Educators are increasingly investing in video. For example, 52 percent of universities in a 2016 survey used a video streaming solution. The reasons for this are simple: video is a powerful educational tool. This article will look at the 6 best live streaming video platforms for online learning.
Live streaming in particular is a very useful technology for e-learning. It allows for real-time interaction and a “classroom-like” feel that’s valuable for learning.
In this article, we’ll look in more detail at how educators are using live streaming video platforms and online video in general. Then, we’ll dive into the features that educators need for online video. With these features in mind, we’ll finish off the article by comparing 6 of the top live streaming video platforms.
How educators are using live streaming video platforms to upend learning
The education industry is booming. Globally, the number of students enrolled in higher education has more than doubled since the year 2000. These students are “digital natives” who desire course content in digital formats. More and more students are enrolling in these types of accessible online courses.
More teachers are taking advantage of this proclivity by using video technology to improve learning outcomes. According to one study, video use in education can be “highly effective. 88 percent of universities say that video increases student achievement levels.
These numbers should be no surprise. Video allows students to watch content at home and review lectures whenever they want. Moreover, video allows people catch up on content when they miss a class. Video allows students to learn remotely, from the other side of town or the other side of the world.
Basics of live streaming video platforms
There are many reasons why OTT video is effective and powerful. However, we’re going to shift gears now and look at the live streaming video platforms that make all this possible.
A video platform is typically a web/cloud service that allows you to live stream, upload, manage, and share video content worldwide. These platforms typically provide a range of tools to allow you to configure videos.
This can include things like:
- Renaming and organizing videos into playlists
- Changing privacy settings
- Making certain content available on a website or social media page via embedding
Let’s take a look now at some of the key features that educators need in live streaming video platforms.
Video streaming features that educators need
When it comes to online video, educators have a number of specific needs that differ from other industries. Various educators may need:
Security and privacy settings
Educational videos often need to be restricted to authorized viewers. Security and privacy tools should be integrated into your chosen live streaming video platform. This will allow you to control access to content on your own terms.
Increasingly, online education is being offered as packages of video content sold as-is. Video monetization allows you to easily begin making money from your live streams and video on-demand by selling directly.
Viewers who want to access will enter their payment information directly in the video player window. After their payment is securely processed, they can access the video. Monetization tools allow you to quickly and easily begin making money from your educational videos.
White label refers to video content that doesn’t include branding, except for any branding you choose. This is in contrast to free social video platforms which have very limited functionality. White label video streaming is more professional. On top of this, most free services (YouTube, Facebook, etc) are blocked in educational institutions. Professional live streaming video platforms don’t have this problem.
The final feature that some educators may wish to have is video API access. An API is an Application Programming Interface. This tool allows you to create custom programmatic interactions and integrations. This can ease tasks as diverse as building custom web and mobile apps, and creating online portals. It can also help you integrate video tools into existing web apps such as LMS (Learning Management Systems).
Comparing the 6 best live streaming video platforms for online learning
Next, let’s take a look at 6 of the best live streaming video platforms for online learning.
The first platform we’ll take a look at is our own live streaming video platform. It’s equally suited for small educators and major institutions.
Security features include password protection, IP address and geographic restrictions, tokenized access control, and more. Video monetization via pay-per-view, subscriptions, or advertising is supported on all Pro plans and above. These plans also include access to a RESTful API. Every plan on DaCast is fully white label.
Pricing starts at $19/month for a Starter Plan and $125/month for a Premium plan, both of which include several high-end features offered at competitive rates. Other plans are available for higher volume streaming. DaCast also offers bulk pricing for one-time events at competitive rates.
IBM Cloud Video
IBM Cloud Video incorporates the service formerly known as Ustream. Even though this platform supports good features, it might be complicated to get access to professional features needed for your educational business if your budget is smaller. Security features include password protection, embed restrictions, and private URLs. Video monetization functionality is not included. Full white label branding control starts with the $999/month Platinum plan, and their API is included on custom Media/Enterprise plans.
IBM Cloud Video pricing starts at $99 per month for a Silver Plan, $499 per month for the Gold Plan, and $999 per month for the Platinum Plan. Custom plans are negotiated individually.
The next service well look at is Kaltura. Kaltura is a powerful, large video management platform aimed at large institutions. Some institutions install and host Kaltura on their own servers, while other opt for cloud-based video services.
Kaltura’s security features include DRM, encryption, and access control tools. Video monetization tools are available with a variety of options. The service is also fully white label, and an API is available for programmatic interactions.
Kaltura pricing is not available on their website. Contracts are negotiated on a custom basis, but typically range from $500 to $1000 per month and up.
Next, let’s examine Livestream. Although it was acquired by Vimeo in 2017, Livestream still provides a standalone live streaming platform for now. This platform includes powerful features, but many are only available with very expensive plans.
Their service includes some interesting hardware integrations. Security features, including advanced privacy controls and password protection, are supported only on the $999/mo Enterprise plan and above, as is white-label branding and monetization options. Their API is available on this plan and custom plans priced at even higher levels.
Livestream plans now start at $75/month for the Premium platform (when billed annually, $199 /month billed monthly), as they no longer offer a basic plan at a lower rate. To get access to important features like monetization, security, white label, and branding control, the Enterprise plan is available starting at $999 per month. Custom plans are also available at higher rates on a case-by-case basis.
The next of the live streaming video platforms we’ll take a look at is Muvi. Muvi is a video streaming platform with a wide range of features.
This platform supports video monetization via all three major methods: subscriptions, pay-per-view, and ads. Standard Plans ($399/month) and above includes access to this API. All the plans are white label.
As for pricing, Muvi plans start at $199 per month for the Starter plan. The Standard Plan is $399 per month, and Professional plan is $1499 per month. Additional fees may apply for apps and other features.
Panopto is a video platform specializing in universities and other large institutions. Their video platform includes dedicated software for lecture capture and video search.
The Panopto platform doesn’t include video monetization. Security features include the ability to make content private. You can also integrate with existing authentication systems. All plans are white label, and an API is available.
Panopto pricing is not shared on their website. For educators, pricing depends on full-time equivalent student pricing. Plans are available starting at 500 users.
If you’re still choosing between live streaming platforms, let me remind you that DaCast delivers all streams with the Akamai CDN. This means that you get access to the most powerful network to deliver your live streams on all plan levels and on free trials!
If DaCast sounds like a platform you’d like to try, you can sign up for our 30-day free trial (no credit card required) below. That way, you can test out all of our great features before making a commitment, and we can answer any questions you may have during the process.
Still have questions or comments about our live audio streaming service before giving DaCast a try? Let us know in the comment section below, and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as we can. For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, we also invite you to join our LinkedIn group.
Thanks for reading, and good luck choosing the right live streaming service for your online classes!
By Max Wilbert.