As you’re likely aware, we’re living through a digital revolution. In particular, traditional TV is declining, while the online streaming video has become a central part of our culture. Today, about one-third of online time is spent watching videos. With that context in mind, this article will review some of the top solutions for streaming video.
In this post, we’ll review and compare 11 professional solutions for streaming video. These include: BoxCast, Brightcove, Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, JW Player Live, Vimeo (Livestream), Muvi, Ooyala, Panopto, StreamShark, and Wowza.
First up, we’ll do a brief review of the live streaming industry as of 2019 in general. We’ll share some statistics on why video is a key component of any business strategy in 2019. Then, we’ll turn to our review of top solutions for streaming video.
Live Streaming Industry in 2019: A Review
Over the past decade, the (live) streaming media industry has continued to grow–exponentially! Additionally, this trend exists across multiple sectors, including: OTT video and entertainment, online media, consumer video, video education and training, and many more.
Now, here are a few compelling streaming industry statistics worth considering:
- 79 percent of global consumer web traffic will come from video by 2019.
- 63 percent of live stream viewers in 2017 cited buffering issues as the most serious issue they experience. That number is actually an increase from the previous year. This statistic points to the importance of video quality and powerful delivery from solutions for streaming video.
- In 2018, 2.38 billion people watched streaming or downloaded video across all devices. More than three-quarters of these will stream via a mobile device.
- Global OTT subscriptions hit 473 million in 2018, an 18 percent rise from the previous year.
- The global enterprise video market is growing more than 20 percent per year and is expected to reach $40.84 billion by 2022.
In short, now is an ideal time to explore solutions for streaming video. Now, let’s turn to a review of 11 of the top contenders for professional streaming platforms.
11 top solutions for streaming video
In 2019, there are many different options available when it comes to choosing between solutions for streaming video. We know it can be hard to narrow down options. To that end, this post will now review eleven live streaming solutions. This comparison should help you to distinguish between platforms to eventually select the best option for you!
Also, as we review the features of each platform, keep an eye out for your needs. For a more complete look, we recommend that you try out the free trials offered by your narrowed-down selection of online video platforms. For example, some free trials come with full feature access. On the other hand, some streaming platform trials offer only limited functionality.
First, let’s start with BoxCast in our review of video streaming solutions. First conceived in 2013, BoxCast primarily targets organizations seeking to stream live. The platform offers live HD streaming and requires minimal equipment and setup. Additionally, BoxCast plans include unlimited broadcasts and viewers, as well as ad-free streaming.
- Archiving of live-streamed content
- Monetization (*only available with top-tier Advanced Plus plan)
- white-label streaming
- Privacy options
- Data integration
BoxCast pricing is based on three plan tiers. Each successive plan offers more features and more storage time per broadcast. Custom plans are available at higher price points as well. The main monthly plans include:
- Standard, at $99 per month, includes 1-month storage per broadcast and live phone support.
- Advanced, at $129 per month, increases per broadcast storage time to 1 year.
- Advanced Plus, at $299 per month, is the only plan to offer monetization options and other features.
- Custom plans are available for higher-volume streaming, at a higher rate.
The second streaming platform that we’ll examine here is called Brightcove. Brightcove mainly targets large businesses, and the platform offers a number of services. These include an OTT platform and their “Video Cloud” streaming and hosting platform.
- Good support for advertising monetization
- Robust analytics platform
- HTML5 all-device video player, streams to mobile using HLS
- Social publishing tools
- Single Sign-On tool for corporate users
Brightcove pricing is available at three levels. The Marketing plan starts at $199 per month. This plan includes basic features such as video portal, social sharing, and basic analytics. The Enterprise plans start at $499 per month and add more security and corporate features such as SSO support. Custom plans are also available for larger users.
The second platform we will examine here is Dacast, our own online video platform. Dacast is an easy-to-use, full-featured streaming platform. We provide video delivery via the top-tier Akamai CDN, which minimizes buffering and lag problems. The platform provides a range of high-end features suitable for Enterprise users and provides competitive pricing for both these large businesses and for smaller players.
- Live streaming and video-on-demand support
- Build-in paywall for monetization
- Do-It-Yourself environment with extremely low commitments
- Custom branding, white-label service
- Video API access for custom integrations
- 24/7 live support at all plan levels
Dacast pricing starts at $19 per month (billed annually) for a Starter plan. Premium ($125/month) and Enterprise ($289/month) plans are available for users who need more features—API access, monetization, phone support—and bandwidth. Custom plans are available for larger users, and pay-as-you-go and “Event” plans are ideal for users who only stream live video occasionally.
IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)
The third platform we’ll briefly examine here is IBM Cloud Video, formerly known as UStream. IBM Cloud Video is a powerful platform operating on the massive IBM Network. However, their basic UStream platform is relatively underpowered and expensive.
- No built-in monetization, however, it can accept third-party paywalls
- Channel password protection included on all accounts
- Custom branding and private channel URL (Platinum plan)
- Video API (Platinum plan)
- The free trial requires you to install the Flash plugin to set up your live event
IBM Cloud Video pricing comes in three tiers. The “Silver” $99/month plan includes 100 ad-free viewer hours. For $499/month you can upgrade to the Gold Plan, which includes 2000 viewer hours. For $999/month (Platinum Plan) you get 5000 viewer hours. There are also custom Enterprise plans available on a case-by-case basis.
JW Player Live
- Easy stream setup
- Adaptive bitrate streaming (however, no support for events longer than 6 hours)
- Native integration with JW Player
JW Player plans begin at $10 per month for a Starter Plan. This plan includes 150 GB for hosting and 500 GB for (pre-recorded) streaming. For live streaming, however, publishers and broadcasters must choose a custom Enterprise plan by contacting JW Player directly.
Also, this company offers a 6-month free trial for video engineers and data scientists for hosting and on-demand streaming. Again, however, this trial does not include any live streaming.
Now let’s take a look at Vimeo (Livestream). First, a note that Livestream solutions for streaming video merged with Vimeo Live beginning in 2017. Today, when users sign up for a Livestream demo, the company now redirects them to the Vimeo website. Likewise, users can sign up for the same platform directly through Vimeo’s site. Vimeo (Livestream) provides a range of live streaming and VOD hosting services. They also offer some custom hardware and software that integrates with their platform.
- Live streaming and on-demand support
- Monetization options (only available with higher-priced plans)
- Video API access (only available with higher-priced plans)
- Custom branding available on Enterprise plan
- Free trial available. *NB: The Livestream free trial does not include the ability to actually live stream
Vimeo (Livestream) recently reduced its plan offerings. First, they offer a Premium Plan starting at $75 per month (when billed annually, $199 per month billed monthly). This option includes support for social streaming, embedding, and analytics. The Enterprise Plan ($999 per month) targets even larger-scale businesses with even larger budgets. The Enterprise plan includes more advanced features like custom branding, white-label, and security features. However, users will pay a premium for access to these features. Custom plans are also available.
The next platform we’ll take a look at now is called Muvi. Muvi focuses on providing a turnkey appliance for OTT media businesses. Their online video platform is designed to help you launch your own platform as quickly as possible.
- Cloud hosting for live streaming and video-on-demand
- Built-in monetization tools and subscriber management
- CMS management backend
- Watermarking and other security/privacy tools
- Mobile apps and smart TV apps
Muvi pricing starts at $199 per month. The Standard plan ($399/month) allows 2000 concurrent viewers and includes API support. The Professional plan ($1,499/month) increases limits further. An Enterprise plan for larger users is also available for $3,900 per month.
The next platform under review here is Ooyala. Like Muvi, Ooyala is a platform whose focus lies squarely on the OTT video market. Ooyala provides several services, including advertising solutions for streaming video, and a Video Platform.
- Live streaming and on-demand support
- Monetization options
- Analytics dashboard
- HTML5 video player for all-device support
- API included
Ooyala does not publish pricing information online. All plans come with custom pricing. However, some reviewers state that plans begin around $500 per month and increase from there.
Panopto centers on solutions for video streaming for businesses and universities. This platform advertises itself as a one-stop-shop for managing, live streaming, recording and sharing video content. After establishing a contract with Panopto, users have access to unlimited streaming and storage.
- Auto-recording and archiving
- in-house video editing tools
- searchable live stream index
- secure HLS streaming
- privacy features for teams/organizations
Panopto pricing is based on a licensing model. This platform does not publish pricing plans on their website. Instead, broadcasters pay an annual fee dependent on the number of users who access video content. Panopto plans start at 500 users and increase from there. Contact Panopto directly to inquire about plans and pricing.
StreamShark is the business wing of the MetaCDN Content Distribution Network. As such, this platform centers on delivering stream quickly and efficiently. They offer two different video platforms. One targets small businesses and consumers, and the other focuses on enterprises.
- CDN network with more than 100 Point-of-Presence locations
- Mobile compatible
- Detailed analytics
- Customizable video player
- Privacy controls
- Monetize via advertising
StreamShark plans start at $50 per month (Lite plan). This plan includes about 416 GB of bandwidth, support for three simultaneous streams, and basic features. The $100/month Pro plan supports roughly 1 TB of bandwidth and adds a number of other features. The $250/month Biz plan supports more than 2.5 TB of bandwidth and additional features. Enterprise plans are also available with custom pricing.
Wowza Media Systems is the final streaming platform we’ll review here. The platform originally launched in 2007. Today, Wowza provides a backbone service to many different streaming companies.
- Live streaming and video-on-demand
- Support for up to 4K resolution
- Low-latency options
- White label service
First, a note that Wowza pricing is based on a few different plans. Their API-based plan, for example, charges based on usage. The Wowza Live Event monthly plans include:
- Starter, at $49 per month (**monthly pricing only for this plan)
- Standard, at $199 per month, includes 3 TB of bandwidth
- Plus, at $499 per month, includes 7 TB of bandwidth
- Premier, at $999 per month, includes 15 TB of bandwidth
And that concludes our review of top solutions for streaming video. We hope this post has helped introduce you to some of the top solutions for streaming video in 2019. Moreover, we hope you feel better equipped to choose the right option for you!
Of course, we do also hope you’ll take advantage of the Dacast free trial offer. That way, you can test our streaming solutions for yourself! Sign up today to enjoy free streaming for 30 days (no credit card required):
For more regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, we also invite you to join our LinkedIn group.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your decision-making process!
By Max Wilbert.
Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article as of February 2019 to reflect the most accurate information available.