Comparison of the Top 5 On Demand Video Streaming Solutions [2021 Update]

On Demand Video Streaming

As a broadcaster, deciding whether to live stream your content or release it on a video on demand platform is one of the more important choices you’ll have to make.

Once you understand the difference between live and VOD streaming, you have to wade through the various features on all the available VOD platforms. With so many choices, it can feel as if you’re going to be researching all the options forever.

This post can help guide you through the process of choosing the right VOD platform by walking through the key features to look for in an on demand video streaming solution and comparing five of the top platforms on the market.

Table of Contents:

  • What is On Demand Video Streaming?
  • VOD vs. Live Streaming
  • 5 Features to Look for in a VOD Hosting Platform
    • Video CMS
    • VOD Transcoding
    • Video Monetization
    • White-Label Video Player
    • Video Security
  • Comparing 5 Top On Demand Video Streaming Solutions
  • Conclusion

What is On Demand Video Streaming?

Streaming video on demand (VOD) is a popular method of delivering video content online, allowing the user to access content any time they want.

From instructional fitness videos to recorded lectures, VOD gives viewers the ability to select the video they want to watch even years after it’s created, broadening your content’s overall reach long-term. Rather than having to ensure they’re watching right when you live stream, VOD fits the schedule of the user and even allows them to re-watch videos they may want to see again.

VOD vs. Live Streaming

live streaming vs VOD
Both live streaming and VOD are ways you can distribute your video content online.

Selecting a delivery method for your video content comes down to choosing between two things: VOD and live streaming.

While both VOD and live content are indeed streamed over the internet, the similarities stop there. The differences between video on demand and streaming are not intricate, but they are significant.

Live streaming means that content is playable as it’s created, or with a very small delay, going directly from your camera to the user’s device of choice. This immediate consumption means that live-streamed video often is less highly produced than other content.

If viewers miss a live stream that isn’t recorded and distributed in another manner, such as using VOD, then they miss out on the content. Additionally, many live streams have limited or non-existent pause and rewind features, causing viewers to miss out on potentially important or interesting information.

VOD, on the other hand, makes video content available to viewers at any time they choose, on any device. Whether it’s hours, weeks, or even years after a piece of content is first uploaded, as long as it is located somewhere on the internet, viewers can find and watch the video.

They can pause, rewind, replay, and rewatch all or portions of the content. VOD content also has the option to be more polished, as producers can edit their videos before uploading them for viewing.

VOD also has the benefit of taking live streamed content — as long as the content was recorded during the live stream — and making it accessible on an on-demand basis, allowing those who missed the live stream to catch up.

5 Features to Look for in a VOD Hosting Platform

VOD on demand video hosting platform
A great VOD streaming platform has a variety of features that makes uploading and sharing your content easier.

All VOD streaming platforms are not equal. Each has its own unique features and failures, but there are five main things you should look for in choosing the right VOD platform for you:

  • Video CMS
  • VOD transcoding
  • Video monetization
  • White-label video player
  • Video privacy and security

By ensuring that the platform you choose has, at minimum, these five features, getting yourself set up to share VOD content shouldn’t be a major hassle.

Video CMS

A robust video content management system (CMS) is an essential feature of any VOD platform. Part of being able to effectively share your VOD content is keeping it all well-organized and individually tagging all your videos. This way, if a user searches for a video on a specific topic, your video is much easier for them to find and you are more likely to get that viewer.

Tagging by category and subcategory also allows for the creation of smart playlists, which suggest to viewers other videos related to those they’re already watching. This keeps people on your website, watching your content longer than if your video CMS did not have this functionality.

VOD Transcoding

VOD video transcoding
Transcoding allows viewers to watch your videos in the most optimal file size for their devices and internet connection.

The file size that plays well on the desktop computer of someone watching with a stable internet connection is not going to be the file size that will play smoothly on a mobile device in spotty WiFi.

To allow your videos to play at the highest quality necessary for each individual viewer’s device needs, your videos need to be available in multiple file sizes. With automatic VOD transcoding, your VOD streaming platform creates these separate files without you having to manually save each version.

Create a group of encoder settings and let the transcoder handle everything else, serving up the most optimized file type for the device each viewer is using to watch your videos.

Video Monetization

video monetization for on demand streaming
There are three main ways to monetize your content: SVOD, TVOD, and AVOD.

Part of offering your content on-demand is the ability to monetize your videos in the manner you choose.

The right video on demand software allows you to separate out the content that doesn’t need to be monetized, such as employee training videos, from that which you’ll use to drive revenue. In addition, your VOD platform should give you the option to monetize your videos as you see fit, selecting SVOD, TVOD, or AVOD monetization models. Lastly, it should also offer an integrated paywall solution for users to submit online payments and for you to securely collect revenue.

SVOD – Subscription Video on Demand

Selecting SVOD monetization means you will monetize your content in a similar manner as a television package. Your viewers will pay a subscription fee that allows them to watch as much of your content as they desire.

TVOD – Transactional Video on Demand

pay-per-view streaming

If you have specific videos or video series you want to monetize, TVOD, or pay per view streaming, is most likely be the best model for you. With this model, viewers pay a set price for access to each video or series of videos, and you can set different price points for bundles of content.

AVOD – Advertising Video on Demand

Some creators choose to make their content free for viewers to access but elect to monetize that content by showing advertisements during the video. If this is a model that appeals to you, AVOD monetization is the method that will best suit your needs.

White-Label Video Player

White label video platform
White-label video platforms give you the power to create a distraction-free video player and deliver your content to anyone on any device.

You may be great at planning and creating amazing video content, but you’re worried about a VOD platform that’s too technical and complicated. This is why plug-and-play platforms such as YouTube appeal to so many content creators.

However, when using someone else’s platform, you’re at the mercy of the way that platform decides to distribute your content. You have no control over the advertisements that are played, what videos are suggested to viewers and more, and your videos will still carry the brand of the third-party platform. And, if you want to embed and share videos on your own website or on social media, you may be limited.

By choosing a VOD platform with a white-label solution, you have the ease of these plug-and-play platforms but greater control over their distribution.

Remove the third-party branding on your videos and replace them with your own logo, keeping your branding consistent across all platforms. You also should be able to embed the video player into your website and easily share it on social media.

Video Security

video payment security
HTTPS uploading and delivery tell your viewers they can trust your site and make them feel more comfortable with online payments for monetization.

Trust is huge when you want your viewers to keep coming back to view your content, and you need the help of your VOD streaming platform to help build that trust.

You don’t want your users to be worried their devices will be bogged down by malware or spyware when they visit your site. Thanks to HTTPS secure uploading and delivery, you can give your users peace of mind that their devices are safe when they’re viewing your content and submitting payments online through integrated paywalls.

Comparing 5 Top On Demand Video Streaming Solutions

With these five key features in mind, let’s take a look at five of the top professional-grade live and on demand video streaming platforms:

1. Dacast

Dacast On Demand Video Streaming platform
Dacast is a unified platform, supporting the hosting and delivery of both live streaming and video on demand content.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast offers comprehensive live streaming and on demand video services. Users are able to embed videos on their own websites, retaining complete control of their content. Some of the key features of Dacast include an integrated paywall, password protection, an analytics dashboard, and referrer restriction.

Key Features: 



  • Figuring out all available features can take some time

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, MTS


There are three levels of live streaming pricing plans with Dacast: Starter, Scale, and Event.

  • Starter plan: ideal for newcomers with 1,000 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per month, at just $39 per month billed annually.
  • Scale plan: includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year, with 1 TB of storage for $188 per month billed annually. These Scale pricing plans add phone support, monetization paywall, an M3U8 online player for live channels, ad insertion, white-label Cnames, and video API access.
  • Event plan: for organizations who’d rather not sign a contract, and want to purchase bandwidth separately to live stream an event. It offers 6 TB of bandwidth upfront, 50 GB of storage, and costs just $63 per month (or $750/year). Additional data and storage can be added as needed.

For those creators who need more storage, greater bandwidth, or large amounts of viewing capacity, Dacast does offer custom-priced high-volume plans. Please contact us for more information.

2. IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)

IBM Cloud Video On Demand Video Streaming Platform
IBM Cloud Video is a live video streaming solution, which also provides hosting for one demand streaming content.

Previously known as UStream, IBM Cloud Video offers both live streaming and VOD streaming. It is considered reliable but is among the more expensive options on the market, so it is better suited for enterprises and organizations with large budgets.

Basic Functionality:

IBM Cloud Video offers hosting solutions for both live streaming and on demand video.

Key Features:

Key elements of the IBM Cloud Live Video solution include:

  • Streaming up to 720p resolution (*only Enterprise plans support 1080p full HD streaming)
  • Mobile-compatible video player
  • White-label custom branding (with high-end plans)
  • Uses IBM internal CDN to distribute content
  • API available (with high-end plans)


  • Great for professional broadcasters, with lots of professional features
  • Perfect for larger clients
  • Reliable, helpful technical support
  • Hong Kong (China) video hosting


  • Only offers ad-based monetization
  • Expensive, so not suited for businesses and organizations with smaller budgets
  • Some limitations with the internal content delivery server
  • Some important features are only available with the most expensive plans

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 480p (480 x 270)
  • Maximum dimension:  4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: No published aspect ratio
  • Max file size: 4 GB
  • Max video length: No published limits
  • Total file storage: 1TB – 5TB (depends on plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MKV, MP4, MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MPEG2, H264, H263, MPEG4, VP6, VP8, THEORA, WMV, MP3, AAC-LC, NELLYMOSER, PCM, SPEEX, VORBIS, WMA


IBM Cloud Video offers three levels of plans:

  • Silver: $99/month
  • Gold: $499/month
  • Platinum: $999/month
  • Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.

3. Vimeo

Vimeo On Demand Video Streaming Platform
Vimeo Live is a video streaming platform that offers streaming video on demand content delivery.

Vimeo’s name may seem familiar from its days as a B2C platform similar to YouTube. Now, it serves a professional clientele and offers both live streaming and VOD.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo is a widely accessible, easy-to-use streaming video on demand software.

Key Features:

  • Editing features included
  • Pay only for what you use
  • Pay-per-view and subscriptions available
  • Ad-free streaming
  • Easy-to-use API
  • Analytics built-in


  • User-friendly
  • Options for monetization
  • Customizable video players
  • VOD and live streaming
  • Built-in transcoding


  • Monetizing your content costs up to 10% of your revenue
  • Add-on features can get expensive
  • 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)


Vimeo offers basic video hosting plans that are suitable for content creators and startups.

  • 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;  5TB total storage (no weekly limits); 10 users; lead gen and marketing tools
  • Premium: $75/month; Unlimited live streaming with 7TB of storage; unlimited viewers

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

4. Brightcove

Brightcove On Demand Video Streaming Platform
Brightcove is one of the oldest online video platforms offering live streaming, and VOD (video on demand) hosting solutions.

Brightcove is a VOD streaming platform that emphasizes marketing and monetization. It is considered a luxury B2B platform better suited to large enterprises.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove is a premium B2B video streaming platform emphasizing monetization and marketing.

Key Features:

  • Marketing and advertising tools
  • Live streaming
  • Video analytics built-in
  • Video monetization
  • Customize your experience with app integrations


  • Privacy and security tools
  • Multiple apps and integrations
  • Reliable technical support
  • Built-in editing features


  • Additional cost for 24/7 technical support
  • Difficult for beginners to use

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


Brightcove offers three pricing plan levels that target higher-end clients. Brightcove’s pricing is no longer posted, but plans include basic video marketing tools and analytics with SD streaming quality for unlimited viewers. However, larger users will prefer the Enterprise communications plan, which is custom-priced. Those plans add advanced security tools, HD-quality streaming, and phone support (30-min response time).

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

5. Wowza

Wowza On Demand Video Streaming Platform
Wowza is a feature-rich online video platform, offering both live streaming and on demand video delivery.

Founded in 2005, Wowza offers video streaming for broadcasters from a wide range of budgets. Some of Wowza’s plans are more expensive and designed for enterprises, they do offer a variety of other more budget-friendly options.

Wowza is well-known for its security features.

Basic Functionality:

Wowza offers two main products. The first is the Wowza Streaming Engine. This product is widely used in the industry for self-hosted streaming. The second is the Wowza Streaming Cloud offering. This functionality includes a variety of features aimed at providing low-latency content access to global audiences. 

Key Features:

  • Video content management
  • Exceptional security features
  • High-definition streaming support
  • Video API
  • Simulcasting capabilities


  • Streaming on most devices supported
  • Powerful security features
  • Live streaming and on demand streaming options
  • Connects to Google Analytics
  • China video delivery


  • Monetization only available through integrations

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


Wowza Streaming Cloud offers 3 distinct pricing plans and services. Within Live Event Pricing, monthly plans include:

  • Basic: $99/month and includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1,000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
  • One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase and includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1,000 viewing hours also at 720p
  • Plus: $499/month and includes 150 hours of live streaming and 7,000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p

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

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

  • Basic: $125/month + $145/month for each additional instance and $125/month for each additional prepaid instance
  • One Month Event: $245/month + $155/month for each additional instance and $95/month for each additional prepaid instance
  • Enterprise: Please contact Wowza directly for access to their custom-tailored high volume enterprise solutions


on demand video streaming services
Which on demand video streaming platform will you choose for your professional live and on demand broadcasting needs?

The method you use to deliver your content is almost as important as the content itself. Choosing VOD streaming allows you the greatest access to a lasting audience, giving viewers the option to view your content whenever they want and giving them the ability to pause and rewatch on their own schedule.

Choosing the right on demand video streaming platform — including Dacast, which won Best Small/Medium Business Platform from the 2019 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards — makes your job of streaming and sharing your content much easier.

If you want to take the next step in VOD streaming, try Dacast free for 30 days. You’ll have no long-term contract to sign and no hefty start-up fees to pay, and we don’t require a credit card to get started.


Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or experiences to share, please let us know in the comments. And for regular tips on live streaming, join our LinkedIn group

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