Top 16 Live Streaming Solutions – Everything You Need to Know [Updated for 2021]

Live Streaming solutions

Professionals are using online video content more than ever before, live streaming solutions have become a key resource for corporate communications, marketing, sales, business development, and beyond while the world transitions to primarily working from home.

Live streaming is booming in so many different industries. More than 4.6 million people watch music festivals via live streams each year. Likewise, sports live streaming is on the rise, and enterprise video is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2023.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to stay home have made this tool even more important over the past year. Consider how many Zoom meetings you’ve been a part of since the beginning of this virus and how many in-person events have moved online.

With the need growing for live streaming solutions, we knew it was time to compare the best in the business. In this article, we review the top 10 professional live video streaming solutions for professionals and 6 social media alternatives. We compare each platform based on functionality, features, streaming solution costs, and more.

Please keep in mind that live streaming solutions technology and pricing changes regularly. This post reflects the most accurate information as of April 2021.

Table of Contents:

  • What is a Live Streaming Solution?
  • Free Live Streaming Services vs. Professional Solutions
  • What is SaaS Video Streaming
  • What to Look for in a Streaming Solution
  • The Top 10 Live Video Streaming Solutions Comparison
  • Top Social Streaming Solutions
  • Final Thoughts

Our aim here is to help you narrow in on the right streaming solutions for you. Let’s begin!

What is a Live Streaming Solution?

A live streaming solution is a video hosting platform that supports broadcasting in real-time. 

Generally, these platforms are equipped with a collection of professional broadcasting tools and features, like white-label video players, cloud transcoding tools, privacy and security, monetization support, global delivery, and more.

Professional-grade live streaming solutions are often used to broadcast events like concerts, webinars, conferences, sporting events, corporate events, and the like.

Live streaming with a dedicated solution is typically more reliable than social media applications and consumer-grade streaming services.

Free Live Streaming Services vs. Professional Solutions

Live Streaming Services
A streaming service allows content creators to use their platform. A streaming solution provides broadcasters with the ability to scale and grow their online video presence.

First, we need to begin by answering a common question people have when considering live video streaming solutions: why use professional-grade live streaming solutions? 

While there are several free services out there like YouTube, you should strongly consider a professional-grade streaming solution instead. YouTube is a free service content creators use, whereas Dacast, for example, is a solution for businesses looking to host video content online.

Free live video streaming solutions are valuable for some purposes, but they don’t provide much functionality for hosting video content on a larger scale. 

Additionally, free options come with serious privacy and security concerns. They only provide limited or non-existent security features. Monetization tools are either hard to access or not supported at all. Tech support may not be up to your business standard.

What is SaaS Video Streaming?

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a software and delivery model that provides customers with a subscription for their live streaming software and the service it provides and lives in the cloud. 

Online software, communications tool, and payroll processing software are all examples of businesses that use the SaaS model. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many applications that businesses use for their cloud video streaming solutions. 

SaaS video streaming is a piece of software that provides the broadcaster with a service that answers the problem they are having. These streaming solutions that we will be comparing have created video streaming software to provide to the broadcaster.

Dacast is one live streaming solution that uses the SaaS model.

What to Look for in a Streaming Solution

streaming solution
Finding a solution to your live video streaming is better in the long run compared to just finding a service to use.

There are so many different professional-grade video streaming solutions, with unique sets of features at different price points. When you’re considering which video solution you should use, there are several features to look for.

  1. Security features: password protection, geographic/domain restrictions
  2. Monetization: pay-per-view, subscriptions, advertisements
  3. Professional business video hosting tools
  4. Live streaming support
  5. 24/7 tech support

The most important thing to consider when choosing a streaming solution is whether or not it includes the tools you need to reach your specific live streaming goals.

The Top 16 Live Video Streaming Solutions in 2021 

Each streaming solution is different since they all come with unique sets of key features, basic functionalities, and pricing. No corporate streaming solution is perfect, but there is one out there that’s right for your business, and now is the time to find it. 

Take all of this into consideration while we compare the top 16 live video streaming solutions for 2021.

1. Dacast

live streaming solution
Dacast’s live streaming solution offers security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption.

Overview and Company History:

Dacast is a B2B SaaS company that delivers high-quality streaming worldwide at very competitive pricing. Dacast is located in San Francisco with offices in London.

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. In 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, which expanded our set of comprehensive VOD tools and truly made Dacast a unified streaming solution.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting services. Broadcasters who use this streaming solution maintain 100% ownership of their content. 

Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.

Key Features:

Dacast’s key features include ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and top-tier CDN delivery. Reliable 24/7 phone support is also available for scale and event plans.

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, MTS

Pricing:

Pricing plans with Dacast include four packages:

  • 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.
  • Custom plan: if your enterprise business has high volume streaming needs, you can contact Dacast for a custom plan tailored to your needs.

Broadcasters can contact Dacast directly to learn more about custom-priced high-volume plans.

2. Brightcove

Brightcove Live Streaming Solution
Mainly targeting huge clients, Brightcove offers two pricing plan levels. This solution is ideal for companies that are growing fast.

Overview and Company History:

Boston-based Brightcove was founded in 2004. It is one of the oldest online video platforms offering cloud encoding, live streaming, and VOD (video on demand) hosting. Last year, Brightcove acquired streaming platform Ooyala, known for its cloud video technology. Since the acquisition, Brightcove has announced end-of-life plans for the Ooyala OVP.

Basic Functionality:

Brightcove’s basics include video cloud hosting, the lift video player, server-side ad insertion, live streaming video, OTT flow for internet TV, encoder for cloud transcoding, and tools for monetization.

Key Features:

Brightcove’s key feature is the analytics provided to customers. Its detailed analytics and video marketing tools are quite valuable for businesses that aim to capture leads and understand their audience.

Detailed Features:

  • Live streaming and video-on-demand hosting
  • Analytics
  • Server-side ad insertion
  • Cloud transcoding and adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Monetization options on custom-priced plans

Pros:

  • Great analytics
  • Custom video portals
  • CRM integration

Cons:

  • Cost
  • No live streaming with packages under $499/month
  • Monetization limited to custom-priced plans
  • No China video 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:

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

3. StreamShark

Streamshark Live Streaming Platform
StreamShark features a live streaming workflow and uses a global CDN delivery network.

Overview and Company History:

StreamShark is one of the best live streaming solutions for businesses. It was founded in 2011 and provides multi-faceted online video functionality.

Basic Functionality:

As a corporate streaming solution, StreamShark offers both a consumer-grade (B2C) platform and a distinct enterprise platform for streaming.

Key Features: 

  • Manage different phases of an event’s stream
  • Multi-vendor approach
  • HLS ingests
  • Provides global video CDN services

Detailed Features:

Pros:

  • Localized media ingestion
  • monetization options
  • Video Encoding
  • Redistribution
  • Increased storage space

Cons:

  • No support
  • No embeddable playlists
  • Fair to no video analytics
  • No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: not available
  • Max video length: not available 
  • Total file storage: 500GB, 1TB, 3TB
  • Compatible video formats: HLS, WebM VP9, WebM VP8, WebM VP9 DASH, MP4

Pricing:

Monthly live streaming plans with StreamShark begin at $199 per month and include the following:

  • Standard: $199/month and include 500 GB of VOD storage an additional overage of $0.10 per GB
  • Team: $499/month and includes 2,000 GB of storage, and lowers per GB overage prices to $0.09
  • Business: $499/month and includes 5,000 GB of storage, and reduces the overage to $0.08 per GB
  • Business: Please contact StreamShark for their custom enterprise solutions and plans

4. IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)

ibm cloud video Live Streaming Solution
IBM is primarily a live video streaming solution, however, it does provide professional video hosting services.

Overview and Company History:

Next in our live video streaming solutions review, IBM Cloud Video is the platform formerly known as UStream. This platform offers video hosting and cloud video streaming solutions, as well as a variety of features. Founded in 2007 to connect military service members with family, IBM purchased UStream in 2016.

Basic Functionality:

The basic functionality of IBM is live streaming. However, this live streaming solution also hosts video on demand files from previous live streams.

Basic streaming accounts are free, with advertising supporting IBM Cloud Video. Paid accounts remove advertising and grant access to advanced features. Enterprise accounts allow for full custom branding and offer analytics, multiple live channels, content syndication, and more.

Key Features:

Overall, the 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)

Detailed Features:

  • Video distribution and workflow
  • OTT video management
  • Enterprise video streaming
  • Enterprise content delivery network
  • Monetization capabilities

Pros:

  • Reliable platform
  • Perfect for larger clients
  • Good customer support
  • Wide range of features for broadcasters
  • Hong Kong (China) video hosting

Cons:

  • Additional fees required in order to stream above 720p resolution
  • Poor closed captioning support

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

Pricing:

IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:

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

5. JW Player

JWplayer video streaming solution
JW Player began as a small piece of open-source code to play audio and video files. It’s grown since then into a live streaming player.

Overview and Company History:

The JW Player project (as the name suggests) began as a video player. This now streaming solution was founded in 2005 as part of a student project. Today, this service offers video hosting services and live streaming.

Basic Functionality:

This solution is known for its HTML5 video player for VOD content. In addition to that, JW Player is now a full-service live streaming provider.

Key Features:

  • Live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) hosting
  • Video recommendations engine to generate custom “watch next” recommendations
  • Tools for monetization via advertising, and detailed revenue tracking
  • Analytics tools

Detailed Features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Global content delivery
  • Email support through the $100/month plan level
  • Video API access on all plans
  • Security features are basic but functional.
  • Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
  • Monetization via advertising

Pros:

  • Great video player
  • Simple, easy-to-use platform
  • Good advertising tools

Cons:

  • Live streaming limited to custom-priced plans with a 6-hour duration
  • Only ad-based monetization
  • No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 360p (640 x 360)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3, 2.39:1
  • Max file size: 25GB
  • Max video length: Not available
  • Total file storage: 25GB to 500GB (depends on the plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, WMV, AVI, MOV, 3GP, FLV

Pricing:

JWPlayer pricing plans include the following tiers:

  • Free trial: JW Player offers a 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, a non-commercial license, 25 GB hosting bandwidth, and 75 GB streaming.
  • Starter plan: At $10 per month, the Starter pricing plan includes an HTML5 Video Player, a video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth, and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month (billed annually).
  • Enterprise plan: these business-specific plans are available with custom pricing for high-volume storage and streaming. Enterprise plans support live streaming, while lower-tier plans only support VOD.  

6. Kaltura

Kaltura Streaming Video Solution
Kaltura provides a wide range of live streaming video solutions.

Overview and Company History:

The Kaltura online video platform targets large institutions. In particular, Kaltura focuses on four markets: video services for educational institutions, enterprises, media companies, and OTT video services. Historically, this company has worked most extensively with educational institutions.

Basic Functionality:

This video streaming solution is an alternative to the self-hosted model. The software for Kaltura is free, however, it requires an infrastructure of servers for hosting and distributing content. Kaltura provides cloud-based video hosting and distribution for both VOD and live streams.

Key Features:

The Kaltura Management Console (KMC) offers tools to create, upload, edit, manage, publish, and deliver live and on-demand video to viewers. Key features of the KMC include:

  • Live streaming and VOD hosting
  • Secure content delivery via Akamai, Limelight, and eCDNs
  • Live transcoding, live production software, and video marketing tools
  • Video APIs, SDKs, developer tools, and code recipes
  • Highly customizable, and therefore highly complex streaming platform

Detailed Features:

  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
  • Video API access
  • Global content delivery via a combined CDN approach
  • Ability to bring your own CDN
  • Security features including a range of authentication and encryption options
  • Monetization including all major models – subscription, advertising, PPV streaming

Pros:

  • Many available features
  • Totally customizable streaming experience
  • Great monetization options
  • Robust security

Cons:

  • Ticket-based system for support
  • Highly complex
  • Not suited for new broadcasters
  • No China video 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 doesn’t publish pricing information on their website, but it is on the higher end in terms of cost. This live streaming solution offers custom-priced and pay-as-you-go plans to broadcasters. Interested broadcasters must contact their sales department directly to design a custom package. Given the degree of customization of plans with Kaltura, this option is best suited for large-scale enterprises with larger budgets.

7. Muvi

muvi live streaming video platform
Muvi is a live streaming platform focused on OTT media.

Overview and Company History:

Moving along in our live video streaming solutions review, let’s consider Muvi. This corporate video streaming solution centers on OTT media businesses. Overall, Muvi aims to provide a “turnkey” service to broadcasters. In short, Muvi focuses on OTT services that are quick to get up and running. They say their model empowers users to launch their own video or audio strategy quickly and easily.

Basic Functionality:

Muvi’s OTT multi-screen video streaming solution helps businesses launch white-label multi-device streams. They also provide VOD and audio streaming. It’s fully managed and all controlled from a single CMS.

Key Features:

  • HTML5 all-device video player
  • White label custom branding
  • Various monetization options
  • Support for video and audio streaming
  • Dashboard management CMS for naming and organizing content
  • 24/7 support

Detailed Features:

Pros:

  • CDN delivery
  • Hosting
  • No coding required
  • Video CMS
  • Transcoding
  • DRM
  • Website and Apps for Mobile and TV.

Cons:

  • Not extremely user-friendly
  • Hard to integrate or connect
  • CMS user interface is complex
  • No China video delivery

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 144p (256 x 144)
  • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840  x2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: not available
  • Max video length: not available
  • Total file storage: 1TB, 2TB, 5TB (depending on plan)
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MKV, FLV, VOB, M4V, AVI, 3GP, MPG

Pricing:

Muvi prices its plans at the following five levels:

  • Standard plan: $399/month (+ $299/month per app + infra fees), allows 2000 concurrent viewers, 1TB each of bandwidth and storage, and API support.
  • Professional plan: at $1,499 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) increases limits further and adds premium support.
  • Enterprise plan: $3,900 per month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) adds a dedicated server with auto-scaling.
  • Ultimate plan: $8,900/month (+ $499/month per app + infra fees) doubles the bandwidth and storage of the enterprise plan and adds your own CDN and unlimited API calls.
  • Black plan: this is a custom solution and includes everything in the Ultimate plan plus premium services and project management.

8. Panopto

Panopto Streaming Solution
Panopto is primarily a streaming solution for online education.

Overview and Company History:

Panopto is one of the live video streaming solutions aimed at educational and institutional users. This platform aims to deliver an “internal YouTube” experience for training and more. It was founded in 2007 in Pittsburg at Carnegie Mellon University as a tech project. This online video streaming solution enables streaming, sharing, recording, and managing video content.

Panopto has more than 100 employees in 6 offices around the world. This streaming solution serves an audience of over 5 million end-users in the e-learning space.

Basic Functionality: 

With a focus on online education, it provides tools similar to YouTube and integrates with Learning Management Systems. Overall, Panopto is a more focused online video organization than the other best live streaming solutions considered here.

Key Features:

  • Secure portal for management
  • Includes software for live streaming and auto-archiving using webcams
  • Keyword search inside videos
  • Tools for API access and LMS/CMS integration

Detailed Features:

  • Lecture-capture and video-search software
  • Access control & security features
  • White-label streaming
  • Integration with LMS systems
  • APIs for further integrations.

Pros:

  • Audio Content
  • Analytics
  • Document Indexing
  • Customizable Branding
  • Full-Text Search
  • Video Content
  • Asset Categorization
  • China video delivery

Cons:

  • No customizable templates
  • No image editor
  • No SEO management
  • No version control

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Compatible video formats: AVI, MP4, MPG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GP, WMA, MP3, M4V
  • All other upload guidelines and specs are only available to paying customers. 

Pricing:

Panopto recently simplified their pricing packages and includes the following three options:

  • Basic: Free
  • Pro: $14.99/month
  • Enterprise: Please contact Panopto for custom pricing.

9. Vimeo Livestream

Vimeo live Streaming Solution
Vimeo Livestream is a streaming solution that offers live broadcasting as well as video hosting services.

Overview and company history:

Next is Vimeo’s Livestream, which is a premium offering from Vimeo. In 2017, Vimeo acquired Livestream and repackaged the platform’s tools for its platform. Previously, Livestream was a company that offered live streaming and video hosting solutions.  

Since the acquisition, the two companies have been merging their services. Like IMB Cloud Video, Livestream is on the higher end of the live streaming pricing market.

Basic Functionality:

Vimeo offers streaming as well as video hosting services. The services include analytics and a video management platform.

Key Features:

  • Full-HD quality
  • All-device video player with adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Privacy tools, or embed to any website
  • White-label service
  • Live audience chat
  • Monetization options

Detailed Features:

  • Large storage capacity
  • Privacy options
  • Video management service
  • High-quality videos and streams
  • Upload from anywhere

Pros:

  • Unlimited events and viewers
  • No ads
  • Sleek and professional appearance
  • Thoroughly detailed analytics
  • Easy to use
  • Pay-per-view option

Cons:

  • Does not generate as much traffic as other sites
  • 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)

Pricing:

Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:

Vimeo Premium:

  • Premium pricing: $75/month
  • Their Premium plan includes both live streaming and VOD services. This plan is the way to go for professional broadcasting.

Vimeo Enterprise:

  • Enterprise Pricing: Please contact Vimeo for custom pricing information
  • The Enterprise plan includes white-label service, monetization, and video APIs. It also includes branding control and added security features.

Vimeo OTT:

  • Starter Pricing: $1/subscriber per month
  • Growth Pricing: starting at $500/month
  • The OTT specific pricing packages come 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.

For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to Vimeo Livestream pricing.

10. Wowza

wowza Live Streaming Solution
Wowza is a streaming platform for business-critical applications.

Overview and Company History:

The next live video streaming solution that we will review here is Wowza Streaming Cloud. Wowza is feature-rich and provides a customizable platform for broadcasters of all sorts. It was founded in 2005 by David Stubenvoll and Charlie Good. Wowza is a bootstrap start-up, with live and on-demand live streaming capabilities.

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:

  • Live streaming and on-demand video hosting
  • Host-you-own streaming server product
  • White-label streaming
  • Mobile-compatible video player
  • Customer support (*note that phone support and fast responses cost extra)
  • RESTful API available

Detailed Features:

  • APIs are available
  • Live stream recording
  • Cloud management portal
  • Streaming up to 4K
  • Wide range of security options

Pros:

  • Audience Engagement
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Mobile Screen Support
  • Robust security
  • Video Streaming
  • Video Looping
  • China video delivery

Cons:

  • No Multistreaming
  • No Session Recording
  • No Video Monetization Tools
  • No Multiple Camera Feeds
  • No Audience Analytics
  • No Event Scheduling

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

Pricing:

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

Top Social Streaming Solutions

Social media streaming apps like YouTube and Facebook are not capable of video hosting on a professional level. However, they are useful for promoting content on your website, connecting with your audience,  and building a loyal following for your brand.

Here are a few of the top social media platforms for live streaming and video sharing.

11. YouTube

YouTube Live
YouTube is one of the most popular video platforms.

Overview and Company History:

YouTube was one of the first websites that made online video streaming so popular. It has grown exponentially in the past decade.

This Google-owned platform is designed for consumers and independent content creators, but many businesses use it while they are getting into broadcasting since it is free and easy to use.

YouTube is not ideal for business use since the site has strict limitations on the type of content that you can post. Additionally, there is limited access to monetization and other professional tools. 

One of the biggest turn-offs for professional broadcasters is that YouTube requires users to give up partial ownership of their content when they upload it to the platform.

Basic Functionality:

YouTube is a free B2C video streaming platform designed for users with little to no prior broadcasting experience. 

Key Features:

YouTube is a consumer-grade video sharing platform that supports both VOD and live streaming. The most popular type of content on the platform is on-demand videos.

Detailed Features:

  • Ad-based monetization (with strict limitations)
  • No reliable security features
  • Popular among viewers
  • Owned by Google
  • Easy to share videos
  • Videos can be embedded in other websites
  • No white-label capabilities

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • YouTube is a household name, so viewers are comfortable using it
  • Easy to use (for both viewers and broadcasters)
  • Easy to embed video player
  • Live and VOD hosting

Cons:

  • Cannot remove YouTube’s branding
  • Limitations on live streaming
  • Strict restrictions on content
  • YouTube owns partial rights to your content
  • Distracting third party ads and branding

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
  • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (adds padding to videos with other aspect ratios)
  • Max file size: 128 GB
  • Max video length: 12 hours
  • Total file storage: No storage limit
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, FLV, AVI, Web M, WMV, MPEG-PS, 3GPP

2. Dailymotion

dailymotion streaming solution
Dailymotion is often referred to as “the French YouTube.”

Overview and Company History:

Dailymotion is a French video streaming platform that is comparable to YouTube. One thing that many broadcasters like about Dailymotion is that it is very lenient on the type of content allowed whereas YouTube is quite strict.

The growing popularity of Dailymotion and the greater freedom of expression makes this video streaming platform a great choice for many broadcasters.

Basic Functionality:

The function of Dailymotion is essentially the same as YouTube. It is a basic platform for new broadcasters to upload and host video content. Since this site is free, it is pretty “bare bones” in terms of professional broadcasting tools.

Key Features:

DailyMotion is a simple video-sharing platform that is mostly used by consumers and independent content creators. This platform has tools for easy video sharing.

Detailed Features:

  • Basic video sharing platform
  • Founded in France
  • Includes a limited creators fund
  • Copyright protection tools
  • Minimal content limitations

Pros:

  • Copyright protection tools
  • Minimal content restrictions
  • Becoming more popular around the world

Cons:

  • Not as popular as YouTube
  • No significant monetization tools (other than a slim “creator fund’)
  • Limited video analytics

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 240p (426 x 240)
  • Maximum dimension: 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (adds padding to videos with other aspect ratios)
  • Max file size: 128GB
  • Max video length: 12 hours
  • Total file storage: Unlimited
  • Compatible video formats: MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV,  MPEG-PS, FLV, 3GPP, WebM

3. Facebook 

Facebook Live Streaming Platform
Facebook is a social media platform that businesses use to reach consumers with video.

Overview and Company History:

When it comes to video hosting, Facebook offers both “Live” and “Watch” which allows businesses and organizations to host on-demand content or broadcast live content. 

Facebook Live streams can be hosted on personal profiles, pages, and groups, and on-demand “Facebook Watch” content can only be published by Facebook Pages.

Facebook is commonly used by businesses and organizations that are just dipping their toes in the world of live broadcasting. Since it is a free platform, Facebook poses many challenges related to video ownership, time limits on videos, monetization, and more.

Aside from those few technical restrictions, live streaming with Facebook Live is valuable for connecting with existing audiences.

Basic Functionality:

It is common for broadcasters who use paid streaming solutions to connect their accounts to simulcast to both Facebook and their websites. Using this approach enables users to tap into their existing Facebook following while taking advantage of the professional tools of a video hosting solution.

Key Features:

Facebook is primarily a social media platform with tools for uploading and sharing videos to online communities. It is becoming more popular among businesses.

Detailed Features:

  • Facebook Live & Facebook Watch
  • Facebook Groups & Pages
  • Easy video sharing
  • Real-time engagement (commenting and reacting)
  • Some features for business use

Pros:

  • Facebook is free to use
  • Viewers are familiar with the platform 
  • Live chat enables engagement
  • Easy to share connect with existing followers

Cons:

  • No monetization support
  • Time limits on live broadcasts
  • Cannot remove Facebook’s branding

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280×720) 
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920×1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 9:16, 2:3, 4:5, 1:1
  • Max file size: 4 GB
  • Max video length: 90 minutes
  • Total file storage: No storage limit
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, MPEG4, AVI, 3GPP, WMV, FLV, MKV

4. Instagram

Instagram Streaming Platform
Instagram is an app for sharing photos and videos.

Overview and Company History:

Instagram is a popular social media app that includes a variety of video-sharing features. This app is not suitable for video hosting, but it is a great option for video sharing. 

Basic Functionality:

Both consumers and businesses upload small shareable clips to the platform to share with followers. Businesses often use Instagram to promote the content on their site or app. They add targeted CTAs that lead viewers to their websites with products or longer videos.

Key Features:

Instagram is a social media platform for sharing pictures and videos. It is more of a social network than a live streaming platform.

Detailed Features:

  • Live streaming capabilities
  • Temporary and permanent video sharing
  • Direct messaging tools 
  • Minimal privacy features
  • Access to some business tools

Pros:

  • Free to download and use
  • Popular among most age groups
  • Easy to navigate
  • Uploading and sharing is almost instantaneous
  • Some business tools

Cons:

  • No monetization features
  • Limited privacy tools
  • Minimal professional features

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 864 x 1080 (recommended)
  • Maximum dimension: 864 x 1080 (recommended)
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16, 4:5
  • Max file size: 15 MB
  • Max video length: Depends on which feature you use
  • Total file storage: Unlimited
  • Compatible video formats: MP4

5. TikTok

Tiktok Online Video Platform
TikTok is very popular among the younger generation.

Overview and Company History:

TikTok is a video-sharing app that is still very new. Because of this, its algorithm is geared towards growth. That means that it’s relatively easy to have content go viral and build a following on this app.

TikTok is a social media platform through and through, but when businesses use it strategically, they can lead viewers to their websites for their intended conversion.

Basic Functionality:

The majority of TikTok users are Gen Zers, which means that most viewers on the platform are around the age of 25 and younger. This option is best suited for businesses with a younger audience.

Key Features:

TikTok has some live streaming tools, but the platform is primarily used for sharing short video clips.

Detailed Features:

  • Restricted live streaming tools
  • 15-60 second video clip sharing
  • Feed that generates content suggestions  based on viewers’ behavior
  • Young audience

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Growth-centric algorithm
  • Suitable for “going viral”
  • Generates custom a “For You Page” based on viewer behavior

Cons:

  • Extremely limited monetization tools
  • A 60-second video length limit
  • Cannot remove TikTok branding

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 1080 x 1920
  • Maximum dimension: 1080 x 1920
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Max file size: 287.6 MB  on iOS and 72 MB on Android
  • Max video length: 60 seconds
  • Total file storage: No storage limit
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV

16. Twitch

Twitch Streaming Solution
Twitch is a consumer-grade live streaming platform.

Overview and Company History:

Twitch is a very popular application in the world of video gaming. Streamers set up channels where viewers and supporters can follow them.

This site is pretty niche, but it is a great platform if you are trying to reach an audience in the gaming, fantasy, or tech industry.

Basic Functionality:

Twitch is a consumer-grade platform for independent streamers, and it is especially popular among video game) streamers.

Key Features:

Twitch is a social network that is primarily meant for Esport streaming.

Detailed Features:

  • Tools for tipping
  • Primarily used to stream video games
  • Live chat for viewer engagement

Pros:

  • Tools to promote user engagement
  • Easy to share on social media channels

Cons:

Upload Guidelines and Specs:

  • Minimum dimension: 720p (1280 x 720)
  • Maximum dimension: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Max file size: Not available
  • Max video length: 48 hours
  • Total file storage: Not available
  • Compatible video formats: MP4, MOV, AVI, FLV

Final Thoughts

There is certainly a wide range of options available when it comes to professional streaming solutions. We hope that this article has helped you to understand the top online streaming solutions that are available today.

We believe that when assessing features and pricing, Dacast is the best live streaming platform for professionals. However, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date information possible to our readers.

If you haven’t decided firmly on which platform is for you, why not try our live streaming solutions for yourself? We offer a 30-day free trial, with no credit card required. Click here to sign up for our free trial and start streaming live today:

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If you have any comments, let us know what you think! We love to hear from our readers. For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.

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