Searching for the best live streaming video platform for your website? In need of professional video hosting? Do you have content to share and a desire to engage a variety of people? If your answer to any of these questions is yes!, then video streaming may be the perfect solution for you!
Whether for education, music concerts, business conferences, news, or live sports events, choosing the best live streaming video platform for your needs can have a big impact on the viewers you reach. In recent years, technology for video broadcasting has evolved and expanded. The question of how to choose the best streaming service isn’t always straightforward.
That’s where we come in! This guide takes a look at some of the many features available in the streaming world today. We also include links to more detailed posts about particular streaming topics or goals (for example, live streaming sports). You can check them out after you read this introduction on how the right live streaming video platform can benefit you and your website.
Overall, our goal is will help you to narrow in on what you want from a video provider. Let’s start with a brief discussion of the basic requirements for video streaming.
Streaming today comes in two categories: live streaming and on-demand (video file) streaming. Video-on-demand hosting is easy. To get started, you first upload a file. If your live streaming video platform includes a video player, you can add the content to your site directly.
Live streaming, however, is slightly more complex. You will need a few items before you can get started, including:
- a camera
- encoding software, or a hardware encoder, and
- a live streaming video platform (i.e. Dacast).
In terms of the camera, it should be either a webcam or a camera hooked up to a capture card. Here is a list of compatible cameras to review before making a decision.
Once you have a viable camera, you’ll need an encoder. This encoder can be either software-based or hardware-based. Software, meaning connecting your camera to your computer, is the cheaper of the two methods. Nowadays, there are many good options for live stream encoding software. These include software encoders ranging from Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder–the only free RTMP encoder on the market–to feature-rich alternatives like Telestream’s Wirecast.
For more details on encoders, check out our guide on software versus hardware encoders for live video streams.
Finally, you need a live streaming video platform. Dacast, Ustream, and many other professional streaming services are the keys to this final requirement. As mentioned above, however, there are many different audiences for video streaming. This means that some platforms will be a better fit than others for your particular needs.
How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Video Platform
Before you make a decision about the best live streaming video platform for you, here are some of the features you’ll want to consider.
Embedded Video Player
This feature is fairly straightforward. Regardless of your audience, you will want to be able to add your video content to your own website. To do so, make sure the ability to embed via your service provider is affordable. Some providers (for example, Livestream) only offer this feature through higher-tier packages, which cost more. With Dacast, however, this feature is guaranteed at all plan levels, including the Basic plan ($39 per month).
A white-label video player is key. Seeing a YouTube or Ustream logo in the corner of the player on your site can cheapen your production values. There can be a benefit in promoting video content via free platforms like YouTube. However, there are many situations in which streaming video has a different goal–namely, to drive traffic to your site. In those cases, you’ll want to research professional live streaming video platforms that are both affordable and feature-rich.
Dacast is one such streaming platform that comes with a clean-slate player. This white-label service includes no Dacast logo, the ability to add YOUR watermark, and customizable color schemes. You can read more about Dacast’s professional services and white-label system if you think these are features you’ll want to have.
Broaden your options. Promoting your site is great, but maybe you want your video content to increase engagement on your social networks. Increase your likes; build your following. A good live streaming video platform will give you the option to share your content directly on your Facebook wall. Dacast is one service provider that does offer in-player social media video sharing.
Have you wondered about monetizing your stream? PPV streaming (pay-per-view) through video paywalls can be the perfect fit for the right audience. The unique nature of live streaming can incentivize viewers to pay more than they’d normally pay for non-live video. For example, many viewers are willing to pay for access to live music concerts, sporting events, remote attendance at a conference, etc.
However, the PPV option isn’t exclusive only to live video content. Education courses and seminars-on-demand are also a great fit for monetizing video content. It is much easier to generate a profit via video paywalls than through in-site advertising. For example, video ads need consistent audience sizes in the thousands to be effective. They can also significantly detract from the aesthetic and overall appeal of your website to your viewers.
Dacast is one such live streaming video platform that offers multiple monetization options for your content. These options include an integrated paywall for PPV, subscription packages, and the ability to host your own video ads.
The features we considered above are by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other features you may want to consider before deciding on the best live streaming video platform for you.
For example, mobile delivery–with the ability to hit desktops at the same time as smartphones/tablets–is also key in this ever-growing market.
Finding a provider with CDN (Content Delivery/Distribution Network) services is also a feature you’ll likely want to consider. CDNs enable a global delivery to diverse audiences at the fastest speeds and help guarantee positive viewer experiences. Dacast, for example, uses the Akamai CDN, one of the foremost CDN providers in the world. You can read about the Akamai live streaming CDN and CDNs in general if you’d like to learn more.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand the best available video streaming platforms for your website. Still have questions, or want to share your thoughts on the best live streaming video platform for you? We love to hear from our readers! Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions by responding in the comment section below.
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Thanks for reading, and happy streaming!