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Top Professional Tips to Broadcast Video Online in 2021

By Emily Krings

25 Min Read

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Emily Krings

Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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      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. Online video broadcasting is the distribution of video and/or audio content to an audience over the web. Live streaming is when online video is broadcast over the internet in real-time.

      So, why is this so important in 2021? 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 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 Video Online 
      • Online Video Broadcasting Platform Comparison
      • 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 2021.

      Why Live Streaming is Gaining Popularity

      live streaming video
      Live streaming is growing in popularity every minute. Today, 47% of live streaming video viewers are watching more live videos 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 2021, we’ve already seen the growth of live video broadcasts with the continuation of 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.

      When you broadcast 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 Video Online

      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 Equipment
      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

      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.

      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

      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

      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.

      Online Video Broadcasting Platform Comparison

      In our comparison of the top live streaming platforms for online broadcasting, 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. Dacast

      live streaming platform
      Dacast is a highly capable unified streaming solution.

      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.

      Last year, Dacast earned the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for Best Small/Medium Business Video Platform and Runner-Up for Best Education Video Platform, and in 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, expanding its comprehensive OTT solution.

      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.

      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:

      Pros:

      Cons:

      • Requires a bit of a learning curve

      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:

      Monthly service with Dacast comes at three pricing plan levels. The Starter plan is ideal for newcomers, at just $39 per month it includes 1,000GB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage.

      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 upfront and 50 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:

      Dacast is best suited for professional broadcasters looking for a unified streaming platform, with advanced hosting capabilities, and 24/7 customer support.

      Dacast is ideal for:

      2. Brightcove

      Video Hosting Cloud Software


      Brightcove is an online video platform that targets large businesses and was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire and Bob Mason. 

      Brightcove divides its product offerings into several distinct categories. These include Video Player, OTT Flow, Video Marketing Suite, and several 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 can 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, which makes this platform a great option for enterprises.

      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
      • 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

      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:

      Since Brightcove mainly targets enterprise-level clients, they offer several custom-priced streaming plans at high price points.

      The three pricing tiers include:

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

      Interested broadcasters can contact their sales department to receive a quote or sign up for a 30-day free trial.

      Best Use Case:

      Brightcove would be best for professional broadcasters who have enterprise-level live streaming needs. This platform primarily targets publishers, broadcasters, marketers, enterprise, retail, and the sporting industry.

      3. Kaltura

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

      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.

      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 creates and shares 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

      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 does not publish exact pricing on its website since each plan is flexible. Rather, broadcasters can purchase credits to spend on bandwidth and access to different integrations.

      Please contact Kaltura directly for a custom quote.

      Best Use Case: 

      Kaltura is best suited to showcase your videos and leverage video to teach, learn, communicate, collaborate, and entertain. Historically, this company has worked most extensively with educational institutions.

      4. Flowplayer

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

      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 its white-label streaming services and top-of-the-line monetization solutions.

      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 China delivery

      Upload Guidelines and Specs:

      • Minimum dimensions: 426 x 240
      • Maximum dimensions: 3840 x 2160
      • Supported aspect ratios: 16:9 (default)
      • Maximum file size: unavailable
      • Maximum video length: unavailable
      • Total file storage: 50 GB, 100GB, or custom (depending on the plan)
      • Accepted video formats: MP4 (recommended)

      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 and it runs at $500/month.

      Best Use Case:

      Flowplayer is well suited for broadcasters that are looking for an all-in-one platform to take your video to the next level. This online video platform serves publishers, broadcasters, digital media houses, and small to midsize businesses.

      5.  Wistia 

      wistia streaming video hosting
      Wistia is a great VOD hosting platform, but it doesn’t support live streaming.

      Wistia, a Massachusetts-based platform focused on marketing was founded in 2008. This platform is great for online video hosting, but it does not offer live streaming 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

      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 three pricing plan tiers, including:

      • Free: No cost to use; up to 250 subscribers and 3 videos; cannot remove Wistia’s branding from the video player
      • Pro: $99/month; 10 free videos with additional videos for $0.25/each; white-label video player
      • Advanced: custom pricing; 100 free videos with additional videos for $0.25/each; multiple channels, 250+ subscribers

      Best Use Case:

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

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

      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?

      Live video broadcasting is relatively straightforward, which makes it a great option for businesses that are looking to take their businesses to the next level by connecting with their audience with this engaging type of content.

      Once you grasp the idea of how to broadcast live video on the internet, including costs associated with streaming, it comes down to your business to make the content high-quality and memorable. Thankfully there is a wealth of resources available for organizing and directing a live performance for broadcast.

      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 a video streaming platform and start your live broadcasting today, check out Dacast. Dacast includes CDN-delivered live streaming solutions and VOD hosting, video monetization, analytics, and more, all at an affordable price.

      We offer a 30-day free trial, with no credit card or commitment required. You can set up an account and start streaming live in a matter of minutes. Create an account and start streaming with Dacast today.

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

      Emily Krings

      Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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