Churches and houses of worship bring people together through the meeting of religion and community. While tradition and word-of-mouth have been popular methods for expanding a church’s reach, modern technologies have created new options for outreach, networking, and content distribution. Over the past decade, live streaming services have brought new potential to church and other religious services. Not surprisingly, the most obvious benefits of live streaming solutions for churches include boosting audience size and reaching new people!
Live broadcasts allows church-goers to “attend” sermons and parish events remotely from around the world. Likewise, locals who are unable to attend in person can “attend” from the comfort of their own homes.
In this article, we’ll review and rank seven of the most popular and affordable live streaming services for churches and other worship centers. We’ll base our comparison on the features of each unique platform. Of course, we hope you’ll consider giving the DaCast platform (or free trial) a go after reading. However, our goal here is to provide you with the information and tools you need to decide which of these live streaming services might best suit your religious or spiritual community.
The Benefits of Live Streaming Services
Broadcasting a church or other religious service offers many benefits, including the ability to:
- Reach members who are sick or injured, too old to make it in person, or have a disability that makes it difficult to travel
- Reach members who are traveling and want to continue to participate in their own faith community
- Extend your reach beyond your local community and help people to connect with one another
- Record your live streams and make them available as video on demand. This is also a great way to lock in the experience of each event forever. It allows people who missed the live event to watch it later on their own time.
Not sure what’s out there in terms of live streaming services for churches and other places of worship? Not to worry–we’ve got you covered! Let’s dive into comparing seven qualified and affordable live streaming services available today, beginning with our own OVP.
Top 7 Live Streaming Services for Religious Services
- Starter Plan: $19/month (includes 100 GB of bandwidth & 20 GB of storage)
- Premium Plan: $125/month* (includes 2,000 GB of bandwidth & 200 GB of storage)
- Enterprise Plan: $289/month (includes 5,000 GB of bandwidth & 500 GB of storage)
For more details, please visit our pricing page.
Features: *All plans include
- Content delivery network (CDN) powered by Akamai
- Live streaming, video on demand (VoD) packages and playlists
- 100% white label (ad-free) with customization tools
- Compatible with social media platforms and mobile devices
- Analytics dashboard
- Live Recording
- 24/7 customer support
Set at a competitive pricepoint, the DaCast streaming platform offers a feature-rich and comprehensive service for small to larger congregations and services. Smaller churches with smaller bandwidth needs will prefer the Starter Plan ($19/month), which includes the same great features as larger churches on the Premium Plan. Note that not all OVPs offer such a starter or basic plan at lower rates.
Additionally, DaCast makes it easy to set up and start streaming, which is helpful for first-time broadcasters. DaCast also offers full video API access and monetization tools. With these features, you can charge viewers through pay-per-view or subscription-based payments to raise money or to cover special event costs.
All DaCast plans include access to Akamai, the largest CDN in the world. With Akamai, your viewers can watch your stream from all over the world by connecting a server closest to them. The Akamai CDN powers some of the largest companies, including Air BnB and Charles Schwab. This top-tier CDN automatically switches servers when one server becomes congested with traffic, meaning that viewer surges won’t compromise your video quality.
- Basic Plan $79/month
- Premium Plan $127/month
After accessing the one-month free trial, all plans include a one time $79 activation fee and unlimited bandwidth (except for 24/7 broadcast ministries).
- Live streaming
- Facebook and Twitter compatible
- Mobile device and Roku compatible
- Moderated Chat
- Map of who’s attending
- Integrated sermon notes
Note that Video-on-demand (VOD), Ultra HD streaming, adaptive bitrate and simulated live service features are available only on the Premium plan.
Streamingchurch.tv promotes many “church-specific” features, including sermon notes and a map of church attendees simulating a live service. The Map feature shows everyone in attendance and also groups them into a moderated chat, where individuals can discuss aspects of the sermon. The Integrated Sermon Notes let you follow along as the sermon takes place, ensuring you don’t miss a moment.
Streamingchurch.tv does offer both live and VoD streaming (only for premium plans) and embedding options to stream live video on your website (similar to DaCast). One significant drawback for some congregations is that Streamingchurch.tv does not stream content over a CDN. This can lead to poor video quality when there is a large congregation of viewers watching your broadcast.
- The first plan is $49/month (includes 250 GB of bandwidth & 100 GB of storage)
- The second plan is $79/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 300 GB of storage)
- Embed on your website
- Phone and email support
- Facebook and Twitter compatible
- Broadcast 24/7
- Mobile compatibility and customizeable phone apps
- Analytics dashboards
Sunday Streams is another option among live streaming services devoted to churches and sermon. Their set of features includes most basic features offered by an online video platform, such as a fully adaptive player and Google Analytics integration to access real time analytics.
Sunday Streams has a good reputation of responding within 24 hours of a customer reaching out for support via email. However, if you want the guarantee of 24/7 customer support, you’ll want to consider other live streaming services. This option does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee, which you can learn more about here.
The greatest strength of Sunday Streams is its simplicity and ability to reach novice broadcasters.
- $15/month for 35 simultaneous viewers per live event and 1.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $35/month for 50 simultaneous viewers per live event and 2.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $59/month for 200 simultaneous viewers per live event and 4.5MB maximum video bitrate
- $15/month Plan:
- 24/7 streaming
- Roku compatible
- Online Bible integration
- Social media integration
- With the $35/month plan you will also get access to:
- 50GB of storage
- Compatible with Roku
- Live site/online campus webpage
- Email support
- $59/month Plan (includes all previous features plus):
- 100 GB of storage
- Social Media direct sharing
- Live Recording
- Phone support
- $199/month Plan (includes all previous features plus):
- unlimited storage
- adaptive live transcoding
- 50 concurrent live viewers (per event)
ChristianWorldMedia offers relatively affordable pricing and a lot of flexibility, making it a good option to consider for smaller churches and congregations. With three different pricing options below $60/month, even small religious communities can afford to stream with this platform. The online Bible integration feature can be very useful as well.
However, you’ll need to verify before committing to this option that low viewer and video quality limits won’t be an issue for your live church events.
Price: TruthCasting tiers its pricing around the number of congregation members, or on the average weekly on-site attendance.
- Churches under 100 members: $25/month
- 101-500 members: $50/month
- 501-1000 members: $75/month
- 1001-2000 members: $100/month
- 2001-3000 members: $200/month
- Over 3,000 members: call for custom pricing
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Embed code to stream live video on your website
- Phone support
- Live recording
- Compatible with all platforms, including iPhones and iPads
TruthCasting offers many features that support live streaming all of your church-related events. As shown above, the pricing stems from how many members you have on-site, rather than the features you need. No matter how many members, as long as you do not exceed your number limit, you have access to all of TruthCasting’s available features.
They do have good quality support and host their services with Amazon’s Web Services. If you have questions about their CDN, check out our live streaming cdn comparison.
- $49/month (Starter plan): 250GB of bandwidth and 100GB of storage
- $79/month (Plus plan, targeted HD broadcasting): 1000GB of bandwidth and 300GB of storage
- Mobile compatibility
- Social network integration
- Live Recording
In reality, MyChurchWebsite is a high-end website design company for churches. They also offer video live streaming services. One of their specialties is offering customizeable mobile apps for your church. Once purchased, you can display these apps in iTunes and Google Play. This is available for an additional $290, and iTunes and Google Play must approve your app.
Like Streamingchurch.tv, MyChurchWebsite does not offer any partnership with a top-tier CDN. It also doesn’t offer 24/7 support. These are important factors to consider, as you’ll have no ability to reach out for support outside of business hours in the case of buffering or other issues.
- Premium Plan: $75 / month (billed annually, $199/month billed month-to-month)
- Enterprise Plan: starting at $999/month, business-focused
- Premium (*no longer offers a Basic plan as of 2018):
- Live embedding
- Live chat with moderation
- Plays on Facebook & Twitter
- Tracking & analytics
- Telephone customer support
- Studio – Live production switcher
- Enterprise (includes basic features plus the following):
- White labeling
- Unlimited channels
- Password protected events
- Embeddable player
- Advertising + monetization
As you may be aware, Livestream is another live streaming service available to churches and other places of worship. Livestream targets those with larger budgets, offering high-end features and customization options for churches that are willing and able to pay. The price point and limited plan options, however, don’t make it ideal for most churches.
First of all, Livestream recently eliminated their Basic Plan offering. This means that if you want to embed your church’s services onto your own website, you’d need to consider the Premium plan. With that plan starting at $199 per month (billed month-to-month), the Livestream platform is likely unaccessible for the average church or religious organization.
Livestream does offer streaming over a CDN, which is important for large-scale broadcasts streaming around the world. This can provide quality live streaming services even to a large audience viewing the broadcast simultaneously.
As described above, there are many viable live streaming services with church-specific features. These live streaming services enable churches and other places of worship of all sizes to stream and broadcast content to members, both new and long-term. Feel free to do your own research as well, for instance you might also want to look at Streamchurch as well which is a great alternative.
We recommend that you pay close attention to the CDN when making your decision. A good quality CDN (like Akamai) helps to ensure the best performance during your live stream.
We also know from experience that 24/7 customer support is essential for live events streamed over the weekend and after business hours.
Finally, we recommend taking advantage of the free trials offered by most of live streaming services! If you’d like to give DaCast a try, for example, you can start now by signing up to our 30-day free trial (no credit card required).
For regular tips on live streaming, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.
Thanks for reading, and happy streaming!
By Max Wilbert.