As of 2019, professionals are using video live streaming solutions more than ever before. In fact, video has become a key component of corporate communications, marketing, sales, business development, and beyond.
Whichever industry sector you consider, live streaming is booming. For example, more than 4.6 million people watch music festivals via live stream each year. Likewise, sports live streaming is on the rise, and enterprise video is expected to reach $40.84 billion by 2022. Additionally, video use in education can be “highly effective” when utilized well. It’s no exaggeration to say that all types of pros are getting in on the applications and benefits of streaming live.
With that context in mind, this article reviews and compares 10 top video live streaming solutions for pros in 2019. Our aim here is to help you narrow in on the right streaming solutions for you. With that context in mind, let’s turn to discuss professional-grade video live streaming solutions.
Professional video live streaming solutions: what to look for
First, let’s consider this common question from those looking to do live streaming for the first time: Why use professional-grade video live streaming solutions like Dacast, when free platforms like YouTube are available?
First, free video live streaming solutions don’t provide much functionality. In addition, free options come with serious privacy and security concerns. Likewise, free platforms provide only limited or non-existent security features. Monetization is over-simplified or not allowed. Moreover, support is generally non-responsive or totally unavailable. And customization? That’s out of the question with free streaming services. Finally, consumer-grade platforms like YouTube don’t let you maintain control over your content and branding. And we could go on!
Professional-grade video streaming platforms, however, can turn all of this around. Now, let’s learn how in our video live streaming solutions comparison!
Top 10 video live streaming solutions comparison
Let’s look now at ten of the top video live streaming solutions on the market in 2019: Bambuser, Brightcove, Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, JW Player, Kaltura, Muvi, Panopto, Vimeo Live, and Wowza.
First up in our review, Sweden-based Bambuser provides a service called Iris. Overall, this platform focuses on mobile live streaming. The mobile live streaming focus sets this platform apart from the others mentioned here. Here are key features of the Iris platform:
- Access mobile apps for uploading media content
- Accept content from staff or members of the public (or both)
- Manage content via an internal dashboard
- Offer low latency live streaming
- Manage delivery via an internal CDN network
- Use video APIs and SDKs for integration
Iris Pricing starts at $600 per month for startups and individual users. Business plans come with custom pricing. These plans include fixed amounts of video processing on a per month basis.
The next online video platform we’ll examine in our video live streaming solutions review is Brightcove. Overall, Brightcove is a large provider that centers on video marketing. This platform’s features include:
- Live streaming and video-on-demand hosting
- Server-side ad insertion
- Cloud transcoding and adaptive bitrate streaming
Brightcove pricing starts at $499, with a plan including includes 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).
Dacast is a B2B SaaS (Streaming as a Service) company. Today, the Dacast platform delivers high-quality streaming worldwide at very competitive pricing. Overall, here are key Dacast service features for broadcasters:
- Content control with security options and white-label branding
- API access for easy integration with existing systems and custom app creation
- Scale video delivery to hundreds, thousands, or millions of users via Akamai‘s CDN
- Multiple, customizable monetization options
- Reliable delivery and performance in multiple bitrates
- 24/7 customer support with 2min response time on average
Dacast pricing starts at $19/month for a Basic plan. In addition, Dacast also offers top-tier features, including full API access, monetization, and multi-level access. Professional broadcasters will likely choose the Premium plan ($125/mo) or a custom-priced enterprise video platform plan.
In 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar video hosting platform. Today, vzaar serves as an advanced video hosting platform for Dacast broadcasters, until the platforms fully unite.
Finally, pay-as-you-go and event pricing is also available with Dacast. As the names imply, these options are ideal for broadcasters who don’t stream regularly. If that’s your situation, you can access bandwidth for as low a 6 cents per GB.
IBM Cloud Video
Next in our video live streaming solutions review, IBM Cloud Video is the platform formerly known as UStream. This platform offers video hosting and streaming services, as well as a variety of features. Overall, key elements of IBM Cloud Video live streaming solutions 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)
The cost of IBM Cloud Video streaming solutions ranges from $399 to $799 per month, and more for custom plans. Each account tier provides some additional features, more storage, and more viewer hours. For example, users have more channels and watermarking on higher-tier plans. Customized packages are available for those with large bandwidth needs, as well.
Fifth on our list of video live streaming solutions is JW Player. The JW Player project (as the name suggests) began as a video player. Today, this service offers hosting and live streaming. Key features of JW Player’s platform include:
- Live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) hosting
- Video recommendations engine to generate a custom “watch next” recommendations
- Tools for monetization via advertising, and detailed revenue tracking
- Analytics tools
Basic plans start at $10 per month but do not include live streaming at all. These include hosting for up to 1,500 viewers per month for on-demand video streaming. Custom “Enterprise” plans also exist for larger users. Among other features, custom plans support unlimited channels and add live-streaming functionality. In addition, custom-riced plans add for support for ad-based monetization.
Next, let’s review the Kaltura online video platform, which targets large institutions. In particular, Kaltura focuses on four markets: video services for educational institutions, enterprises, media companies, and OTT video services. 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 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
On the higher end in terms of cost, this streaming service provider offers custom-priced and pay-as-you-go plans to broadcasters. As such, interested users 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.
Moving along in our video live streaming solutions review, let’s consider Muvi. This streaming service 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, with features including:
- 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
Muvi pricing starts at $199/month. From there, pricing plans span up to $3,999 per month (for a plan with a dedicated server). More concurrent viewers and additional features, like API access, come at higher-level plans. Custom mobile apps are available for an additional fee.
Panopto is one of the video live streaming solutions aimed at educational and institutional users. This platform aims to deliver an “internal YouTube” experience for training and more. Overall, the key features of Panopto include:
- 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
Panopto pricing is annual, custom, and based on a variety of factors. For example, custom-pricing depends on the number of users in your organization, among other characteristics.
Second, to last in our review, let’s examine Vimeo Live. In 2017, Vimeo acquired Livestream and launched its own live streaming service called Vimeo Live. 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, Vimeo Live is on the higher end of the live streaming pricing market. This newer platform now includes:
- 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
Since the acquisition, Vimeo Live has eliminated the Livestream basic plan and other monthly plans. Today, Vimeo Live starts at $75 per month for the “Premium” plan. This includes unlimited streaming and 7 TB of storage. For users who need 24/7 live streaming, more security options, video API access, and other advanced features, customized plans are available.
Note that the Premium Plan does not provide access to phone support, security features, white-label, pay-per-view, or 24/7 streaming. To access those professional live streaming features, users need to purchase a custom-priced Enterprise plan.
Finally, the last of the video live streaming solutions under review here is Wowza Streaming Cloud. Wowza is feature-rich and provides a customizable platform for broadcasters of all sorts. Overall, the key features of Wowza include:
- 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
Pricing for Wowza’s standard monthly plans ranges from $49/month to $999/month, with additional bandwidth on each successive plan. API-based plans (better for many pros) start at $15/month. These plans do charge as-you-go for bandwidth.
As this post highlights, there is a range of options available when it comes to video live streaming solutions. We hope that this article has helped you to understand and choose between top platforms available today. Of course, we firmly 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 as possible to our readers.
Finally, you don’t have to take our word for it! Instead, why not try our video 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:
We love to hear from our readers! Drop us a line in the comment section if you have any thoughts. We will get back to you. For regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, feel free to join our LinkedIn group.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live streaming.
By Max Wilbert.