Simulcasting: The Ultimate Guide to Multi-Destination Streaming [2021 Update]
Table of Contents
The purpose of broadcasting is to bring video content to your target audience. But what if you could stretch the reach of your broadcast and bring your video to more people?
With simulcasting, you can reach larger audiences by broadcasting your content on multiple platforms at the same time. Think beyond your video player. Think Facebook, Youtube, and the other platforms where potential viewers are hanging out.
In this post, we are going to talk about what simulcasting is and how you can simulcast your next live stream. We’ll cover some of the best practices and helpful software solutions that will help make your first simulcast a hit.
Table of Contents
- What is Simulcasting?
- How Does Simulcasting Work?
- Tips for Making Your Multi-Destination Stream a Hit
- What is Best Simulcast Software for Live Streaming?
- How to Stream to Multiple Platforms At Once
What is Simulcasting?
Simultaneous broadcasting—or simulcasting—is broadcasting on multiple channels at once. “Multicasting” or “multi-destination streaming” are two other terms that are used to describe the same concept. “Simulcasting” was originally used in the world of radio to describe radio shows that were simultaneously broadcasted on different stations through syndication.
Today, simulcasting is also used to describe broadcasting a live stream on several platforms at once. You can simulcast virtual events, private events, webinars, speeches, sporting events, or content made for entertainment purposes.
Let’s say Dacast is your online video platform of choice. If you simulcast your live stream, you could have it appear on the video player you’ve added to your site plus your social media platforms.
Steaming with professional-grade streaming solutions, as opposed to on the free social platforms, has a ton of benefits. The video monetization capabilities, total ownership of content, and control over the video player are great, but there are also perks to live streaming on the free platforms, like Facebook Live, Youtube, Instagram, and the like.
When you stream on social platforms, you can reach your existing following. Your audience may also be more comfortable tuning in on platforms that they are familiar with.
How Does Simulcasting Work?
There are a few ways to simulcast your live stream. Most often, they involve using a video hosting manager and/or a dedicated simulcasting software or platform.
The technicalities of how simulcasting works vary by which method you choose. In most cases, over-the-top (OTT) technology is used to stream your video over the internet. The internet makes it easy to broadcast the video on multiple platforms at once.
There are three ways to stream to multiple platforms at once. These include:
Each of these varies a little bit in nature and functionality. Which you use will depend on the social platforms that you’d like to stream on.
For example, Facebook is the only free streaming platform that gives professional streaming software any real competition. The only way to truly simulcast on your video player hosted by Dacast and Facebook Lives is to use special software like Switchboard. You can post a share code on your Facebook page, but that simply takes viewers back to your custom video player.
Share codes work very similarly to any link that you’d post on social media. Once you add the share code to a blank post on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, a splash screen and title will appear.
The most technical option, which also happens to be the most complicated, is simulcasting with the help of encoding software.
Using special software for simulcasting has tons of benefits. This approach gives you the freedom and control that come with your professional streaming solutions. However, this software is a bit of an investment.
Tips for Making Your Multi-Destination Stream a Hit
Just like any live stream broadcast, your first simulcast will require a bit of preparation. Since simulcasts are slightly more complicated than regular live streams, they require a bit more time and effort.
Here are a few tips that will help you have a successful simulcast.
1. Test Beforehand
Since you’re going to be streaming on several platforms, it’s a good idea to test each one individually before showtime just to make sure everything runs smoothly.
If one platform works better than others, perhaps direct users to watch there.
2. Notify Your Audience
In order to get the most viewers, let your audience know where all they can find the stream far enough in advance.
One of the perks of simulcasting is that you can tap into existing audiences on social media platforms. Make announcements and countdown posts on these platforms before your stream so that everybody knows that you’ll be going live.
It is a good idea to let people know that you’ll be live on multiple platforms so they can view the stream on the platform that they prefer.
3. Monitor the Platforms
It is a good idea to have somebody monitoring each of the platforms that you’re streaming on, especially if any of the platforms have commenting capabilities. This way you can see what people are saying and see if anything is malfunctioning.
The person who is monitoring the simulcast should be in a different room so that your microphone doesn’t pick up the sound of the broadcast and begin to echo.
Figure out a way for the person who is monitoring to communicate with the person on camera in the event that something goes wrong.
What are the Best Simulcast Platforms for Live Streaming?
Simulcasting is made easy with a powerful streaming platform. It is important to choose a multi-stream platform that either has simulcasting capabilities or integrates with software that is specifically intended for live streaming to multiple platforms.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top live streaming platforms that support simulcasting and a few dedicated simulcasting software options.
Dacast’s live streaming platform has two major integrations that are perfect for simulcasting. You can use our custom OBS platform, or you can use the Switchboard Live integration method. Either option is great because you still have access to the powerful features of Dacast.
Even if you decide against investing in a specialized simulcasting solution, Dacast has other options that allow you to live stream to multiple platforms. The simplest method is via share codes, but free encoding software is useful, as well.
- Unlimited viewers and live channels
- White label and branding control
- RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) ingest, playback, and streaming support
- Embeddable HTML5 video player
- SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD pay-per-view monetization options
- M3U8 media links to stream to mobile and smart TV apps such as Roku, Apple TV, etc.
- VOD platform to monetize on-demand content, and to scale your VOD business
- Low latency HTML5 channels for video streaming
- Multi-bitrate streaming for live video and VOD
- Cloud video transcoding with true adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR)
- Player API access for 3rd party player integration
- Video API access on premium plans
- Mobile device support
- SDK for player integration on iOS and Android platforms
- Live stream recording
- China Video Hosting
- Pricing plans for every budget
- Multi-user access on Scale and Custom plans
- Zoom live streaming integration for meetings and live events in real-time
- Expo 2.0 galleries video portal for immersive video experiences
- Requires a bit of a learning curve
- Not a dedicated simulcasting platform
Streaming plans with Dacast start at $39 per month and come in the following four tiers:
- Starter plan: ideal for newcomers with 1.2 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per year, 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 streaming, and video API access. Additional bandwidth is available upon request for monthly plans. Read more here about Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans.
- Event plan: for organizations that would 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.
Custom plan: if your enterprise business has high-volume streaming needs, you can contact Dacast for a custom plan tailored to your needs.
In addition to its simulcasting features, Boxcast offers specific streaming solutions for churches, sports, events, municipalities, and enterprises.
- Wide variety of streaming destinations
- Event scheduling
- Automation for time scheduling
- Reliable support
- Can get expensive
- Some limitations on compatibility
BoxCast pricing is based on three plan tiers. Each successive plan offers more features and more storage time per broadcast. Custom plans are available at higher price points as well. The main monthly plans include:
- Essential: $99 per month; includes 3-month storage per broadcast and live phone support.
- Growth: $129 per month; increases per broadcast storage time to 1 year.
- Experience: $299 per month; high-quality streaming and access to advanced features
- Premium: $999 per month; a scalable solution with access to even more advanced features
Looking for a basic streaming solution with live streaming capabilities? Vimeo is a great option. Vimeo started as a consumer-grade platform and has shifted to serve a more professional audience.
Setting up the simulcast tools on Vimeo is very simple. All you have to do is go into the settings, click “Destinations” and connect your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube accounts.
- Low-budget options
- TVOD monetization
- Video management service
- Privacy options
- Limited storage
- Cannot remove Vimeo’s branding on Basic, Plus, and Pro plans
- Live streaming is only available on Premium plans ($75/month)
Vimeo pricing plans are available in 5 tiers 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 by default. However, the Plus plan can be billed monthly at an increased rate of $12/month.
Livestream, which is a premium streaming solution from Vimeo, has settings that allow users to simulcast directly from their platform to Facebook Live and Vimeo.
This platform supports both OTT VOD streaming and live broadcasting.
- Sleek interface
- Thoroughly detailed analytics
- Easy to use
- Large collection of professional broadcasting tools
- Video management service
- High-quality videos and streams
- Large storage capacity
- Can get quite expensive
- Extremely limited streaming destinations
Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Restream is a dedicated simulcasting software that is quite powerful. The appeal of this platform is that simulcasting is its primary function, and it has solutions for a wide range of budgets.
The primary industries that Restream serves include gaming, tech, government, sports, media, and music.
- Powerful simulcasting capabilities
- Tools for boosting engagement
- Peer-to-peer streaming support
- Support for audience interaction
- No encoding support
- Difficult to use on Wifi
- Some complaints about video quality
Restream has several pricing plans for both individuals and businesses. These include:
- Free: $0/months (for individuals)
- Standard: $16/month (for individuals)
- Professional: $41/month (for individuals)
- Premium: $83/month (for businesses)
- Business: $249/month (for businesses)
6. Switchboard Live
Switchboard Live is another great simulcasting software that is worth noting. This platform is relatively basic and is almost totally dedicated to simulcasting.
There is actually a Switchboard Live integration on Dacast which makes this platform one of the preferred options for our users.
- Generally easy to use
- Integrates seamlessly with some major OVPs
- Powerful simulcasting support
- Some minor “snags” in setup
- Some settings require manual configuration (which are automatic on other platforms)
Switchboard Live has three different pricing plans:
- Indie: $35/month and it supports streaming to 3+ destinations.
- Pro: $99/month and it supports streaming to 5+ destinations.
- Business: $350/month and it supports streaming to 10+ destinations.
Discounts are available for users who pay quarterly or annually.
7. OBS Studio
Open Broadcaster Software Studio (or OBS Studio for short) is a live streaming tool that allows you to simulcast your streams. It has additional tools that are used for mixing and editing content as it’s recorded. You can even add filters to your videos or automatic correction, which keeps you looking your best as you stream.
Dacast offers a customized version of OBS that lets you stream with Dacast but use the cool features of OBS. There are four OBS settings that you should check out for the best streaming results.
Version 27.0.1 was released on June 11th, 2021, and is available for download here for both macOS and Windows operating systems.
OBS is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Windows Vista is no longer supported by OBS Studio.OBS is not compatible with Facebook, but it does work with Youtube.
- It’s free
- Easy-to-use (especially for beginners)
- Frequent updates to improve the experience
- Able to function on lower-quality internet
- Some inconvenient limitations on features
- Limitations on plugins
OBS Studio is open-source and completely free to use.
SplitCam is a broadcasting software that is primarily used for webcam splitting. This comes in handy for use-cases where peer-to-peer streaming is necessary. Some use cases would be live training sessions, webinars, and other virtual streaming events that involve interaction from viewers.
SplitCam is compatible with many major peer-to-peer services and streaming solutions, which makes it useful to broadcasters with many different streaming needs. Users can broadcast their streams to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, YouTube, and a variety of other platforms all at the same time.
One notable feature of SplitCam is that it has a large online community which means that it is easy for users to connect and find support from one another. This is a nice addition, especially for broadcasters who are still learning the ropes.
SplitCam is compatible with both Windows and macOS.
- It’s free
- Supports multiple destinations and multiple sources
- Tools for video mixing
- Supports high-quality streaming
- Does not support encoding
- Requires laptop or desktop (no mobile streaming)
SplitCam is absolutely free to download and use.
Wirecast is a broadcasting software from Telestream that supports simulcasting and other broadcasting functionality, like encoding.
The latest version of Wirecast is 14.2.1 It is the newest full version and was released on May 18, 2021. It features several enhancements and fixes, including FBLive polling, re-written WebStream plugin, and Virtual Camera improvements.
- Unlimited inputs
- Unlimted outputs
- Tools for mixing video and audio
- Easy-to-use, user-friendly platform
- Compatible with most popular operating systems
- Fully loaded with valuable features for broadcasters
- High price point
- Many features locked in the “Studio” version
- Straining on computer
The software comes in two versions:
- Wirecast Studio: $599 (one-time purchase); designed for enhanced live production & streaming
- Wirecast Pro: $799 (one-time purchase); designed for advanced live production and streaming
Free trials are available with both versions of the software.
XSplit is a broadcasting software that is used for simulcasting, screen recording, mixing, and more. This company offers many of the tools that broadcasters need to make their streams a success.
XSplit works with the Windows operating system. Although it is not currently compatible with macOS, a dedicated version that works with that operating system is coming soon.
- Multi-destination streaming
- Organizational tools (title tags)
- Screen recording capabilities
- Mixing and editing
- Business-grade platform
- 24/7 support
- The interface can be confusing
- Requires a bit of a learning curve
- Known to strain some processors
The pricing plans for XSplit Broadcaster are as follows:
- 3 Month License: $24.95
- 12 Month License: $59.95
- 36 Month License: $149.95
- Lifetime License: $199.00
How to Stream to Multiple Platforms At Once
Now that are familiar with the top simulcasting software choices, let’s take a look at how to simulcast from Dacast with both OBS Studio and Switchboard Live.
Simulcasting with OBS Studio
You can simulcast with OBS Studio by connecting it to your Dacast account with our encoder setup instructions and properly configuring a few different settings.
The best OBS settings include:
- Simple Output Mode: “Simple Output Mode” gives you the default video settings to set you up for your live stream.
- Advanced Output Mode: This feature gives you a little more control over the output settings of your broadcast.
- Hot Keys: This tool allows you to switch scenes while you’re broadcasting.
- Video Source: The “Video Source” tool allows you to set up video source(s) before you start recording.
We suggest experimenting with each of these tools to learn how you can get the most out of the platform.
Simulcasting with Switchboard Live
Dacast’s streaming solution seamlessly integrates with Switchboard Live, which is another one of the platforms that we compared above.
There are two processes that you must go through to simulcast with Switchboard Live. You have to connect your account with Dacast and then connect your account to the other platforms that you’d like to stream on.
Once you’ve connected Dacast, it is time to connect to any social platforms that you’d like. You’ll add each platform as a new destination, as well. After your preferred destinations are entered, you’ll set up the encoder and the RTMP server.
For more detailed instructions, check out our dedicated video tutorial.
Simulcasting comes with many benefits, and with the right tools, it’s easy to do. You can reach larger audiences and make your live streams more easily accessible to your existing social media followers.
You can choose to simulcast with the help of a software encoder, a specialized simulcasting software, or a share code from your video hosting platform. You have the power to choose the option that works best for you.
Are you ready to stream your first simulcast?
Simulcasting is made easy with Dacast and our powerful integrations. You can try Dacast risk-free for 30 days to see how well it works for your business. No credit card is required. Are you ready to start streaming with Dacast?
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