Comparing the Top 12 Cloud Video Streaming Platforms – What You Need to Know [2021 Update]

Cloud Video Streaming

Cloud video streaming is ideal for most modern marketers that need a straightforward and scalable video hosting infrastructure. With the support of this type of platform, brands can focus on putting out good video content without dealing with a lot of technical challenges.

In this post, we’re going to take a look into cloud video streaming and the most important features to look for in video streaming software. We’ll also provide an in-depth comparison of the top 15 platforms on the market.

Table of Contents

  • What is Cloud Video Streaming?
  • How Does Cloud-Based Streaming Work?
  • Essential Video Streaming Features
  • Top 15 Cloud Video Streaming Platforms
  • Conclusion

What is Cloud Video Streaming?

In the past, broadcasters needed complex on-premise servers and other hardware to stream videos to their audiences. This infrastructure had high upfront costs, was complicated to maintain, and wasn’t a core competency for many brands.

That’s why many broadcasters are moving to cloud video platforms that provide a straightforward video streaming and hosting solution that’s scalable.

Cloud video streaming uses software that can be accessed over the internet. Files and data are stored in “the cloud” to make it easy for broadcasters to access their information and workflows from anywhere as long as they have a computer and a strong internet connection.

How Does Cloud-Based Streaming Work?

Cloud streaming relies on a network of cloud servers that are dedicated to hosting video files and efficiently deliver this content to viewers. Once broadcasters upload files, they’re encoded and transcoded into a variety of formats that are ready for playback.

Video transcoding in the cloud is an efficient way of creating multiple renditions of a single video file without taking resources away from the initial encoding process. That way, broadcasters ensure their content can be shared with nearly any device their audience wants to use.

With cloud-based video streaming, broadcasters can host their content in the cloud for on-demand consumption or live stream events to their viewers.

Essential Video Cloud Streaming Features

video cloud streaming
Video cloud streaming is more straightforward and scalable for broadcasters.

There are a few key features that broadcasters should look for as they compare cloud-based streaming solutions. Let’s review some features that you should pay attention to.

1. Video Transcoding

Video transcoding is an important tool for delivering high-quality video content to a large audience. There’s no telling what sort of internet connection viewers will have, so a platform that can transcode video content into multiple renditions that are ideal for universal compatibility.

2. Live Recording

Live streams can be just as valuable after the event is over if your platform offers live stream recording. With a record feature, broadcasters can capture their live events for VOD purposes without impacting the quality of the stream itself.

Auto-archiving tools are also valuable because they record your live streams then automatically upload them to your VOD library. This provides added convenience for broadcasters.

3. Video Player

While supporting many video formats is important, an HTML5 video player that’s compatible with nearly every device can further maximize a brand’s audience. HTML5 players can be easily embedded wherever viewers might be, whether it’s social media posts or websites.

4. Monetization

Beyond saving on infrastructure costs, a platform should have options for monetizing video content. Some common monetization methods include subscriptions, ad-based video monetization, and pay-per-view.

5. Video Analytics

Access to video analytics is a key part of optimizing content viewership. A professional-grade broadcasting platform should provide viewership insights such as track video plays, consumption time, and other fine-grained details about audiences to fuel business decisions. 

6. Video API Access

Along with monetization, broadcasters can make the most of their video content if it’s easy to integrate the cloud-based solutions with other business applications. 

Video platforms with well-documented video API access help you to customize your video streaming experience and incorporate advanced features when necessary.

7. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Not every platform is created equal when it comes to streaming quality. Streaming platforms that partner content delivery networks with geographically dispersed servers are best suited for achieving high performance. 

Platforms that leverage top-tier global live streaming CDN networks, therefore, can reduce buffering and latency issues associated with delivering video over long distances.

8. Privacy and Security

Broadcasters need confidence that their data will be safe in the cloud. That’s why a video streaming platform that complies with security standards and privacy regulations is a requirement. 

Using a secure enterprise-grade platform helps brands mitigate the risks of piracy, hacking, or other issues.

9. 24/7 Support

When using a cloud video platform, broadcasters will have less control over the underlying infrastructure. That means it’s crucial to have reliable and fast support if any technical issues arise.

Look for a platform that provides 24/7 support from a knowledgeable tech team.

Comparison of the Top 15 Cloud Video Streaming Platforms in 2021

There are many cloud-based video streaming solutions on the market today. Each of these platforms offers a unique set of features at a variety of price points. With so many options available, choosing the right platform may feel overwhelming.

To help you with this decision, we’ve rounded up information on some of the top cloud video streaming services on the market. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.

1. Dacast

cloud video platform
Dacast’s cloud-based platform enables live streaming and video on demand.

Company Background:

Dacast offers a cloud-based streaming solution that’s straightforward for users of all experience levels. The platform has enterprise-grade hosting and streaming capabilities that can meet a diverse set of business requirements.

Once users get up to speed with Dacast’s robust set of features, they’ll have an affordable cloud solution for delivering video content to their audience.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast is an enterprise-grade video platform for broadcasters that supports live and on-demand video hosting.

Key Features: 

  • Cloud Streaming and Online Video Hosting
  • Video API for integrating the video platform with cloud-based software
  • Player API for seamlessly integrating video into apps and websites
  • Video monetization tools
  • Live stream recording/auto-archiving
  • HTML5 video player
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Plans for every budget
  • Expo video portals 

Pros:

Cons:

  • A slight learning curve to fully utilize some features

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 video cloud streaming platform

Brightcove offers an industry-leading solution for live streaming at scale.

Company Background:

Brightcove offers a streaming solution that specializes in marketing and monetization. Its users around the world have the ability to integrate the cloud platform with their existing marketing, advertising, and communication apps to achieve more with their video content.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove provides an enterprise-level video cloud solution for broadcasters.

Key Features:

Live streaming through Video Cloud

Over-the-top (OTT) streaming

Advertising and monetization

Numerous cloud app integrations

Pros:

Straightforward cloud interface

Privacy and security for enterprises

Pre-built integrates for cloud apps

Cons:

Lack of fine-grain analytic or reporting

No China video delivery

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 has individual pricing for each customer.

Best Use Cases:

Enterprise and marketing cloud video hosting

Brand awareness through video for marketing and sales professionals

Video marketing solutions for publishers and broadcasters 

3. IBM Video Cloud

ibm video cloud live streaming platform

The IBM Video Cloud offers reliable streaming for broadcasters.

Company Background:

IBM Video Cloud is a video streaming platform and a leading provider of live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

IBM Video Cloud offers live streaming and VOD through the cloud.

Key Features:

Live and on-demand video streaming

Secure sharing of online content

Pros:

Reliable cloud streaming

Enterprise-grade video capabilities

Responsive customer support

Hong Kong (China) video hosting

Cons:

Lack of monetization options

Doesn’t use a CDN

General plans don’t offer APIs

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 Video Cloud has pricing plans starting at $99/month, including:

The pricing plans for the IBM Video Cloud include:

Silver – $99/month

Gold – $499/month

Platinum – $999/month

Custom Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

Best Use Cases:

Cloud video hosting for marketing and enterprises

Virtual conference streaming

Media & entertainment video management

4. Kaltura

kaltura cloud-based video platform

Kaltura is a video streaming solution geared towards large institutions.

Company Background:

Kaltura is an Israeli company that offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) video solution. Their video platform has live and VOD capabilities for large institutions.

Basic Functionality:

Kaltura specializes in video streaming features for employers and universities that want to deliver educational content to their employees and students.

Key Features:

Cloud video hosting & streaming

Cloud TV service

Advanced Security in the Cloud

Pros:

Great features for education and enterprise uses

Variety of monetization options

Simple SaaS solution

Cons:

Slow uploads to the cloud

No China video 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 charges based on bandwidth and feature usage, but there are free trials available as well.

Best Use Cases:

Cloud video hosting for Education and Enterprises

Video streaming for sales

Live event streaming

5. Wistia

 

 

 

Wistia Video Hosting Software

Wistia offers TV-quality video delivery solutions and marketing software.

Company Background:

Wistia offers a video platform for broadcasters. The platform includes TV-quality streaming and a video player with features like annotation links, CTAs, and custom branding.

Basic Functionality:

Wistia allows broadcasters to upload, manage, and stream videos in the cloud.

Key Features:

Channels & other playback options

Interactive cloud tooling

Integration with CRM and other business applications

Cloud video hosting & streaming

Pros:

Custom branding options

Video organization in the cloud

Advanced analytics

Customer support

Cons:

Some issues with customization options

No China cloud 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:

Video streaming for businesses

Virtual classroom streaming in the cloud

Video content management

6. Vidyard

 

Vidyard Video Platform

Vidyard’s video platform is built for marketing, sales, and corporate communications.

Company Background:

Vidyard is a streaming solution for sharing professional video content. The platform is geared towards marketing, sales, and corporate communications.

Basic Functionality:

Vidyard is a comprehensive cloud video solution for turning viewers into customers.

Key Features:

Cloud video hosting and streaming

Secure cloud platform

Pros:

Cloud integration options

An active community of users

Customer service available

Cons:

Complicated backend

Consistency issues

No China video 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:

All enterprise pricing packages are custom priced.

Best Use Cases:

Video hosting and streaming for marketing

Enterprise hosting and streaming solutions

Video streaming for sales

7. DailyMotion

daily motion video streaming and hosting

DailyMotion is a popular live video streaming and hosting service.

Company Background:

DailyMotion offers video services for businesses and consumers alike.

Basic Functionality:

DailyMotion makes it straightforward to manage and share on-demand or live video content in the cloud.

Key Features:

Infrastructure for video streaming

Integrates with many gaming platforms

Localized for 35 countries and 18 languages

Pros:

Unlimited cloud storage and streaming bandwidth

Support for a global audience

China video delivery with Huawei partnership

Cons:

No support for private cloud video hosting

Limit for file size and length of videos

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 free for most users but offers premium plans for greater video exposure.

Best Use Cases:

The latest news for consumers and businesses

Live streaming for entertainment and media

Video on demand for sports broadcasting

8. JWPlayer

JWplayer video streaming platform

JWPlayer is a low-budget cloud video streaming platform.

Company Background:

JW Player is a cloud video streaming option for companies with a limited budget. The platform has basic live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

JW Player provides streaming services at a low price.

Key Features:

Streaming to any device

Suitable for companies of all sizes

Video management in the cloud

Pros:

Affordable

Great sales support and customer service

Cons:

Limits live events to 5 hours

No API support for live streaming

No China video 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:

JW Player has paid plans starting at $10/month and custom plans for enterprises:

Starter – $10/month

EnterprisePlease contact JW Player for custom pricing information.

Best Use Cases:

Video streaming for digital media

Video platform for online fitness

Connecting the faith-based communities through an interactive platform

9. Livestream

Livestream Streaming Platform

Vimeo’s Livestream has marketing features for large organizations.

Company Background:

Livestream is a streaming solution that provides large organizations with live event streaming and advanced marketing capabilities.

Basic Functionality:

Livestream is an all-in-one cloud video platform for streaming, hosting, and marketing videos.

Key Features:

Cloud video streaming and management

Live streaming through the cloud

Advanced marketing features

Pros:

Easy for broadcasters and viewers to use

Works directly with YouTube

Useful analytics

Cons:

Frequent software updates during live streams

Limited CDN support

No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

**Since Livestream is now owned by Vimeo, these specifications overlap

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:

Livestream has plans starting at $75/month, but enterprise customers can request individual plans through their sales team.

Best Use Cases:

Corporate cloud video streaming

Conference live streaming

Government streaming solutions

10. Panopto

Panopto video platform

Panopto’s video cloud is packed with features aimed at solutions for universities and large enterprises.

Company Background:

Panopto is a cloud video streaming solution with over 5 million users around the world. The platform is geared towards businesses and universities in the online learning space.

Basic Functionality:

Panoptos’ platform is best for internal use which integrates with learning management systems (LMSs).

Key Features:

Video cloud video solutions

Live streaming and recording

Video content management

Mobile-ready solution

Pros:

Regional cloud infrastructure

Branding options

China video hosting

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 has pricing based on the number of users or students. The plans include unlimited streaming and storage for internal use.

Best Use Cases:

Corporate Communications

E-learning video hosting

Cloud video management

11. SproutVideo

Sprout Video hosting platform

SproutVideo’s video hosting and live streaming platform is geared towards companies and organizations of any size.

Company Background:

SproutVideo is a cloud video platform for live streaming and VOD, which has plans for basic features through to a fully-featured solution.

Basic Functionality:

SproutVideo has cloud-based live streaming and VOD capabilities.

Key Features:

Cloud video streaming and hosting

Advanced privacy and security options

Every plan includes live chat support

Pros:

Plan options for every budget 

Advanced analytics

Cons:

Limited storage for basic plans

Some buffering issues

No China cloud 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:

Live video streaming

Video on demand (VOD) hosting

Cloud-based enterprise video streaming 

12. Vimeo Live

Vimeo video streaming platform

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

Company Background:

Vimeo Live is a reliable cloud platform for live streaming events, which includes professional-grade features for broadcasters.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo Live is a cloud video streaming platform with comprehensive video hosting and live streaming functionality.

Key Features:

Cloud-based video hosting

Live streaming in the cloud

Advanced distribution and marketing tools

Pros:

Easy to get started

Professional interface

Unlimited events and viewers

Cons:

Some issues with connection to an internal server

No China video delivery

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:

Cloud video streaming for enterprise

Video solutions for creative professionals

Audience engagement and video for SMB businesses

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a multitude of cloud streaming platforms available. That’s why it’s crucial for broadcasters to understand the features they need for their business before choosing a video solution.

For small/medium businesses, Dacast is a great option because it offers everything brands need to deliver video content at an affordable price. In fact, the platform was recently nominated by voters in the 2019 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the cloud-based streaming space as well as the top platforms available today. Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date information as possible to our readers. However, we firmly believe that when assessing features and pricing against the competition, Dacast’s comprehensive solution for hosting, live streaming, and VOD is one of the best live streaming platform choices for professionals in 2020 and beyond.

If you haven’t decided firmly on which streaming solution is for you, why not try our streaming solutions for yourself? We offer a 30-day free trial, with no credit card required. Click here to sign up for our free trial and start streaming live today:

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