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The Definitive Guide to Browser-Based Live Streaming Technology in 2021

By Emily Krings

25 Min Read

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Emily Krings

Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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      Browser-based streaming is becoming popular as broadcasters are looking for platforms that don’t require any sort of download to use. Thanks to emerging protocols and standards, web-based streaming is more accessible than ever.

      In this post, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about browser-based streaming. We are going to discuss what it is and how it works before we dive into 10 of the top browser-based streaming platforms. To wrap things up, we will take a look at how Dacast could serve as an alternative to browser-based streaming.

      Table of Contents

      • What is Browser-Based Streaming?
      • Benefits of Browser-Based Streaming
      • How to Live Stream From Your Browser
      • Comparing the Top 10 Browser Streaming Platforms in 2021
      • Dacast: An Alternative Browser-Based Streaming 
      • Final Thoughts

      What is Browser-Based Streaming?

      Browser-based streaming
      Browser-based streaming is becoming more popular.

      Browser-based streaming, which is also called “web-based streaming,” is a type of live streaming that is hosted through a web-based portal rather than through a downloaded app. The advance towards this technology has been the natural progression from the development of browser-supported video players, like the HTML5 video player.

      This is different from streaming through a platform that requires you to download an app. Typically, downloadable streaming solutions use a combination of RTMP and HLS to transport and deliver their live streams. Since RTMP isn’t compatible with most browsers, web-based streaming requires a different setup.

      Two notable streaming technologies that support browser-based streaming are WebRTC and SRT. Both are universal in terms of browser compatibility, but neither is widely supported by streaming apps. Each gives access to secure, low latency streaming which is certainly attractive to broadcasters.

      Benefits of Browser-Based Streaming

      In addition to the ability to tap into the benefits of SRT and WebRTC technology, browser-based streaming is known for its simplicity. These platforms typically have slightly different functionality than streaming apps.

      Many in-browser streaming platforms mesh in with live streaming software for production or simulcasting, but they are generally less powerful than dedicated apps.

      Since it doesn’t require a download, streaming with a browser-based platform is typically as simple as signing into the site, setting up sources, and starting the stream. This is a great way to go. 

      Web-based streaming solutions are also generally more affordable than apps, which is another obvious plus. 

      How to Live Stream From Your Browser

      In order to stream from your browser, you’re going to need the support of a browser streaming platform. There are quite a few of these on the market that is geared towards different use cases. Many of them support live event streaming, webinar hosting, communication, and collaboration.

      If you are looking for a browser streaming platform to use in place of a powerful streaming app, like Dacast, you’re likely going to want to look specifically for “Event” solutions that support live streaming.

      Comparing the Top 10 Browser Streaming Platforms in 2021

      Now that you understand what web-based streaming is and how it works, let’s take a look at the top 10 browser streaming platforms on the market.

      1. StreamYard

      streamyard live streaming platform
      StreamYard is one of the top browser-based streaming platforms available. Source: Streamyard.com

      StreamYard is a relatively basic browser-based streaming platform. It is well-suited for broadcasters with minimal needs that just need something to get the job done.

      This dedicated streaming platform is primarily designed for increasing audience reach and engagement. One of the most valuable features of StreamYard is brand customization.

      Key Features:

      • Cinematic and design elements
      • Simulcasting support
      • Multiple presenters at once
      • Screen presenting
      • Basic platform

      Pros:

      • Very easy to use
      • Designed for improving engagement
      • Suitable for collaborative streaming

      Cons:

      • No monetization
      • Does not support VOD hosting
      • Reports of browser incompatibility 

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      StreamYard upload guidelines and specs are not available.

      Pricing:

      StreamYard offers four different pricing plans. These include:

      • Free: Access StreamYard on a limited basis for free.
      • Basic: $20/month; access some advanced streaming features, including unlimited streaming, brand customization, graphic overlays, simulcasting, and stream recording.
      • Professional: $39/month;
      • Enterprise: StreamYard also offers enterprise plans that are priced on a case-by-case basis.

      These reflect the monthly pricing when billed annually. Paying month-to-month is a bit more expensive.

      2. Restream

      Restream Broadcasting Software
      Restream Studio supports browser-based live streaming. Source: restream.io

      Restream is an in-browser streaming platform that is popular in the gaming, tech, government, sports, media, and music industries. The platform specializes in multistreaming but offers some other streaming products.

      Restream Studio is a specific offering that is geared towards live streaming. This solution is specifically designed to help broadcasters extend their reach and build an engaging audience.

      Key Features:

      • Web-based live streaming
      • Supports simulcasting
      • Designed to boost engagement and promote interactions
      • Offers support for peer-to-peer streaming
      • Brand and aesthetic customization
      • Scheduled streaming for pre-recorded content

      Pros:

      • Simple platform
      • Suitable for collaborative streaming
      • Brand customization 
      • Tools for increasing engagement 

      Cons:

      • In-browser streaming is a secondary feature

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Recommended dimension: 1920×1080
      • Aspect ratio: Unavailable
      • Max file size: 2GB (for pre-recorded streams)
      • Max video length: 1-4 hours (depends on plan)
      • Total file storage: 10 videos
      • Compatible video formats: MP4, MKV, M4V, MOV

      Pricing:

      Restream has several pricing plans for both individuals and businesses. These include:

      • Free: $0/months (for individuals)
      • Standard: $16/month (for individuals)
      • Professional: $41/month (for individuals)
      • Premium: $83/month (for businesses)
      • Business: $249/month (for businesses)

      Custom-priced enterprise plans are also available upon request.

      3. Wowza

      cloud streaming platform wowza
      Wowza is an app that also supports in-browser streaming. Source: Wowza.com

      Wowza is an online video platform that is dedicated to both live and on-demand streaming. Wowza’s main purpose is to help developers, event producers, and technical entrepreneurs deliver live streams to their audiences. It is known for its compatibility, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

      Wowza is a bit different than the other platforms that we are discussing here. Its primary offering is a downloadable streaming app, but it is also capable of in-browser streaming via WebRTC technology.

      This platform is capable of 4K streaming, live stream recording, and customization via APIs.

      Key Features:

      Pros:

      • Tools for engagement
      • Video analytics
      • All-device streaming
      • China video delivery

      Cons:

      • No monetization support
      • Single-camera feed only
      • No event scheduling

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: 240p (320 x 240)
      • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
      • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
      • Max file size: Not available
      • Max video length: Not available
      • Total file storage: 250 GB (depends on the plan)
      • Compatible video formats: MP4, FLV, MP3, SMIL, AMLST, ID3, NGRP

      Pricing:

      Wowza Streaming Cloud offers three distinct pricing plans and services. Live Event Pricing plans include:

      • Basic: $99/month; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
      • One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours also at 720p
      • Plus: $499/month; includes 150 hours of live streaming and 7000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p

      All of these Live Event plans include full brand control, multi-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming. The prices above reflect the rates for month-to-month billing.

      The Wowza Streaming Engine has its own pricing plans. These professional-grade streaming plans are billed annually and include:

      • Basic: $125/month + $145/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
      • One Month Event: $245/month + $155/month for each additional instance and $95/month for each additional prepaid instance
      • Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions

      4. Lightstream

      Lightstream browser streaming platform
      Lightstream is a cloud-based platform that supports in-browser streaming. Source: golightstream.com

      Lightstream is a cloud-based in-browser streaming platform that is designed for live streaming at the professional level. It has features that make it suitable for podcasting, gaming, music streaming, and more. This is platform is particularly useful for broadcasters that are looking to expand their audiences and extend their reach.

      Lightstream supports simulcasting to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.

      Key Features:

      • Simulcasting support
      • Cinematic and aesthetic effects
      • Tools for audience engagement
      • Remote stream control
      • Customization through integrations
      • Customer support

      Pros:

      • Plans for different budgets
      • Wide range of professional streaming features
      • Live chat support

      Cons:

      • Some complaints about sound issues

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: 720p
      • Maximum dimension: 1080p
      • Aspect ratio: Unavailable
      • Max file size: 500MB
      • Max video length: Unavailable
      • Total file storage: Unavailable
      • Compatible video formats: Unavailable

      Pricing:

      Lightstream splits its pricing into “Gamer” and “Creator” categories. Here’s how they are broken down:

      Gamer:

      Gamer plans are very basic and they only support streaming from an Xbox or PlayStation to Twitch.

      • $7/month: 720p 30FPS max resolution
      • $11/month: 720p 60FPS max resolution
      • $14/month: 1080p 30FPS max resolution

      Creator:

      Creator plans come with access to more advanced features, including remote guest support, multiple RTMP sources, custom RTMP destinations, and screen sharing.

      • $20/month: 720p 30FPS max resolution
      • $25/month: 720p 60FPS max resolution
      • $40/month: 1080p 30FPS max resolution

      5. Brandlive

      Brandlive browser streaming platform
      Brandlive offers several in-browser streaming solutions. Source: brandlive.com

      Brandlive is an in-browser streaming platform that offers a few different solutions. Brandlive sets out to help companies “create magic” to connect with their audiences through virtual events.

      The platform’s Event solution allows users to access web-based live streaming tools. Their other plans include Greenroom, Showrooms, and Allhands which use web-based streaming technology but serve different purposes. 

      Key Features:

      • Design customization for branded streaming
      • Engagement tools to enhance the viewers’ experience 
      • Users report that it is best suited for Mac 
      • Event registration management
      • Integrations with other tools to improve workflows

      Pros:

      • The supportive customer service team
      • Professional streaming experience
      • Wide range of features

      Cons:

      • Requires some video production experience for best results
      • Some complaints of glitchiness

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      Brandlive does not publish its upload guidelines and specs.

      Pricing:

      Brandlive does not publish pricing information. 

      6. BlueJeans

      bluejeans platform
      BlueJeans is a live streaming and web conferencing software. Source: bluejeans.com

      BlueJeans, which is powered by Verizon, is a web-conferencing and live streaming platform that is well-suited for streaming at the professional level. It offers plans for Meetings, Events, and Gateway for Teams (which hooks up a video chat portal in conference rooms).

      The majority of the offerings from BlueJeans are geared towards clients with larger streaming needs.

      Key Features:

      • Video conferencing 
      • Event streaming
      • Uses WebRTC
      • Real-time analytics 
      • Event scheduling
      • Free trial available
      • Tools for streamlining internal communication

      Pros:

      • Suited for professionals
      • Wide-range of functionality
      • Supports scalable streaming
      • Great for keeping teams connected

      Cons:

      • Some plans lack essential features 
      • Required equipment for in-office streaming is a bit pricey

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: 90p (160×90)
      • Maximum dimension: 720p HD (1280×720 at 30 FPS)
      • Aspect ratio: N/A
      • Max file size: N/A
      • Max video length: 2 hours
      • Total file storage: N/A
      • Compatible video formats: .AVI, .F4V, .FLV, .M4V, .MOV, .MP4, .MPEG, .MPG, .OGG, .OGV, .WEBM, AND .WMV

      Pricing:

      BlueJeans breaks its streaming pricing down into three main categories: Meetings, Events, and Gateways for Teams. Let’s take a look at how each of these categories is laid out.

      Meetings:

      Meetings plans are designed for internal communication among professional teams.

      • Standard: $9.99/month
      • Pro: $13.99/month
      • Enterprise: $16.66/month
      • Enterprise Plus: Custom-priced based on each company’s needs

      Events:

      Events plans are built to host webinars and other interactive events.

      • Webinars: $83/month
      • Large-Scale Video Events: Custom-priced

      Gateway for Teams:

      This type of plan is used to hook up video calls in conference rooms.

      • Per Room Plan: $99/month
      • Large-Scale Deployment Plans: Custom-priced

      7. Melon

      melonapp web-based streaming platform
      Melon is a browser-based streaming and simulcasting tool. Source: melonapp.com

      Melon is an in-browser streaming platform that is designed to help broadcasters stream to multiple of the top social streaming platforms at once. These include Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more. 

      Key Features:

      • Streaming in “5 clicks”
      • White-label streaming (on paid plans)
      • Simulcasting support
      • Audio-only recording 
      • Media upload

      Pros:

      • Free plan available for testing the features
      • Reliable platform
      • Customizable experience
      • Feature-rich platform

      Cons:

      • No mobile app for convenience
      • Single source streaming only
      • Not suitable for large scale events

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: N/A
      • Maximum dimension: 1080p
      • Aspect ratio: N/A
      • Max file size: 300MB
      • Max video length: 4 or 10 hours (depends on plan)
      • Total file storage: 30 days recording storage
      • Compatible video formats: N/A

      Pricing:

      Melon offers three pricing plans, including:

      • Free: limited live streaming with up to two participants
      • Standard: $12.50; white-label streaming with up to 6 participants; unlocks simulcasting
      • Pro: $37.50/month; unlimited simulcasting destinations; 9 participants

      These prices reflect Melon’s rates when paid annually. Paying monthly costs up to $125 more per year.

      8. YouTube

      youtube live streaming app
      YouTube is a very popular consumer-grade streaming site. Source: youtube.com

      YouTube is a Google-owned website that supports web-based streaming. This platform is not suitable for streaming at the professional level. It has strict limitations on monetization and does not really offer access to professional tools.

      Aside from the limited feature support, YouTube requires that broadcasters give up partial ownership of their content when they upload it to the platform. This alone turns many professional broadcasters off from the platform.

      Key Features:

      • Ad-based monetization (with restrictions)
      • No real privacy or security features
      • Popular among consumers
      • Easy to use
      • Videos can be embedded in other websites
      • No white-label capabilities

      Pros:

      • Free to use
      • YouTube is a household name, so viewers are comfortable using it
      • Easy to use (for both viewers and broadcasters)
      • Easy to embed video player
      • Live and VOD hosting

      Cons:

      • No white-label streaming
      • Limitations on live streaming
      • Strict content restrictions
      • YouTube owns rights to content
      • Distracting third party ads and branding

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
      • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
      • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (adds padding to videos with other aspect ratios)
      • Max file size: 128 GB
      • Max video length: 12 hours
      • Total file storage: No storage limit
      • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, FLV, AVI, Web M, WMV, MPEG-PS, 3GPP

      Pricing:

      Youtube is free to use.

      9. Twitch

      Twitch Live Streaming Platform
      Twitch is a popular social streaming platform that uses in-browser streaming. Source: twitch.tv

      Twitch is a live streaming site that has functionality similar to a social media platform. It is very popular among niche streamers, particularly gamers.

      It is free to stream on Twitch since it is a consumer-grade platform. Viewers can subscribe to their favorite streamers so that they are alerted when they go live, which helps if you are looking to build an online community.

      Key Features:

      • Viewers can “Tip” streamers
      • Geared towards gamer streaming
      • Built-in chat tools
      • Helps streamers reach a niche audience

      Pros:

      • Free to use
      • Pretty easy for beginners
      • Designed to promote community engagement 

      Cons:

      • Not suited for corporate use
      • Encoding tools may be required
      • Limited monetization support
      • Strict community guidelines

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
      • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
      • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
      • Max file size: Not available
      • Max video length: 48 hours
      • Total file storage: Not available
      • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, AVI, FLV

      Pricing:

      Twitch is free for content creators, but the platform allows them to make money from their viewers. This program is called Twitch Subscriptions, and it includes 3 tiers:

      • Tier 1 subscription: $4.99/month
      • Tier 2 subscription: $9.99/month
      • Tier 3 subscription: $24.99/month

      10. Facebook Live

      facebook live streaming app
      Facebook is another consumer-grade site that supports web-based streaming. Source: Facebook.com

      Facebook is a very popular social media platform that supports in-browser live streaming. Its popularity makes it very valuable for connecting with existing audiences and followings.

      Facebook is commonly used by businesses and organizations that just getting started with live streaming. Since the platform is free, Facebook poses challenges related to video ownership, time constraints on videos, monetization, and more.

      Although Facebook fully supports in-browser streaming, the Facebook app can also be downloaded for streaming from mobile devices.

      Key Features:

      Pros:

      • Free to use
      • The platform is popular and familiar among viewers
      • Built-in chat promotes interactions and engagement
      • Connect with an existing audience 

      Cons:

      • Limited monetization support
      • Videos are capped at 90 minutes
      • No white-label streaming

      Upload Guidelines and Specs: 

      • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280×720) 
      • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920×1080)
      • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 9:16, 2:3, 4:5, 1:1
      • Max file size: 4 GB
      • Max video length: 90 minutes
      • Total file storage: No storage limit
      • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, AVI, 3GPP, WMV, FLV, MKV

      Pricing:

      Facebook is free to use.

      Dacast: An Alternative to Browser-Based Streaming

      browser-based streaming alternative
      Some broadcasters may require the support of a downloadable program.

      While browser-based streaming might be a good option for some broadcasters, it is not the only option. A downloadable streaming solution may be a better choice for broadcasters with more advanced streaming and professional video hosting needs.

      Dacast is a unified streaming solution that offers a wide range of professional broadcasting features. These features include API access for customization, white-label streaming, HTML5 video player, easy embedding, video monetization, video security, privacy tools, and more.

      Dacast’s pricing plans start at $39/month, which puts it in a similar arena to many of the platforms we’ve mentioned in this article.

      Dacast hopes to roll out support for browser-based streaming. This functionality would likely be in addition to our current live streaming offerings.

      Final Thoughts

      Browser-based streaming is growing in popularity due to its simplicity and ease of access. Many of the browser streaming platforms we discussed in this post are merged with either simulcasting or web conferencing technology to create a unique streaming experience.

      Some web-based streaming solutions are suitable for larger companies, but many are far too simple for broadcasting at an advanced level.

      Looking for a streaming solution that is a bit more powerful than the web-based streaming platforms we’ve discussed above? Why not give Dacast a try? Take advantage of our 30-day risk-free trial to see how our features can help you reach your streaming goals.

      Create a Dacast account today to get started. No credit card required.

      GET STARTED FOR FREE

      For exclusive offers and regular tips on live streaming, you can also join our LinkedIn group.

      author avatar

      Emily Krings

      Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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