Live Streaming API: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing One
Table of Contents
There is a wide array of factors to consider when choosing the right streaming service for your professional streaming needs, but have you considered the importance of live streaming API?
That said, live streaming APIs should play a significant role in your decision. We are going to break down five factors to consider when comparing live streaming APIs.
This article focuses on how live streaming APIs allow you to access video content from your own website. In particular, we’ll cover the benefits of APIs, successful examples of API in action, how to embed live videos on your website, how to create your own systems for controlling and monitoring content, and basic API commands.
Let’s dive right into the top five things to consider when choosing a live streaming API.
Table of Contents:
- Benefits of Live Streaming API
- Ways to Use Live Streaming API
- How to Add Live Video Streaming to Your Website with API
- How to Access and Manage Content from Your Own Website
- What are Live Streaming API Commands and How do they Work?
1. Benefits of Live Streaming API
APIs, or “Application Programming Interfaces,” has many benefits. In broad terms, those benefits fall under the following categories:
Here’s a thorough breakdown of each of these benefits of live streaming.
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.
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 plug 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.
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 up front 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.
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 own 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 your own solutions to unique 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 own systems using API calls.
An API allows you to connect different services together 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.
With the support of APIs, you’re free to design your own 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 blocks” that you can use to create something completely new.
2. Ways to Use a Live Streaming API
Since live streaming API is all about customization, there are countless illustrations of this technology.
Here are four examples of how different businesses use 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.
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
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 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 slow.
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.
3. How to Add Live Video Streaming to Your Website with API
Now that you understand the value of live streaming API, let’s talk about how you can apply this knowledge to your own live streaming.
Adding live video to your own website is easy. To get started, you need to do three things:
- Sign up for a live streaming service (i.e. Dacast).
- Create your first live stream.
- Embed the code on your website.
Let’s break down each step.
1. Sign Up for a Video Streaming Service
The first step is simple. Most organizations choose professional live streaming platforms. These include services like our own platform, 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.
For personal use, you may want to consider consumer-oriented apps like Periscope or Facebook Live Video.
2. Set Up Your First Live Stream
Creating a live stream is easy, as well. Most of the time, you are able to 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 copy 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 embed codes and how they work, check out this Hubspot article.
4. How to Access and Manage Content from Your Own Website
So, you’ve set up live streaming and you’ve embedded your video player on your website. You’re ready 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 own 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 by using an API.
A good live streaming API will reproduce all the features of its live-streaming platform. That means that you can code your own backend that looks and functions just like the native platform, yet it exists in your own domain.
Live streaming API enables you to integrate features into your website, such as:
- Naming and tagging
Building your own 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.
In order 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.
5. What Are Live Streaming API Commands and How Do They Work?
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 Among 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.
This would return 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
- Status (turn on or off)
- Live counter toggle (display number of viewers)
- Google Analytics toggle
- Autoplay toggle
If you’re interested in learning more about Dacast’s specific video API, we invite you to read through our video content management API documentation.
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.
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