The Best Tips for Broadcasting Live Video in 2020

private live streaming event

The popularity of live video broadcasting has been steadily increasing, prompting businesses to bring up the question “what is a video broadcast?”. In the past, getting customers happened through cold calling and radio ads. But, things have changed now and video streaming is now the way of the future. Currently, video broadcasting is one of the best ways to gain attention from new leads. Broadcasting live video is the distribution of video and/or audio content to an audience over the web. Live streaming is when the streaming video is broadcast over the internet in real-time.

So, why is this so important in 2020? According to HubSpot, video is the number one form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs, and infographics. Since video is on the rise and essentially the future of business, you may be wondering how to broadcast live video on the internet.

In this article, we’ll walk you through why live streaming is growing so rapidly. Here’s a hint: companies that use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than those that don’t. We’ll also touch on what equipment is needed to live stream. Here’s everything we’ll cover in this article:

Table of Contents

  • Why Live Streaming is Gaining Popularity

  • How Does Live Broadcasting Work 

  • What you Need to Broadcast Live Video – 4 critical items you need to broadcast live video 

  • Live Broadcasting Platform Comparison – Comparison of 5 popular Online Video Platforms (OVPs)

  • Final Thoughts

Now that you know what we’re about to cover, let’s start with a deep dive into why live broadcasting has become such a fixture in 2020.

Why Live Streaming is Gaining Popularity

broadcast live video
Live streaming is growing in popularity every minute. Today, 47% of live streaming video viewers are watching more live video compared to last year.

Live streaming is growing fast.

One 2019 report found that “live video grew by 93%, with an average viewing time of 26.4 minutes per session.” That’s a significant amount of time, and it’s reflected in the success that businesses are finding with live video. Small and medium businesses (SMBs), in particular, can greatly benefit from live streaming. Relatedly, there are plenty of statistics that demonstrate the success of live video today. Over fifty-five percent of enterprises are now using live video for their company or division-wide broadcasts. Relatedly, experts predict that the video streaming market will be worth $30.6 billion in total by 2022.

Thus far in 2020, we’ve already seen the growth of broadcasting live video with COVID-19. Because the majority of people have been told to work from home and self-isolate, businesses are utilizing live broadcasts to interact with employees, clients, and new leads.

How does Live Broadcasting Work?

Streaming live video can be useful for many things. Consider a sports game, a church service, or a product launch While the people in attendance are enjoying the event, there are others who would have enjoyed it too. With broadcasting live video on the internet, you’re able to bring the game, service, or event to those people. This year, more than 64 million U.S. households use Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services, which often include live video. Worldwide OTT revenue was roughly $68 billion in 2018. That was a 33% jump compared to 2017. To bring it back to today, experts predict that the number will rise to $158.84 billion by 2024.

What you Need to Broadcast Live Video

If you’re wondering what equipment is needed to live stream, there are four main elements:

  1. A camera, with audio recording equipment
  2. An “encoder” designed to stream live video over the internet and, if necessary, do mixing and production
  3. An internet connection
  4. An online video platform that supports live streaming

We’re sure you’ve used a video camera before. However, the other elements here can be complex. Let’s now look at each to introduce you to the essential tools to help your business find the best way to broadcast live video.

1. Camera and Audio Equipment

live streaming video camera
If you’re wondering how to stream live video, first you’ll need a really good video camera.

The first piece of equipment your business will need for broadcasting live video is a video camera. There are thousands of different live streaming cameras available, but don’t feel overwhelmed by the options. Like most products, live streaming video cameras come with trade-offs.

Entry-level video cameras tend to be cheaper and lightweight. Video quality can be good, but only if lighting conditions are ideal. They lack manual controls and include only basic connectivity. These cameras range from $300 to $800.

  • Example: smartphone cameras, action cameras, entry-level camcorders
  • Our top pick: Panasonic HC-VX981K, $797.99

Professional video cameras include pro-connectors like XLR and SDI. They tend to have large, high-resolution sensors that provide excellent image quality, even in poor lighting conditions. Build-quality is higher, with manual controls, making they’re more durable. Some professional cameras will even allow the use of interchangeable lenses. These cameras range from $1,500 to $25,000 +.

  • Example: professional camcorders, EFT cameras, cinema cameras
  • Our top pick: Panasonic AG-CX350, $3,695

Once you have your video camera, audio is the next important piece of equipment for video broadcast.

Many cameras include a built-in microphone of decent quality as well. However, for high-quality audio, you can purchase an external microphone. This will also allow you to adapt to the circumstances at hand. There are three basic tiers of audio live streaming equipment:

  • Low-Medium Quality: The built-in microphone on entry-level and prosumer cameras.
  • Medium-High Quality: USB and 3.5mm microphones, or built-in microphones on professional live video cameras.
  • Professional Quality: XLR microphones.

You can use a lavalier microphone for interviews, or a directional mic to cut out background noise.

A basic $16 wired 3.5mm lavalier mic can greatly improve your audio quality over the built-in microphones on entry-level video cameras or phones. You can also upgrade to a high-end 3.5mm microphone to deliver greater quality. If you want to maximize audio quality to the highest level, consider XLR microphones. This is the professional standard for quality and durability, and it’s been that way for decades.

2. Encoding (and Mixing) for Live Streaming

live video broadcast encoder
A software or hardware encoder is essential for successful live video broadcasting.

Next, let’s take a look at encoders. An encoder is a tool that prepares your video stream for broadcasting and delivers it via a live broadcast protocol. Broadly, there are two types of encoders:

  1. Hardware Encoders
  2. Software Encoders

Here are a variety of reasons why you might want to encode a video:

  • Reduce file size
  • Reduce buffering for streaming video
  • Change resolution or aspect ratio
  • Change audio format or quality
  • Convert obsolete files to modern formats
  • Meet a certain target bit rate
  • Make a video compatible with a certain device (computer, tablet, smartphone, smartTV, legacy devices)
  • Make a video compatible with certain software or service

Hardware encoders are dedicated processors that use a designed algorithm to encode video and data into streamable content. These encoders come in smaller, portable boxes or larger permanent fixtures. They support a wide range of sources, but most often HDMI and SDI. They’re usually built to last and can support 24/7 video streaming without crashing, ideal for professional use. There are also some specialty hardware encoders on the market that use battery power and 4G LTE connections to stream live video from remote locations.

Live stream encoding software programs run on a computing device, like a laptop or desktop computer. They need to be paired with a capture card or other means of connecting your cameras to your computer to capture video. These software packages also integrate mixing and production tools. These encoders appeal to live streaming startups because of their low cost and customization features. However, software encoders do lack the overall latency speed that hardware encoders offer, which is something to consider when deciding on the right encoder for your live stream.

As with cameras, you can find encoding software in a wide price range, from free to professional-grade expensive. The best choice depends on what kind of broadcast you want to put together, how many video feed sources you are using, and how much fancy video footwork you want to include.

3. Internet Connection for Live Streaming

fast internet connection
The Internet is king… especially when you’re live streaming video. A fast internet connection will make all the difference to your live broadcast.

No matter what type of encoder you use, a good internet connection is essential. To broadcast live video, you need a reliable internet connection with enough upload speed to do the job. You can calculate your necessary upload speed by setting the most optimal streaming bitrates for your broadcast. In general, you want your upload speed to be twice as fast as necessary.

As long as your wireless connection gives you reliable upload speed, that approach can work well. If you’re wondering about the exact speeds, here’s one example: we recommend an upload speed of roughly 20 Mbps for reliable full-HD live streaming at 10 Mbps. If you’re doing multi-bitrate streaming, however, you’ll want a higher upload speed.

What about if you’re broadcasting video from a remote location where your usual Internet link isn’t available? In that case, one of the best options is a smartphone with a mobile hot-spot. If you need higher bandwidth, you can use a cellular bonding solution.

4. Broadcasting Live via an Online Video Platform

online video platform ovp
Where will you host your live streams? Consider using an Online Video Platform for your business content needs.

A reliable internet connection is valuable because it delivers your live video to an online video platform (OVP). An OVP is a video service that hosts your video, delivers it to viewers, and makes it easy to embed live videos on your website. It gives you the ability to broadcast live video to an audience and then save that stream in case others wish to find and watch it one day.

For businesses, there are many options available. The best option is a professional white-label video solution, such as Dacast. Dacast supports both live video and VOD streaming content. It’s a “white-label service” because the service’s logo or identifier doesn’t appear to your viewers. You can easily add your logo. When compared to social video platforms, Dacast offers plenty of advantages. But, this article isn’t a sales pitch. To ensure that you find the correct video broadcasting solution, here’s a comparison of five of the best out there.

Live Broadcasting Platform Comparison

In our comparison, we’ll review the following:

  • Overview and company history
  • Basic functionality
  • Key features
  • Detailed features
  • Pros/cons
  • Pricing
  • Best use case
  • Best business use case

1. Wistia 

wistia streaming video hosting

Overview and Company History:

Wistia, a Massachusetts-based platform focused primarily on marketing was founded in 2008. Please note that this OVP does not offer live streaming functionality.

Basic Functionality:

Wistia’s video marketing software has a primary goal to engage and grow a business’s audience. Their OVP includes recording, hosting, collaboration, and management solutions.

Key Features:

Wistia’s key feature is that they provide a television-quality experience for their viewers that helps users grow their audiences. They are known for being the online video platform that puts users in control of their content.

Detailed Features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Global content delivery
  • Tech support, but premium support is only available on custom-priced plans
  • Video API access, with six different APIs available
  • Security features, including password protection, email gating, and domain restriction

Pros:

  • User-friendly analytics
  • Mostly unlimited bandwidth
  • Integrations with various CRMs
  • Great security features

Cons:

  • No live streaming
  • No monetization
  • Extra videos add to cost
  • No China delivery

Pricing:

For a basic plan, Wistia pricing starts at $99 per month. This includes hosting for up to 10 videos, and additional videos cost $0.25 per month. For larger customers, there are custom-priced plan options.

Best Use Case:

Wistia is best for marketing needs. Companies like Mailchimp and Moz have used Wistia for their marketing capabilities.

Best Business Use Case:

Wistia is for a business that is looking to grow their brand through video. This platform offers video SEO and tools to help create ads on search and social for marketing purposes.

2. Brightcove

brightcove online video platform dashboard

Overview and Company History:

Brightcove is a Boston-based software company that produces an online video platform. It was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire and Bob Mason. The company was named after a harbor the founder liked to kayak in. Brightcove acquired Ooyala in 2019 and announced the end of life of the Ooyala platform.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove is an online video platform that targets large businesses. Brightcove divides its product offerings into several discrete categories. These include Video Player, OTT Flow, Video Marketing Suite, and a number of others. Among other offerings, Brightcove’s streaming and hosting platform is called Video Cloud. This platform includes an all-screen player and supports monetization.

Key Features: 

Brightcove’s technology claims to defeat ad-blockers and succeed in inserting video ads into content streams. While it’s not clear if this method is able to defeat the latest generation of ad-blockers, it’s still valuable for businesses following that model of content monetization. Additionally, their marketing tools are valuable and functional.

Detailed Features:

  • Monetization & advertising
  • HTML5 all-device video player
  • Video analytics
  • Social publishing tools
  • Token-based REST APIs
  • 24/7 customer support

Pros:

  • Video library management
  • HTML5 video
  • Analytics
  • Live event streaming
  • Monetization options

Cons:

  • Not very user-friendly
  • Support isn’t great
  • No built-in naming conventions
  • You have to pay for 24/7 support
  • No China delivery

Pricing:

Brightcove doesn’t publish its pricing plans for Video Cloud live streaming services online. For a customized quote, you need to contact them directly to discuss your specific business needs. For more details, you can check out this third-party review of the platform as well. Note that this might change following the absorption of the former Ooyala video platform.

Best Use Case:

Brightcove would be best for professional broadcasters who have enterprise-level live streaming needs.

Best Business Use Case:

Brightcove targets publishers, broadcasters, marketers, enterprise, retail, and the sporting industry.

3. Kaltura

kaltura vpaas live streaming platform

Overview and Company History:

Kaltura is a New York-based software agency that was founded in 2006. With a video management foundation in its open-source software, Kaltura offers a unique focus in the OVP market.

Basic Functionality:

While the Kaltura software is free, it requires an infrastructure of servers for hosting and distribution. This platform represents an alternative to the self-hosted model (e.g., Dacast). That said, Kaltura offers cloud-based video hosting and distribution services for both VOD and live streams.

Key Features:

Kaltura shines when it comes to extensibility. The open-source nature of their software means that a community of users create and share countless add-ons and integrations.

Kaltura’s downside, however, is that the platform can be confusing to use. With so many different features, it can be overwhelming for beginner users.

Detailed Features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming are included
  • Global content delivery via a combined CDN approach (with the option to bring your own CDN)
  • Tech support via a ticket-based system, which is slower than chat or phone
  • Video API access
  • Security features, including a range of authentication and encryption options
  • Monetization, including all major models (subscription, advertising, PPV streaming)

Pros:

  • Many available features
  • Good monetization options
  • Robust security

Cons:

  • No phone or chat support
  • Highly complex
  • No China delivery

Pricing:

Kaltura doesn’t publish pricing information on their website. However, some users have said that plans start at about $1000 per month and go up from there. For more details, you can read about this platform’s pay-for-what-you-use pricing model.

Best Use Case: 

To showcase your videos and leverage video to teach, learn, communicate, collaborate, and entertain.

Best Business Use Case: 

Historically, this company has worked most extensively with educational institutions.

4. Flowplayer

flowplayer online video platform
The Flowplayer OVP focuses on user experience and performance.

Overview and Company History:

Flowplayer was launched in 2013, but the site provides very little background information. This platform has offices in the United States, Finland, and Sweden. Flowplayer is primarily known for their white-label streaming services and top of the line monetization solutions.

Basic Functionality:

The main purpose of Flowplayer is to provide smaller businesses with the tools they need to host, stream and monetize videos with a sleek and professional video player.

Key Features:

If you are looking for an online video platform that is simple and straightforward, Flowplayer could be an option for you. It is most widely known for its reliable video player and monetization tools. It has very straightforward pricing as well.

Detailed Features:

  • High-quality video player
  • Live streaming capabilities
  • Award-winning monetization solutions
  • Powerful video analytics

Pros:

  • Reliable video player
  • Sleek interface

Cons:

  • No notable cons
  • No China delivery

Pricing:

Flowplayer has three pricing plan packages: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. The Standard package costs $25/month, and the Professional package is $100/month. The Enterprise package is the most inclusive package and it runs at $500/month.

Best Use Case:

If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform to take your video to the next level.

Best Business Use Case:

Flowplayer is an online video platform that serves publishers, broadcasters, digital media houses, and small to mid-size businesses.

5. Dacast

live streaming platform

Overview and company history:

Dacast is a streaming and video hosting platform based in San Francisco, with offices in London and San Francisco. Dacast is a full-featured, white-label streaming solution, featuring a professional unified platform for both live streaming and video on-demand (VOD) content.

Dacast earned the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Best Small/Medium Business Video Platform and Runner-Up for Best Education Video Platform in 2019. In the same year, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, adding comprehensive advanced video hosting features.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast provides comprehensive live video broadcasting and online video hosting services. Businesses can embed videos on their own websites while maintaining 100% control of their content. Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.

Key Features:

Dacast distinguishes itself by offering high-end features with competitive pricing plans. These include ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans and top tier CDN delivery. 24/7 phone support is also available for Event and Scale plans (premium plans).

Additionally, the Dacast online video platform stands out from other OVPs with its ease-of-use and accessibility. Even new broadcasters can create a new live channel and start a new live stream in just a few minutes.

Detailed features:

  • Broadcast live video
  • Live streaming and VOD support
  • Full 1080p HD broadcasting
  • Global content delivery, including industry-best enterprise video hosting starting at $289/mo.
  • Security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption
  • 24/7 phone support with premium plans
  • Unlimited live channels
  • Real-time analytics

Pros:

Cons:

  • Requires a bit of a learning curve

Pricing:

Monthly service with Dacast comes at three levels. The Developer plan is ideal for newcomers, at just $21 per month.

However, business users will likely want to use popular Event and Scale plans. These plans add support for advanced monetization with an integrated paywall, API access, and VOD chapter markers. The Event plan (ideal for organizations that stream events once, or occasionally, or on an irregular schedule), includes 6,000GB of bandwidth and 10 GB of storage for $63 per month. The Scale plan includes 2,000GB of bandwidth and 1000 GB of storage for $188 per month.

Additional bandwidth is available upon request for monthly plans. Read more here about Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans.

You can access this bandwidth for up to one year after purchase, making it an economical option for occasional event streamers. For more details, you can check out this third-party review of several streaming platforms, including Dacast.

Best Use Case:

Professional broadcasters looking for a unified streaming platform, with advanced hosting capabilities, and 24/7 customer support.

Best Business Use Case:

Dacast is ideal for enterprise, e-learning, live sports streaming, media & agencies, churches & houses of worship, and government organizations.

Final Thoughts

live streaming camera equipment
It’s time to go live! Do you have all four pieces of equipment needed for your first stream?

In this post, we discussed how broadcasting live video works. We’ve covered the four elements that represent the foundational basics for live streaming and the five most popular OVPs to choose from.

Once you get the science of how to broadcast live video on the internet, it then comes down to your individual business to make the content high-quality and memorable. Thankfully there is a wealth of resources available about organizing and directing a live performance for broadcast.

In short, this post is just the beginning of your journey to live broadcasting. As with anything else, mastering the essentials is a good place to start. If you’re ready to try an OVP and start your live broadcasting today, check out Dacast. Dacast includes CDN-delivered live streaming and VOD hosting, video monetization, analytics, and more—all at affordable prices. Plus, we offer a 30-day free trial, with no credit card required. You can set up an account and start streaming live in a matter of minutes. Click this button to sign up for the free trial and start streaming with Dacast today!

For more regular tips on live streaming, as well as exclusive offers, you can join our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your live streaming endeavors.

3 thoughts on “The Best Tips for Broadcasting Live Video in 2020

  1. Linda Yue says:

    Yes, the live streaming is more and more popular now. I keep leanring the VR streaming, but affected by the COVID-2019, the market is not so active. I believe this is temporary.

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