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Comparing the Top 15 Cloud Video Streaming Platforms – What You Need to Know [2022 Update]

By Kevin Graham

45 Min Read

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Kevin Graham

Kevin is a content writer and former software developer. He focuses on producing compelling content for B2B software companies.

Table of Contents

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

    In this post, we’ll look into cloud video streaming and provide an in-depth comparison of the top 15 platforms on the market. We’ll then take a look at the most important features to look for in video streaming software. Then we’ll wrap up by comparing a video cloud platform to an on-premise solution.

    Table of Contents

    • What is Cloud Video Streaming?
    • How Does Cloud-Based Streaming Work?
    • Top 15 Cloud Video Streaming Platforms
    • Essential Video Streaming Features
    • Video Streaming on Cloud vs. On-Premise: 6 Considerations
    • Conclusion

    What is Cloud Video Streaming?

    To understand what cloud streaming is, let’s quickly go back in time. 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.

    So now back to the initial question, “What is a cloud stream?” Instead of needing physical hardware, 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.

    This way, you don’t have to make heavy investments in hardware nor go through the complexity of installing and maintaining these various pieces of hardware.

    From there, there are platforms that let you stream from cloud storage. So whether you want a simple solution for online movie storage and streaming for personal entertainment or you want to leverage these platforms for business purposes, cloud streaming is a robust solution.

    How Does Cloud-Based Streaming Work?

    Now, let’s cover the question “How does cloud streaming work?” in detail.

    Cloud streaming software relies on a network of cloud servers that are dedicated to hosting video files and efficiently delivering this content to viewers.

    Once broadcasters upload files to these cloud streaming servers, 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.

    For context, these cloud servers, though virtual, come from actual physical servers held across large data centers. That way, each physical server can be divided and essentially rented out to businesses. That way, you benefit from the concept of economies of scale. Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft own these data centers. 

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

    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

    live streaming 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. With Dacast, you can enjoy benefits such as the ability to stream video to cloud storage.

    Key Features: 

    Pros:

    Working with Dacast as a cloud video streaming platform has some big benefits. We offer video hosting for both live and video-on-demand content. 

    When you start a live stream with Dacast, we offer live stream recording. Live stream recording allows you to turn your live stream into a video-on-demand and keep a record of your content.

    Want to deliver content to China? We offer support for on-demand and live streaming to ChinaPlus, we offer 24/7 tech support for every plan, and we have great reviews from our customers!

    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)
    • Video 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

    Company Background:

    Brightcove offers a cloud-based streaming solution that specializes in marketing and monetization. Its users around the world can 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:

    One of the biggest benefits of working with Brightcove is that it has a very straightforward cloud interface that is easy for people to use. 

    They offer built-in integrations for other cloud apps, allowing you to integrate your video content with other business tools easily. Plus, they offer high-quality privacy and security.

    Cons:

    • Lack of fine-grain analytics 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 builds custom pricing plans to suit enterprise streaming needs.

    Best Use Cases:

    • Enterprise cloud video hosting
    • Brand awareness through video for marketing and sales professionals
    • Video marketing for publishers and broadcasters 

    3. IBM Cloud Video

    IBM Online video platform
    The IBM Cloud Video offers reliable streaming for broadcasters.

    Company Background:

    IBM Cloud Video is a video streaming platform that serves as a leading provider of live streaming and VOD capabilities. This streaming solution is powered by IBM, which is a tech powerhouse.

    Basic Functionality:

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

    Key Features:

    • Live and on-demand video streaming
    • Secure sharing of online content
    • Enterprise content delivery network
    • Video distribution and workflow
    • OTT video management
    • Video monetization

    Pros:

    There are some big benefits of working with IBM Cloud Video. They have one of the best streaming cloud storage set-ups, with reliable cloud streaming. 

    They offer responsive customer support, helping you if you ever run into issues.

    They offer enterprise-grade video capabilities for large organizations, and they offer Hong Kong (China) video hosting.

    Cons:

    • Uses an internal content delivery system 
    • 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 video cloud 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:

    The pricing plans for the IBM Cloud Video 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

    Company Background:

    Kaltura is an Israeli company that offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) video solution. Their video cloud service offers both live and VOD support.

    Kaltura is known for being totally customizable thanks to its open-source nature. This makes it a great cloud streaming platform for large institutions with advanced broadcasting needs.

    Basic Functionality:

    Kaltura specializes in cloud video streaming for professional organizations and universities that want to deliver educational content to their employees and students.

    Key Features:

    • Cloud video hosting and streaming
    • Cloud TV service
    • Advanced Security in the Cloud
    • Highly customizable
    • Integrations for any feature imaginable 

    Pros:

    Kaltura is an open-source platform, making for a highly customizable streaming experience. It is designed specifically for education and large enterprise uses. They offer various monetization options, making it a great choice if you want to monetize your content.

    Cons:

    • Many options for customization may get complex
    • 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 video cloud file storage: 10GB to Unlimited (depends on the plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MOV, MP4

    Pricing:

    Kaltura charges based on bandwidth and feature usage with a credit-based model, but there are free trials available as well. They have a unique way of charging compared to other platforms, but the plus side is that you don’t end up paying for features that you’re not using.

    Best Use Cases:

    • Cloud video hosting for Education and Enterprises
    • Video streaming for sales
    • Live event streaming

    5. Vidyard

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

    Company Background:

    Vidyard is a cloud streaming solution for hosting and delivering 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 integrations
    • Video hosting and streaming
    • Secure cloud platform
    • Interactive viewing experiences
    • Video SEO
    • Personalization, playlist, and other viewing features
    • Advanced video analytics
    • Robust security options

    Pros:

    Vidyard offers numerous cloud integration options, allowing you to sync your video content with your marketing efforts. They have an active community of users, allowing you to get help and insight from others when needed. They have customer service agents who can help you with the platform.

    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:

    Best Use Cases:

    • Video hosting and streaming for marketing
    • Enterprise hosting and streaming solutions
    • Video streaming for sales

    6. Wowza

    Company Background:

    Wowza is known as a bootstrapped start-up that was founded back in 2005. This cloud-based live video streaming platform offers live and on-demand live streaming support. Like the other platforms, we’ve discussed. Wowza uses an all-device video player that is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles.  

    This platform focuses on greater accessibility, further flexibility, and the best cost-effectiveness.

    Basic Functionality:

    Wowza offers two main products: Wowza Streaming Engine and Wowza Streaming Cloud. Between these two offerings, the platform supports self-hosted streaming and global video streaming.

    Key Features:

    • Cloud video management portal
    • 4K streaming
    • Reliable video  security options
    • API access for customization 
    • Live stream recording and auto-archive
    • Low latency streaming

    Pros:

    There are many pros to working with Wowza. They offer tools to help keep your audience engaged throughout your live stream. They offer mobile streaming support if you want to stream from your phone. 

    If you want to play the same video repeatedly, you can do that with their unique video looping feature. Wowza also supports video delivery to China.

    Cons:

    • Does not support multistreaming
    • No monetization support
    • Since source streaming (only one camera feed)
    • 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 has several pricing options that are split into 2 main tiers: Streaming Cloud and Streaming Engine.

    Streaming Cloud:

    The Wowza Streaming Cloud offers three distinct pricing plans and services. These monthly plans include:

    • Pay As You Go: $29/month, with a 3-month minimum; flexible streaming with low startup costs
    • Basic: $99/month; includes 15 hours of live streaming and 500 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
    • One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase; includes 15 hours of live streaming and 500 viewing hours also at 720p
    • Enterprise: Contact Wowza for a customized price

    All of these Live Event plans include full brand control, multi-bitrate streaming, and HD and UHD streaming.

    Streaming Engine:

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

    • Basic: $175/month + $195/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
    • One Month Event: $295/month + $295month for each additional instance and $95/month for each additional prepaid instance
    • Enterprise: Contact Wowza for a custom price

    Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions

    For more details, check out this third-party review of the platform.

    Best Use Cases:

    • Live event streaming
    • Interactive live streaming
    • Low-latency streaming
    • VOD hosting

    7. JW Player

    platform video jwplayer
    JW Player is a highly capable cloud video streaming platform.

    Company Background:

    JW Player is a cloud video streaming option that supports live streaming and VOD hosting for companies with different budgets. JW Player was originally known for its HTML5 video player that played a role in the early developments of YouTube, which is now the most popular consumer-grade streaming platform. 

    The basic version of JW Player starts at $10/month, but enterprise plans are available in custom packages. 

    Basic Functionality:

    JW Player supports live and on-demand video streaming with a reliable video player.

    Key Features:

    • Streaming to any device
    • Basic plan available at a low price point
    • Suitable for companies of all sizes
    • Video management in the cloud
    • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
    • Global content delivery
    • Tech support, but only in the form of email support through custom plans
    • Video API access on all plans
    • Security features are basic but functional. Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
    • Monetization (only via advertising)

    Pros:

    The biggest benefit of working with JW Player is that they offer affordable plans, making video hosting possible for organizations of all sizes. Plus, they have great sales and customer support team, so you can get the help you need at every step of your journey. 

    Cons:

    • Some limits on live event 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 offers 3 pricing plans. These include:

    • 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, and a non-commercial license, with 25 GB hosting bandwidth and 75 GB streaming.
    • Starter pricing plan for $10 per month, which includes an HTML5 Video Player and video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month billed annually.
    • Enterprise 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:

    8. DailyMotion

    Company Background:

    DailyMotion is a primarily consumer-based streaming platform that provides basic on-demand video hosting support. However, DailyMotion has some professional features for developers and advanced broadcasting.

    The standard version of DailyMotion is comparable to YouTube, but the main difference is that it has fewer limitations and restrictions on video content.

    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
    • Consumer-grade platform with some professional capabilities
    • Specialized tools for developers and partners
    • Integrates with many gaming platforms
    • Localized for 35 countries and 18 languages

    Pros:

    DailyMotion offers unlimited streaming bandwidth and video cloud storage if you have lots of video content. They also offer a free plan, allowing you to use the platform if you have small video streaming needs.

    Through their partnership with Huawei they offer China video delivery, providing you with support for true global streaming.

    Cons:

    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 to use, but users can apply for their partner program for advanced broadcasting capabilities. 

    Best Use Cases:

    9. Livestream

    Livestream Streaming Platform
    Vimeo’s Livestream supports video streaming for small-scale broadcasting.

    Company Background:

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

    Basic Functionality:

    Livestream is a premium cloud video platform for streaming, hosting, and marketing videos.

    Key Features:

    • Cloud video streaming and management
    • Live streaming through the cloud
    • Advanced marketing features
    • High-quality streaming 
    • Large storage capacity
    • Privacy options
    • Upload from anywhere

    Pros:

    Livestream works directly with YouTube, so if you want to stream on your own site and YouTube, this is a great option. They have in-depth and insightful analytics. Livestream is really easy for broadcasters to use and offers an easy-to-use video player for your viewers.

    Cons:

    • Frequent software updates during live streams
    • Limited CDN support
    • 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 Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

    Vimeo Premium:

    • Premium pricing: $75/month
    • Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD support. This plan is the best option for professional broadcasting on this platform.

    Vimeo Enterprise:

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

    Vimeo OTT:

    • Starter Pricing: $1/subscriber per month
    • Growth Pricing: starting at $500/month
    • This OTT-specific pricing package comes 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.  You can check out this third-party review of the platform.

    Best Use Cases:

    10. SproutVideo

    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:

    SproutVideo stands out as they offer plans all budgets, allowing video cloud streaming access to both small and large organizations. They also offer advanced analytics you can use to grow your content.

    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, including:

    • 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 

    11. Panopto

    Panopto Streaming 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
    • Lecture-capture and video-search software
    • Video analytics
    • Access control & security features
    • White-label streaming
    • Integration with LMS systems
    • APIs for further integrations

    Pros:

    Panopto offers custom branding, allowing you to create a video player that reflects your brand. They have regional cloud infrastructure, allowing for strong storage support. They also offer 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 recently simplified its pricing packages and includes the following three options:

    • Basic: Free
    • Pro: $14.99/month
    • Enterprise: Please contact Panopto for custom pricing.

    After establishing a contract, you have access to unlimited streaming and storage. However, this aspect may represent a potential downside for some streamers as Panopto does not handle any external-facing video content.

    Best Use Cases:

    12. Vimeo

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

    Company Background:

    We’ve covered Vimeo’s premier offering, Livestream, but let’s take a look at Vimeo’s smaller scale packages.

    Basic Functionality:

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

    Key Features:

    • Cloud-based video hosting
    • Small-scale streaming solution

    Pros:

    Vimeo is really easy to start using, even if you are not a techie. They offer low-budget options, so small organizations can use the platform as easily as larger organizations. At the same time, the interface is very professional. 

    Cons:

    • Some issues with connection to an internal server
    • No China video delivery
    • Limited live streaming and video hosting capabilities

    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 offers basic video hosting plans that are suitable for content creators and startups. These include:

    • Basic: 30-day free trial
    • Plus: $7/month; 5GB/week or 250GB every year; Single user; Brand customization and privacy tools
    • Pro: $20/month; 20GB/week or 1TB every year; 3 users; collaboration tools and video showcase sites
    • Business: $50/month; 2TB bandwidth per month; 5 TB total storage; 10 team members; add custom colors and logos
    • Premium: $75/month; Unlimited live streaming with 7TB of storage; unlimited viewers
    • Enterprise: Custom-priced, custom-built plans for advanced streaming needs

    All plans are billed annually. The Plus plan can be billed monthly at an increased rate of $12/month.

    Best Use Cases:

    13. Cloudflare Stream

    Company Background:

    Although Cloudflare is primarily known for its content delivery network offerings, the platform also offers a cloud-based online streaming solution called Cloudflare Stream. This platform is flexible and scalable, so it is well-suited for broadcasters that plan to grow as they go.

    Basic Functionality:

    Cloudflare Stream is an API-driven cloud streaming platform for VOD hosting.

    Key Features:

    • Video API
    • Reliable content delivery
    • HLS and DASH streaming
    • HTML5 video player
    • Several privacy and control tools
    • Adaptive bitrate streaming

    Pros:

    Cloudflare stream offers high-quality video streaming that results in a great end-user experience. They strive to offer ultra-compatible streaming, so anyone on any device can access your content.

    Need to stream private content? They offer safe, private streaming options as well. Plus, Cloudflare offers really flexible pricing!

    Cons:

    • Not a dedicated video hosting platform 
    • Pay-as-you-go structure can get costly

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimensions: 360p
    • Maximum dimensions:1080p
    • Supported aspect ratios: Unavailable
    • Maximum file size: 30 GB
    • Maximum video length: Unavailable 
    • Total file storage: No specific limit (storage is billed per 1000 minutes of video)
    • Accepted video formats: MP4, MKV, MOV, AVI, FLV, MPEG-2 TS, MPEG-2 PS, MXF, LXF, 3GP, WebM, MPG, QuickTime

    Pricing:

    Cloudflare offers “Free, Pro, and Business” plans in addition to custom-priced Enterprise plans. The “Free, Pro, and Business” plans are billed as follows:

    • $1 per 1,000 minutes viewed
    • $5 per 1,000 minutes of video storage capacity

    Check out the Cloudflare Stream pricing page for sample pricing with these figures based on different usage rates.

    Best Use Cases:

    • VOD hosting
    • Scalable on-demand streaming

    14. Muvi

    muvi live streaming OTT solution provider
    Muvi is an OTT solution designed for broadcasters with a lot of experience.

    Company Background:

    Muvi is another top cloud-based streaming platform. This online video platform is unique in that it functions as a turnkey appliance for OTT broadcasters. Solution model supports users in launching their own video or audio streaming platform quickly and easily

    Additionally, Muvi is equipped with an all-inclusive and fully-featured website, mobile, and TV apps.

    Their OTT Multi-Screen Video Streaming service allows businesses to launch white-label multi-device video streaming, video on demand (VOD), and audio streaming. The platform includes fully managed, end-to-end solutions, all controlled from single streaming video CMS, with no coding or IT team required.

    Basic Functionality:

    Muvi is primarily used for building OTT video-on-demand platforms that leverage cloud hosting for an enhanced streaming experience.

    Key Features:

    • Cloud video hosting
    • Custom branding
    • HTML5 video player
    • Analytics
    • Monetization options
    • DRM and security features

    Pros:

    Muvi offers a comprehensive content management system, making it easy to keep track of your content. Plus, they provide dependable content delivery, allowing for a good end-user experience.

    In addition to on-demand video cloud hosting, they offer cloud video transcoding. They even offer mobile and TV apps support, so you can stream everywhere.

    Cons:

    • Not user friendly
    • Hard to integrate or connect
    • CMS user interface is complex
    • No China video delivery

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Minimum dimension: 144p (256 x 144)
    • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840  x2160)
    • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
    • Max file size: not available
    • Max video length: not available
    • Total file storage: 1TB, 2TB, 5TB (depending on plan)
    • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MKV, FLV, VOB, M4V, AVI, 3GP, MPG 

    Pricing:

    Muvi prices its plans at the following five levels:

    • Standard plan: $399/month (+ $299/month per app + infra fees), allows 2000 concurrent viewers, 1TB each of bandwidth and storage, and API access.
    • Professional plan: at $1,499 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) increases limits further and adds premium support.
    • Enterprise plan: $3,900 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) adds a dedicated server with auto-scaling.
    • Ultimate plan: $8,900/month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) doubles the bandwidth and storage of the enterprise plan and adds your own CDN and unlimited API calls.
    • Black plan: this is a custom solution and includes everything in the Ultimate plan plus premium services and project management.

    For more information, check out this third-party review of the platform.

    Best Use Cases:

    • Video-on-demand hosting
    • OTT video streaming

    15. Liveswitch Cloud

    Company Background:

    Liveswitch Cloud offers several cloud-based solutions, including live streaming, video conferencing, and collaboration. 

    This platform is a bit different than the other cloud video solutions we’ve covered because it simply manages and delivers live streams. It does not support on-demand video hosting. However, some broadcasters prefer a dedicated solution without the extra functionality. 

    Basic Functionality:

    Liveswitch Cloud supports online video streaming, web conferencing, and collaboration.

    Key Features:

    • Full access to APIs and SDKs
    • Mobile app creation and management
    • In-stream video chat
    • Real-time video analytics
    • Ultra-low-latency streaming
    • Audience polling tools

    Pros:

    Liveswitch Cloud allows you to customize the video experience through the use of API and offers mobile app-building tools with SDK, allowing you to create the video experience or platform your organization needs. 

    Additionally, they offer live stream management tools that enhance the quality of your live content. They even offer tools to help with audience engagement.

    Cons:

    • No on-demand video hosting
    • No video storage

    Upload Guidelines and Specs:

    • Total file storage: 24 hours

    No other upload guidelines or specs are available on the Liveswitch Cloud site. 

    Pricing:

    Liveswitch Cloud used to have pricing listed on their page, but not anymore. To learn more about their pricing you’ll have to contact them for a custom-price. They offer a standard, professional, and enterprise plan.

    Best Use Cases:

    • Live streaming
    • Web conferencing
    • Collaboration 

    Essential Video Cloud Streaming Features

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

    Now that we’ve compared each video cloud platform, let’s talk about specific features you should look for in the cloud streaming service you choose. Here are some features broadcasters should look for as they compare cloud-based streaming solutions.

    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 you need a platform that can transcode video content into multiple renditions that are ideal for universal compatibility.

    2. Live Recording

    live stream recording

    Live streams can be just as valuable after the event is over so look for a platform that offers live stream recording. With a record feature, broadcasters can capture their live events and repurpose them as videos on demand without impacting the quality of the stream itself.

    Auto-archiving tools are also valuable because they record your live cloud streams and then automatically upload them to your video-on-demand solution 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 an audience’s experience. HTML5 players can be easily embedded wherever viewers might be, whether it’s social media posts or websites. Additionally, it looks more professional and prevents your audience from leaving your website, such as is the case with YouTube when people decide to click on your video to watch it on YouTube instead of your site, which also affects SEO.

    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 measuring and optimizing the video experience you deliver. 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. For example, if you realize most of the traffic that’s coming from mobile devices has a shorter watch time than traffic coming from desktop, you should look into it more deeply.

    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. Some streaming platforms partner with content delivery networks that have geographically dispersed servers to help you deliver the best video experiences possible.

    Platforms that leverage top-tier global live streaming CDN networks have fewer buffering and latency issues associated with delivering video over long distances.

    8. Privacy and Security

    secure cloud video platformBroadcasters 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.

    Video Streaming on Cloud vs. On-Premise: 6 Considerations

    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.

    Practically every industry has been disrupted by cloud technology. It’s everywhere. Before the cloud, we needed to email Word documents back and forth, buy physical data storage devices if our computer ran out of space, and buy very expensive hardware to support specific business goals.

    In fact, the upfront costs and maintenance costs that were required to have a robust on-premise setup widened the competitive gap between smaller businesses that didn’t have the budget and larger businesses that did.

    It’s no surprise that the cloud has also disrupted the video production industry and live streaming. With that said, let’s go over a few reasons why investing in a cloud video streaming platform is a smart move.

    Practically every industry has been disrupted by cloud technology. It’s everywhere. Before the cloud, we needed to email Word documents back and forth, buy physical data storage devices if our computer ran out of space, and buy very expensive hardware to support specific business goals.

    In fact, the upfront costs and maintenance costs that were required to have a robust on-premise setup widened the competitive gap between smaller businesses that didn’t have the budget and larger businesses that did.

    It’s no surprise that the cloud has also disrupted the video production industry and live streaming. With that said, let’s go over a few reasons why investing in a cloud video streaming platform is a smart move.

    1. Set Yourself Up to Achieve Virality

    With a live streaming cloud platform, you don’t have to worry about your servers crashing when you go viral. Traditionally, you’d have to either buy extra hardware just in case you went viral or risk your servers crashing. Maintaining hardware is costly, so having hardware that’s only used for “just in case” situations might end up becoming a wasted investment. With the cloud, it’s easy to scale your resources up and down to meet demand. In other words, only pay for what you use.

    2. Remove Complexity 

    A live streaming cloud service abstracts the complexity of installing and maintaining hardware. The provider usually has their own tech team, so that you don’t have to stress. That’s why those with minimal tech skills can start professionally broadcasting fast.

    3. Easily Integrate With Other Software

    By leveraging a cloud video streaming platform, it’s easier to integrate and connect your videos with other applications that are hosted in the cloud. Sometimes it’s just a matter of clicking a few buttons. For example, you can integrate your video platform directly with a video chat service, email marketing software, and video editing software.

    4. Hassle-Free Transcoding

    The process of transcoding video footage so that it can be played on multiple devices requires a lot of computing power. Instead of tying up your in-house resources, you can just leverage the cloud.

    5. Advancements in Privacy

    When the cloud was in its newer days, privacy was a significant worry. Major cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have invested heavily to provide the highest level of security. However, the cloud has come a very long way and is now very secure. Still, if you’re in a very regulated industry and are using videos to share very confidential things, you might consider the best of both worlds and implement an on-premise and cloud setup.

    6. Affordability 

    The cloud allows basically anyone or any organization to get started with broadcasting and live streaming. Most run on a monthly subscription basis and have an affordable plan for everyone, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

    On the other hand, with an on-premise setup, you have to buy everything upfront and if you change your mind about broadcasting, you’ll just have a bunch of hardware laying around. Plus, with an on-premise setup, if you don’t have the technical skills yourself for installation and maintenance, you’ll need to pay extra for the skills of an IT person.

    Conclusion

    As you can see, there are 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.

    From small businesses to large corporations, Dacast is a great option because it offers everything brands need to deliver video content at the highest quality. In fact, over 300,000 broadcasters use our platform to do so.

    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 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 14-day free trial, with no credit card required. Click here to sign up for our free trial and start streaming live today:

    GET STARTED FOR FREE

    If you have any comments, let us know what you think! We love to hear from our readers. For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.

     

    author avatar

    Kevin Graham

    Kevin is a content writer and former software developer. He focuses on producing compelling content for B2B software companies.

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