Live Streaming API: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Video API [2021 Update]

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.

    There is a wide array of factors to consider when choosing the right streaming solution for your professional streaming needs, but have you considered the importance of live streaming Application Program Interface (API)?

    When it comes to broadcasting a live video stream, you’re not choosing a video API per se, but you’re choosing the live streaming platforms with the API access that best suits your needs. That said, live streaming APIs should play a significant role in your decision of which live streaming platform you use. 

    In this article, we will discuss how live streaming APIs allow you to access video content from your own website. We are going to break down five factors to consider when comparing live streaming APIs.

    In particular, we’ll cover the benefits of APIs, successful examples of video streaming API in action, how to embed live videos on your website, how to create systems for controlling and monitoring content, and basic API commands. We will make sure you fully understand all you need to know about live video streaming API so you can successfully broadcast content.

    Table of Contents:

    • What is Live Streaming API?
    • 5 Considerations for Using Live Streaming API
      • Benefits of Live Streaming API
      • Ways to Use Live Streaming API
      • How to Add Live Video to Your Website with API
      • How to Access and Manage Content from Your Website
      • What are Live Streaming API Commands?
    • Dacast API Access: What You Need to Know
    • Conclusion

    What is Live Streaming API?

    what is a video api
    Live streaming API comes with many benefits and enhances the overall broadcasting experience.

    An Application Programming Interface, or “API,”  is a tool that facilitates customizations between two different programs or apps. There are different types of API that are useful in different technological environments.

    In the context of professional broadcasting, there are two types of API: player API and live streaming API. Player API is used to customize and manipulate aspects of the video player itself. Live streaming API is used to customize the video hosting experience by integrating different programs to run alongside your video Content Management System CMS.

    Video streaming API, which is also called “live streaming API”, “live API” or simply “video API,” is very important for broadcasters with advanced streaming needs. API access will help you customize your streaming experience to reach all of your goals.

    If API is important to your streaming setup, you will need to choose a video streaming platform, like Dacast, that offers API access. API access is not a default professional broadcasting feature, so it is important to seek out platforms with this support. The Dacast player has API access. 

    5 Considerations for Using Live Streaming API

    As you delve into the possibility of using video API to customize your streaming setup, we encourage you to keep a few considerations in mind.

    • Think about the benefits of broadcasting with live video stream API
    • Ways to use live streaming API
    • How to use live streaming API to add live streams to your site
    • How to use API for video management
    • Live streaming API commands.

    Let’s take some time to break down each of these considerations.

    1. Benefits of Live Streaming API

    There are many benefits of using live streaming API in your professional broadcasting setup, including automation, integration, streamlining, and more.

    In broad terms, those benefits fall under the following categories:

    • Automation
    • Integration
    • Streaming
    • Development
    • Piggyback
    • Innovation

    Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of video streaming API so you can get a better idea of the true value of this technology.

    Automation

    An API allows you to automate tasks that would otherwise require time and labor.

    For example, you could pre-schedule live streams to go online, or you could batch tasks like uploading content to your video host. Additionally, you could automate encoding and other lengthy tasks.

    All of these options can be coded into scripts via the terminal, or integrated into applications. These options make it easy for anyone, from beginners to IT experts, to access these powerful tools. Automation with live video API is about streamlining the video broadcasting process.

    Integration

    APIs shine when it comes to integration. Adding live streaming onto an existing broadcast system is easy with a live streaming API.

    All this takes is writing some shortcodes explaining the parameters you need and plugging that code into your existing architecture. Live streaming API allows integration with almost any platform. These include mobile, web, and desktop apps, in addition to hardware systems, cameras, servers, and more.

    Organizations and businesses that are already recording or broadcasting will find this feature especially useful. Live streaming can be incorporated into existing workflows using a live streaming API. This process avoids the disruption of existing services. It can also save time and expenses by ensuring legacy hardware remains in operation. The integration ability of video streaming APIs ensure that all equipment, software, and hardware can work together seamlessly.

    Streamlining

    Integrating APIs helps to eliminate inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your system. This can save time and reduce the need to train employees on new systems. That, in turn, can help your entire operation to run more smoothly and ultimately improve your bottom line.

    Streamlining via a live streaming API is an excellent practice to reduce “sticking points” in your system. A little effort upfront can pay off big-time in the long run.

    The use of an API also enables the creation of your own highly responsive systems. RESTful video APIs are especially speedy. To see this in action, take a look at the benchmarks from WordPress’s RESTful API.

    Development

    Access to data via live streaming API calls allows you to be creative. The ability to push videos and commands to your live streaming service provider has the same effect.

    You can build your apps and web platforms using the API. You can even build hardware to interface with your data and content.

    The result is customized, powerful, and streamlined systems that get the job done. With access to the raw commands via a live streaming API, you can code solutions to unique API issues. At the same time, you can take advantage of the powerful infrastructure and features of other platforms. That’s the upside of developing your systems using API calls. With API live stream, you can create the best system for your broadcasting needs. 

    Piggyback

    An API allows you to connect different services in ways that the initial creators never imagined. Many success stories follow this trend and are iterations of products or services that failed in the past.

    Look at Periscope, for example. When the app launched, it was not brand new streaming technology, strictly speaking. However, it leveraged APIs to build on existing live streaming technology and connect to Twitter’s large user base.

    This allowed Periscope to grow fast, leverage social networks, and generate buzz. It’s been a runaway success. You can use live streaming API to create your own broadcasting success story. 

    Innovation

    With the support of APIs, you’re free to design your own processes and iteration. Building something completely new is possible, and using live streaming APIs to leverage existing services can help power this innovation.

    Conceptualized in this way, APIs are a kind of “building block” that you can use to create something completely new. Working with video streaming APIs can allow you the ability to create your own system for success.

    2. Ways to Use a Live Streaming API

    Live video Streaming API
    Learn how live streaming API looks in action through four real-life examples.

    Since live streaming API is all about customization, there are countless illustrations of how this technology works. Looking at real-life video streaming API examples is one of the best ways to explain how this technology functions.

    Here are four examples of how different businesses use live streaming API to enhance their platforms.

    Teaching English (Eleutian)

    Students abroad who want to study English with a qualified teacher often choose Eleutian. This company uses live video lessons as the primary teaching tool for ESL classes.

    Teachers record lessons via webcam and students around the world access this content. Slides provide students with supplementary material. Chat and forums support interactive questions and feedback.

    Delays of 20-30 seconds are common when live streaming, but slideshow changes are nearly instant. This originally created a problem with syncing and caused major issues.

    Using a live streaming API, Eleutian can now sync their slideshow changes with the on-screen live video broadcast. This delivers a much higher quality experience for their viewers.

    Professional Broadcasting (Facebook)

    Facebook live stream API
    Use Facebook’s live streaming API to broadcast your streams from any device.

    Some broadcasters are using Facebook’s live API to stream from multiple cameras and professional-grade sources. Even drones can now stream live video to FB.

    A new feature is continuous live streaming. This feature enables pro-level media organizations to stream cheaply and easily. These organizations can reach their Facebook audience natively, as well.

    Fox Sports, for example, now streams several shows simultaneously on YouTube, Facebook Live, and traditional television. This is made possible by APIs that automatically duplicate streams and send them to different sources.

    Integrating Full Content Search (ABC and MSNBC)

    Major news organizations want to drive users to their content. However, that can be difficult when their catalogs are so massive. One solution is to use an API to enable the public to access their content more easily.

    ABC News, for example, maintains an API that catalogs all ABC content. That includes local and national news as well as entertainment. MSNBC maintains a “Documents API.” This represents articles, videos, images, and other content hosted on their site.

    Queries on these sites return a list of material related to a keyword, another piece of content, or a location. Search engines, applications, and websites all use this information. With the help of API, all three now have access to a vast catalog of video and other data.

    Automated Scanning for Inappropriate Content

    One challenge with online video is the wealth of content that is inappropriate for particular audiences and contexts.

    Unfortunately, traditional scanning engines can’t parse images and videos that don’t contain red flag keywords. The typical solution has been to use human labor, but that’s expensive and time-consuming.

    SightEngine is a service that uses an API to interface with content uploaded to your site. It also works with the content on the servers of your video host. The API allows direct access to content at the code level. This eliminates the need for human intervention or manually accessed files.

    SightEngine’s moderation engine, based on advanced heuristics, automatically scans content for nudity. Then, it provides instant notification if it detects relevant content. You can disable or delete suspect content immediately. 

    SightEngine can scan both live video feeds and on-demand content. Its speed and power are made possible via the API interface.

    As you can see, there are numerous ways that video streaming API can be used to create custom solutions in numerous contexts for different businesses

    3. How to Add Live Video Streaming to Your Website with API

    video player api
    You can use API to add live videos to your website in three simple steps.

    Now that you understand the value of live streaming API, let’s talk about how you can apply this knowledge to your website live streaming setup.

    Adding live video to your website is easy. To get started, you need to do three things:

    1. Choose a live streaming service (i.e. Dacast).
    2. Create your first live stream.
    3. Embed the code on your website.

    Let’s break down each step.

    1. Choose a Live Streaming Platform

    The first step is simple. Most organizations choose a professional live streaming platform. These include services like Dacast, as well as our industry counterparts.

    The benefits of using streaming services platforms, as opposed to free social network platforms, are endless. These benefits include tech support during your broadcasts, white-label service, monetization, and a professional look with options for customization.

    Not every video streaming service includes API access. Even if a platform does support API access, it might not be available on every plan. Be sure to make sure that the plan you’re considering has full API access.

    2. Set Up Your First Live Stream

    api live streaming
    Setting up your own live stream gives you more control over your content and comes across as more professional when done right. You can do this via an API.

    Creating a live stream is easy, as well. Most of the time, you can start live streaming with minimal set-up time on professional-grade platforms.

    Platforms like Dacast have thorough documentation to guide everybody from first-time broadcasters to seasoned pros, so live streaming for organizations from a streaming services platform is straightforward regardless of your experience level.

    Generally, you’ll click a button labeled “create a new channel” or “create a new live stream.” From there, you’ll specify a title and description and set other options. All of this should only take a few minutes.

    Once everything is set up, you are prepared to proceed with your broadcast. 

    3. Embedding a Live Video Feed on Your Website

    Once you’re ready to broadcast, you need to embed the live stream on your website.

    Streaming from your website is huge for lead generation, list building, and your organization’s brand and marketing.

    These days, embedding involves copying and pasting a small code snippet from your streaming services provider to your website. It’s very easy and you don’t need any IT or programming experience.

    Again, this process should be simple. To learn more about embedding videos, check out our dedicated guide to embedding video players

    4. How to Access and Manage Content from Your Website

    So, you’ve set up live streaming and you’ve embedded your video player on your website. Now, it’s time to start broadcasting.

    At this point, you want to take that integration to the next level. You want to not only view the content on your website but manage it from your website as well. Having a single site for your content means no more wasting time with third-party logins. It’s a fast, efficient, and centralized way of dealing with your data. Content creators only have to learn one platform, and you only have to administer one set of users.

    The good news? All of this is possible with API access live access.

    A good live streaming API will reproduce all the features of its live-streaming platform. That means that you can code your backend that looks and functions just like the native platform, yet it exists in your domain.

    Live streaming API enables you to integrate features into your website, such as:

    • Uploading
    • Encoding
    • Naming and tagging
    • Monetization
    • Privacy
    • Analytics

    Building your control panel allows you to integrate with existing content management systems. This creates a single location for administering online content of all types.

    It also simplifies management. For example, content creators at your organization can work together via the same platform.

    You can access the powerful tools of your live streaming platform directly and modify settings like pay-per-view and pricing plans, as well. There’s no need to go anywhere else.

    To create this seamless platform, all you need is an API, a software developer, and a few simple code elements. You may even be able to use code from existing open-source projects. It’s not that difficult, even with little technical know-how. You can use web API video streaming to make your setup more seamless for your organization.

    5. What Are Live Streaming API Commands?

    live stream api
    Live streaming API involves a series of codes that command actions.

    APIs function by the use of “commands” or “calls”. Essentially, these are snippets of code that you can insert within your web, desktop, or mobile app. When executed, they carry out the actions you defined in the code.

    CRUD—which is short for Create, Read, Update, Delete—is a widely used standard for content platforms or APIs. Completing these actions is done through a variety of technical methods, usually standard-based.

    Common Codes for Live Streaming API

    Gaining access to Public or Private Video Streaming APIs will require developer access. This is managed through the creation of an app or an account on the live streaming services platform. Once created, a unique API Key or Token is generated for you. You’ll use that to access the live streaming API.

    For example, you may want to return a list of all the live stream channels connected to your account. To do so, you would enter the following code into a web browser, terminal, or web-connected app.

    https://api.dacast.com/v2/channel?apikey={your_apikey}

    Be sure to insert your unique API key in the part of the command that says “{your_apikey}.” This will generate a list of your channels in a standardized JSON format.

    Using the channel IDs returned by this command, you can update a channel. This is done with the “PUT” command. Settings that you can customize using the “PUT” command include:

    • Channel title
    • Description
    • Category
    • Status (turn on or off)
    • Live counter toggle (display number of viewers)
    • Google Analytics toggle
    • Autoplay toggle

    Keep in mind that every platform will offer different API commands that are unique to its technology. Reach out to the platform you are working with to learn what its API live stream commands are.

    Dacast API Access: What You Need to Know

    dacast video api
    Dacast provides a video and player API, that allows you to enable your business with video, enhance your mobile apps, or build your own video CMS.

    As we mentioned, it is important to choose a reliable video streaming platform with API access. Dacast, for example, offers player API and video API.

    Here at Dacast, we’ve recently revamped our video streaming API support and expanded our documentation. The Dacast API offers support for content management (live streams, VOD content, and playlists) and video analytics operations. You can use the Dacast player API to create a custom video experience for your organization. 

    Let’s take a closer look at each of these functions.

    Live Streaming Content Management

    The live stream content management functions of Dacast API include:

    • List live streams (GET)
    • Create a new live stream (POST)
    • Delete a live stream (DELETE)
    • Retrieve live stream details (GET)
    • Update live stream details (PUT)
    • Retrieve live stream embed code (GET)
    • Delete custom splash screen (DELETE)
    • Upload custom splash screen (POST)
    • Delete custom thumbnail (DELETE)
    • Upload custom thumbnail (POST)

    To access the documentation for these functions, go to the Dacast API Documentation page and select “01 – LIVE STREAMS,” then click “1.1 Content management.” You can click through each function to access the unique documentation and commands.

    VOD Content Management

    The VOD content management functions of the Dacast API are as follows:

    • List VOD files (GET)
    • Upload or integrate a video file (POST)
    • Delete the splash of the VOD ID (DELETE)
    • Upload custom splash screen (POST)
    • Upload custom thumbnail (POST)
    • Delete VOD file (DELETE)
    • Retrieve VOD details (GET)
    • Update VOD details (PUT)
    • Generate VOD embed code (GET)

    To access the documentation for these functions, go to the Dacast API Documentation page and select “02 – VIDEO ON DEMAND,” then click “2.1 Content management.” Just like the live streaming content management documentation, you can click through each function to access the different commands.

    Video Playlist Content Management

    The playlist content management functions of the Dacast API include:

    • List playlists (GET)
    • Create a new playlist (POST)
    • Delete a playlist (DELETE)
    • Retrieve playlist details (GET)
    • Update playlist details (PUT)
    • Update a playlist’s content (PUT)
    • Return playlist embed code (GET)
    • Delete custom splash screen (DELETE)
    • Upload custom splash screen (POST)
    • Delete custom thumbnail (DELETE)
    • Upload custom thumbnail (POST)

    To access the documentation for these functions, go to the Dacast API Documentation page and select “03 – PLAYLISTS,” then click “3.1 Content management.” Just like the other two content management documentation, you can click through each function to access the different commands.

    Video Analytics Operations

    Dacast’s API documentation for analytics is much more limited than the content management controls. In fact, there are only two major functions: get all analytics related to a given type of content and get analytics related to a given piece of content.

    To access the documentation for these functions, go to the Dacast API Documentation page and select “04 – ANALYTICS,” then click “3.1 Analytics Operations.”

    Within the documentation for both analytics functions, the user can select a chart type and content type.

    The chart types include:

    • Bytes per period
    • Bytes per content
    • Visitors per period
    • Visitors per content
    • Visitors per country

    The content types include:

    • VOD
    • Live streaming
    • Playlists

    You can choose the combination(s) that you need to generate the appropriate reports for your content. This live data API commands can help you monitor what is happening with a live stream in real-time.

    Dacast API Documentation

    To use all of the Dacast API customization and functions, we discussed, please check out our video content management API documentation. Our documentation includes all of the commands you need to make those actions possible.

    For more information on our player API access, you can check out that dedicated documentation, as well. Dacast player API and video API allow you to customize your video broadcasting experience.

    Conclusion

    Live streaming API enables the customization of powerful applications. It provides direct access to the technology behind live streaming, which puts the power in your hands.

    The ability to build customized platforms to upload, configure, and manage your live streams open many doors. With a live streaming API, you can create personalized platforms. You can also integrate with existing systems to save time and effort. It’s a professional-grade approach to live streaming that’s scalable, integrated, and automated.

    Here at Dacast, we see so much value in using live streaming API to enhance your professional broadcasting experience.

    Are you considering giving the Dacast streaming service a try? We invite you to take advantage of our 14-day free trial. Our trial is 100% risk-free, so you can test out all our features and decide which plan is best for you.

    Our trial is 100% risk-free. No credit card is required.

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    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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