vMix vs. OBS: What's Better for Streaming?

vMix vs. OBS: What’s Better For Streaming?

One question that pops up quite a bit among people and organizations working with streaming and video is this: Is vMix better than OBS Studio?

The answer isn’t all that straightforward.

The TLDR here is that, vMix can do a lot more than OBS Studio, so if that’s your definition of “better,” you have your answer. But vMix is also a lot more complicated to use, and there’s no getting around the huge price difference. 

vMix is premium video recording, editing, streaming, and broadcasting software, and it comes with a (very) premium price tag. 

OBS Studio, on the other hand, is free and open source streaming software.

There’s also a third question: are either of these tools really the best option for streaming?

Let’s unpack the question of OBS vs. vMix. Which is better for various use cases, how do they compare directly, and are there any other options worth exploring?

What Is OBS Studio?

Open Broadcaster Software logo

OBS Studio, sometimes just called OBS (for Open Broadcaster Software), is a free and open source software for video recording and live streaming. It’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it’s free—really, actually free.

Given the price tag, what users get in OBS studio is really quite impressive. Users can capture and mix video and audio in real time, set up and switch between scenes, and configure inputs and outputs to their hearts’ content. It can handle most video sources and can output in basic HD to all the popular streaming platforms.

It’s extremely popular among solo streamers (like gamers and influencers) as well as nonprofits and businesses with relatively simple streaming needs.

OBS Studio lacks some of the depth and feature set other software solutions like ProPresetner or vMix offers, but it’s hard to criticize the feature set given what it costs to run OBS Studio.

What Is vMix?

vMix is premium video recording, editing, streaming, and broadcasting software. It’s designed to provide everything pro users need to create broadcast-quality content, and it supports sending that content out for display, streaming, broadcast, or local recording.

The tiered pricing system (more on that later) breaks up features into four levels, starting with a relatively basic feature set that’s most similar to OBS. 

On the higher end, you’re getting pro-oriented capabilities like support for up to 1000 inputs (including NDI), slow-motion instant replay, a social integrator, live interview video calling, and a competent title designer (for on-screen graphics and lower thirds).

vMix is focused more on video production than on streaming, but its robust set of features is more than capable of handling most streaming scenarios.

vMix vs. OBS Studio: Which Is Better for What?

Illustration of Young Video Gamer Streaming on Twitch

Really the question of which is better comes down to what’s most important to you as a user. So we’ll break down our comparison of OBS Studio and vMix by top priorities.

Price and Budget 

Winner: OBS Studio

If your budget is zero, the discussion is already over. Compare OBS vs vMix vs Wirecast vs ProPresenter or just about anything else, and there’s a clear winner on price—because free always beats not free.

vMix has four different licensing tiers depending on your needs. The Basic HD package, probably the closest parallel to OBS, costs $60 for a lifetime license. Most users will need a heftier package, however. These add higher resolution, more overlay channels, more recorders, more inputs, and so on.

Here are the other vMix price tiers:

  • HD: $350
  • 4K: $700
  • Pro: $1200

Bear in mind those are lifetime licenses. vMix also offers a subscription model, where users can get the Pro feature set for $50 per month.

Video Inputs

Winner: vMix (but not Basic HD)

OBS Studio can handle a variety of audio and video inputs, and you can assemble a scene that includes more than one of these sources. In OBS Studio, you can set up a maximum of 8 inputs, using OBS as a video switcher and your scene designer as a sort of canvas.

vMix, on the other hand, supports an astounding 1,000 inputs. One important caveat: the cheapest Basic HD plan supports only 4, so technically OBS Studio does better than this basic plan.

Be aware that you’ll need very competent hardware before any of this starts to matter. Encoding simultaneous video inputs is heavy computational work, so those with basic needs (or hardware that isn’t top of the line) probably don’t need to use this comparison point as a decision-maker.

Streaming Outputs

Winner: vMix

OBS Studio can output only one stream. It can send that stream to just about any streaming service, but it can only handle one stream and one destination at a time.

In contrast, vMix can output 3 simultaneous live streams.

So if you need to do streaming to multiple outputs, vMix is the clear winner.

Cross Platform Compatibility

Winner: OBS Studio

OBS Studio is an open source application, and developers have made it available for PC, Mac, and Linux.

But sorry, Mac users: vMix is a Windows only video software tool. (Fun fact: vMix actually recommends ProPresenter for Mac users!)

A Better Streaming Solution: ProPresenter

ProPresenter Logo

One option that sometimes gets left out of the OBS vs vMix vs Wirecast conversation is none of the above.

ProPresenter might have built its reputation as a pro-grade presentation software, but it’s much more than just a grown-up alternative to PowerPoint. It’s also a leading video streaming solution.

Here’s how ProPresenter stacks up against OBS Studio and vMix:

  • Price and budget: ProPresenter is a pro-grade tool that does much more than just streaming, and it costs $399 per seat license. There’s also a $99 30-day rental option, along with special site licensing options for churches and houses of worship.
  • Video inputs: ProPresenter is powerful video software that has no limits on video inputs: whatever your hardware can handle, ProPresenter can ingest it.
  • Streaming outputs: ProPresenter can output to multiple streaming platforms, and you can send multiple versions of a stream (with differing elements on screen) to different locations.
  • Cross platform compatibility: ProPresenter 7 is available for Windows and macOS, giving you the same pro-grade experience on the two dominant operating systems.
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ProPresenter is also far better than both OBS Studio and vMix when it comes to graphics creation and scene design: because ProPresenter started out as a pro-grade presentation software solution, its palette of tools for graphics creation and display is far more robust than the competition.

ProPresenter supports RTMP and RTMPS, the industry standard streaming protocols that just about any streaming application supports (including vMix and OBS). But only ProPresenter includes support for Resi, the most resilient streaming protocol and software encoder in existence.

It’s perfect for situations where the internet connection is weak or unreliable. (vMix includes its own approach to this problem, called Secure Reliable Transport, or SRT. OBS Studio has no comparable feature.)

Only ProPresenter delivers a truly integrated experience, bringing stream design, graphics and presentation building, software encoding/video processing, and more into a single interface—the same interface you’ll use to go live to one or more streaming platforms. 

We know the world of live streaming is varied and complex, and that means no single application is right for every single customer. That’s why we offer every user a completely unrestricted two-week trial period—no payment information required. 

Ready to see if ProPresenter is right for your live streaming needs? Download ProPresenter 7 now and start your two-week trial!

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