecast

The Battle for Internet TV Broadcasting Software:  OBS Project vs XSplit vs VIDBlaster vs Wirecast

Since our last update, a few new contenders to the crown of “Internet TV Broadcasting Software” have come on my radar.

In this article we will discuss 4 various broadcasting solutions for Internet TV.  Make sure to leave a comment on which software you use below this article!

Open Broadcaster Software

Pro’s

  • Open Source (it’s free!)
  • Solid scene switching
  • Global Sources

Con’s

  • More complex to build scenes
  • Lower quality encoding

open-broadcaster-software-logo

OBS Project is the only free software we will be featuring today. It is an Open Source project,  meaning that it is free to download and use.  As well, anyone can take the software code and make modifications and tweaks which helps the stability of the product.

OBS took a little longer to setup than our other contenders, but once running it was remarkably solid.

I was really surprised that once you setup “Global Sources” (ie: your webcam) you could switch scenes without the annoying freeze frame effect.  This really helps add to the feeling for the viewer of watching a professional production.

Overall I’d recommend OBS for the beginner who is interested in video podcasting or Internet TV production.

OBS is great for those that just want to dip their toes in the waters of creating Video Podcasts/Internet TV shows.

Get OpenBroadcaster Here

XSplit Broadcaster

Pro’s

  • Easy To Use
  • Solid platform
  • Lots of plugins and advanced features
  • Skype Interaction

Con’s

  • Yearly registration fee
  • Updates can be slow
  • Unable to easily preview other scenes while broadcasting

xsplit

XSplit Broadcaster from SplitmediaLabs is perhaps the most popular video broadcaster out there. A large portion of XSplit’s user base comes from the video game broadcasting niche.

I have personally used XSplit to create video podcasts, live streaming productions and even some of our digital training courses have been filmed with Xsplit.

For only $99 per year you get access to the full “professional” edition which allows you to use your recordings for commercial purposes (like my digital training).

Also featuring a multitude of plugins and features, XSplit is extremely flexiable for almost any type of show.  This includes IP cameras, live RTMP streams, screen captures and video games.

XSplit is also the only software on the list that supports native Skype interaction.   A simple 2 click process to add a Skype video window that will add a sense of professional atmosphere to your production.

I will note after being a customer for almost 2 years, I have noticed that their updates can be a bit slow.  This is annoying especially when you have a small glitch that needs fixing.

A few times I have been forced to use OBS in order to get my content completed on schedule.

XSplit is perfect for those that want to record shows from their home office using Web cams and Skype. It is also an excellent choice for those that want stream games.

Get XSplit Here

Vidblaster

Pro’s

  • Solid interface
  • Professional output

Con’s

  • Cost ($199 for the Home version which is really limited)
  • High CPU usuage compared to other offerings

vidblaster_pic

After hearing lots of people speaking about Vidblaster from CombiTech, I decided to give it a whirl.

It is extremely flexible and is geared to those running “bigger” shows with multiple camera’s, guests via video conferencing and screen captures.

Plus unlike OBS and XSplit, you are able to easily see what is going on in each one of your scenes before you switch to it.  I find this feature to be remarkable when producing a show.  If a guest is taking while picking his nose, I can quickly switch to another shot until he is done (or not… 😉 ).

While I was impressed with the interface of VidBlaster, the rest of the software left a  bit to be desired.

The MP4 encoding looked good but wouldn’t retain a descent framerate.   I opened the CPU usage monitor and I was at 85% across all 6 cores of my AMD X6.  I found that if I disabled the lower-3rd overlay I was using it would go down a bit (around 50% usage) but it was still wasn’t the best experience.

The other problem I found with VIDBlaster was the price points.  $199 for the Home version which limits you to 7 modules.   Each camera requires a module, same with screen captures and effect screens (Picture in Picture displays, Chroma Keys, Overlays, etc).

For example in my studio I have 2 camera modules, 3 overlay modules (one for each person on a 3 way conversation) and 3 picture modules.   Uh-ho…  I’d have to buy the Pro version for $499 (an additional $300 to upgrade directly from Home version).  That supports 15 modules (and a host of other features).

VIDBlaster may work well in some situations, but not in mine.  Steering clear of this software for awhile.  Hopefully they get the CPU usage under control.

Get VidBlaster Here

Wirecast

Pro’s

  • Best file output in the group
  • Seemless transitions
  • Professional features
  • Mac & PC editions available

Con’s

  • Cost

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Finally, while I was writing this article I stumbled upon Wirecast from Telestream.

Featuring solid encoding, smooth transitions and effects Wirecast delivers on almost every level.

The UI is exactly what you would expect for a “solid” product.  It’s very clear and intuitive making it the best interface of this round-up.

I’ve had a bunch of Mac users ask me what software they should be using and Wirecast has become my recommendation.

Starting at $495 for the basic version which will work for most hobby & small single person productions, it is still a bit pricey. If you want to bring an HDV source (CamCorder, TV input, etc) you need to shell out an extra $99. Finally if you want features like 3d virtual sets, IP Camera’s and advanced audio controls you will need to slap down $995 for the Pro version.

Wirecast does stand out for those that want a “professional” setting. I’m seriously considering making the switch here at Smoking Man Studios due to the professional video encoding, seamless transitions and other features in Wirecast.

Wirecast really is the best of the bunch. I love the encoding quality, the features and the interface. I just wish it was cheaper.

Get WireCast Here

17 comments

Write a comment
  1. Kris
    Kris 16 September, 2013, 11:07

    thanks for this info, i will put it to good use hopefully.

    Reply this comment
  2. George Vanous
    George Vanous 22 September, 2013, 08:24

    I produce The George Show on YouTube for 2 years now, and I use XSplit along with Adobe Premiere.

    Given this, I would like to correct a few points in this article.

    >For only $99 per year you get access to the full “professional” edition

    I think you mean the 1 year premium license, but XSplit has always been selling for $59 USD and not $99 USD

    >Unlike OBS and XSplit, you are able to see what is going on in each one of your scenes before you switch to it.

    Actually, XSplit does let you preview scenes! See XSplit Broadcaster 1.3 with scene preview – just hold Shift while hovering over each scene button to see what’s going on before switching to it.

    >XSplit Broadcaster from Split Media Labs

    It is SplitmediaLabs without spaces 🙂

    Reply this comment
    • Rob Davenport
      Rob Davenport Author 22 September, 2013, 16:37

      Thanks for the comment George.

      As for the price, the premium (I did mess up the terminology) the price is listed as $99 per year. That includes a discount that brings the price down, but it’s still a discount. You never know when they will disappear, thus in my head the price is $99. If you get it while the discount is there, great, but I don’t want to come back and edit an article over a discount ending.

      The preview issue… I just noticed that. It should have read “able to easily see what is going on in each one of your scenes before you switch to it.”

      As for the spelling of the name, I didn’t realize that was the case and have updated it now.

      Reply this comment
  3. Tom Sinclair
    Tom Sinclair 10 March, 2014, 09:33

    Hey Rob,

    I hope you’ll take another look at VidBlaster. They have made some improvements that reduce CPA usage. Plus you can’t beat the Macro Function making it really easy to use. I produce a weekly show all by myself with VidBlaster and control it all (switching cams, graphics, playing videos, and more) using Macros with my standard keyboard.

    Hope to see an update on this review when you have time.

    Tom

    Reply this comment
    • Rob Davenport
      Rob Davenport Author 10 March, 2014, 12:26

      Hey Tom!

      I wasn’t aware of the changes but I’ll take another look at VidBlaster. I really did enjoy the concepts. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

      -Rob

      Reply this comment
  4. Andy
    Andy 19 August, 2014, 11:28

    Great summary of packages available. But, one is missing and that is VidStudio at http://vidstudio.com/

    It’s open source, free, works well with skype and you can select the codec you want to use to record.

    Your can see samples at http://infonetcast.com and
    http://www.youtube.com/infonetcast

    This is not self promotion, I’m just trying to help. I’ve been in video and broadcast for 26 years and seen the world of video change drastically!

    Say hello when you have a chance.

    Kind regards,
    Andy Zajac
    Producer / News Anchor

    Reply this comment
    • Rob Davenport
      Rob Davenport Author 21 August, 2014, 16:05

      Awesome Andy! I love hearing about new packages to use. Open Source is even better! I’ll check it out, so stay tuned for a review!

      Reply this comment
  5. Mekong
    Mekong 30 November, 2014, 13:22

    Thanks for the article, Take a look also at VMIX, Livestream Studio and AVtake cutfour.

    Reply this comment
  6. IamKenJackson
    IamKenJackson 13 August, 2015, 00:40

    Check out VMIX. This is what I use to produce my show. Very affordable, easy learning curve and very versatile.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ed
    Ed 18 December, 2015, 09:07

    Run, do not walk, away from Vidblaster. There is now no technical support whatsoever for it. The only decent re-seller has been banned by Mike Versteeg for no real reason. This is typical of his treatment of his customers as well.

    Reply this comment
    • Rob
      Rob Author 23 January, 2016, 17:46

      Hi Ed,

      I’ve never heard of that before, but my general rule of thumb is to avoid anyone that is charging way more for way less. XSplit at is still the best option in my opinion. I have yet to use anything that works as smoothly and offers that many options for plugins, etc.

      -Rob

      Reply this comment
  8. Nael
    Nael 14 August, 2016, 10:19

    Hi there
    I am having a big prob w obs to screen broadcast sounds from videos directly from the pc without the need to run them through the speakers and capturing them again through the mic, which is the worst sound quality ever. Does anyone have a clue abt the software that enable me to screen cast my video including the sound directly as a whole package?

    Reply this comment

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