How to Stream Video Online: Live Streaming Best Practices for 2021
Table of Contents
Streaming video online has become an approachable and relevant avenue for businesses in recent years. When streaming live video over the internet started, it seemed complex and didn’t seem to provide businesses with enough ROI. But with robust streaming solutions being readily available to new and experienced broadcasters, that’s changed now.
Online video is growing explosively. The video streaming market was valued at $50.11 Billion in 2020. Streaming video is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21% from 2021 to 2028, and live streaming is making up an increasingly large portion of that content.
In this article, we’ll be diving deep into live streaming video online for business purposes. We’ll explain every aspect of video streaming and how to make it successful for your company. We will also provide a step-by-step tutorial and the best practices on how to stream live and on-demand video online.
Are you ready to take on live streaming in 2021?
Table of Contents:
- What is Video Streaming?
- What is Live Video Streaming?
- Why Stream Video Online?
- How to Stream Video Online
- Best Practices for Live Broadcasting on The Internet
- Success Stories From Businesses Streaming Video
- Final Thoughts
What is Video Streaming?
Before we dive into the depths of live video streaming, let’s quickly run through what streaming is. Video streaming is the transmission of video from a broadcaster to a user-facing video player. In the context of 2021, video streaming refers specifically to transmitting and accessing video content over the internet.
While the basis of video streaming has remained the same, a couple of things have improved in recent years.
There are a couple of different ways to stream video:
- Streaming – This type means that a video was shot and produced and then uploaded to a video hosting platform.
- Live streaming – This type of streaming is when a video is recorded and broadcasted in real-time via live streaming platforms.
- VOD – Video-on-demand streaming is when the user chooses what content they want to watch on-demand. This typically means that a video was shot and produced and then uploaded to a video hosting platform. Netflix and Hulu are two great examples.
What is Live Video Streaming?
Streaming live video can be useful for a lot of things. Consider a sports game, a church service, or a corporate event. While the people in attendance will enjoy the event, there will be people who won’t be able to attend. Live streaming a feed of the event is a great way to get more attraction to the event. This is the core of live video streaming.
In order to stream over the internet, you will need a connection that is both reliable and strong.
Streaming live video over the internet uses cameras, audio, a switcher, and an encoder. A switcher adds the audio from a sound mixer into the final output signal. The encoding software can be a stand-alone appliance or built into a camera. It compresses the video to meet video and streaming standards. The streaming industry standard is H.264.
Why Stream Video Online?
Starting in 2015, young millennials (ages 14-25) began watching more videos online via digital devices than on television. 30% of people say they’d cut the cable cord if they knew they could stream all of their content online, with a high-quality picture.
In the words of Neil Patel, “Live video commands the attention of the business world.” 76.5% of small business owners get results with video marketing. In 2020, 92% of marketers say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy for businesses. This has grown from 78% in 2015.
Many businesses find that streaming live video can be very profitable. In fact, the video streaming market is predicted to be worth $70.5 billion by 2021. Live streaming is making up the majority of that growth.
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 $106 billion in 2020. By 2026, that number is projected to reach $210B, with an estimated increase of $23 billion to take place in 2021 alone.
To bring it back to today, experts predict that the number will rise to $210 billion by 2026.
Most OTT content is monetized via subscriptions similar to Netflix. However, advertising is another popular way to monetize live video. By the third quarter of 2015, year-over-year ad views had increased 113 % for live video. Since then, these numbers have continued to rise rapidly.
Who Uses Online Streaming?
All sorts of OTT, media, and entertainment businesses are getting involved in live streaming video. In the sports world, companies like DAZN have moved from filming in the stands to making billion-dollar deals with sports leagues.
Online video streaming has also become increasingly popular for:
Using modern technology, you can reach a global audience instantly. Live video streaming is easier, more affordable, and requires less equipment compared to even a couple of years ago. Almost anyone can watch live from anywhere in the world with the only real barriers being language and time zones.
How to Stream Video Online
Let’s take a look at the 5 steps for how to stream live video online for your business.
1. Make a Plan
Planning out your live stream and setting specific goals will help you stay focused throughout the entire process. Before moving forward, identify the purpose of your stream.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What message will I share?
- Is generating revenue my goal?
- Where will my target audience be looking for my content?
- What is my budget?
With your answers to these questions in mind, you can come up with an outline of what you want to achieve with your stream and how you will do it.
2. Choosing a Live Streaming Solution
The dedicated online video streaming service you choose will provide a network of computer servers that will store your video on their disks. It also provides a robust network connection so that your viewers can access the videos quickly and easily without any network lag.
Professional video hosting solutions can offer complete live streaming solutions suitable for business use. These video hosting for business services include the ability to stream from multiple cameras, stream in HD, generate revenue, and embed live streams on your website or social media platforms.
Here at Dacast, we offer the following functionality to our users:
- White-label video streaming solutions (custom branding) across the platform
- Video monetization
- Video security and privacy settings
- Video API access for customization and development
- Player API and SDKs for mobile app creation
Hosting your videos on free platforms like YouTube is an option, but they come with heavy restrictions and limitations.
If you have greater streaming needs, dedicated video hosting platforms for business will be your answer. They provide speed, consistency, and security for every video uploaded to the platform. Not all of these features are available on free and public platforms like YouTube.
Here are a few other things that you should consider as you choose a live streaming solution.
Low Latency Streaming
Latency refers to the time between when a stream is captured and it reaches the viewers.
Low latency streaming is a very critical piece to streaming video to a wide range of broadcasters, and it is important for the overall user experience. If your content lags and doesn’t or has a latency of over 30 seconds, the viewers will most likely exit out of your stream and search for a better one.
HLS Streaming stands for HTTP live streaming. It’s a streaming protocol that is designed for delivering visual and audio media to viewers over the internet. The optimal HLS streaming setup uses Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for ingest. This provides a high-quality stream for viewers with a latency of 30 seconds or more.
All-Device HTML5 Video Player
HTML5 video streaming enables the streaming of multimedia content using <audio> and <video> HTML tags. When you use the video tag, you’re able to create a native HTML5 video player, which allows additional options for customizing and displaying video content.
HTML tags have various attributes, or parameters, which provide further detail on how to present the content. For example, with the <img> tag, you can specify the size of the image.
Before HTML5, websites relied on embedded Flash players to display video to users. Now, HTML5 allows videos to be streamed on all types of devices.
This is the technology that Dacast uses. It utilizes low latency as well as HLS delivery. Our HTML5 video player is based on THEOplayer’s technology for maximum compatibility and flexibility for businesses.
Reliable Content Delivery
It is important to choose a live video streaming solution that partners with a reliable content delivery network (CDN). A video streaming CDN can deliver the fastest possible speeds and the best quality content to viewers around the world.
At Dacast, we partner with a few top-tier CDNs, including Akamai and Limelight. These partnerships allow our broadcasters to reach audiences around the world with high-quality content.
3. Invest in the Necessary Streaming Equipment
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on this equipment if your business is just starting out with streaming video online. At the most basic level, a smartphone or tablet can fulfill these requirements in one device. But please note, the quality of this sort of live stream can suffer. For that reason, higher-quality live streams often are set up using higher-quality gear:
- A computer
- Multiple stand-alone cameras (Two cameras provide for different angles)
- Multiple microphones (lav, shotgun, and other professional mics will provide better audio quality)
- High-speed internet connection (a wired connection will provide higher speeds)
4. Configure Your Encoder Settings
An encoder is a software or hardware device that converts videos into a format suitable for live streaming. Properly configuring your encoder settings will help you produce the best stream possible. Here are a couple of settings to familiarize yourself with:
- Frame rate – How many rates per second are installed. 30-60 fps is ideal.
- Output resolution – Size of the video frame. Width x Height in pixels. 1080p or 1920 x 1080 is Full HD.
- Video Bitrate – How much video data you’re uploading per second. The general range is 1000-8000 kbps.
Please check out our Encoder Configuration Guide for additional information on the best encoder settings for live streaming with Dacast.
5. Setup Your Workflow
Setting up an optimal live streaming workflow will help you better prepare for your live stream. This is something that should be set up and tested well before your event so that there isn’t any last-minute scrambling to get things together.
Here is an example of a live streaming workflow that other broadcasters have had success with.
- On location, set up your cameras and microphones. We recommend using tripods for stability.
- Choose a central location for your encoding/mixing to take place. Set up your computer at this location. Your engineer should reside here to control the broadcast, as well as switch between different camera angles, initiating graphics and animations, etc.
- Run cables to connect all your equipment. Now, turn everything on and make sure it is functioning properly.
- Choose the correct encoder settings for your broadcast.
- Connect your encoder to your online video platform via the settings menu. Here are instructions for the Dacast platform.
- Finally, set up a test live stream, and broadcast it (privately). Ensure that video, audio, and streaming settings are all correct.
- Embed your live stream video player on your website, and anywhere else you want to broadcast.
Now, you’re all set up. Launch your live stream whenever you’re ready.
Best Practices and Tips for Live Broadcasts in 2021
Here are four major tips to follow when figuring out how to stream video online.
- HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is currently the dominant streaming video format. That’s partly because HLS is a mobile-friendly format. Real-time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) ingest to the streaming host is still common and the most compatible method.
- Building mobile apps has the potential to grow your subscriber base hugely. In fact, you can use Dacast APIs and SDKs to build mobile apps easily.
- For now, the H.264 codec is the standard for online video. With that in mind, we recommend streaming using H.264. Successors—HEVC/H.265, AV1, and VVC—are either not commercially viable or not yet ready for use.
- Test, test, test. Don’t wait until your live video stream is about to take place to test your configuration. Schedule time for testing beforehand at a couple of different times.
- Check your internet upload speed. As a broadcaster, it’s important to ensure you maintain a good network for your live stream. Whether you’re using wifi or a cabled connection, keep track of your upload speed. You can read more about minimum upload speed requirements on our dedicated Knowledgebase article.
- Allot resources towards promotion. If no one knows about your live stream, you won’t have an audience. It’s critical to promote your live stream before it happens. Create social posts around it, send out a newsletter, write a blog post on it, create a Google ad campaign. Do whatever you have to do to reach your audience.
- Create an engagement plan. A live video is a great way to create interaction between the business streaming the video and the audience. If you’re adding a comment section or forum, create an engagement plan to prepare for audience questions. Nothing looks worse than no engagement from the video streamer to their audience.
Success Stories From Businesses Streaming Video
Dacast, we help thousands of people and organizations learn how to stream live video over the internet. Our users range from individuals to major global brands.
Here are a few case studies of how businesses are using Dacast for professional video hosting and to deliver their video content:
- 1545 Media provides live streaming services and video production to major clients including Kaiser-Permanente, Unilever, and LA Fitness—all via Dacast.
- Striv provides live streaming services to a network of schools across the US Midwest region, powered by the Dacast network.
- MorningCME is an educational business that provides video training to doctors, EMTs, and other medical professionals.
- SMSA Church live streams liturgies, weddings, and other important services to their congregation.
We hope this information provides useful examples of how businesses use live video today. You can access many more Dacast customer success stories on our site. We’re here to get you and your business into the streaming market today.
Live streaming videos online is an excellent tool for businesses that are trying to reach their audiences in an engaging way. With the tutorial we’ve provided, should now have a good idea of how to live stream video online.
If you’re ready to start streaming video, ensure that you’re fully prepared. That you’ve tested your stream countless times and that everything is in check before hitting the record button.
Dacast provides a fast, secure live streaming service to a wide range of businesses. Are you ready to try out our live streaming platform? Click below to begin the sign-up process for our 30-day free trial. No credit card is required. If you’re not interested after the trial, let the 30 days run its’ course and we’ll handle the rest as you haven’t inputted any financial information.
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