Live streaming has become a hot trend in the online world for businesses and content creators alike, and more people are looking to get into it daily. Although video streaming has been around for quite some time now, it has just started to take off. Between April 2019 and 2020, the industry has grown by a whopping 99%! But the best part about this sudden growth is that anyone with an internet connection and some basic live streaming equipment can start broadcasting!
But with more newcomers than ever in the live streaming world, perhaps one of the biggest challenges they face is not knowing what gear they need for live streaming. The answer to that question will depend on three things: their needs, goals, and budget.
If you’re a well-established brand looking for a way to take your events online, you undoubtedly value quality and want to provide the best possible user experience for your audience. In that case, you will need high-quality gear, so the costs of live streaming can be quite substantial.
On the other hand, the equipment needed for an amateur live stream will be much more affordable. If you’re an independent content creator who wants to get into streaming as a hobby, there’s a place in the live streaming world for you too!
Either way, the first thing you’ll need to do before you start broadcasting is find the best live streaming equipment for your budget. Luckily for you, we’re here to help!
In this guide, you will find our recommendations for the best live streaming equipment setup for all budgets. So whether you wish to get into streaming as a hobby or want to broadcast large-scale events, you will find suitable recommendations below.
If you’re looking to get into live video as a hobby or perhaps want to use it to communicate with your colleagues easier, you can do so at next to no cost. Let’s cover all the essentials you’ll need to start live streaming on a budget!
The chances are that you already have everything you need to start live streaming in your pocket. Yes, your mobile phone can be all the live streaming equipment you need!
Most of the new-gen mobile devices have everything one requires for live streaming. The camera quality keeps improving with every new phone that comes out, and some high-end ones can even compete with video cameras nowadays!
It’s worth mentioning that a mobile device will never surpass premium video cameras in quality, but it does the job well enough for casual and everyday streaming.
If you don’t already have a phone to stream with or wish to buy one specifically for streaming, we have two device recommendations for you!
Best Budget Phone for Vlogging and Streaming
Moto G7 is an excellent budget phone for live streaming enthusiasts as it sports an excellent 8 MP front camera and a 12 MP + 5 MP dual back camera for a modest price of $299. Its battery is powerful, and the phone itself is highly durable. The video quality/price ratio is superb with Moto G7, making it the best budget phone for live streaming.
The Best Phone for Live Streaming
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is undoubtedly the best phone for live streaming, which should be evident by its steep price of $1,199. This device has a long-lasting smart battery to ensure lengthy streaming sessions and breathtaking camera quality. If you decide to invest some extra money in a live streaming phone, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a perfect choice.
When streaming with a mobile phone, you already have an integrated microphone into your device. That means you don’t have to spend a dime here!
Getting an external mic is an excellent option when you decide to upgrade your setup, though. But we’ll cover that in the next section!
What better lighting is there than sunlight? That’s right — if you’re going for a budget streaming option, going all-natural is the best way to approach lighting.
The crucial thing to remember when using natural lighting is that you must mind your positioning. As excellent as the Sun can emphasize your stream’s subjects, it can as easily drown them out if you don’t shoot from an adequate angle.
Broadcasters interested in investing some money into live video will want to get quality live streaming equipment at reasonable prices. Luckily, there are many suitable options out there. Let’s look at some of the best ones!
When it comes to upgrading your streaming setup, the best item you can invest in is a high-quality video camera. There are thousands of options on the market at various prices, so it’s understandable if you feel lost. That’s why we’ve done the research for you!
Best Video Camera for Intermediate Broadcasters
Panasonic Lumix GH5 is an impressive video camera that ensures high-quality video with its 20.3 MP lens. This bad boy can even handle 4K video at up to 60 FPS, providing optimal user experience at an affordable price. Panasonic Lumix GH5 also comes with two SD card slots, so you’ll never be pressed for storage. This camera’s quality/price ratio is outstanding since 4K HD-supported video cameras for as little as $1,299 are quite rare!
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Another essential step on your journey toward a more professional live stream is upgrading your audio quality. According to Vtrep, studies have found that users prefer streams with crisp audio but low video quality than vice-versa. The findings showed that people were more likely to stay and watch a live stream with poor video quality than audio issues. What can we take from that? You mustn’t skimp on audio quality!
Luckily, there are many suitable live streaming microphones on the market at affordable prices. But one, in particular, stands out from the rest.
The Best Microphone for Intermediate Live Streamers
Blue Yeti USB is a practical multipattern microphone suitable for various kinds of broadcasts. Whether you are streaming video games or holding a business webinar, this mic will be convenient as you won’t need a mic stand or any cables to set it up. But likely the best part about the Blue Yeti USB is that it’s relatively cheap! This microphone will only set you back by $129.
Using natural lighting is excellent, but it relies too heavily on the weather and time of day. That is why the next step on your streaming journey should be to get yourself a lighting kit. Having these at your disposal will offer plenty of flexibility regarding your streaming time and subject clarity. Here’s our recommendation for an excellent starter kit!
The Best Lighting Kit for Intermediate Streamers
Neewer CN-216 is an excellent LED lighting kit for small-scale streaming. This kit comes with two adjustable tripod stands and multiple color filters (White, Red, Blue, and Yellow) for your LED lights. This lighting kit is simple to control and set up, making it one of the best choices for intermediate streamers on the market. Neewer CN-216 kit will cost you only $41.99
Whether you decide to broadcast on your website or a live streaming platform, you will need an encoder. These devices compress large, RAW video files into a format more suitable for online streaming.
But that’s not all encoders do; they also enable you to deliver live streams optimized for different devices. Whether you are serious about live video or not, neglecting any part of your audience should be a big no-no. That is why it’s essential to optimize your live stream for various bandwidths and types of devices.
Learn More About Video Encoding: What Is Video Encoding — The Ins and Outs of Video Encoding
When it comes to picking the best encoder for live streaming, we’d advise beginners to settle for a software encoder. These encoders come in the form of live streaming software apps, so as long as you have a capture card on your PC, you can start streaming immediately.
Choosing the best software encoder can be challenging since dozens of live streaming apps exist out there, but we’ve done some research and came to a verdict.
Best Free Live Streaming Software App
Streamlabs OBS is an excellent open-source broadcasting software compatible with Windows and Mac OS. This streaming app will take care of all your encoding needs for free while also offering various social widgets, filters, transitions, and overlays, among many other features.
Best Premium Live Streaming Software
Wirecast is a widely popular live streaming app suitable for broadcasters of all sizes and streaming needs. The app is available on both Windows and Mac OS and offers incredible streaming features like GPU-accelerated coding, NDI support, accepting inputs from multiple capture sources, and much more. Wirecast Studio will cost you $599/mo, while the Wirecast Pro plan starts at $799/mo.
Now it’s time to cover the cream of the crop of live streaming equipment! We’ve highlighted some of the finest devices the video industry has to offer for professional broadcasters. Here’s everything you’ll need!
When it comes to picking the best camera for live video streaming, we must say it was tough. Although there are some frighteningly powerful devices on the market going for as much as $25,000, you don’t need to go that overboard unless you’re shooting a Hollywood action movie.
With the above in mind, we’ve decided to settle for a more reasonable device most professional broadcasters can use. Whether you’ll be streaming your company’s live event or just wish to give your audience the best quality stream possible, the following camera is perfect for you!
Best Camera for Live Streaming
The Panasonic AG-CX350 is a feature-packed 4K camera that will sweep professional streamers off their feet. This camera can record in up to 60 FPS in UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) and goes up to 120 FPS in regular HD. The device comes with two SD slots, making storage a non-issue while allowing background, relay, and simultaneous recording.
The Panasonic AG-XC350’s 20x optical and 32x intelligent zooms make it suitable even for long-distance filming. Its lithium-ion battery will last for hours even while actively recording, so long stream sessions won’t be an issue. Finally, this camera comes with a handy microphone holder too, so you won’t have to haul a bulky tripod around if streaming on the go.
The Panasonic AG-XC350 truly lives up to all expectations as the best camera for streaming on the market! Getting your hands on this monster of a video camera will not be cheap, though, as it comes at a pretty steep price of $3,695.
Pro Tip: Buying a tripod stand for your camera would be an excellent investment for all top-end broadcasters. It will allow you to position and steady your camera almost anywhere!
We must admit that choosing the best microphone for live streaming was significantly easier than picking a camera. There were still many devices to select from, though many of them were worthy candidates. However, we had to pick one, so let us present our winner.
Best Microphone for Live Streaming
The Razer Seiren Elite is one of the best-performing live streaming microphones on the market currently. This mic is pretty compact and comes with a detachable base, meaning you can easily detach it and place it in your Panasonic AG-XC350’s mic holder! This device even has a built-in foam windscreen, making it incredibly functional outdoors. Wherever you decide to stream, the Razer Seiren Elite will serve you well!
You can buy this microphone for as low as $219.99!
Pro Tip: Getting a pop filter for your microphone is essential to providing the best live streaming experience possible. A pop filter will eliminate all annoying popping sounds made while speaking.
When it comes to taking your lighting setup to the next level, there isn’t much to add here. The only thing you should focus on is getting a full, professional, and portable set with energy-efficient lighting. Here is an excellent kit to consider!
Best Lighting Kit for Live Streaming
As long as you have sufficient room for an entire lighting kit in your streaming studio, MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit is perfect for you; it is easy to set up, doesn’t weigh much, and is pretty affordable for its quality. This lighting set is made of high-quality nylon and is adjustable up to 210 degrees in rotation and 53 inches in height. And if you’re a streamer that often broadcasts outdoors, this kit comes with a handy storage case, making it easy to transport. You can get this wonderful lighting kit for streaming for as little as $104.99!
If you want to get the best quality live stream possible, you should get a hardware encoder. These devices are superior to software encoders in each regard because they have their dedicated hardware instead of relying on your computer’s processing power. That allows them to deliver the best live streaming experience possible.
One downside of hardware encoders is that they are quite expensive. But if you wish to take your live streaming quality to the next level, that is an investment you should undoubtedly make!
Best Hardware Encoder for Live Streaming
Slice 756 is one of the best hardware encoders on the market and comes from one of the leading names in the video equipment industry, Teradek. This high-profile encoder and decoder is suitable even for enterprise-level applications. It supports industry-standard video codecs like H.264 and H.265 and allows streamers to seamlessly broadcast HD streams and OTT content. This hardware encoder is compatible with all the widely used streaming protocols like MPEG, RTMP, RTSP, and RTP Multicast. If you’re looking to provide the best experience possible for your audience, investing $3,990 in this encoder will prove worthwhile!
If you’re a high-profile brand or publisher and are looking to live stream your event, you will need to buy an audio and video mixer. These devices are necessary for streams with multiple cameras to seamlessly switch between different audio and video sources.
Let’s immediately jump to our choices for the best video and audio mixers for live streaming!
Best Video Mixer for Live Streaming
Although there are better choices for large-scale streaming events, the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro is incredibly portable due to its small size, which is an excellent tradeoff. This switcher has four HDMI video inputs and two audio inputs, meaning it’ll prove sufficient for all small-to-medium-sized events. The best part about this mixer is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg at its affordable price of just $595. If you’re looking for an effective video mixing solution suitable for most indoor events and gatherings, the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro is perfect for you!
Best Audio Mixer for Live Streaming
This high-end Bluetooth audio switcher is incredible for live streams of all sizes. This device sports a USB soundcard and an intuitive interface, which makes recording as easy as one-two-three. This Bluetooth studio mixer supports wireless streaming for up to 15 feet with four XLR microphone outputs. If you get this fantastic sound mixer for streaming, any problems with channel switching or volume control will become a thing of the past. This mixer is reliable, versatile, and affordable. You can find this device for as little as $179.99!
Now that you’ve hopefully found all the live streaming equipment you need to start broadcasting, let us give you a few handy live streaming tips to ensure your first broadcast goes as smoothly as possible!
Besides the above tips, you should look up some live stream examples from your successful industry peers to see what works. Learning from the pros is always the best way to improve!
Now that you’re equipped with all the best live streaming equipment and a few handy tips, it’s time to start streaming! All you need to do now is decide which live streaming platform you’re going to broadcast on.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up, embed your stream on your website, and start broadcasting!
Would you like to try our platform’s live streaming feature for free? Send us an email, request a free premium trial, and try streaming with us today!