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Top 22 Live Streaming Platforms: Everything You Need to Know [2022 Update]

By Max Wilbert

88 Min Read

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Max Wilbert

Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

Table of Contents

    When it comes to live video streaming for professional use, there is so much to know. However, since a top professional-grade live streaming platform is a very powerful broadcasting tool that solution providers update regularly, it is difficult to find reviews and comparisons that include all of the information you need.

    For new broadcasters looking to get in the streaming game, it can be challenging to objectively assess the best platform for live streaming. We’ve put together a review of 15 of the best live streaming platforms for professional broadcasters and 7 social video streaming alternatives that are also valuable for businesses, providing you with an in-depth review of the top 22 live streaming platforms. The purpose of this comparison is to help you make a well-informed decision on the top streaming platform to use for your broadcasting needs.

    We will discuss what exactly a live streaming platform is, the top features to consider when comparing streaming platforms for business and professional organizations, as well as review the best streaming platforms and pricing for 2022 and beyond: #22for2022

    Let’s get started!

    Table of Contents:

    • What is a Live Streaming Platform?
    • Features to Consider When Comparing Streaming Platforms
    • Live Streaming Technology Compatibility
    • The Rise of Live Video Streaming for Business
    • The Purpose of Professional Live Streaming Platforms
    • Live Streaming Platform And Pricing Comparison for 2022
    • How to Create a User-Facing Live Streaming Platform
    • Live Streaming to Multiple Websites
    • Common Integrations to Look For
    • So, What is the Top Streaming Service?
    • Conclusion

    Please note that streaming platform technology and pricing change regularly, and this post now reflects the most accurate information as of September 2022.

    What is a Live Streaming Platform?

    Live Streaming Platform
    The technology for live video streaming platforms and OVPs has grown exponentially in the last decade.

    Live streaming platforms are video hosting solutions that allow users to upload and broadcast video content to their audience. 

    Businesses use online video platforms to share videos for the purpose of lead generation, building brand awareness, advertising, and providing paid access to video streaming. When deciding on what platform to stream on, you’ll find some are better than others, depending on your brand’s goals.

    For example, one of the most popular live streaming sites that most people are familiar with is Facebook Live. Still, despite being very popular, it has many limitations for businesses wanting more control over their live stream experience. That is why it is important to compare live streaming platforms in order to figure out what the best live streaming platform is for your business. 

    Live Streaming Statistics 

    Many businesses are using live streaming platforms to reach their audience in a way that is both engaging and entertaining.

    Let’s review a few live streaming statistics that truly demonstrate the growing value of the online video streaming industry:

    Want to learn more about the state of the live streaming industry and how live streaming can help your business? Check out our 115 live streaming statistics article to learn more about how live web streaming is changing the way people consume content. 

    Features to Consider When Comparing Streaming Platforms 

    The beauty of having so many live video streaming services to choose from is that there are dozens of combinations of powerful features.

    Again, when deciding on what the best video streaming service is for you, there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. That means that features that are valuable to you may not be valuable to another broadcaster, and vice versa. The best live streaming platform is one that meets your specific business needs. 

    Here are a few key features to look for when selecting a streaming platform:

    In order to determine which features are the most valuable in a live streaming video service, you should identify the goals you’d like to reach with online video broadcasting. Once you’ve got your list of goals, determine which features you need to bring those goals to fruition, and choose your live streaming platform for video streaming based on those tools. This is the best strategy for sorting through the top livestream platforms and choose the best one for your business’s needs. 

    Live Streaming Technology Compatibility

    As you compare the best live streaming platforms for you, it is important to consider compatibility with other live streaming technology. For example, encoders play a huge role in the live streaming process, and if you’re going to want to use affordable RTMP encoders, you need to see if your platform supports RTMP ingest.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that there are several new streaming protocols that are on the horizon, including SRT and WebRTC. These protocols have different functions, but the commonality is that they support higher-quality live streaming. Since they are still developing, they are not widely supported yet.

    For example, WebRTC is specifically designed for real-time video streaming and web conferencing. If this is a functionality that is important to you, you’re going to want to find a live stream service that offers that support or integration that offers the functionality. Continuing that example, Dacast offers a Zoom live streaming integration that pulls in the web conferencing aspect that you might desire. Dacast also offers WebRTC streaming, allowing you to easily live stream directly from your webcam. 

    Some other live streaming technology compatibility that you should pay attention to include broadcasting software compatibility, supported switchers, simulcasting tools, and mobile streaming support. You want to find a streaming video platform that offers as many of these features as possible in order to support your business goals.

    The Rise of Live Video Streaming for Business

    Broadcasting in the professional world is not new, but it has evolved in the past few years. 

    Live streaming services for businesses specifically used to be less common. It was normal for online streaming businesses to use live streaming websites designed for consumers and independent content creators, such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live, since they were popular video streaming services.

    Consumer-grade broadcast platforms are very valuable for amateur broadcasters and independent streamers. However, these free web streaming services simply do not have the tools professional broadcasters or streaming businesses need to succeed. Consumer-grade broadcasting platforms fall short when it comes to the customization and control offered by professional streaming platforms. 

    One of the first roadblocks that come with consumer-grade video streaming platforms that pushed businesses to seek professional corporate live streaming software is the fact that many schools and organizations block Youtube and Facebook because they are social media platforms.

    A business using social media live streaming software would miss out on large audiences due to these social media consumer grade broadcasting platforms being blocked by a large number of organizations.

    Another roadblock with consumer-grade video streaming platforms is that you don’t control how the video player looks, content suggestions, or advertising. The frustration that these free web streaming services caused for businesses forced professional streaming solutions to come into play.

    Now, there are many professional live streaming platforms for businesses to choose from that provide more control. Professional video streaming platforms offer more than the ability to avoid having your stream being blocked, they offer the ability to control the video viewing experience, from how the video player looks to what, if any, advertisements play with your content. 

    The Purpose of Professional Live Streaming Platforms

    live streaming platform technology
    Professional grade cloud-based streaming platforms are designed for businesses’ needs that surpass the features of free online video platforms

    The main purpose of professional live streaming platforms is to host live broadcasts for businesses and other professional organizations. 

    Some perks of hosting video content on a professional live streaming platform include monetization, customization, access to better security features, and fewer limitations. Many professional online video streaming platforms include integrated video paywalls and tools to ease integration with existing workflows.

    With the help of both video and player APIs, you have more control over your live streaming experience on both the ends of broadcasters and viewers.

    Many of these professional business video streaming platforms, including Dacast, also offer around-the-clock 24/7 technical support. Most consumer-grade live streaming options don’t offer this kind of support, instead leaving you to figure out things on your own.

    Another benefit of live streaming with a professional video delivery platform is that it typically does not put time restrictions on your streams, allowing you to stream for as long as you want. Many also offer white-label video players meaning you can have a professional live stream video embedded directly on your website with no trace of third-party ads or branding.

    The purpose of professional live streaming platforms is to provide you with a video hosting service that you have complete control over. With a professional live streaming platform, your business needs, not those of the platform, come first. 

    Live Streaming Platform And Pricing Comparison for 2022

    In order to help make your search for the best professional live streaming platform a bit easier, we’ve collected up-to-date information on the best streaming platforms’ pricing, pros, cons, features, and more.

    Please note that the data in this comparison post for the best live streaming video platform  comes from a lot of unique research, and a number of sources. For example, these sources include platform websites, user reviews, and free trial accounts.

    We regularly update this comparison of the best live streaming platform with every detail, as streaming platforms change services, plans, and features, in order to ensure the accuracy of this live streaming platform comparison. 

    Let’s take a look at the provider overview, basic functionality, key and detailed features, pros, cons, and pricing for the 22 Best Live Streaming Platforms.

    1. Dacast

    streaming platformDacast’s live streaming platform is the leading professional online video and hosting solution.

    Overview and Company History:

    With offices in London and San Francisco, Dacast is considered a competitive offering in a crowded marketplace. Dacast is a full-featured, self-service solution for both live streaming and VOD hosting

    Dacast is a unified streaming solution that makes the annual list of the most important, most innovative, and most interesting companies on the 2021 Streaming Media Magazine’s Top 50 List. This powerful video hosting platform helps companies around the world scale and monetize their online video content.

    Basic Functionality:

    Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and secure video hosting services. Users can embed videos on their own websites while maintaining 100% control of their content. Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.

    Key Features:

    Dacast distinguishes itself by offering high-end features with competitive pricing plans. These include ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and top-tier CDN delivery (including the option for a multi-CDN solution). 24/7 phone support is also available for premium and enterprise-grade plans.

    Additionally, the Dacast platform stands out from other online video platforms (OVPs) with its ease of use and accessibility. Even new broadcasters can create a new live channel and start a new live stream in just a few minutes.

    Detailed Features:

    New!

    Pros:

    Cons:

    • Requires a bit of a learning curve

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: None (but 240p is the recommended minimum)
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p or 4K (depends on the user’s hardware and internet)
    • Aspect ratio: No restrictions (but 16:9 is the default)
    • Max file size: None
    • Max video length: None
    • Total file storage: 10-1000GB (depends on plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MP4 (preferred), MOV, M4V, M2V, AVI, MPG, FLV, WMV, MKV, WEBM, OGV, MXF, ASF, VOB, MTS

    Pricing:

    Streaming platform pricing plans with Dacast start at $39 per month and includes four levels:

    • Starter plan: $39/month (billed annually); ideal for newcomers with 1.2 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per year
    • Event plan: $63/month (or $750/year); for organizations that would rather not sign a contract, and want to purchase bandwidth separately to live stream an event, offers 6 TB of bandwidth upfront, 50 GB of storage; additional data and storage can be added as needed
    • Scale plan: $188/month (billed annually); includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year, with 1 TB of storage; add phone support, monetization paywall, an M3U8 online player for live channels, ad insertion, white-label video player, and video API access; additional bandwidth is available upon request for monthly plans
    • Custom plan: if your enterprise business has high-volume streaming needs, you can contact Dacast for a custom plan tailored to your needs.

    Read more here about Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans.

    Try Dacast risk-free for 14 days with our free trial. Access all of our features and see how our live streaming platform can help you reach your streaming goals. Dacast is a professional streaming platform with accessible pricing allowing businesses of all sizes access to an affordable video on demand and live video streaming service. 

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    2. Brightcove

    brightcove wowza alternative
    Brightcove’s Video Cloud uses an innovative HTML5 video player with the latest ingest and transcoding technology. Source: Brightcove

    Overview and Company History:

    Founded in 2004, Boston-based Brightcove is one of the oldest online video platforms in-game. Its product offerings focus on cloud encoding, live streaming, and VOD (video on demand) hosting.

    In 2019, Brightcove acquired streaming platform Ooyala, known for its cloud video technology. Since the acquisition, Brightcove has announced end-of-life plans for the Ooyala OVP.

    Basic Functionality:

    Brightcove offers a number of modular products. These include: Video Cloud hosting, the Lift video player, Once for server-side ad insertion, Live for streaming video, OTT flow for internet TV, Zencoder for cloud video transcoding, and tools for monetization.

    Key Features:

    Brightcove’s features shine in the arena of analytics. Its detailed analytics and video marketing tools are quite valuable for businesses that aim to capture leads and understand their audience.

    Detailed Features:

    • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
    • Global content delivery
    • Tech support, but only at a basic level with slow ticket-based responses (unless you upgrade to a paid support plan)
    • Video API access, but only on custom-priced plans
    • Security features, but with high-end features only available on custom plans
    • Monetization options, but only on custom-priced plans

    Pros:

    • Good analytics
    • Includes custom video portals
    • CRM integration

    Cons:

    • High price point
    • No live streaming with packages under  $499/month
    • Monetization is limited to custom-priced plans
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: Determined by user
    • Maximum dimension: Determined by user
    • Aspect ratio: No restrictions (since Brightcove uses a responsive player)
    • Max file size: No limits on files size
    • Max video length: No published limits
    • Total file storage: Varies by plan
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MKV, 3GPP

    Pricing:

    Mainly targeting huge clients, Brightcove offers several pricing plan levels but does not provide pricing. These include the following:

    • Starter: includes 50 to 200 videos, up to 100,000 plays, and 2-5 users
    • Professional: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with +10 users
    • Enterprise: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with 10+ users, unlimited upload, and analytics-only users

    Brightcove also includes custom-priced plans for their Enterprise Video Suite packages. Interested broadcasters can contact their sales department to receive a quote or sign up for a 14-day free trial.

    Brightcove is not designed for small to medium-sized businesses; they target large businesses with big budgets who are willing to pay for all the upgraded features they offer as part of their streaming platform.

    3. IBM Cloud Video

    ibm video cloud live streaming platform
    IBM’s streaming manager is an end-to-end solution, cloud-based OVP, ideally suited for live or on-demand content for Enterprises. Source: IBM Cloud Video

    Overview and Company History:

    Next up in our online video platform comparison is IBM Cloud Video (formally UStream). Founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family, IBM purchased UStream in 2016.

    Around the same time, IBM acquired ClearLeap, a video management system, Cleversafe, a video storage service, and Aspera, a large-file transfer tool. All of these different companies were used to create create IBM Cloud Video, allowing IBM to become a platform for live streaming and VOD.

    Basic Functionality:

    IBM Live Video is a live streaming company first and foremost. However, it also hosts VOD (Video On Demand) files recorded from previous live streams.

    Basic streaming accounts are free, with advertising supporting IBM Cloud Video. Paid accounts remove advertising and grant access to advanced features. Enterprise accounts allow for full custom branding and offer analytics, multiple live channels, content syndication, and more. The more you pay, the more custom livestream services you have access to on IBM Cloud Video.

    IBM offers phone support for Pro and Enterprise users, and forum-based support for free users.

    Key Features:

    IBM Cloud Video provides both a customer-grade and an Enterprise streaming solution. This platform also offers a unique Enterprise Content Delivery Network. Their professional-grade OVP has solutions for live event coverage, video marketing, monetization, marketing, and more. Its inclusivity justifies its elevated price point.

    Detailed Features:

    • Enterprise video streaming
    • Enterprise content delivery network
    • Video distribution and workflow
    • OTT video management
    • Monetization
    • Live streaming 

    Pros:

    • Reliable platform
    • Suitable for larger clients
    • Good customer support
    • Wide range of features for broadcasters
    • Hong Kong (China) video hosting

    Cons:

    • Additional fees are required in order to stream above 720p resolution
    • Poor closed captioning support

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 480p (480 x 270)
    • Maximum dimension:  4K (3840 x 2160)
    • Aspect ratio: No published aspect ratio
    • Max file size: 4 GB
    • Max video length: No published limits
    • Total file storage: 1TB – 5TB (depends on plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MKV, MP4, MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MPEG2, H264, H263, MPEG4, VP6, VP8, THEORA, WMV, MP3, AAC-LC, NELLYMOSER, PCM, SPEEX, VORBIS, WMA

    Pricing:

    IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:

    • Silver: $99/month
    • Gold: $499/month
    • Platinum: $999/month
    • Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

    You can check out this third-party review for more details.

     IBM Cloud video is a great platform for live streaming content for your business, and turning live streams into VOD.

    4. JW Player

    JWplayer live streaming platform
    JW Player’s live streaming platform is a sophisticated set of tools with a video player that is open source. Source: jwplayer.com

    Overview and Company History:

    First conceptualized in 2005 as part of a student project, JW Player began as a small piece of open-source code to play audio and video files. This code then became the basic video player for the fledgling YouTube, which continued to use the JW Player until Google acquired the platform in 2006.

    Originally, JW Player was best known for its HTML5 video player for VOD content. In recent years, JW has expanded its video offerings beyond on-demand content to include live streaming.

    Basic Functionality:

    JW Player is perhaps best known for its HTML5 JW video player for VOD content.  This player supports MPEG-DASH playback, CSS skinning, DRM, and other advanced features. The company also now offers JW Live, a full-service live streaming provider.

    Key Features:

    In terms of JW Live, the platform supports HLS adaptive live streaming, multi-bitrate transcoding, simulcast to FB Live, and real-time analytics. The service advertises itself as simple-to-use with a four-step process for beginning a live stream. Overall, JW Live is designed for users with a large budget and/or a large business enterprise.

    Detailed Features:

    • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
    • Global content delivery, but China’s delivery is blocked by the Great Firewall
    • Tech support, but only in the form of email support through the $100/month plan level
    • Video API access on all plans
    • Security features are basic but functional. Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
    • Monetization (only via advertising)
    • Continuous archive of live events for instant live-to-VOD ocnent
    • DVR pause and rewind of live streams
    • Stream live events to web players, mobile apps, OTT apps, and social media platforms

    Pros:

    • Great video player
    • Simple, easy-to-use platform
    • Good advertising tools

    Cons:

    • Live streaming is limited to custom-priced plans with a 12-hour duration
    • Only ad-based monetization
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 360p (640 x 360)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3, 2.39:1
    • Max file size: 25GB
    • Max video length: Not available
    • Total file storage: 25GB to 500GB (depends on the plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, 3GP, FLV

    Pricing:

    JW Player offers essentially 3 pricing plans. These include:

    • 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, and a non-commercial license, with 25 GB hosting bandwidth and 75 GB streaming.
    • Starter pricing plan for $10 per month, which includes an HTML5 Video Player and video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month billed annually.
    • Enterprise plans are available with custom pricing for high-volume storage and streaming. Enterprise plans support live streaming, while lower-tier plans only support VOD.  

    JW Player offers an affordable Starter plan that provides you with basic customization and global video deliver, excluding China. They are a simple and easy-to-use platform with an affordable starter pack, perfect for new broadcasters and business with smaller budgets for platform streaming solutions.

    5. Vimeo Livestream

    Vimeo Livestream streaming platform
    Vimeo’s Livestream offers live broadcasting and video hosting solutions for businesses of all sizes. Source: livestream.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Originally founded in 2007 as “Mogulus,” Livestream represented one of the largest live streaming companies in the world. 

    In 2017, Vimeo acquired the Livestream platform. Since the acquisition, the two platforms have merged their services. 

    Today, the Vimeo platform powers over 10 million events per year and focuses on an integrated system of hardware, software, and cloud services.

    Basic Functionality:

    Vimeo offers both streaming and video hosting services. This basic functionality includes analytics, a video management platform, privacy controls, and more. To access basic live streaming functionality, users must purchase a Premium plan.

    Vimeo provides tech support via email for video hosting plans. For live support, users must purchase a Premium or Vimeo OTT custom plan. You need a bigger budget in order to access live support with this streaming platform. 

    Key Features:

    What sets Vimeo apart is its offering of a range of proprietary hardware and software for live streaming. These offerings integrate smoothly with their platform, minimizing the fuss of implementing a live streaming program from the hardware on up. 

    Detailed Features:

    • Video management service
    • High-quality videos and streams
    • Large storage capacity
    • Privacy options
    • Upload from anywhere

    Pros:

    • Unlimited events and viewers
    • No ads
    • Sleek and professional appearance 
    • Thoroughly detailed analytics
    • Easy to use
    • Pay-per-view option

    Cons:

    • Does not generate as much traffic as other sites
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Recommended dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: 3GB
    • Max video length: Information not available
    • Total file storage: Information not available
    • Compatible video formats: MP4 (recommended)

    Pricing:

    Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

    Vimeo Premium:

    • Premium pricing: $75/month
    • Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD support. This plan is the best option for professional broadcasting on this platform.

    Vimeo Enterprise:

    • Enterprise Pricing: Please contact Vimeo for custom pricing information
    • The Enterprise plan includes white-label service, monetization, and video API access. It also includes branding control and added security features.

    Vimeo OTT:

    • Starter Pricing: $1/subscriber per month
    • Growth Pricing: starting at $500/month
    • This OTT-specific pricing package comes with the Vimeo.com relationship. These plans include all the basics for starting your web-based OTT channel, as well as growing your OTT business online.

    For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to Vimeo Livestream pricing.

    If you are new to live video streaming, Vimeo’s integration of proprietary hardware and software help simplify the complexity of the live streaming process. If you have an advanced video production team, having to use Vimeo’s integrated proprietary hardware and software may feel limiting to your team.

    6. Muvi

    muvi live streaming video platform
    Muvi’s live streaming platform is an all-inclusive, fully managed OTT solution. Source: muvi.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Next up in this review, Muvi is another of the best live streaming platforms focused on over-the-top OTT media. This online video 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.

    Basic Functionality:

    Muvi is a PaaS-based live video streaming platform with an all-in-one OTT solution. Their OTT Multi-Screen Video Streaming service allows businesses to launch white-label multi-device video streaming, video on demand (VOD), and audio streaming. The platform includes fully managed, end-to-end solutions, all controlled from single streaming video CMS, with no coding or IT team required.

    Key Features:

    With Muvi, you can have your own multi-screen OTT Video On Demand (VOD) platform in an instant. Their video streaming solution comes with a plethora of functionalities and capabilities. The best part is that it is a very simple and straightforward service that doesn’t require any coding and development expertise as everything is fully managed from Muvi’s end.

    Detailed Features:

    Pros:

    • Hosting
    • CDN
    • Video CMS
    • Transcoding
    • DRM
    • Website and Apps for Mobile and TV.

    Cons:

    • Not user friendly
    • Hard to integrate or connect
    • CMS user interface is complex
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 144p (256 x 144)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840  x2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: not available
    • Max video length: not available
    • Total file storage: 1TB, 2TB, 5TB (depending on plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MKV, FLV, VOB, M4V, AVI, 3GP, MPG

    Pricing:

    Muvi prices its plans at the following five levels:

    • Standard plan: $399/month (+ $299/month per app + infra fees), allows 2000 concurrent viewers, 1TB each of bandwidth and storage, and API access.
    • Professional plan: at $1,499 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) increases limits further and adds premium support.
    • Enterprise plan: $3,900 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) adds a dedicated server with auto-scaling.
    • Ultimate plan: $8,900/month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) doubles the bandwidth and storage of the enterprise plan and adds your own CDN and unlimited API calls.
    • Black plan: this is a custom solution and includes everything in the Ultimate plan plus premium services and project management.

    Additionally, you can try Muvi One free for 14-days before signing up for a paid plan.For more information, check out this third-party review of the platform.

    Muvi is more than a streaming platform. It offers businesses the tools to create their own OTT video or audio experience simply and easily, without coding or advanced IT knowledge. 

    If your business is looking to create and monetize your own video streaming, eLearning, or audio streaming platform. You can widen your audience base with cross-platform reach with your own branded over the top platform, website, and apps.

    7. Resi

    resi streaming platform
    Resi is an end-to-end live streaming platform for professionals. Source: resi.io

    Overview and Company History:

    Founded in 2014, Resi is an end-to-end live streaming platform that is equipped with a variety of streaming tools. This company offers all of the tools that broadcasters need to get started with live streaming.

    Resi is branded as an “affordable” solution, but prices are not listed on their website.

    Basic Functionality:

    Resi offers a variety of live streaming software in addition to some hardware offerings.

    Key Features:

    Resi has several notable features including live stream hosting, simulcasting, and encoding technology in addition to a few hardware offerings.

    Detailed Features:

    • End-to-end live streaming support
    • Simulcasting capabilities
    • Some encoding support
    • Automation tools
    • Cloud streaming
    • Monitoring tools

    Pros:

    • Produces high-quality streams
    • Wide range of functionality
    • Highly reliable
    • Reliable support

    Cons:

    • Limitations on video analytics
    • Limitations on chat
    • “Dated” interface

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: None
    • Maximum dimension: 1920×1080
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9
    • Max file size: 15 GB
    • Max video length: 6 hours
    • Total file storage: Unavailable
    • Compatible video formats: MP4

    Pricing:

    Interested broadcasters must fill out an inquiry form to get information on Resi’s pricing.

    Resi boasts that their streams never feature a spinning wheel, but that is achieved by the fact that live streams are delayed about 90 seconds from live. If you are okay with a 90 second delay between when you say something and your viewers see it, then this could be the live video streaming platform for you.

    8. StreamShark

    streamshark live streaming platform
    StreamShark’s OTT platform features a live streaming workflow with easy-to-use features and global CDN delivery. Source: StreamShark.io

    Overview and Company History:

    Founded in 2011 from research out of the University of Melbourne, 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.

    Basic Functionality:

    As a streaming service, this company offers both a consumer-grade (B2C) platform and a distinct enterprise platform for streaming. StreamShark is a technology company with expertise in reliable video stream delivery for global reach. It excels at making the live streams of large-scale, high-profile events a massive success with viewers having an exceptional viewing experience.  It is a great live event streaming platform.

    Key Features:

    Their live event platform offers users the ability to efficiently and reliably manage the different phases of an event’s stream while ensuring maximum reach and reliability of the live stream via its multi-vendor approach and HLS ingests. Additionally, the company focuses overall on providing global video CDN services. If you have a global audience you need to reach, it is one of the top live streaming platforms. 

    With the Enterprise package, your business can access advanced features such as peer-to-peer delivery to reduce bandwidth load on corporate networks when conducting a live stream for employees. They also offer end-to-end encryption and 360-degree 4K streams.

    Detailed Features:

    • Global coverage via a multi-CDN network
    • Mobile-compatibility
    • Detailed viewer reports
    • Customizable live streaming video player
    • Privacy controls
    • Advertising and customer support
    • Multi-CDN

    Pros:

    • Localized media ingestion
    • Video Encoding
    • Redistribution
    • Increased storage space

    Cons:

    • No Channel support
    • No embeddable playlists
    • Fair to no video analytics
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: not available
    • Max video length: not available
    • Total file storage: 500GB, 1TB, 3TB
    • Compatible video formats: HLS, WebM VP9, WebM VP8, WebM VP9 DASH, MP4

    Pricing:

    Monthly live streaming plans with StreamShark begin at $199 per month and include the following:

    • Standard: $199/month; includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth; 500 GB of VOD storage an additional overage of $0.10 per GB
    • Team: $499/month; includes 4,000 GB of bandwidth; 2,000 GB of storage, and lowers per GB overage prices to $0.09
    • Business: $999/month; includes 9,000 GB of bandwidth; 5,000 GB of storage, and reduces the overage to $0.08 per GB
    • Enterprise: Please contact StreamShark for their custom enterprise solutions and plans

    StreamShark caters both to small and medium size businesses with their monthly live streaming package, and to large corporations that need to host big corporate events. They offer a range of online live streaming packages for businesses.

    9. Kaltura

    Kaltura streaming and business video hosting solution
    Kaltura provides the widest range of live streaming video solutions for any company through engaging video tools. Source: kaltura.com

    Overview and Company History:

    With a video management foundation in its open-source software, Kaltura offers a unique focus on the live streaming market. Historically, this company has worked most extensively with educational institutions.

    Basic Functionality:

    While the Kaltura software is free, it requires an infrastructure of servers for hosting and distribution. This platform represents an alternative to the self-hosted model (e.g., Dacast). That said, Kaltura offers cloud-based video hosting and distribution services for both VOD and live streams.

    Key Features:

    Kaltura shines when it comes to extensibility. The open-source nature of their software means that a community of users creates and shares countless add-ons and integrations.

    The downside of Kaltura’s extensibility, however, is that the platform can be confusing to use. With so many different features, it can be overwhelming for beginner users.

    Detailed Features:

    • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included
    • Global content delivery via a combined CDN approach (with the option to bring your own CDN)
    • Tech support via a ticket-based system, which is slower than chat or phone
    • Video API access
    • Security features, including a range of authentication and encryption options
    • Monetization, including all major models (subscription, advertising, PPV streaming)

    Pros:

    • Many available features
    • Good monetization options
    • Robust security

    Cons:

    • No phone or chat support
    • Highly complex
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 180p (320 x 180)
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920x 1080)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: 2GB
    • Max video length: Not available
    • Total file storage: 10GB to Unlimited (depends on the plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MOV, MP4

    Pricing:

    Kaltura doesn’t publish pricing information on its website. However, some users have said that plans start at about $1000 per month and go up from there. For more details, you can read about this platform’s pay-for-what-you-use pricing model.

    Kaltura is a great online streaming platform if you have a more technically advanced video production team that would thrive and enjoy all the additional user-generated features the platform offers.

    10. StreamYard

    streamyard live streaming platform
    StreamYard is a simple live streaming platform for broadcasters. Source: streamyard.com

    Overview and Company History:

    StreamYard, founded by Hopin, is an in-browser live streaming platform. This platform is relatively basic, but it will get the job done for broadcasters with minimal live streaming needs.

    Since this platform is pretty basic, it is relatively easy to start streaming on StreamYard.

    Basic Functionality:

    StreamYard is a simple in-browser live streaming platform designed for improving audience engagement. StreamYard does not support on-demand streaming.

    Key Features:

    StreamYard uses in-browser streaming technology. This provides a wide range of functionality without any downloads necessary. The brand customization features on StreamYard are some of the most valuable.

    Detailed Features:

    • Custom branding
    • Graphic overlays
    • Simulcast to social media platforms
    • Multiple on-screen presenters
    • Screen sharing 
    • Audience engagement tools

    Pros:

    • Simple to use
    • Engaging
    • Great for collaborative streams

    Cons:

    • Very basic platform 
    • No monetization
    • No VOD
    • Limited browser compatibility 

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • StreamYard does not publish upload guidelines and specs.

    Pricing:

    StreamYard offers four pricing plans. These include:

    • Free: Access StreamYard on a limited basis for free.
    • Basic: $20/month; access some advanced streaming features, including unlimited streaming, brand customization, graphic overlays, simulcasting, and stream recording.
    • Professional: $39/month; adds up to 10 hours of stream recording, multistreaming to 8 destinations, full 1080p HD, and individual audio recordings
    • Enterprise: StreamYard also offers enterprise plans that are priced on a case-by-case basis.

    The rates we’ve mentioned above reflect the monthly pricing when billed annually.

    Streamyard is great for businesses without a dedicated IT team to support live streaming events. There is no need for additional software or to download anything. They offer unique branding, with the ability to add your own logo, colors, overlays, images, and GIFs to the video player. Up to 10 different people can broadcast at once and they support audience interactions. 

    Streamyard is a great online live streaming platform for businesses and an easy-to-use tool for live streaming.

    11. StreamLabs OBS

    StreamlabsOBS streaming platform
    Streamlabs OBS is a top choice for free professional software for live streaming and recording.

    Overview and Company History:

    Streamlabs OBS, also known as “SLOBS,” is another powerful software for live streaming. It has similar functionality to OBS Studio, but it uses a graphical user interface rather than a command-line interface, so it is easier to use. The latest version of Streamlabs OBS is v1.6.1 and is available for download here.

    Basic Functionality:

    Streamlabs offers quite a few features for editing and multicasting live streams. It is the chosen broadcasting software for many professional streamers. One of the most unique aspects of this software is their web-based live streaming studio called MelonApp. The app allows you to broadcast to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Twitch with 1 click, and without leaving your browser.

    Key Features

    The Streamlabs website doesn’t indicate any limitations on operating system compatibility. However, the platform is suitable for streaming to Twitch, Facebook, Mixer, and YouTube.

    Detailed Features:

    • Multistreaming to many popular platforms
    • Highlighter free video editing tools
    • Layout editor with drag and drop
    • Selective recording of streamed content
    • Replay buffer to replay clips for your viewers
    • Dynamic in-game overlay for single monitors
    • Streamlabs Deck with a live stream remote control app
    • Secure streaming

    Pros:

    • Easy for beginners
    • Tools for designing stream layout
    • Selective recording
    • Gaming overlays
    • Tools for tipping and donations

    Cons:

    • No scoreboards
    • Limitations on graphic overlays
    • Some features are clunky

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: N/A
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p
    • Aspect ratio: N/A
    • Max file size: 300MB
    • Max video length: 4 or 10 hours (depends on plan)
    • Total file storage: 30 days recording storage
    • Compatible video formats: N/A

    Pricing:

    The Streamlabs app is free to download, but users must pay for “Prime” for full access to all of the features. Prices for prime are not listed on the website.

    Streamlabs is a great tool for businesses or individuals that are focused on streaming live content to social media platforms. They offer personalized stream overlays and integrate with a range of apps that can provide you access to improved analytics, viewer interaction tools, and more automation tools.

    12. Cincopa

    cincopa live streaming platformCincopa is a live streaming platform that is most commonly known for multimedia hosting. Source: cincopa.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Cincopa is a multimedia hosting platform that large organizations use to store their content. In addition to media hosting, Cincopa offers all of the tools that broadcasters need to host high-quality live streams.

    Cincopa offers plans for different budgets. The range of pricing offerings paired with the flexible functionality of this platform makes it a great tool for many different kinds of broadcasters.

    Basic Functionality:

    Cincopa’s primary purpose is hosting different types of media files, including video, audio, and images. However, this platform also supports live streaming. 

    Key Features

    Cincopa provides all of the features that broadcasters need for a professional streaming experience, including video monetization, stream recording, OTT streaming, powerful content delivery, and more.

    Another perk of this live streaming platform is that it supports integrations for a customizable streaming experience.

    Detailed Features:

    • Multimedia video hosting
    • Live streaming support 
    • Powerful video player
    • Video monetization
    • Integrations for customization
    • OTT streaming
    • Reliable CDN partnerships
    • Secure streaming

    Pros:

    • High-quality streaming
    • Professional streaming experience
    • Wide range of useful tools
    • Customizable streaming
    • Reliable customer support 

    Cons:

    • Live streaming is a secondary offering
    • Some complaints of media storage limits

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 144p
    • Maximum dimension: 4K
    • Aspect ratio: 4:3, 16:9
    • Max file size: 1, 2, 20GB (depending on the plan)
    • Max video length: not available
    • Total file storage: 5 videos, 40 videos, unlimited videos (depending on the plan)
    • Compatible video formats: AVI, MOV, WMV, MP4, M4A, F4A,  F4B, F4V, F4P, M2TS, MTS, VOB, MKV, RMVB, M1V, QT, DIV, DIVX, DV, 3GP, 3GPP, 3G2, MPG, MPEG, MPE, FLV

    Pricing:

    Cincopa offers three different pricing plans, including:

    • Plus: $25/month; includes marketing tools (CTAs, email integrations, etc.)
    • Corporate: $99/month; advanced broadcasting tools
    • Agency/Enterprise: $350/month; advanced broadcasting tools with more flexibility 

    Please check out Cincopa’s pricing page for a further breakdown of storage and capabilities that come with each plan.

    Cincopa is an image and podcast hosting video platform that also supports live streaming. If you need all three of those services in one place, they may be the right streaming platform for your business.

    13. Restream

    restream multistreaming platform
    Restream specializes in multistreaming, but its Studio solution hosts live streams. Source: restream.io

    Overview and Company History:

    Restream is a live streaming platform that specializes in multistreaming but offers some other streaming products. Restream Studio is their offering that supports in-browser live streaming.

    Restream studio offers live streaming capabilities that are designed to increase brand exposure to increase sales.

    Basic Functionality:

    Restream is an in-browser streaming platform that is most popular among the gaming, tech, government, sports, media, and music industries.

    Key Features:

    Restream is primarily a multistreaming platform, but it offers support for collaborative in-browser streaming alternatives.

    Detailed Features:

    • In-browser streaming
    • Multistreaming capabilities 
    • Features for boosting engagement
    • Peer-to-peer streaming support
    • Tools for audience interaction
    • Brand customization
    • Scheduled events

    Pros:

    • Easy to use
    • Tools for collaboration
    • On-brand streaming
    • Tools for audience engagement 

    Cons:

    • Not a dedicated live streaming platform
    • In-browser streaming is secondary to live stream hosting

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Recommended dimension: 1920×1080
    • Aspect ratio: Unavailable
    • Max file size: 2GB (for pre-recorded streams)
    • Max video length: 1-4 hours (depends on plan)
    • Total file storage: 10 videos
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MKV, M4V, MOV

    Pricing:

    Restream has several pricing plans for both individuals and businesses. These include the following plans:

    Individuals:

    • Free: $0/months (for individuals)
    • Standard: $19/month (for individuals)
    • Professional: $49/month (for individuals)

    Companies:

    • Premium: $99/month (for businesses)
    • Business: $299/month (for businesses)

    These prices reflect monthly rates when paid monthly, and offer discounts when paid for a full year in advance.

    Restream touts that with one live stream you can reach 30+ destinations all at once. However, their free plan only allows you to multistream to 2 channels, their standard plan allows for multistreaming to 5 channels, and the professional plan allows for streaming to 8 channels. If you need to stream to more locations than that, you need a company plan.

    14. Wowza

    cloud streaming platform wowza
    Wowza’s cloud streaming platform features a live streaming engine for business-critical applications. Source: Wowza.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Founded in 2005 by David Stubenvoll and Charlie Good, Wowza is a bootstrapped start-up, with live and on-demand live streaming capabilities to phones, tablets, consoles, focusing on greater accessibility, further flexibility, and the best cost-effectiveness.

    Basic Functionality:

    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.

    Key Features:

    Wowza live streaming platform’s core capabilities help developers, event producers, and technical entrepreneurs deliver live streams to their viewers/customers through third-party integration, captioning, API, and more.

    Detailed Features:

    • Cloud management portal
    • Up to 4K streaming
    • Wide range of security options
    • APIs available
    • Live stream recording

    Pros:

    • Audience Engagement
    • Performance Monitoring
    • Robust security
    • Mobile Screen Support
    • Video Streaming
    • Video Looping
    • China video delivery

    Cons:

    • No Multistreaming
    • No Session Recording
    • No Video Monetization Tools
    • No Multiple Camera Feeds
    • No Audience Analytics
    • No Event Scheduling

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 240p (320 x 240)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: Not available
    • Max video length: Not available
    • Total file storage: 250 GB (depends on the plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, FLV, MP3, SMIL, AMLST, ID3, NGRP

    Pricing:

    Wowza recently overhauled its pricing plans and added several options. These are split into 2 main tiers: Streaming Cloud and Streaming Engine.

    Wowza Streaming Cloud:

    Wowza Streaming Cloud offers 3 distinct pricing plans and services.

    Live Event Pricing, monthly plans include:

    • Pay As You Go: $29/month, with a 3-month minimum; flexible streaming with low startup costs
    • Basic: $99/month; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
    • One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours also at 720p
    • Plus: $499/month; includes 150 hours of live streaming and 7000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p

    All of these Live Event plans include full brand control, adaptive-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming.

    Wowza Streaming Engine:

    The Wowza Streaming Engine has its own pricing plans. These professional-grade streaming plans are billed annually and include:

    • Basic: $175/month + $195/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
    • One Month Event: $295/month + $295month for each additional instance and $95/month for each additional prepaid instance
    • Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions

    Wowza is a video streaming platform that has streaming plans that work for both individuals and businesses. If you need a live streaming portal with plans that will grow with your business, Wowza may be right for you.

    15. Panopto

    live streaming platform panopto
    Panopto’s live streaming platform is a reliable solution for managing, streaming, and recording videos for any organization. Source: Panopto.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Founded in 2007 in Pittsburg at Carnegie Mellon University as a tech project, Panopto is a video company whose focus is on businesses and universities. This platform enables streaming, sharing, recording, and managing video content. With more than 100 employees in 6 offices around the world, Panopto serves an audience of over 5 million end-users in the e-learning space.

    Basic Functionality:

    With a primary focus on internal use for online education, 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.

    Key Features:

    With Panopto, users have a single mobile-ready solution for video management, recording, live streaming, video search, quizzing, and analytics. Their video content management (CMS) system allows for the centralization of video streams, playlists, and playback.

    Detailed Features:

    • Lecture-capture and video-search software
    • Analytics
    • Access control & security features
    • White-label streaming
    • Integration with LMS systems; APIs for further integrations.

    Pros:

    • Audio Content
    • Document Indexing
    • Full-Text Search
    • Video Content
    • Asset Categorization
    • Customizable Branding
    • China video hosting

    Cons:

    • No customizable templates
    • No image editor
    • No SEO management
    • No version control

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Compatible video formats: AVI, MP4, MPG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GP, WMA, MP3, M4V
    • All other upload guidelines and specs are only available to paying customers. 

    Pricing:

    Panopto recently simplified its pricing packages and includes the following three options:

    • Basic: Free
    • Pro: $14.99/month
    • Enterprise: Please contact Panopto for custom pricing.

    After establishing a contract, you have access to unlimited streaming and storage. However, this aspect may represent a potential downside for some streamers as Panopto does not handle any external-facing video content.

    Panopto understands the needs of educational institutions, making it a great choice streaming platform for educational institutions.

    Top Social Video Streaming Platforms

    As we mentioned, free B2C streaming platforms like YouTube and Facebook are not ideal for video hosting on a professional level. Live streaming social media platforms tend to have limited features and functionality compared to the professional live video streaming services mentioned above.

    Despite its limited functionality, social media live streaming platforms are useful for teasing content and building a loyal following for your brand. Doing a live stream on social media is also free, which makes it appealing for those who are unsure about professional broadcasting.

    Let’s take a look at a few of the top social media video streaming platforms.

    16. YouTube Live

    YouTube Live streaming platform
    YouTube is one of the most popular video platforms. Source: youtube.com

    Overview and Company History:

    YouTube was one of the first social broadcasting sites to make online video streaming popular, and it has grown exponentially in the past decade. This Google-owned website is designed for consumers, but many businesses use it while they are getting into broadcasting.

    YouTube is not the best platform for live video streaming hosting since the site has strict limitations on monetization and other professional tools. Additionally, YouTube requires that broadcasters give up partial ownership of their content when they upload it to the platform. It is a live stream service that your business can use, but it has major limitations. 

    Basic Functionality:

    Youtube Live is a free B2C video streaming platform designed for users with little to no prior broadcasting experience.

    Key Features:

    YouTube is primarily a consumer-grade video sharing platform. It supports both VOD and live streaming, but the most popular content on the platform is on-demand videos.

    Detailed Features:

    • Ad-based monetization is limited to users with large followings and watch times
    • No notable security features
    • Popular among consumers
    • Powered by Google
    • Easy to share videos
    • Videos can be embedded in other websites
    • No white-label capabilities

    Pros:

    • Free to use
    • YouTube is a household name, so viewers are comfortable using it
    • Easy to use (for both viewers and broadcasters)
    • Easy to embed video player
    • Live and VOD hosting

    Cons:

    • Cannot remove YouTube’s branding
    • Limitations on live streaming
    • Strict restrictions on content. For example, if there’s a popular song playing in the background, your video can be abruptly taken down for copyright reasons.
    • YouTube owns partial rights to your content. For example, if you rely on in-video sponsorships, you may be forced to start giving a cut of your revenue to Youtube in the future.
    • Distracting third party ads and branding
    • YouTube will suggest the videos of competitors off to the side, which can drive away potential fans

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (adds padding to videos with other aspect ratios)
    • Max file size: 128 GB
    • Max video length: 12 hours
    • Total file storage: No storage limit
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, FLV, AVI, Web M, WMV, MPEG-PS, 3GPP

    YouTube is a free live streaming platform, that free tag comes with a cost, as you don’t have the complete control over your content that a professional-grade live streaming platform can offer your business.

    17. Dailymotion

    live video streaming platform dailymotion
    Dailymotion is often referred to as “the French YouTube.” Source: DailyMotion

    Overview and Company History:

    Dailymotion is a video streaming platform that calls itself a place where you can discover content you love from around the world, live or on-demand, and where video-makers are free to share their world and connect with a passionate audience. One thing that many broadcasters like about Dailymotion is that it allows just about any content whereas YouTube is quite strict.

    The purpose of Dailymotion is essentially the same as YouTube. It is a basic platform for new broadcasters to upload and host video content. Since this site is free, it is pretty “bare bones” in terms of professional broadcasting tools.

    Basic Functionality:

    The growing popularity of Dailymotion and the greater freedom of expression makes this video streaming platform a great choice for many broadcasters.

    Key Features:

    DailyMotion is a basic video sharing platform that is primarily used by consumers and independent content creators. It includes tools for easy video sharing.

    Detailed Features:

    • Basic video sharing platform
    • Based in France
    • Small creator’s fund
    • Copyright protection tools
    • Minimal content limitations

    Pros:

    • Very few content restrictions
    • Growing in popularity around the world

    Cons:

    • Not as popular as YouTube
    • No significant monetization tools (other than a slim “creator fund’)
    • Limited video analytics

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (adds padding to videos with other aspect ratios)
    • Max file size: 128GB
    • Max video length: 12 hours
    • Total file storage: Unlimited
    • Compatible video formats: MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV,  MPEG-PS, FLV, 3GPP, WebM

    If you want a free live streaming platform that isn’t YouTube, DailyMotion is the next logical choice. DailyMotion has less restrictions on what content can be shared on its platform.

    18. Facebook Live 

    Facebook Live Streaming Platform
    Facebook is a social media platform that businesses use to reach consumers with video. Source: facebook.com

    Overview and Company History:

    When it comes to video hosting, Facebook offers both “Live” and “Watch” which allows businesses and organizations to host on-demand content or broadcast live content. 

    Live streams can be hosted on personal profiles, pages, and groups, but on-demand “Facebook Watch” videos can only be published by Facebook Pages.

    Facebook is commonly used by businesses and organizations that are just dipping their toes in the world of live broadcasting. Since it is a free platform, Facebook poses many challenges related to video ownership, time limits on videos, monetization, and more.

    Aside from those few technical restrictions, live streaming with Facebook Live is valuable for connecting with existing audiences. 

    Basic Functionality:

    It is common for broadcasters who use premium streaming solutions to connect their accounts to multicast to both Facebook and their websites. This allows users to tap into their existing Facebook audiences while accessing the professional tools of a video hosting solution.

    Key Features:

    Facebook is a social media platform with tools for uploading and sharing videos to online communities.

    Detailed Features:

    Pros:

    • The app is free
    • Viewers are familiar with the platform
    • Live chat promotes engagement
    • Taps into existing following

    Cons:

    • No monetization options
    • Time limits on live videos
    • Cannot remove Facebook’s branding

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280×720) 
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920×1080)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 9:16, 2:3, 4:5, 1:1
    • Max file size: 4 GB
    • Max video length: 90 minutes
    • Total file storage: No storage limit
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, AVI, 3GPP, WMV, FLV, MKV

    Facebook Live works best when integrated with a professional live streaming platform that allows for simultaneous casting to multiple sites. It can allow you to connect to your already-developed Facebook audience. 

    19. Instagram

    Instagram Streaming Platform
    Instagram is an app for sharing photos and videos. Source: instagram.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Instagram is a popular social media app that includes a variety of video-sharing features. This app is not suitable for video hosting, but it is a great option for video sharing. 

    Basic Functionality:

    Both consumers and businesses upload small shareable clips to the platform to share with followers. Businesses often use this tool to tease the content on their site or app. They add CTAs that lead users to their websites with products or longer videos. Instagram is popular for eCommerce businesses and offers sellers the ability to include shoppable and product links in their stories, reels, and live broadcasts.

    Key Features:

    Instagram is a social media platform for sharing pictures and videos. It is more of a social network than a live streaming platform.

    Detailed Features:

    • Live streaming on stories
    • Video and photo sharing
    • Direct messaging tools (which can be used to share posts and interact)
    • Minimal privacy controls
    • Some business tools

    Pros:

    • Free to download and use
    • Popular among most age groups
    • Easy to navigate
    • Uploading and sharing is almost instantaneous
    • Some business tools
    • Live shopping

    Cons:

    • No monetization features
    • Limited privacy tools
    • Minimal professional features
    • You can be temporarily blocked from live streaming if you mistakenly violate Community guidelines
    • Stream can be taken down abruptly if the platform hears popular music in the background

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 864 x 1080 (recommended)
    • Maximum dimension: 864 x 1080 (recommended)
    • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 4:5
    • Max file size: 15 MB
    • Max video length: Depends on which feature you use
    • Total file storage: Unlimited
    • Compatible video formats: MP4

    Instagram is great for video sharing; however, you are going to want to back that up with a professional live streaming service.

    20. TikTok

    Tiktok Live Streaming Platform
    TikTok is very popular with Gen Z users. Source: tiktok.com

    Overview and Company History:

    TikTok is a live video streaming app that is still relatively new to the scene and its algorithm is geared towards growth. That means that it’s relatively easy to go viral and build a following on this app, even if it’s by mistake.

    TikTok is a social media platform through and through, but when used strategically, businesses can use it to lead viewers to their websites for their intended conversion.

    Basic Functionality:

    Please note that the majority of TikTok users are Gen Zers, which means that most viewers on the platform are around the age of 25 and younger. This option is best suited for businesses with an audience in that age group.

    Key Features:

    TikTok has some live streaming tools, but the platform is primarily used for sharing short video clips.

    Detailed Features:

    • Highly controlled live streaming tools
    • 15-180 second video sharing
    • “Dueting” tool which allows users to use parts of existing videos for their own
    • “For You Page” that generates content based on viewers’ interests
    • Very young users

    Pros:

    • Free to download and use
    • The algorithm makes it easy to go viral
    • Suitable for quick growth
    • Generates a “For You Page” based on viewer behavior
    • Because they limit who can go live, when you do get 1000+ followers, you’re able to stand out with live videos

    Cons:

    • Extremely limited monetization options
    • A 180-second video length limit
    • Cannot remove TikTok branding
    • Ongoing issues with data privacy
    • Not everyone can go live. You need 1,000+ followers.

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 1080 x 1920
    • Maximum dimension: 1080 x 1920
    • Aspect ratio: 9:16
    • Max file size: 287.6 MB  on iOS and 72 MB on Android
    • Max video length: 3 minutes
    • Total file storage: No storage limit
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV

    TikTok supports 15 seconds, 60 seconds, or 3 minute videos. This isn’t long enough for a live stream event, but can be a way to connect and grow your audience with short soundbites.

    21. Twitch

    Twitch Streaming Platform
    Twitch is a popular video platform for streaming content geared towards video games and special interests. Source: twitch.com

    Overview and Company History:

    Twitch is a live streaming app that doubles as a social media platform. It was founded 9 years ago as Justin.tv. Justin.tv no longer exists, and they spun off the original platform and sold it to Amazon.

    Viewers can subscribe to their favorite streamers so that they are alerted when they go live.

    Basic Functionality:

    Twitch.tv is a consumer-grade platform for independent streamers, and it is especially popular among Esport (video game) streamers.

    This site is pretty niche, but it is a great platform if you are trying to reach an audience in the gaming, fantasy, or tech industry.

    Key Features:

    Twitch is a social network that is primarily meant for Esport live streaming.

    Detailed Features:

    • Viewers can “Tip” streamers
    • Primarily used by streamers who broadcast gaming and special interests/hobbies
    • Tools for an audience to chat with streamers and each other in real-time

    Pros:

    • Affordable
    • Relatively easy for beginners to use 
    • Tools for engagement and community interaction
    • Robust chatting features
    • Several monetization options

    Cons:

    • Not designed for professional use
    • It May require some encoding tools
    • Limited monetization tools
    • Strict community guidelines
    • Several monetization options, but you need to qualify first by becoming a Twitch Partner or Affiliate.

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
    • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: Not available
    • Max video length: 48 hours
    • Total file storage: Not available
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, AVI, FLV

    Pricing:

    Twitch does not charge content providers to use their platform, but they allow them to make money off of their users. This program is called Twitch Subscriptions, and it includes 3 tiers:

    • Tier 1 subscription – $4.99/month
    • Tier 2 subscription – $9.99/month
    • Tier 3 subscription – $24.99/month

    If you run a gaming business, Twitch is a great live streaming platform. You can also connect a professional video streaming service to Twitch for greater functionality and control over your stream.

    22. LinkedIn Live

    Linkedin Live streaming platform
    LinkedIn Live is revolutionizing online networking. Source: linkedin.com

    Overview and Company History:

    LinkedIn is a popular social media platform that was designed for professionals to network and gain connections. Since the start of the pandemic, people have had to get creative with how they build their “Rolodex,” and LinkedIn has come in handy.

    LinkedIn recently rolled out LinkedIn Live, a premier business offering that helps brands connect with professionals through live-streamed content. LinkedIn Live requires the support of a custom RTMP streaming setup (self-hosted) or the support of a third-party streaming platform (like Dacast and the other tools we’ve mentioned above).

    The value of streaming to LinkedIn live is that it is possible to target a very specific audience, professionals in your industry. However, this could also be a negative for some broadcasters if they are looking to go beyond this specific audience. 

    Basic Functionality:

    LinkedIn is primarily a social media platform, and LinkedIn Live is a newly added feature for enhanced engagement. 

    Key Features:

    LinkedIn Live is a regulated platform that allows brands to connect with professionals in their industry. 

    Detailed Features:

    • Social media streaming to a professional audience
    • Quality-control and exclusivity 
    • Designed to boost engagement
    • Integrated with LinkedIn Events for virtual event hosting

    Pros:

    • Free to use
    • Very specific audience 
    • Helps build brand awareness
    • Boosts engagement among an audience

    Cons:

    • Users must apply for access
    • Requires third party support
    • Highly regulated 
    • Offers no ability to monetize your content

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Video guidelines and specs depend on the third-party app that you use for support

    Pricing:

    LinkedIn Live is free to use as long as LinkedIn accepts your application.

    To stream on LinkedIn Live, you are going to want the support of a professional live streaming platform.

    How to Create a User-Facing Live Streaming Platform

    All of the professional-grade streaming platforms we covered above are great options for hosting and managing your video content, but you will need to create a user-facing platform where viewers can access your videos and streams.

    Depending on which top live streaming platform you choose, you will either be able to customize a video gallery through that platform or you’ll have to build a custom site to embed your video player.

    Dacast, for example, offers an Expo Video Portal where broadcasters can organize their content by playlists for viewers to access. This portal can be easily customized to reflect your branding and best suit your audience.

    As you create your live streaming platform, you’ll need to work out details regarding pricing, monetization structures, and more. 

    For more information, please check out our dedicated guide to building a live streaming website in 6 easy steps.

    Live Streaming to Multiple Websites

    When there are so many platforms to choose from, it might be tough to single out any. If you’re struggling to make a decision, consider multistreaming to multiple platforms at once.

    Even if you’ve decided on one platform, you can still find it beneficial to stream on multiple streaming platforms. For example, maybe you want the professional features of Dacast while leveraging the wide reach and built-in audience that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch offer. If that’s the case, no worries, it’s quite simple to stream with Dacast, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube at the same time.

    Many platforms either natively offer the ability to stream to multiple websites, or they integrate with a service that allows you to stream to multiple websites at once. That way, you can reach more people while giving your audience the flexibility to watch on whatever platform they prefer.

    In practice, it’s quite easy. You’ll only need one setup, meaning you won’t need multiple cameras or anything. Depending on the platform, you may have to copy and paste a few pieces of information into various locations, but each platform generally has easy-to-follow instructions.

    Common Integrations to Look For

    Sometimes you may like what one specific platform has to offer, but they seem to be missing a key feature or two. If that’s the case, there’s a chance they offer common integrations. Some common integrations for live streaming platforms include:

    • Software that allows you to stream to multiple platforms at once
    • Software that allows you to include a chatbox in your video streams
    • Marketing tools like email marketing software, customer relationship management software, and analytics

    Multistreaming

    If you find value in streaming to multiple platforms at the same time, you’ll be happy to know that most platforms integrate with software that allows you to do so. For example, although Dacast does natively offer the ability to multistream, you can also integrate your Dacast account with Switchboard Live to make it even easier for you to do so.

    Be sure to double-check the platforms that each multistream software is capable of streaming to. For example, one software may support streaming to Instagram, whereas another might not.

    Chatbox

    Many live streaming platforms don’t natively offer the ability to live chat during a broadcast because you can easily find tools for that. It’s generally quite simple to integrate with a tool like RumbleTalk if you want a platform that supports 2-way communication or want to give your audience the ability to ask questions.

    Some chat platforms even allow you to manage the chat for multiple streaming platforms all from a centralized place.

    Marketing Tools

    A popular use case for live streaming is marketing. Because of this, a lot of top platforms, like Dacast, natively support many marketing capabilities. However, if you find that a live streaming platform you’re interested in doesn’t, there’s a chance they support integration with marketing software for email marketing, relationship management, and lead generation.

    For effective marketing, it helps to know more about your audience— specifically where they’re tuning in from, what devices they’re using, their age, and so on. One of the top platforms for analytics is Google Analytics, so it’s a good idea to see if your preferred platform integrates with it.

    So, What is the Top Streaming Service?

    As we’ve discussed, there are a lot of live video streaming services on the market. As a result, it can be challenging for us to choose which is the best live streaming platform for you. It entirely depends on the goals of your specific business because all streaming platforms have their positives and negatives.

    Ideally, you narrow this list down to a top 3 and evaluate them based on your specific broadcasting goals.

    If you’re stuck, consider asking yourself the following questions:

    • Is video going to be a big part of my business now and into the future? If you plan for video to be a big part of your business, you want a platform that can easily scale and support an increasing number of viewers.
    • How do I plan to monetize my business and videos? Not all platforms support ad-based revenue and subscriptions. Some platforms offer more tools for e-commerce businesses, while some cater to those who plan to monetize by using a paywall.
    • What type of content will I live stream? For example, if you plan to use live streaming for internal business purposes like new hire orientation, you’ll certainly need to prioritize different features than if you were planning to stream video games.
    • Who is my ideal audience? Many organizations block common consumer platforms like Facebook and YouTube to maximize workforce productivity. If you have a B2B business and your audience works in an office setting, this is definitely something you should consider.
    • How strongly do I feel about video piracy? It’s sadly too common that people download videos off the internet and leverage them for their own gain. In the same way you rarely know who created the most popular memes, you need to consider that this commonly happens for business videos too. If this is something you’re concerned about, features like watermarking or DRM are a must.
    • Am I in a regulated industry? Data privacy and security should always be a consideration—even more so if you’re in an industry like healthcare or finance. Professional platforms almost always provide more security features than free platforms. And even among the professional ones, some have more robust offerings than others. Look for features like AES video encryption, secure video upload, tokenized security, and password-protection.

    Am I technical or do I have anyone in my team who is technical? If you run into technical problems, do you know how to troubleshoot your live stream? Some platforms offer around-the-clock technical support whereas other platforms, such as YouTube, offer little to no live support.

    Conclusion

    We hope this article has helped you to get a better idea of the streaming platforms available and what you should be looking for as you compare each one. Most importantly, we hope you’ve had success in narrowing down your live streaming service provider.

    Still not sure which streaming service to choose? We highly recommend taking advantage of free trials for the best live stream platforms. 

    On that note, why not start today with the Dacast 14-day free trial? Sign up today to begin streaming live in a matter of minutes. No credit card is required.

    Get Started For Free

    So which platforms have you used before and what did you like most about them? Let us know in the comments section below. For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, join our LinkedIn group.

    author avatar

    Max Wilbert

    Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

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