OpenLP vs ProPresenter Comparison Guide
Churches and houses of worship have numerous choices for live presentation software, including quite a few high quality products built specifically for religious services. Today we’re reviewing OpenLP vs ProPresenter, but you can find the other guides in the series here:
- Keynote vs ProPresenter
- MediaShout vs ProPresenter
- Proclaim vs ProPresenter
- PowerPoint vs ProPresenter
- Worship Extreme (Presenter) vs ProPresenter
- Prezi vs ProPresenter
- Easy Worship vs ProPresenter
We know it can be tough to narrow down the decision about which worship presentation software solution is the right one for your ministry. So we’ve compiled a series of comparison guides to help you work through the features and capabilities that matter most to you.
Let’s start with an introduction to OpenLP.
Intro to OpenLP
OpenLP is an open source church worship presentation software solution that’s 100% free to use. Cost is the primary “selling” feature here, and we don’t mind admitting: as free presentation apps go, OpenLP is far more capable than just about anything else we’ve seen.
If you’ve ever experimented with freeware or open source clones of other software (say, LibreOffice or OpenOffice for Microsoft Word), the experience may feel a bit familiar. It’s (mostly) everything you’d expect to find, but a little less polished and a little less easy to use than the flagship paid competitors.
OpenLP’s stage monitor function is a standout: it runs in a web browser over your local network and can be viewed on multiple devices simultaneously.
To sum up, OpenLP can do a lot, including import songs, pull in Bible verses, open presentations from popular formats, and pull in media using embedded VLC. It does much more than most free presentation apps. There are plenty of limitations and plenty of tasks that take a little longer or look a little worse. But for a free church-oriented solution, you won’t find anything better.
Intro to ProPresenter
ProPresenter is the most powerful church worship presentation software in existence. Built for the church first but used by professionals in the most demanding live event and presentation spaces, ProPresenter makes it easy to build and run top-quality presentations and transform the visuals in your worship service beyond what was possible before.
ProPresenter is in a class all its own, with all the presentation functions you’d expect, plus support for live video and live streaming, unlimited customized video outputs, and much more.
OpenLP vs ProPresenter: Key Differentiators
Platforms and Languages Supported
Some worship presentation software solutions are true cross platform applications, while others aren’t.
ProPresenter is a cross-platform application that runs beautifully on PC or Mac. Plus ProPresenter offers remote apps on both iOS and Android, giving you the ability to use your mobile device as a remote control with a wide range of capabilities.
OpenLP is an open source project, which means people are free to adapt the code in whatever ways they wish. As a result, the OpenLP community has developed versions of the app for macOS, Linux, Windows and even FreeBSD, along with mobile devices for Android and iOS.
While both apps offer cross platform performance, native language support or localization is a different story. Best we can tell, OpenLP is only available in English. ProPresenter on the other hand offers native language support for these 10 languages:
- Chinese (Simplified)
Because OpenLP is a community-driven product, it takes a very different approach to support. Everything is volunteer-based, which can be beneficial in some ways but also creates some significant drawbacks.
You’ll find deep and thorough documentation for OpenLP, a product of its passionate volunteers and user base. Often if you can’t find an answer to your problem in that documentation, you’ll find a friendly assist via the user forums.
But as deep as that documentation goes and as helpful as the community can be, nothing beats professional support.
ProPresenter users gain access to a professional (paid) support team: people whose job it is to know the ins and outs of the app. And this support is reachable via numerous methods:
- Real-time chat
- Phone calls
- Scheduled video or audio calls for troubleshooting and training
On support, ProPresenter has the clear advantage — as you might expect when comparing freeware versus professional software for churches.
Trial Period, Demo, and Cost
Here’s where you’ll find the greatest differentiation between OpenLP church presentation software and ProPresenter.
OpenLP is free church presentation software. ProPresenter is not.
So with OpenLP, there’s no need for a trial period or demo. Anyone who wants to take OpenLP for a test drive can download the full app and test to their heart’s content.
If price is your primary decision-maker when choosing software for churches, there isn’t much we can say to dissuade you from OpenLP.
But we know that if you try ProPresenter, the difference in quality, capability, and user experience will be clear.
That’s why ProPresenter offers an unrestricted two-week trial period of the full ProPresenter 7 experience. Explore what ProPresenter can do without paying a cent!
As far as cost, ProPresenter for churches and houses of worship costs $399 per seat or $999 for an entire campus. (The latter may not sound like such a deal for small churches but results in significant savings for larger ministries.)
For an even better long-term experience, ProPresenter+ gives churches access to premium support and the latest features and updates. One year of ProPresnenter+ is included in every seat or campus license.
Building slides in OpenLP is straightforward, if a bit basic. You can create your own media library, build custom slides and templates, and pull in elements like song lyrics and Scripture passages. Everything is just a bit more manual or cumbersome, partly because it’s free: OpenLP has limits on modern Scripture translations and doesn’t connect to (not-free) databases like CCLI SongSelect or popular media libraries.
In contrast, ProPresenter embeds all those capabilities and many more into its advanced professional slide editor. ProPresenter gives you unprecedented control over slide design so you can create a more seamless and immersive experience on the big screen
Multiple and Alternate Views
OpenLP offers a browser-based Stage View, and for a free app it’s quite impressive. Any device with a web browser (and the right video capabilities) can function as a stage view— no need to install the OpenLP software. It’s more innovative than what many well-funded apps (like PowerPoint) are offering, so to see it in a free tool is impressive.
Still, OpenLP is limited to two distinct views: the main show and the browser-based Stage View.
Only ProPresenter gives you unlimited distinct views within a single presentation thanks to its unique seven-layer architecture.
Video Capabilities and Live Video Integration
OpenLP relies on VLC for video playback. While it can handle many media formats, live video integration isn’t possible.
ProPresenter on the other hand can handle video files and live video. It can even serve as you live streaming hub and software encoder!
Bible Translations and Languages
OpenLP allows you to “import Bibles from a number of formats” or pull in “a few verses” from a Bible site. The app is unfortunately hampered by the limitations of free software and the fact that most modern Bible translations won’t allow blanket use for free.
ProPresenter on the other hand offers full import access to 125 Bible translations across 36 languages and even allows for side-by-side display of two versions.
OpenLP vs ProPresenter: Final Thoughts
OpenLP is the best free church presentation app we’ve seen. It serves churches and worship leaders well, and the labor of love from its many volunteers is truly impressive.
That said, it’s still a limited product that won’t meet the needs of every ministry. Many functions are a bit more cumbersome than is ideal, and many advanced functions simply aren’t here.
If your ministry needs more than OpenLP can provide, ProPresenter is the clear professional-grade presentation solution. Its unprecedented feature set, ease of use, and powerful capabilities will serve your church well.
Get started today with your two-week trial: download now!