Top 10 Live Streaming Solutions for Professional Broadcasters [Updated for 2020]

Live Streaming solutions

The year is 2020 and professionals are using live streaming solutions more than ever before. In fact, video has become a key component of corporate communications, marketing, sales, business development, and beyond while the world transitions to primarily working from home.

Whichever industry sector you consider, live streaming is booming. 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. This could grow sustainably this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to stay home. Just consider how many Zoom meetings you’ve been a part of since the beginning of this virus.

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 live video streaming solutions for professionals.

Table of Contents:

  • Live Streaming Services Versus Solutions
  • What is SaaS Video Streaming
  • What to Look for in a Streaming Solution
  • The Top 10 Live Video Streaming Solutions Comparison
  • Final Thoughts

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

Live Streaming Services Versus Solutions

Simulcast Streaming with code
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 this common question people have when considering live video streaming solutions. Why use professional-grade live streaming solutions? While there are free services out there like YouTube, you should highly consider a solution instead. YouTube is a service content creators use, Dacast, for example, is a solution for businesses looking to host video content online.

Free live video streaming solutions don’t provide much functionality. In addition, free options come with serious privacy and security concerns. They only provide limited or non-existent security features. Monetization is over-simplified or not allowed and 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 software and the service it provides. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many applications that businesses use. Online software, messaging software like Slack, payroll processing software. You get the idea! 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.

At Dacast, we are a Streaming-as-a-Service, but more on that in the comparison section.

What to Look for in a Streaming Solution

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

Professional-grade video streaming solutions, however, can turn all of this around. When you’re considering which video solution you should use, there are several features to think about.

  1. Security features
  2. Monetization capabilities
  3. Professional video hosting as well as live streaming capabilities
  4. 24/7 support system
  5. Price

The Top 10 Live Video Streaming Solutions 

Each streaming solution is different. They all come with different 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 2020 live video streaming solutions.

1. 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 basic’s 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

Pricing:

Brightcove offers two 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).

2. Dacast

Dacast Live Streaming Solution
Dacast offers security features on all plans, including password protection and encryption

Overview and Company History:

Dacast is a B2B Streaming as a Service company. Today, the Dacast platform 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. And in 2019, Dacast acquired the vzaar platform, expanding its comprehensive OTT solution.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting services. Broadcasters who use this live video streaming solution maintains 100% 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 are ad-free broadcasting, white-label service on all plans, and top-tier CDN delivery. Reliable 24/7 phone support is also available for premium and enterprise plans.

Detailed Features:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Requires a bit of a learning curve

Pricing:

Pricing plans with Dacast come at three levels. The Starter plan is ideal for newcomers with 100 GB of bandwidth, 20 GB of storage, at just $19 per month billed annually.

However, business users will likely want to use the popular Premium plan, which includes 2,000 GB of bandwidth with 200 GB of storage for $125 per month billed annually. The Enterprise plan includes 5,000 GB with 500 GB of storage for $289 per month billed annually. These premium pricing plans add phone support, monetization paywall, M3u8 links for live channels, ads insertion, white-label Cnames, and video API access. Additional bandwidth is available upon request for monthly plans. Read more here about Dacast’s live streaming pricing plans.

If you’d rather not sign a contract, you can purchase bandwidth separately via “event pricing” for one-time broadcasts. You can access this bandwidth for up to one year after purchase, making it an economical option for occasional event streamers.

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

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.

3. StreamShark

streamshark streaming solution
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

Pricing:

Monthly live streaming plans with StreamShark begin at $199 per month and then moves to $999 per month for businesses.  The more expensive monthly plans (Team and Business) support advertising monetization and lower per-GB costs. Additional features come at each plan level.

These include privacy controls, viewer analytics, and real-time stats. Lastly, Enterprise solutions are available, with custom pricing; they include the greatest number of features at a higher cost.

4. IBM Cloud Video (formerly UStream)

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

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 streaming services, 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, key elements of 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

Pricing:

The pricing plans for the IBM Video Cloud start at a range of $99 to $999 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.

5. JW Player

jw player live 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 hosting 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 a 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

Pricing:

Basic pricing 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.

JW Player offers a 1-month free trial of the Developer Plan for front-end and back-end engineers.

6. Kaltura

kaltura Live Streaming 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 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
  • Great monetization options
  • Robust security

Cons:

  • Ticket-based system for support
  • Highly complex
  • No China video delivery

Pricing:

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 solution
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

Pricing:

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.

8. Panopto

panopto Live 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

Pricing:

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.

9. Vimeo Live

vimeo live streaming solution
Vimeo Live is a streaming solution that offers live broadcasting as well as video hosting services.

Overview and company history:

Next is 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.

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

Pricing:

Vimeo offers four main pricing plans.

Their Plus plan is the most basic option available, and it starts at $7/month. It includes basic features, such as player customization and social distribution.

The Pro and Business plans are both middle-of-the-road in terms of pricing and features. They are $20/month and $50/month, respectively.

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

Additionally, they offer a custom-priced Enterprise plan that includes white-label service, monetization, and video APIs. It also includes branding control and added security features.

10. Wowza

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

Overview and Company History:

Finally, the last of the live video streaming solutions under 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

Pricing:

Wowza pricing plans range from $49 per month to $199 for the streaming cloud and $95 for the streaming engine plans. There are also enterprise plans with flexible pricing, but those require contacting Wowza directly.

Final Thoughts

Live video Streaming Solution comparison 2020
Choosing the right streaming solution comes down to what you’re looking for and which platform provides that.

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

If you haven’t decided firmly on which streaming solution 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:

YES, SIGN ME UP

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.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Live Streaming Solutions for Professional Broadcasters [Updated for 2020]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *