When it comes to the best live video streaming for personal use, there are plenty of internet articles out there. Yet there’s a lack of credible information on professional-grade live streaming platforms. For new broadcasters looking to get in the streaming game, it can be challenging to objectively assess the available options. To help you make an informed decision, this article reviews 10 of the best live streaming platforms for professional and business users.
Of course, each user will have individual needs. As such, different platforms are best for different broadcasters. Below, we’ve listed our picks for the 10 best live streaming platforms, including our own OVP. This list is alphabetical, as we’ve refrained from ranking these best live streaming platforms.
After weighing features and costs, we do hope that you’ll consider Dacast’s streaming solutions. Nonetheless, our goal is to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. Now, let’s jump right into our review of the best live streaming platforms below.
A Review of the Best Live Streaming Platforms
Brightcove / Ooyala
First up in this review, Brightcove is an online video platform that targets large businesses. Brightcove divides its product offerings into several discrete categories. These include Video Player, OTT Flow, Video Marketing Suite, and a number of others. They have recently acquired Ooyala and announced the end of life of the Ooyala platform.
Among other offerings, Brightcove’s streaming and hosting platform is called Video Cloud. This platform includes an all-screen player and supports monetization. Additionally, it offers a functional analytics feature.
Key features (Brightcove Video Cloud)
- Monetization & advertising
- HTML5 all-device video player
- Video analytics
- Social publishing tools
- Token-based REST APIs
- 24/7 customer support
Brightcove doesn’t publish its pricing plans for Video Cloud live streaming services online. For a customized quote, you need to contact them directly to discuss your specific business needs. For more details, you can check out this third-party review of the platform as well. Note that this might change following the absorption of the former Ooyala video platform.
Next up in our best live streaming platforms review, Dacast is an ideal live streaming platform in terms of ease of use. Overall, this platform offers live streaming solutions and OTT video streaming across all devices, including mobile. Recently, Dacast also acquired streaming platform vzaar, for advanced VOD features and China playback accessibility. Additionally, this platform offers recurring and pay-as-you-go pricing.
Dacast Streaming as a Service is an ad-free, white-label platform. With Dacast, users can access the Akamai live streaming CDN to reach viewers around the globe. Among other stand-out features, Dacast offers secure video upload and China video hosting as well. Dacast broadcasters include media companies, TV stations, religious community networks, corporate enterprises, sports leagues, individuals, and non-profits.
- Video delivery via Akamai CDN, with low-latency HLS streaming available
- HTML5 all-device video player, with Integrated Paywall
- Video APIs with complete documentation, including code samples and sandbox
- Analytics dashboard
- Monetization via pay-per-view, subscriptions, and advertising
- 24/7 customer support
For your business needs, you may want the Premium ($125/mo) or Enterprise ($289/mo) plans. Among other features, these plans offer monetization tools, video API access, chapter markers for VODs, and direct m3u8 links for mobile apps. In fact, plan rates are affordable for even small-scale businesses and professionals. The Enterprise video platform plan offers more streaming data (5,000 GB) and storage (500 GB) than the Premium plan (2,000 GB, 200 GB, respectively).
For newer or less experienced broadcasters, you might consider these more basic plans:
- Starter plan ($19 per month), which includes many of the features of the higher-tier plans
- Pay-as-you-go options. For users who only live stream occasionally, Dacast offers unique event pricing. This option allows you to purchase customized streaming services and bandwidth, without worrying about wasting bandwidth or money.
For more details, you can check out this third-party review of several streaming platforms, including Dacast.
IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)
Next up in our platform comparison, IBM Cloud Video is the latest evolution of UStream. In 2016, IBM acquired UStream. IBM Cloud Video primarily targets the enterprise streaming market with a variety of cloud video and streaming services (such as storage and GPU computing). Within the IBM Cloud video umbrella, Streaming Manager is its core product. As an online video platform, this option includes uploading, managing, and delivering live and on-demand content.
- Worldwide delivery via CDNs
- Internal video sharing platform for corporate communications
- HTML5 video player for all-screens
- Analytics and insights
- Social playback
- Cloud transcoding
Streaming Manager’s Pro plans start at $99 per month and range up to $999 per month. All monthly pro plans include HD broadcasting, though only up to 720p. However, users must purchase a custom-priced Enterprise plan for full access to professional broadcasting features. These include 1080p broadcasting, OTT-level features, and more. You can check out this third-party review for more details.
JW Player Live
JW Player was originally founded as a video player. However, the platform has since expanded to include video hosting and delivery services. Recently, the company added live streaming to its offerings as well. JW Player is a highly capable player that is based on open-source coding. The live streaming platform includes the player itself, among other useful features.
Key features (JW Player Live)
- Cloud-based content-management platform
- Content-recommendations engine
- Custom video galleries
- Up to 1080p HD streaming
- Support for monetization via advertising
With JW Player, limited live streaming support begins at the Starter plan level. At $12/month (billed annually), this plan targets developers and small businesses. Among other features, it includes storage for up to 1,500 videos and bandwidth for 150,000 plays. For most higher volume streaming/hosting, custom-priced Enterprise plans include ad integration and remove revenue sharing. Publishers and broadcasters should contact JW Player directly for pricing and features.
For more details, you can check out this third-party review of the platform.
Next up in our best live streaming platforms review is Vimeo, an online video platform that originally launched in 2004. In 2017, the company acquired the Livestream OVP. In recent years, Vimeo has pivoted toward the B2B sector. One element of this shift is the Vimeo OTT solution, which markets itself as an all-in-one streaming solution for live broadcasting and video hosting. As a streaming service, Vimeo OTT offers uploading from any device, player customization, and video analytics. Overall, Vimeo OTT targets larger-scale businesses with substantial budgets.
- Privacy and security features
- Embedding to your own website
- Video player and broadcaster APIs
- Custom hardware and software available
- Audience interaction/engagement
Since acquiring Livestream in 2017, Vimeo has changed its pricing and offerings. With Vimeo OTT, there is no longer a basic plan starting at $42 per month. Instead, the first plan that includes live streaming starts at $500 per month, plus transaction fees and other potential fees incurred. Overall, Vimeo OTT takes a high-end premium approach to its service, which means higher costs for users. For example, full API access starts at $1,000+ per month. Likewise, full monetization tools only come at that pricing level.
Of course, most businesses need white-label service, security features, branding control, 24/7 live streaming, and many other key features. To access those pro features with Vimeo OTT, users must pay for an Enterprise plan. These plans are custom-priced, so you need to contact Vimeo directly.
Next up in this review, Muvi is another of the best live streaming platforms focused on OTT media. This platform is unique in that it functions as a turnkey appliance for OTT broadcasters. In fact, this model empowers users to launch their own video or audio streaming platform quickly and easily. Additionally, the platform includes an all-inclusive and fully-featured website, mobile and TV apps.
- Custom branding
- HTML5 video player
- Monetization options
- DRM and security features
First, note that Muvi prices its plans at three levels. The Standard plan, at $319 per month, allows 2000 concurrent viewers, 1TB each of bandwidth and storage, and API support. The Professional plan, at $1,199 per month, increases limits further and adds premium support. An Enterprise plan, which uses a dedicated server, is also available for $3,120 per month. Finally, mobile/TV apps are available at an additional monthly fee. Finally, keep in mind that all Muvi plans incur infrastructure fees.
For more information, check out this third-party review of the platform.
Next up in our review of the best live streaming platforms, Panopto is a video company whose focus is on businesses and universities. This platform enables streaming, sharing, recording, and managing video content. With a primary focus on internal use, Panopto provides powerful tools for creating “internal YouTubes” and integration with Learning Management Systems. Overall, Panopto is a more focused online video organization than the other best live streaming platforms considered here.
- lecture-capture and video-search software
- access control & security features
- white-label streaming
- Integration with LMS systems; APIs for further integrations.
As with other platforms reviewed here, Panopto does not share pricing plans on their website. Instead, Panopto bases pricing on a licensing model. Broadcasters pay an annual fee based on the number of users accessing content. For educators, in particular, pricing depends on full-time equivalent student pricing. Plans are available starting at 500 users.
After establishing a contract, you have access to unlimited streaming and storage. However, this aspect may represent a potential downside for some streamers–Panopto does not handle any external-facing video content.
For more details, check out this third-party review of this streaming service.
StreamShark is another of the best live streaming platforms providing multi-faceted online video functionality. In fact, StreamShark is a business wing of MetaCDN. This means that the platform specializes in fast and innovative content delivery. As a streaming service, this company offers both a consumer-grade (B2C) platform and a distinct enterprise platform for streaming. StreamShark focuses overall on providing global video CDN services.
- Global coverage via a multi-CDN network
- Detailed viewer reports
- Customizable video player
- Privacy controls
- Advertising and customer support
Monthly live streaming plans with StreamShark begin at $199 per month (geared for individuals) and rise to $999 per month (for businesses). The more expensive monthly plans (Team and Business) support advertising monetization and lower per-GB costs. Additional features come at each plan level, including privacy controls, viewer analytics, and real-time stats. Lastly, Enterprise solutions are available, with custom pricing; they include the greatest number of features (at a higher cost).
For more information, check out this third-party review of the platform.
Last up in our review of the best live streaming platforms is Wowza. Wowza offers two main products, the first of which is the Wowza Streaming Engine. This product is widely used in the industry for self-hosted streaming. Wowza video streaming services, however, come with the Wowza Streaming Cloud offering. The Streaming Cloud functionality includes a variety of features aimed at providing low-latency content access to global audiences of all sizes.
- Cloud management portal
- Up to 4K streaming
- Wide range of security options
- APIs available
- Live stream recording
Wowza Streaming Cloud offers four distinct pricing approaches and services: Live Event Pricing, 24/7 Pricing, API-based Pricing, and Ultra-Low Latency Pricing plans. Within Live Event Pricing, monthly plans start at $49 per month. This tier includes 500 GB of bandwidth and 10 processing hours. The Standard Plan is $199 per month, with 50 processing hours and 3 TB of bandwidth. The Plus plan is $499/month and increases bandwidth to 7 TB and processing hours to 150. Lastly, the Premier plan ($999/month) includes 15 TB of bandwidth and 350 processing hours. All of these Live Event plans include full brand control, multi-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming.
For more details, check out this third-party review of the platform.
As this review piece shows, there are a lot of capable streaming solutions on the market. As a result, however, it can be challenging to choose the right fit for you from the best live streaming platforms.
We hope this article has helped you to better understand the streaming platform market. Most importantly, we hope you’ve had success in narrowing down your OVP options.
Any questions, comments, or additions? Let us know in the comments section below. We love to hear from our readers, and we will get back to you. And for exclusive offers and regular tips on live streaming, you can join our LinkedIn group.
Still not sure which streaming service to choose? We highly recommend taking advantage of free trials for the best live streaming platforms. On that note, why not start today with the Dacast 30-day free trial (no credit card required)? Just click the button below to start streaming live in a matter of minutes.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your professional broadcasts!
By Max Wilbert.
*Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article to reflect the latest comparison information available as of September 2019.