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Review: What is Streamlabs OBS and Why Use It?

Last Updated on September 21, 2019 by Michael Brockbank

Looking to add some flair to your Twitch stream or YouTube live video? Streamlabs OBS might be something you’ll want to consider. It simplifies the process of building an attractive video layout without requiring a lot of custom coding.

Think of OBS but with a much easier layout.

Keep in mind, this software is currently in beta stages. Anything I point out in this article is subject to change before its official release.
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What is Streamlabs OBS?

Streamlabs OBS is the company’s attempt to design a video recording and streaming platform that is easy to use and full of integrated features. Based on the OBS platform, you have access to all of the same abilities as before.

As it connects with your Streamlabs account, you can import all of the tools from the website directly without copying and pasting URLs. This is a time saver for those who add alert boxes to their Twitch stream.

It has a more simplified appearance than its cousin, the original OBS. However, it has many of the same features, functions and custom settings. Essentially, it’s OBS but with a custom skin and a few added abilities.

As Open Broadcast Software is open source, it’s nice to see a competent organization give the frame good modifications.

Why Would You Want Streamlabs OBS?

Streamlabs OBS is great for those who want a stable method of streaming live to sites like Twitch or YouTube without spending a ton of money on software. It’s just as versatile as the original OBS and comes with all of the features you’ve grown accustomed to.

Another reason to use this software is the integration it has with its own website.

Many broadcasters use Streamlabs for alert boxes, accepting donations and other elements. This application rolls all of that into the single experience. There’s no need to flip back and forth from game to web as it’s all done from one app.

If you use Streamlabs for anything, this is the perfect complementary software.

Where Can You Get It?

Currently, you can download the beta of the software directly from your dashboard on the Streamlab’s website. Just click the button on the top left and you can download the software.

You can also download it by clicking the button below.
Streamlabs OBS

Currently, the program is only available on Windows. However, the developers promise a MAC version once Streamlabs OBS is stable and ready to go past beta. In the meantime, MAC and Linux users can still use the original OBS and wait for the Streamlabs port.
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What Are Some of the Most Notable Features?

When you first install the software, it will optimize your stream according to system specs and the network. It does the similar test as OBS and XSplit by configuring your system for you to provide the best experience.

Afterwards, you can modify your settings even further for customization. However, I suggest keeping the system configuration as is until you feel more comfortable making adjustments.

You could inadvertently hurt your stream.

Importing from Streamlabs Website

Streamlabs OBS makes adding its elements easy to a live stream or video recording. You can directly import your alert box, goals and other integrations from the Streamlabs website to the software without opening a web browser.

Themed Visual Layouts

Another amazing feature of this software is the addition of themed layouts. At the time of this article, there are over 340 different themes you can use during game play to accentuate the experience.

For example, the themes are designed around a specific genre or game style complete with images, animations and effects. You can install one of these layouts for free to give the viewing audience more than just a camera of yourself and the game.

Most of the themes in Streamlabs OBS come with scenes such as “Be Right Back” and “Starting Soon” screens you can switch to during recordings and live feeds.

Widget Themes

You can also choose to use specific widget themes in the broadcast as well. For instance, you can choose the Underground alert box skins to give your alerts an added graphical boost of fire and burning imagery. However, you’ll still have to change the sounds in the dashboard.

Luckily, each theme will save its own settings so you don’t need to keep changing sounds back and forth if you decide to switch back to a different layout.

Noise Gate and Suppression

One of the things I personally like most about this software is the inclusion of noise gain and suppression. These features are helpful if you want to eliminate background noises during a live stream, such as air conditioning fans or a loud neighbor.

In fact, the noise suppression features are the biggest reasons I started using OBS in the first place.

Instant Access to Your Streamlabs Dashboard

With a click of the mouse, you can switch between the editor for live game play to the Streamlabs dashboard. This is convenient if you want to make adjustments to the alert box or other element on the fly without opening a browser.

Importing from OBS

If you currently use OBS, you can import your settings and resources directly into Streamlabs. This saves a lot of time and I found it copied all of the elements perfectly except for the noise gate and suppression settings. I had to reconfigure those myself.

I did have to go in and change my encoding to nVenc instead of x264. Of course, only those with newer nVidia graphics cards will have this issue. If you don’t know, nVenc is a far better way to encode streams and recordings and delivers a superior visual experience.

How Easy is Streamlabs OBS to Use?

In comparison to OBS, I found this software is much easier to work with. The tools and features are more pronounced and it’s easier to find your way around in the layout. For instance, the “Go Live” and “Record” buttons are quite obvious and easy to click.

Don’t get me wrong. Open Broadcast Software is OK, but it just seems Streamlabs has a better appearance and layout by comparison.

Is it Worth the Price?

Since Streamlabs OBS is free to use, I’d say it’s worth the investment of time to explore what the tool can do. If nothing else, it can give you ideas for creating your own theme for live streaming on Twitch or YouTube.

While I’ll still pay the $5 per month for XSplit Broadcaster, I’ll definitely add this software to my collection. I only use XSplit in certain situations because of the integrations it has installed.

Essentially, the only thing you’ll lose by trying this program out is time.

What’s the Bottom Line?

In reality, the most two most prominent points about Streamlabs OBS is the integration of its alerts and features and the growing collection of themes. Some of the layouts are simply amazing and I can’t wait to try them out during a live feed.

Because it’s free, I suggest giving it a try to discovering what it can do for you.
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Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop, to name a few.