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StreamYard vs OBS – What I Learned After Using Them for 2 Years

by Mrinal Saha
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StreamYard and OBS are two popular third-party apps that let you live stream on YouTube. They also offer the flexibility to utilize custom layouts, screen share, and third-party tool integrations. Which one you use would depend on your specific needs.

Detailed StreamYard vs OBS Comparision

1. Price

One of the most important things to consider before picking up streaming software is the price.

StreamYard is free to join, however in the free version, you get a StreamYard watermark and 20 hours per month streaming limit. Most streamers (including us) didn’t like this watermark and moved to the paid plans. There are two paid plans ⏤ $25 per month and $49 per month. We are using the $25 plan which removes the StreamYard watermark and gives you the option to have a custom logo, overlays, and background. You can also have 10 on-screen participants in this plan, while the free version allows only 6. The $49 plan offers everything you get in the $25 plan, plus 1080p and multiple cameras.

StreamYard price

OBS is free and open source. This means you get all the premium features like 1080p stream, multiple cameras, on-screen participants at no extra cost. However, you will have to spend some time configuring these options and learning how the software works.

Verdict: If you plan to use StreamYard, eventually, you will have to spend money to get the best out of it. We started using the free plan of StreamYard but after a few live sessions, we decided to go pro as well.

2. Installation

The second thing to consider before picking up streaming software is the setup and installation process.

StreamYard is a web-based tool. This means it works on any entry-level computer which has a web browser, be it your Windows, Mac, Linux, or even low power Chromebooks. In fact, you can even use StreamYard on your Android and iOS (Safari only) right from your browser, without having to download any app. Your guests can also join on their phones without any need for registration.

To get started with StreamYard:

  1. Launch Chrome or another supported browser
  2. Sign up for StreamYard if you haven’t already
  3. Connect a destination to stream to
  4. Create a broadcast and go live

OBS, on the other, is also available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. No support for smartphones or Chromebooks as of now. You can read more about the OBS set-up guide, however, here’s a basic idea to get started with OBS.

  • From your YouTube Studio, select the option to GO LIVE
  • You will see the stream key in your live dashboard
  • Copy paste the stream key into OBS
  • Once everything is set, press GO LIVE

Verdict: StreamYard is much easy to set up and use. Since it’s a web-based tool, it’s more suitable for streamers who are on the move. In our experience of using OBS for almost a year, we found it to be a little complicated to set up and works best on a powerful PC. On Mac, due to Apple’s restriction, it’s tricky to use some advanced features of OBS like sharing internal audio.

3. Security

Security and privacy are often neglected while choosing streaming software. We also learned it the hard way after our YouTube account was compromised and all videos were deleted.

StreamYard is not technically unsafe. As per their security policy, companies like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook have reviewed StreamYard before approving it. That said, your account’s security is in your hands only.

If you read the fine prints while giving access to StreamYard to your online accounts, it says:

StreamYard can view and manage your videos and playlists. View and manage your YouTube activity, including posting public comments.

Security of streamyard

OBS on the other hand is among the few encoders (others include Streamlab OBS, Wirecast, Stage Ten, etc.) that is officially recommended by YouTube. Our YouTube partner manager also recommends using OBS for live streaming since it doesn’t need permanent access to a Google account. Instead, it makes a one-time connection using a temporary secret key that you get from YouTube’s live dashboard.

Verdict – While web tools like StreamYard are not unsafe, they do require you to connect your Google account permanently while OBS works with a one-time valid security key. If Security is your primary concern, I recommend going with OBS.

4. Extra Features

Each app comes with a lot of extra features, but we’ll try to list the most important ones to keep this article concise.

StreamYard has one of our favorite features where we can pin the chat on the screen. We found this super useful to engage with the audience. Also, in our experience, the more we pin the super chat, the more our audience uses the super chat. Similarly, you can also add banners, overlays, backgrounds, custom logos, etc. very easily with StreamYard. However, not all features are available on StreamYard. For example, you can not share device audio, multiple webcams, etc.

Streamyard extra features

OBS is extremely feature-rich software, however, everything needs to be done manually. For example, we were able to pin chats in OBS too as we did in StreamYard, however, it wasn’t visibly as pleasing, and required a lot of tinkering around. That said, if you are ready to put in the effort, you can do pretty much everything with OBS for free. For example, if you want your viewers to hear in-game sounds, you can do that. If you want to Game Capture, you can do that. If you want to stream at 1080p or go live with multiple people, you can do that too for free.

Verdict: OBS has a lot of features and customization options, however, you need technical skills and time. StreamYard has a decent amount of features but it’s easy for noobs to use them.

StreamYard vs OBS: The Basic Differences

OBS (short for Open Broadcaster Software) is relatively heavy software that you can install on Windows or Mac. It’s fundamentally an encoder that digitizes videos and sends them to YouTube to be live-streamed to your viewers. In terms of usability, you get a lot of options and features in OBS which makes it more complicated but also feature-rich. This is why, it’s often preferred by gaming and Twitch streamers, who can not only understand complicated settings but also need advanced features like screen capture, sharing desktop audio, multiple cameras, and more.

StreamYard, on the other hand, is a web-based tool to let you stream video to YouTube and Twitch. There are no complicated settings to configure, nor do you get a lot of advanced options like you to get in OBS. Since it’s a web-based tool, you can host your stream from an entry-level computer or even a smartphone like iPhone and Android. However, this added convenience comes with the cost. While you can signup and stream for free, most users upgrade to the paid plan to stream in HD, remove the StreamYard logo, and access useful streaming features.

Overall, we use both OBS and StreamYards for our YouTube live, and hopefully, this article helped you understand both pros and cons of using them. We recommend that you research the feature set and capabilities of each software yourself before making a final call.

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