Virtual events are becoming more and more popular. Broadcasters and event organizers are looking for innovative ways to engage their audience. Live chat tools provide the perfect solution to this problem.
Integrating services that support chat for live streaming is a great way to connect with viewers. With the support of these tools, you can easily add a chat window to the same page as your HTML5 video player.
In this post, we will talk about why broadcasters should incorporate a chat tool with their live streams. From there, we’ll review six of the best live streaming chat services for professional broadcasters. We’ll compare these options based on features and functionality so that you can get an idea of which chat tool may be the best for you.
To wrap things up, we will run through a brief tutorial on how to implement these live stream chat tools in your broadcasts.
Table of Contents
- Why Use a Live Stream Chat?
- Top 6 Live Streaming Chat Services
- Dead Simple Chat
- How to Implement Chat for Live Streaming
Why Use a Live Stream Chat?
Integrating a live chat tool alongside your video content has many perks for professional broadcasters.
The first, and possibly most important, is engagement. Live streaming video is already highly engaging, but live chat allows your viewers to interact with each other in real-time.
It also gives you the opportunity to respond to questions and comments, which facilitates a two-way dialogue. Live video Q&As are also made possible with chat tools.
Live streaming with chat creates a virtual meeting place where viewers can feel like they are part of a community.
Another important reason for live chat is to gather feedback. Since chat allows you to interact with your audience in real-time, it gives you some insight into how they’re responding to your video content.
This can be very valuable when refining strategies. Paired with quantitative analytics data about clicks and viewers, this real feedback can be a powerful resource. This is the qualitative data that helps flesh out the understandings that number-based analytics can’t give you.
Top 6 Live Streaming Chat Services
Different live streaming chat services are equipped with different tools. Let’s take a look at a few of the best text-based chat solutions that you can integrate alongside your HTML5 video player.
The first option we’ll look at here is RumbleTalk. This chat tool includes private messages and voice/video calls via WebRTC. RumbleTalk supports file sharing, banning via IP address, and allows multiple users to be made moderators. User logins are protected via SSL. A nice feature allows for floating chat windows.
Chats are hosted on the RumbleTalk servers, so there is no need to install anything to use this tool.
There are three versions of RumbleTalk: Free, Professional, and Enterprise.
The free version of RumbleTalk is somewhat basic, supporting only five users and one admin. However, it supports unlimited messaging and 1-on-1 meetings.
Professional plans start at $20/month for 50 participants. These plans are capped at $399/month for up to 800 participants. This plan also includes moderated chats, which is a major value add.
Custom-priced enterprise plans are available for broadcasters that host more than 800 participants.
Dacast has recently formed a partnership with RumbleTalk which means that Dacast users can access this tool right from the Dacast platform. RumbleTalk offers tools for both side-by-side video and chat and stacked video and chat, so broadcasters can choose their preferred streaming layout.
Another option is Chatango. This chat service makes it possible to host public chat groups. This means that messages stay in the group history. Chatango includes the ability to block users, delete messages, and ban certain words. You can also make other people moderators.
Chatango also allows broadcasters to opt for a ticker or tab as the default chat display. All of this is presented as a clean-looking interface that can be customized for your site to match your HTML5 video player.
The chat also features audio settings that can be turned on or off, so noises can be made to notify of a new post (although this might interfere with your audio-visual content). The embed is light on branding and puts more focus on your own site in bold if needed.
This tool works on all devices. It is also fast on larger websites which means that it can handle rapid spikes in traffic.
Chatango is absolutely free to use. However, you pay for upgrades if you want to use a premium background or “smileys.”
3. Dead Simple Chat
Looking for a more basic option? Dead Simple Chat is a qualified solution. This open-source live streaming chat tool allows you to set up chatrooms in seconds via embed codes.
Dead Simple Chat has a clean, simple look, and it supports chat moderation. This service offers white-label streaming and advanced customizations for a highly professional live streaming chat experience.
By default, the chats are hosted by Dead Simple Chat on their own servers. However, if you choose, you can host the code on your own server. They are also working to add features such as end-to-end encryption.
Q&A tools and private chat functions are some of the most useful features of Dead Simple Chat.
There are five plans for Dead Simple Chat, ranging from free to large, custom-priced enterprise options. These plans include:
- Free – Free to use
- Basic – $19/month
- Plus – $79/month
- Pro – $295/month
- Custom – These plans are custom priced to meet your live stream chat needs.
The next live chat option is Mibbit, which is based on a unique widget structure. Mibbit supports ITC, social login, YouTube videos, and Google Translate. It’s also easy to install.
In addition to a free version, there are five versions of this live stream chat tool. The premium versions add support for content filters, custom branding, and SSL support. It also removes advertising.
Plans range from $9.99 for a basic 25-user chat and go up to $99.99 per month for 1000+ users on multiple domains. The pricing is broken down as follows:
- $9.99/month for 25 users
- $24.99/month for 100 users
- $49.99/month for 250 users
- $69.99/month for 500 users
- $99.99/month for 1000+ users
Every plan is securely hosted on the Mibbit servers.
Cbox doesn’t have the bells and whistles that the others do but is very easy to integrate into any website with minimal customization.
One way that Cbox varies from the other options is its ability to pop out the chat into its own window. This might be useful depending on your video application. Additionally, this service has very little branding which minimizes distractions on and around your video player.
Cbox is compatible with mobile devices which is great for streaming with the all-device HTML5 video player. Like others, the chat has a system to boot out spam and unwanted posters as well.
There are five Cbox plans, including:
- Cbox Free – This plan is free forever.
- Cbox Premium- $1.67/month
- Cbox Pro – $7.50/month
- Cbox Pro+ – $15.00+/month
If your website runs on WordPress, another good option is Wisechat. This free WordPress plugin is recommended by several Dacast broadcasters for use alongside our HTML5 video player. One advantage of using a native WordPress plugin is that there is no need for another server to run the chat module.
The free version includes three customizable themes. Users can register and choose a custom name. Password-protected chats are possible, and the chat can be made read-only for non-registered users.
There is also a Pro version available via a one-time purchase. This version adds support for private messages, avatars, Pro themes, custom emoticons, multisite support, and social login.
How to Implement Chat for Live Streaming
There are many methods that you can use to implement a live stream chat tool alongside your dacast video player.
If you are new to web development, the easiest way is through a simple table interface. This is not the preferred method, but rather the easiest to achieve a setup that includes the chat and video player in the same area.
Below is an example code set to a fixed size of 890 pixels, although dimensions can be changed based on your site. You would have to replace the parts in brackets with your Dacast and chat embed codes:
<table border=”0″ width=”890″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″>
<td align=”center” width=”640″>[Dacast Embed Code Here]</td>
<td align=”center” width=”250″>[Chat Client Embed Code Here]</td>
Luckily, there are a number of powerful services available that should be able to meet the needs of any user.
Along with a chat service, you may also need an online video platform to host and deliver your live streaming and on-demand video content. Our service, Dacast, is one of the best in the industry. We offer a 30-day free trial (no credit card required) to test all the Dacast features for yourself.
If you are using a different chat service that you like, please feel free to mention it below. We will test it out and add it to the list.
For regular tips and exclusive offers for live streaming, sign up for our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your streaming!