The Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Video Platforms In 2021

Cloud Video Platforms

The cloud is transforming the way broadcasters operate. In fact, many brands are starting to recognize that all-in-one cloud video platforms for live streaming and video on demand (VOD) are more convenient, scalable, and feature-rich than traditional broadcasting technologies.

With this in mind, let’s look at what cloud video platforms are, and the key features that video streaming should offer. We’ll also take a brief look at the top 12 video platforms on the market in 2020.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

  • What Is a Cloud-Based Video Platform?
  • Key Features of Cloud Video Streaming
  • Top 12 Online Video Platforms In 2020
  • Conclusion

What Is a Cloud-Based Video Platform?

Cloud-based Video Platforms
Cloud-based Video Platforms unlock innovative new capabilities for modern broadcasters.

A cloud video platform is a comprehensive solution for streaming live events and on-demand video content. Most of these streaming platforms store video content that’s uploaded by broadcasters or recorded during a live event. These files are encoded or transcoded in the cloud so that they’re ready for delivery to end-users.

Many cloud video platforms have advanced features that enable broadcasters to better organize and monetize their videos as well. That’s why these solutions are invaluable for today’s brands looking to grow their audience and generate additional revenue.

Key Features of Cloud Video Streaming

Cloud video platforms vary in quality and depth of functionality, so it’s important to look out for some of these essential features.

1. Cloud Transcoding

Cloud transcoding
Cloud transcoding is the process of re-encoding a video into a different format.

Broadcasters need to upload their VOD content to their cloud video platform before it can be shared with their audience. As part of this process, these files need to be transcoded, so that they’re ready for delivery to a variety of end-user devices. Cloud video transcoding, therefore, is an essential feature for simplifying video streaming workflows.

2. S3 Direct Upload

When it comes to uploading videos, cloud video platforms need secure and robust direct file transfer capabilities. Automated tagging, thumbnail generation, and other convenient features can ensure brands deliver their content to viewers faster. Moreover, bulk uploading can streamline the migration of large video libraries from legacy systems.

3. Video Content Management (CMS)

video content management system (cms)
Video CMS tools allow you to group videos, upload, delete, and edit in bulk, which streamlines the sharing of your content.

Once video files are ingested to the cloud video platform, broadcasters need tools for organizing, managing, monetizing, and sharing this content. That’s why an all-in-one solution should include advanced video content management system (CMS) capabilities that enable broadcasters to make the most of their video content in the cloud.

4. Cloud Storage

Video content is invaluable for broadcasters, so they’ll want a cloud video platform that can safely store their files. The cloud video platform needs features like password protection, domain restrictions, HLS encryption, and other advanced security measures. These security and privacy features ensure broadcasters can protect their content from data breaches or piracy. 

5. Live Recording

While on-demand content is usually uploaded to the cloud platform, broadcasters should also be able to record their live events for playback later as well. Moreover, live recording shouldn’t impact the performance of the live stream itself. Live stream recording in the cloud eliminates the need for powerful hardware or processing power and ensures a high-quality viewing experience.

6. Video Monetization

paywall video monetization
With an integrated paywall, a monetization solution allows you to monetize your live broadcasts, events, and channels

Broadcasters want straightforward ways to generate revenue from their video content. That means cloud video platforms should give brands monetization options like subscriptions, ad-based video monetization, and pay-per-view that charge viewers using a secure paywall. Every broadcaster should have powerful monetization capabilities for getting the most ROI from their video content.

7. Universal Playback

html5 video player
An HTML5 Video Player allows playback on any device, and white-label features ensure full customization.

While APIs ensure broadcasters can deliver their video content anywhere, they should also look for a cloud video platform with universal playback capabilities prebuilt. For example, an HTML5 video player is compatible with nearly any device, so brands can expand their reach and provide high-quality viewing experiences for their audience.

8. Video APIs

A powerful video API is crucial for broadcasters that want complete control over their video streaming workflow. Developers can use APIs to integrate video content into nearly any website, mobile app, business software, or cloud application. Cloud video platforms with APIs available can maximize their use for more advanced business requirements.

9. High-Quality Viewing Experience

live streaming quality experience QoE
The goals of QoE are to provide a valuable user experience, increasing brand awareness, and leaving a professional impression.

 

Most viewers still expect a TV-quality viewing experience from over-the-top (OTT) broadcasters. Advanced playback features that improve the viewing quality of experiences (QoE) such as chapter markers and playlists can set brands apart from the competition and keep their audience coming back for more.

10. Cost Savings

Cloud video platforms usually have subscription costs based on traffic, storage requirements, and other factors. That said, a cloud platform could substantially reduce video streaming costs compared to traditional streaming workflows. Broadcasters need to choose a platform that offers the features most essential to their business at a reasonable price.

Comparing the Top 12 Cloud Video Platforms In 2021

Every cloud platform has its advantages and disadvantages, so broadcasters need to determine which features are most important to them. With this in mind, here’s a brief overview of the top streaming platforms currently available.

1. Dacast

Dacast Live Streaming Online Video Platform
Dacast is a cloud-based video platform for broadcasters of all sizes and experience levels.

Company Background:

Dacast is an enterprise-grade cloud video platform that’s ideal for broadcasters of all sizes and experience levels. The platform has robust cloud storage and streaming capabilities at reasonable prices.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast is a cloud video platform that’s scalable and straightforward to use.

Key Features:

Pros:

Cons:

  • A slight learning curve for new users

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: none (but 240p is the recommended minimum)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p or 4K (depends on the user’s hardware and internet)
  • Aspect ratio: no restrictions (but 16:9 is the default)
  • Max file size: none
  • Max video length: none
  • Total file storage: 10-1000GB (depends on plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MP4 (preferred), MOV, M4V, M2V, AVI, MPG, FLV, WMV, MKV, WEBM, OGV, MXF, ASF, VOB, MT

Pricing:

Dacast has live streaming pricing plans starting at $39/month, including:

  • Starter Plan: $39/month (includes 1,000 GB of bandwidth & 50 GB of storage)
  • Event Plan: $63/month (includes 6 TB of bandwidth upfront and 50 GB of storage)
  • Scale Plan: $188/month (includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year and 1 TB of storage)
  • Custom plan: Contact us for custom pricing plans

Best Use Cases:

2. Brightcove

Brightcove Cloud Video Platform
Brightcove is a global video platform for monetizing video content.

Company Background:

Brightcove is a video platform with global users in 70 countries. The platform helps broadcasters integrate marketing, advertising, and communication applications to monetize their video content.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove’s cloud video platform is built for enterprise-grade video marketing and delivery.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming in the cloud
  • Over-the-top (OTT) cloud video streaming
  • Advertising and marketing capabilities
  • Pre-built cloud app integrations

Pros:

  • Privacy and security for enterprises
  • Intuitive platform interface
  • Customer support

Cons:

  • No China video delivery
  • Limited reporting and analytics tools
  • 24/7 support isn’t free

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: Determined by user
  • Maximum dimension: Determined by user 
  • Aspect ratio: No restrictions (since Brightcove uses a responsive player)
  • Max file size: No limits on files size
  • Max video length: No published limits
  • Total file storage: Varies by plan
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MKV, 3GPP

Pricing:

Brightcove’s pricing is no longer posted, but plans include basic video marketing tools and analytics with SD streaming quality for unlimited viewers.

Brightcove offers three pricing plan levels that target higher-end clients, and include:

  • Starter: includes 50 to 200 videos, up to 100,000 plays, and 2-5 users
  • Professional: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with +10 users
  • Enterprise: unlimited videos, 100,000+ plays, and no overages plays, with 10+ users, unlimited upload, and analytics-only users

Best Use Cases:

  • Cloud streaming live sports
  • Enterprise cloud video storage
  • Virtual events

3. IBM Video Cloud

ibm cloud video online video platform
IBM Video Cloud offers reliability at a premium.

Company Background:

IBM Video Cloud is a cloud video platform known for its reliable live streaming and video on demand capabilities, but it’s also more expensive than many alternatives.

Basic Functionality:

IBM Video Cloud provides live streaming and VOD services to enterprise broadcasters.

Key Features:

  • Cloud-based live streaming and VOD
  • Secure storage and sharing of video content

Pros:

  • Feature-rich for broadcasters
  • Enterprise-grade reliability
  • Customer support
  • Hong Kong (China) cloud video hosting

Cons:

  • Limited tools for monetization
  • Doesn’t use a CDN
  • No APIs available in general plans

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 480p (480 x 270)
  • Maximum dimension:  4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: No published aspect ratio
  • Max file size: 4 GB
  • Max video length: No published limits
  • Total file storage: 1TB – 5TB (depends on plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MKV, MP4, MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MPEG2, H264, H263, MPEG4, VP6, VP8, THEORA, WMV, MP3, AAC-LC, NELLYMOSER, PCM, SPEEX, VORBIS, WMA

Pricing:

IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:

  • Silver: $99/month
  • Gold: $499/month
  • Platinum: $999/month
  • Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

Best Use Cases:

  • Marketing and enterprise cloud video storage
  • Media & Entertainment video streaming
  • Virtual event streaming in the cloud

4. Kaltura

kaltura business video hosting
Kaltura is a video streaming solution geared towards large institutions.

Company Background:

Kaltura is an Israeli video company that offers a cloud video platform with live streaming and VOD capabilities for large institutions.

Basic Functionality:

Kaltura provides video streaming services for employers and universities that want to deliver educational content to employees and students.

Key Features:

  • Kaltura Cloud for cloud storage
  • Cloud TV services
  • Enterprise-grade security

Pros:

  • Great for education and enterprise broadcasting
  • Hands-off SaaS solution
  • Multiple monetization options

Cons:

  • Substantial learning curve
  • Slow video uploading and processing
  • No China delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 180p (320 x 180)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920x 1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: 2GB
  • Max video length: Not available
  • Total file storage: 10GB to Unlimited (depends on the plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MOV, MP4

Pricing:

Kaltura pricing is based on bandwidth and feature usage, but there are free trials available.

Best Use Cases:

  • Enterprise and education video streaming
  • Cloud video streaming for sales
  • Live event streaming

5. Wistia

Wistia Video Streaming Software
Wistia is a video platform for TV-quality video streaming.

Company Background:

Wistia is a cloud video platform for creating, managing, and delivering video content.

Basic Functionality:

Wistia provides a variety of TV-quality video streaming and other features, including custom branding, annotation links, CTAs, and more.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video storage and management
  • Channels and “up-next” options
  • Interactive cloud video tooling

Pros:

  • Custom branding
  • Advanced analytics
  • Cloud video organization
  • Customer support

Cons:

  • Issues with some customization features
  • No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimensions: None
  • Maximum dimensions: Maximum of 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Supported aspect ratios: Any
  • Maximum file size: 8 GB
  • Maximum video length: 2 hours
  • Total file storage: Up to 10 videos with the pro plan ($99 per month), $0.25 per month for every extra video
  • Accepted video formats: MP4 (recommended format), .MOV, .AVI, .WMV, .FLV, .MKV, 3GPP

Pricing:

Wistia has multiple pricing options, including:

  • Basic plan: Free
  • Pro plan: $99/month
  • Advanced: Please contact Wistia directly for pricing information.

Best Use Cases:

  • Enterprise and marketing cloud video streaming
  • Cloud-based virtual classroom streaming
  • Video CMS

6. Vidyard

vidyard online video platform
Vidyard is a comprehensive video platform for professional streaming.

Company Background:

Vidyard is a cloud video platform with the tools needed for professional video streaming. This includes multiple packages based on use-cases, such as marketing, sales, and corporate communications.

Basic Functionality:

Vidyard is an all-in-one platform for delivering video content that converts viewers into customers.

Key Features:

  • Advanced security for cloud platform
  • Cloud videos storage

Pros:

  • Cloud integrations
  • Active user community
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Complicated backend
  • Issues with consistency
  • No China delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension:  360p (480 x 360)
  • Maximum dimension:  4k (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size:5GB to 16GB (depends on the plan)
  • Max video length: 1 hour (live stream)
  • Total file storage: Not available
  • Compatible video formats: WEBM, MP4, MKV, MOV

Pricing:

Vidyard prices its platform based on the use-case, and includes the following packages:

Packages for Individuals and Teams:

  • Free Forever: Free
  • Pro Package: $15/month
  • Teams Package: $300/month
  • Business Package: $1250/month
  • Enterprise Package: Custom pricing

Custom Video Solutions:

Best Use Cases:

  • Marketing cloud video storage
  • Enterprise cloud hosting
  • Cloud video streaming for sales

7. DailyMotion

daily motion private video hosting
DailyMotion makes it easy for broadcasters to upload and share videos in the cloud.

Company Background:

DailyMotion is a cloud video platform for storing and streaming video content.

Basic Functionality:

DailyMotion has simple features for video hosting and delivery in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Integration with gaming platforms
  • Cloud video infrastructure
  • Supports 35 countries and 18 languages

Pros:

  • Unlimited cloud storage and bandwidth
  • Support for global audiences
  • China video delivery with Huawei partnership

Cons:

  • No support for private cloud video hosting
  • Limits on video file size and duration

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: 128GB
  • Max video length: 12 hours
  • Total file storage: Unlimited
  • Compatible video formats: MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV,  MPEG-PS, FLV, 3GPP, WebM

Pricing:

DailyMotion is a free cloud video platform but offers paid plans to increase video exposure.

Best Use Cases:

  • Public cloud video hosting
  • Live streaming videos in the cloud

8. JWPlayer

jw player live streaming video hosting
JWPlayer is a low-budget video platform option.

Company Background:

JWPlayer is a cloud video platform with live streaming and VOD features. The platform is geared towards companies with lower budgets.

Basic Functionality:

JWPlayer offers limited cloud video storage and streaming at low price points.

Key Features:

  • Cloud streaming to any device
  • Video storage in the cloud
  • Suitable for broadcasters with budget constraints

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • Live events limited to 5 hours
  • Lack of APIs available for live streaming
  • No China delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 360p (640 x 360)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3, 2.39:1
  • Max file size: 25GB
  • Max video length: Not available
  • Total file storage: 25GB to 500GB (depends on the plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, 3GP, FLV

Pricing:

JWPlayer pricing plans include the following tiers:

  • Free trial: JW Player offers a 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, a non-commercial license, 25 GB hosting bandwidth, and 75 GB streaming.
  • Starter plan: At $10 per month, the Starter pricing plan includes an HTML5 Video Player, a video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth, and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month (billed annually).
  • Enterprise plan: these business-specific plans are available with custom pricing for high-volume storage and streaming. Enterprise plans support live streaming, while lower-tier plans only support VOD.

Best Use Cases:

  • Cloud streaming digital media
  • Enterprise and marketing cloud video hosting

9. Livestream (Vimeo)

Vimeo's livestream video hosting solution
Livestream is a video platform with advanced features for large organizations.

Company Background:

Livestream is a cloud video platform by Vimeo. Large organizations can use the platform’s advanced marketing features for live event streaming.

Basic Functionality:

Livestream has all the tools organizations need to stream, manage, and monitor videos.

Key Features:

  • Cloud video management
  • Live streaming in the cloud
  • Advanced marketing tools
  • Audience interaction features

Pros:

  • Easy for users and viewers to use
  • In-depth analytics available
  • Integrates directly with YouTube

Cons:

  • Software updates sometimes interrupt streams
  • Limited CDN support
  • No China video streaming

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Recommended dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: 3GB
  • Max video length: Information not available 
  • Total file storage: Information not available
  • Compatible video formats: MP4 (recommended)

Pricing:

Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

Vimeo Premium:

  • Premium pricing: $75/month
  • Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD services. This plan is the way to go for professional broadcasting.

Vimeo Enterprise:

  • Enterprise Pricing: Please contact Vimeo for custom pricing information
  • The Enterprise plan includes white-label service, monetization, and video APIs. It also includes branding control and added security features.

Vimeo OTT:

  • Starter Pricing: $1/subscriber per month
  • Growth Pricing: starting at $500/month
  • The OTT specific pricing packages come with the Vimeo.com relationship. These plans include all the basics for starting your web-based OTT channel, as well as growing your OTT business online.

For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to Vimeo Livestream pricing.

Best Use Cases:

  • Live event streaming
  • Cloud video hosting for marketing

10. Panopto

panopto video platform for education
Panopto is a video platform that specializes in eLearning.

Company Background:

Panopto is a cloud video platform geared towards businesses and universities. There are over 5 million Panopto users in the global eLearning space.

Basic Functionality:

Panopto integrates with learning management systems (LMSs) to organize and stream educational videos more efficiently in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming and recording in the cloud
  • Cloud video storage and management
  • Mobile-ready video solution
  • White-label video streaming

Pros:

  • Regional cloud infrastructure
  • Support for both video and audio content
  • Custom branding options
  • China video streaming 

Cons:

  • No version control
  • No SEO management

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
  • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max video length: Information not available 
  • Total file storage: Information not available
  • Compatible video formats: AVI, MP4, MPG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GP, WMA, MP3, M4V, and more.

Pricing:

Panopto prices based on usage by students or employees. Plans include unlimited streaming and cloud storage for internal content.

Best Use Cases:

  • eLearning video streaming
  • Cloud video streaming for education
  • Cloud hosting for corporate training videos

11. SproutVideo

sprout video streaming video hosting
SproutVideo is a video platform with plans for every budget.

Company Background:

SproutVideo is a cloud video platform with bare-bones plans up to a fully-featured video solution.

Basic Functionality:

SproutVideo offers live and on-demand video streaming using its cloud platform.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming and video hosting in the cloud
  • Advanced security and privacy capabilities
  • Live chat support

Pros:

  • Plan options for every budget
  • In-depth analytics features

Cons:

  • Limited cloud storage for lower plans
  • Buffering issues
  • No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: None
  • Maximum dimension: None
  • Supported aspect ratios: Any
  • Maximum file size: Up to 100 GB
  • Maximum video length: Unlimited
  • Total file storage: 500 GB 
  • Accepted video formats: MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV, FLV, MKV, 3GPP

Pricing:

SproutVideo has multiple plans:

  • Seed: $24.99/month
  • Sprout: $59.99/month
  • Tree: $199.99/month
  • Forrest: $499.99/month

There’s also a 30-day trial available.

Best Use Cases:

  • Enterprise video streaming in the cloud
  • Cloud-based live event streaming
  • VOD cloud hosting

12. Vimeo Live

vimeo online video platform dashboard
Vimeo Live is a video platform with top features for hosting live events.

Company Background:

Vimeo Live is a cloud video platform for live event streaming. The platform is reliable and includes professional tools for broadcasters.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo Live is a comprehensive platform for cloud storage and video streaming.

Key Features:

  • Video hosting in the cloud
  • Live event streaming
  • Advanced video distribution and marketing features

Pros:

  • Easy to get started
  • Unlimited events and viewers
  • Intuitive interface

Cons:

  • Some issues with connections to an internal server
  • No China video streaming

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Recommended dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: 3GB
  • Max video length: Information not available 
  • Total file storage: Information not available
  • Compatible video formats: MP4 (recommended)

Pricing:

Vimeo Live has plans from $7/month, including:

  • Plus plan: $7/month
  • Pro plan: $20/month
  • Business plan: $50/month
  • Premium plan: $75/month
  • Enterprise plan: Custom pricing

Best Use Cases:

  • Enterprise and marketing cloud video hosting
  • Cloud streaming for sales
  • Live event streaming in the cloud

Conclusion

Live Streaming Solution
Which cloud-based live streaming solution will you choose in 2020?

With so many cloud video platforms available in 2020, choosing the right solution can be hard. Broadcasters should determine which features are most important for their business before weighing the options.

For many broadcasters, the Dacast online video platform (OVP) fits the bill. That’s why the platform was voted as the best solution for small/medium businesses in the 2019 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards.

We also offer a 30-day free trial of Dacast, with no credit card required. Click here to sign up now and test the platform yourself.

Thanks for reading, and let us know your questions and feedback in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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