Top 10 OTT Platforms for Over-The-Top Video Streaming [2021 Update]

OTT platforms

In the past few years, the number of people turning to the internet for the news, entertainment, education, and more has skyrocketed. Over-the-top (OTT) video consumption is consistently rising, with predictions that the online streaming market will be worth $124.6 billion by the year 2025. Businesses are hopping on this trend to build brand awareness and provide value to their audience.

However, many are seizing this opportunity to monetize their video content and build OTT streaming services of their own.

Today, we’re going to discuss what exactly OTT streaming is before we compare 10 of the top OTT platforms that broadcasters use to host, manage, and monetize their online video libraries. We’ll cover Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, JW Player, Vimeo OTT, Wowza, and more.

Please note that this post has been updated to reflect the latest information on the top 10 OTT platforms as of January 2021.

Table of Contents: 

  • What is an OTT Video Platform?
  • Features to Look for in on OTT Platform
  • Comparison of the 10 Best OTT Platforms for Over-the-Top Video Streaming
  • Conclusion

What is an OTT Video Platform?

OTT streaming platforms
An over-the-top (OTT) platform helps broadcasters bring their content to viewers via the Internet.

OTT is short for “over-the-top,” which refers to a method of media distribution that serves as an alternative to traditional satellite or cable television. We are entering a future in which most media is delivered and consumed via the internet. OTT technology is distributing more and more media each day. In fact, some industry leaders advocate that we stop differentiating between OTT and broadcast TV entirely. 

The OTT media service industry is growing at an outrageous rate. Within only a decade, we’ve seen a massive shift in how people are consuming entertainment. It all hinges on OTT video and delivering content online. In order to keep up with current trends in the OTT video industry, it is a good idea to invest in a professional OTT platform. OTT platforms—also known as video streaming platforms or online video platforms (OVPs)—allow you to host, manage, and stream live video efficiently.

OTT platforms typically allow you to use the “infrastructure as a service” model, which keeps your costs low and ensures maximum efficiency.

Features to Look for in on OTT Platform

There are a few different features to pay attention to in an OTT platform, including content delivery, live streaming features, VOD hosting capabilities, video monetization, video API, reliable security tools, and white-label streaming. Content delivery is an important aspect to consider as it contributes to what audience you can deliver content to in the highest quality. You’ll want to choose an OTT platform that works with a reliable, global content delivery network (CDN).

Whether your business’s OTT platform includes live streaming functions, on-demand video hosting, or both should also have a heavy impact on your ultimate decisions. If your goal is to live stream, you’ll need to select an OTT video hosting platform that supports live streaming. Next on our key features list is API access. Video API provides programmatic access to video platform functionality. Broadcasters use video APIs in many different ways. You should choose a platform that has the video API that you need to customize your video content management system (CMS) to your liking.

Player API access is another valuable tool. This works similarly to video API, but it involves customizing the video player vs. the video CMS.

Monetization is another major feature of broadcasters. There are three main ways to monetize content: ads (AVOD), pay-per-view (TVOD), and subscriptions (SVOD). One-time events like sports are perfect for pay-per-view monetization, and subscriptions are perfect for recurring content. Ads are a great option for content that is designed to build brand awareness.

Lastly, live streaming pricing should come into play. Your budget should be determined not only by your available resources but your intended return on investment. There are OTT platforms with a wide range of price points, but you want to look for one with consistent pricing and low bandwidth costs, as opposed to a pay-as-you-go model. 

Comparison of the 10 Best OTT Platforms for Over-the-Top Video Streaming

comparison of the best OTT video platforms
Comparing OTT video providers is essential to help you choose the right video platform for your business.

Before we take a look at some of the best OTT platforms available to professional broadcasters, it is important to note that different features are required to reach different broadcasting goals.

For example, if you are building a live streaming software service to generate revenue, monetization tools are a must. However, if you’re using your OTT platform to host and deliver internal content, monetization tools aren’t a deal-breaker. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 of the best OTT platforms for video streaming.

1. Dacast

Dacast OTT platform for live streaming
Many professional broadcasters turn to Dacast as their OTT platform of choice since it offers both live streaming and VOD hosting.

Dacast is a unified streaming platform that offers both live streaming and VOD hosting. It comes with a widespread of powerful features that are well suited for professional broadcasters This platform is secure and easy to use to distribute video content to viewers around the world.

Key Features

Pros

Cons

  • A large range of features require a bit of an initial 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

Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans begin with the Starter Plan, and include the following:

  • Starter Plan: $39/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 50 GB of storage)
  • Event Plan: $63/month (includes 6 TB of bandwidth upfront and 50 GB of storage)
  • Scale Plan: $188/month (includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year and 1 TB of storage)

However, Event and Scale users can also purchase custom plans for greater bandwidth needs.

2. IBM Cloud Video

ibm cloud video OTT platform
IBM Cloud Video’s biggest setback is its lack of monetization features.

IBM Cloud Video is another competitor worth mentioning in our OTT platforms comparison. This platform is part of IBM, which is a huge leader in the technological world. IBM Cloud Video offers video hosting for both live and on-demand content. One previous setback of IBM Cloud Video was that the platform did not offer any monetization options. However, they have added these tools, making it an acceptable solution for broadcasters who aim to generate revenue with their content.

Key Features

  • Powerful video analytics
  • Tools for boosting user engagement (including polling)
  • Auto-archiving 
  • Powerful content delivery 
  • Tools for video monetization

Pros

  • Tools suited for business use
  • Customer support
  • Hong Kong video hosting

Cons

  • Extra fees for streaming at high resolution 
  • Limited tools for accessibility (minimal 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 as well as payment plans.

3. JW Player Live

JWplayer OTT video streaming
JW player is a veteran in the video streaming game.

JW Player is most well-known for its popular video player. The code for this video player was used as part of the first YouTube video player code. However, they recently launched a live streaming service as well.  JW Player includes a full suite of powerful tools, including an HTML5 video player with support with the latest technologies such as the MPEG-DASH protocol, multi-bitrate streaming, simulcast to Facebook Live, DRM, and more.

Key Features

  • Global content delivery
  • Video API access with all plans
  • Ad-based monetization
  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Some technical support available 

Pros

  • High-quality video player
  • Clean user-interface 

Cons

  • Limited monetization options (Only supports AVOD)
  • Limited tech support
  • No China delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs

  • Minimum dimension: 360p (640 x 360)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • 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

With JW Player, live streaming support begins at a free trial level. There are 3 pricing plan tiers:

  • 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.

4. Vimeo Livestream

vimeo OTT platform
Vimeo has a variety of hosting solutions for different OTT video streaming needs.

After many years as a streaming service, Livestream was acquired by Vimeo in late 2017. Today, both businesses operate streaming services under Vimeo’s name.  Vimeo has integrated an OTT solution into its services. Let’s take a closer look at Vimeo’s OTT services.

Key Features

  • Simulcasting/multi-casting support
  • Viewer engagement tools (polling and chat options)
  • Powerful security tools
  • Custom video gallery pages
  • In-house content delivery
  • White-label video player

Pros

  • Global content delivery
  • Customization for on-brand streaming
  • Tools for promoting interaction and engagement

Cons

  • Support required to access some features

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:

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

5. Wowza

wowza ott live streaming platform
Wowza is more than an OTT video platform. They offer streaming-related hardware, as well.

Wowza is another fully-capable OTT platform geared towards professional broadcasting. Wowza allows broadcasters to build highly customized streaming workflows using third-party integrations, APIs, and other advanced features. The major downfall of this platform is that it does not support video monetization, which makes it suitable for internal business use but makes it an ineligible candidate for streaming as a service.

Key Features

  • Cloud transcoding
  • Support for live streaming and VOD
  • White-label video player
  • All-device streaming with an HTML5 video player
  • API access available
  • Reliable customer support

Pros

  • Brand customization tools
  • Auto-archiving
  • Powerful video CMS
  • Ultra HD streaming (4K)
  • Wide range of security options

Cons

  • No simulcasting tools
  • No support for video monetization 
  • No reliable video analytics tools

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 their pricing plans and added several options. These are split into 2 main tiers: Streaming Cloud and Streaming Engine. The Wowza Streaming Cloud offers 3 distinct pricing plans and services. Live Event Pricing, monthly plans include:

  • 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, multi-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming. The Wowza Streaming Engine has its own pricing plans. These professional-grade streaming plans are billed annually and include:

  • Basic: $125/month + $145/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
  • One Month Event: $245/month + $155/month 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

6. Kaltura

kaltura business video hosting
Kaltura is a cloud video OTT streaming solution geared towards large institutions.

Kaltura is open-source software that offers a unique streaming platform that focuses on educational institutions. It is perfect for hosting large libraries of content and delivering it with a total branded video player. What makes Kaltura unique is that it is totally customizable thanks to a wide variety of integrations. Kaltura provides cloud-based hosting and streaming services as a base for these customizations, as well. With its open-source foundation, Kaltura is highly customizable and extensible. Companies can build their own integrations and add-ons to meet specific needs.

Key Features

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive video streaming
  • Monetization options (SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD) via integrations
  • Powerful security features
  • Total video and player API access

Pros

  • Completely customizable 
  • Very few limits on features thanks to integrations
  • Well-suited for advanced broadcasters

Cons

  • The “pay-as-you-go” structure often makes it more expensive to use
  • Complicated platform 
  • Not cut out for beginner broadcasters
  • Slow-to-respond tech support

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’s pricing is based on a “pay-as-you-go” model and is very flexible. Please contact their sales team for a custom quote.

7. Vidyard

Vidyard online video platform
Vidyard is a business-focused OTT platform.

Vidyard is a reliable OTT platform that provides special tools for businesses. This video streaming platform is geared towards marketing and sales since its features are designed for turning viewers into customers. The Vidyard platform includes tools to improve audience reach and viewer engagement so broadcasters can use it to generate qualified leads.

Key Features

  • Marketing tools (SEO, lead generation, email capture)
  • Tools that promote viewer engagement
  • Advanced video content management
  • Gold-standard security

Pros

  • Tools for an advanced broadcasting experience
  • Powerful video  analytics
  • Reliable technical support

Cons

  • Inconsistent positive user reviews 
  • No support for China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs

  • Minimum dimension: 360p (480 x 360)
  • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: 5GB to 16GB (depends on the plan)
  • Max video length: 1 hour (live stream)
  • Total file storage: Not available
  • Compatible video formats: WEBM, MP4, MKV, MOV

Pricing

Vidyard pricing plans come in four tiers, split amongst two categories: Individual and Teams. All plans are billed annually:

  • Individual – $300/month
    • Free – $0/month
    • Pro – $15/month
  • Teams
    • Teams – $300/month
    • Business – $1250/month

Check out Vidyard’s pricing plans for more information.

8. Wistia

Wistia OTT Video Streaming
Wistia is another great option for OTT media distribution.

Wistia is a video hosting solution that has been serving the video hosting and media distribution industry for over a decade. It was created by students to serve educational institutions and businesses, primarily. 

Key Features

  • Support for marketing (SEO and engagement stimulators)
  • Top-tier customer service
  • CRM integrations for a streamlined broadcasting experience 

Pros

  • Insightful video analytics
  • Marketing team collaboration is possible thanks to CRM integrations
  • Professional looking video player

Cons

  • Limitations on brand customization
  • No China delivery 

Upload Guidelines and Specs

  • Minimum dimensions: None
  • Maximum dimensions: Maximum of 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Supported aspect ratios: Any
  • Maximum file size: 8 GB
  • Maximum video length: 2 hours
  • Total file storage: Up to 10 videos with the pro plan ($99 per month), $0.25 per month for every extra video
  • Accepted video formats: MP4 (recommended format), .MOV, .AVI, .WMV, .FLV, .MKV, 3GPP

Pricing

Wistia has three pricing plan tiers. 

  • Free: No cost to use; up to 250 subscribers and 3 videos; cannot remove Wistia’s branding from the video player
  • Pro: $99/month; 10 free videos with additional videos for $0.25/each; white-label video player
  • Advanced: custom pricing; 100 free videos with additional videos for $0.25/each; multiple channels, 250+ subscribers

9. SproutVideo

SproutVideo OTT Platform
SproutVideo has been serving the broadcasting community for a decade.

SproutVideo is a Brooklyn-based OTT platform that supports both live streaming and on-demand video hosting.  This platform is designed primarily for business broadcasting since it is equipped with top-tier marketing tools.

Key Features

  • Total API access
  • White-label HTML5 video player
  • Support for both VOD and live stream hosting
  • A full suite of marketing tools 
  • Custom video portals for an on-brand viewing experience

Pros

  • Wide range of pricing options
  • Customizable video player
  • Video analytics

Cons

  • Premium support on expensive plans only
  • Effective security only available with top-tier plans

Upload Guidelines and Specs

  • Minimum dimension: None
  • Maximum dimension: None
  • Supported aspect ratios: Any
  • Maximum file size: Up to 100 GB
  • Maximum video length: Unlimited
  • Total file storage: 500 GB 
  • Accepted video formats: MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, FLV, MKV, 3GPP

Pricing

SproutVideo offers four pricing plans to target different budgets. They include:

  • Seed: $24.99/month
  • Sprout: $59.99/month
  • Tree: $199.99/month
  • Forrest: $499.99/month

Check out SproutVideo’s pricing plans for more information.

10. Brightcove

Brightcove Cloud Video Hosting Platform
Brightcove is a Boston-based OTT platform that is both reliable and capable.

Brightcove is another trusted solution in the OTT hosting space. Its cloud video hosting suite is equipped with everything broadcasters need to be successful in online video hosting. Brightcove is primarily geared towards business use, but its custom packages can be built to include all of the tools that broadcasters need to create a platform for streaming as a service.

Key Features

  • Access to top-tier CDNA for global content delivery 
  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Video API access 
  • Basic tech support
  • Advanced security features
  • Monetization tools

Pros

  • Custom video player landing pages
  • CRM integration available
  • Wide range of professional broadcasting features

Cons

  • High pricing
  • 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

Brightcove offers several pricing plan levels to meet each broadcaster’s unique OTT hosting needs. 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 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.

Conclusion

Top OTT video platforms
Are you ready to choose an OTT platform for your streaming needs?

Watching subscription-based OTT video services was already a daily habit for 60 percent of adults in the US. Given the size of this industry, how fast it is growing, and how important it is to people’s lives, now is a great time to involve yourself in this trend. One of the first steps in getting started is choosing an OTT video platform to host, manage, and monetize your streaming service.

The best way to choose an OTT platform is by taking advantage of free trials. This way, you can test out all of the features and makes sure that the platform is equipped with everything you need to reach your OTT streaming goals.

If you are still deciding between OTT platforms and are interested in giving Dacast a try, we recommend signing up for our 30-day free trial. That way you can test out all of our features for yourself before you commit.

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Lastly, did you find this article helpful, or do you have other comments or feedback? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers! For exclusive offers and regular live streaming tips, you can also join our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading and, as always, good luck with your broadcasts!

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