When it comes to live video streaming, it can be a challenge to know where to start. Before going live, broadcasters need to consider how to choose their online video platform (OVP). And with so many video streaming platforms on the market, it can be daunting to know which is right for you.
However, not to worry; that’s where we come in! When it comes to pro streaming solutions, we’re here to guide you through comparing key features. Specifically, these features might include monetization options, video API access, storage, secure video uploading, analytics, and more.
To help you narrow down options, this article provides an updated comparison of 5 top video streaming platforms today. First, we’ll review the basics of video streaming platforms. Next, we’ll discuss the importance of comparing features, particularly reliability and price. We’ll also share a comparison chart of the basic features of five video streaming platforms, including our own. Finally, we’ll wrap things up with recommendations on how to choose the right platform for you.
With that outline in mind, let’s jump right in!
Video streaming platforms: What to know in 2020
To effectively compare video streaming platforms on the market, you first need to narrow down what exactly you want to achieve. In reality, this process is not really about how to find the cheapest or the most popular platform. Instead, it’s about choosing the platform with the greatest number of beneficial attributes for you or your business.
B2C vs. B2B video streaming platforms
First of all, let’s discuss the difference between B2C (Business-to-consumer) and B2B (Business-to-business) video streaming platforms. Of course, we understand why some broadcasters initially opt for free B2C streaming services. However, most popular B2C streaming solutions, like YouTube Live, acquire the rights to your video content and can monetize it themselves. Yes, that approach may work for some broadcasters. However, most businesses and professionals won’t want to give up the distribution rights to their content. Furthermore, free B2C video streaming platforms can also display third-party ads and comments on your broadcasts.
And that’s where pro B2B video streaming platforms come into play. If you plan to stream live events like concerts, meetings, and religious events, you’ll want a live streaming platform that keeps the broadcasting process simple and professional. Likewise, if you want to stream live video on your website, you’ll want to choose a platform that supports that feature.
A Growing Market
According to Statista, the number of digital video viewers in the United States will likely surpass 249 million by 2022. In today’s digital world, video streaming has become a primary way to entertain and engage with customers. And the demand for video streaming continues to grow exponentially. As a direct result, so do the number of video streaming platforms designed to meet that demand.
When choosing between B2B video streaming platforms, reliability and price are key aspects to consider. Let’s review both in a bit more detail.
Key Factor #1: Reliability
When comparing platforms for reliability, look for a service that partners with a CDN (content delivery network) to deliver broadcasts to viewers.
Why is this important? First, a live streaming CDN-powered service allows you to stream content globally without reaching a viewer limit. Five major players who offer this feature include Dacast, IBM Cloud Video (formerly Ustream), Vimeo (acquired Livestream), Wowza, and Brightcove. (We’ll share details below for each of these video streaming platforms.)
Along with hosting and delivering your video broadcasts, some live video streaming platforms come equipped with built-in features. For example, some now provide analytics about your viewers. This is useful when you aren’t sure how many people are viewing your content. With analytics, you can easily request a report and review your viewership metrics.
Key Factor #2: Price
Along with reliability, price is an equally important factor for many consumers. With close competition between live streaming platforms, broadcasters generally want the best quality and features for the lowest price.
The good news? This competition ultimately helps to keep prices lower, while maximizing the impact of your budget. Of course, when users find high-quality video streaming platforms at a great price, they tend to commit right away. (We’ll dig into the specifics of entry-level plan prices and features for five top video streaming platforms below.)
Overall, we recommend comparing pricing plans to narrow down your options. And we highly recommend taking advantage of free trials (like Dacast’s) when available!
Video Streaming Platforms Comparison
With those key features in mind, we’re ready to review the specs of five top platforms. Note that most streaming services offer various plans and pricing options. The chart below compares five video streaming platforms by analyzing the first plan level for each service.
First, take a moment to review the nine features under comparison below. Then, try to identify which feature(s) are most important for your streaming goals. Which are the non-negotiables? Are there features you could afford to do without? Or, if you’re already a customer of one of these platforms, why did you choose it? Relatedly, do the services you’ve received so far meet your needs?
||IBM Cloud Video
|Entry-Level Price||$19/mo||$75/mo||$99/mo||$49/mo* (*monthly billing only)
|Ad-Free Viewer Hours||300||Unlimited||100||1,000 or 6,000||Up to 8 hrs/yr of SD live streaming|
|Storage (GB)||20||Unlimited||50||250||50 videos|
|Number of Channels||Unlimited||1 only
|Geo restriction||√||√||From $999/mo||√||√|
Choosing Between Video Streaming Platforms
In addition to the features above, these five video streaming platforms all provide access to a video API. Specifically, this feature supports quick and easy product integration into numerous cloud-based video applications, services, and digital media workflows. In other words, you can develop your very own platform and stream live directly from that site.
Additionally, you’ll want to check whether the video streaming platforms you compare offer a basic/starter plan. If it does, does it require you to commit to a premium or professional-level account right away? Relatedly, make sure to review which features come with the basic plan level. For example, will you need to pay more for basic features? Does the platform offer advanced features like China video hosting, and at which plan levels? And we could go on.
For example, Vimeo recently eliminated its basic plan offering in 2018. This followed Vimeo’s acquisition of Livestream in 2017. Today, Vimeo (Livestream) broadcasters can choose the Premium Plan for $75/month (billed annually) or $199/month (billed monthly). However, Vimeo (Livestream) users seeking professional live streaming features must purchase a custom-priced plan. Common pro features for most businesses include white-label streaming, security features, and 24/7 streaming capabilities. For larger-scale businesses with high-end budgets, custom-priced “Enterprise” plans may be an accessible option. Live streamers on a tighter budget will need to look elsewhere for accessible, affordable options that are still feature-rich.
Why choose the Dacast video streaming platform?
After making your comparisons, we do hope you’ll consider our own OVP. Dacast is a self-service, white-label platform delivering both live and VOD streaming.
Also, note that we stream video using HTML5 via HLS or HDS. This means all Dacast streams are compatible with mobile, desktop, tablet, and any other device. When you compare Dacast to the video streaming platforms above, we remain the only service to offer so many features in its basic plan. In fact, nearly all of our Premium-level features come with the basic Dacast plan. Even better, this plan is currently available for only $19 per month.
Additional Dacast platform highlights
As mentioned above, Dacast’s basic plan provides broadcasters with access to a white-label system. (Not all video streaming platforms offer this feature, so make sure to review the fine print!) With Dacast, you can completely rebrand our platform to meet your specific needs. For example, let’s say you decide you want access to the integrated paywall feature? Simply upgrade to the Premium plan at $125 a month. Then, you’ll have access to ALL of our features, plus more bandwidth and storage. To start streaming with Dacast today, just sign up for an account (or for a free trial). Our team will help you start streaming live in a matter of minutes!
Additionally, Dacast features also include 24/7 customer support, and ad-free system, analytics, APIs, and access to Akamai’s CDN. This CDN has a network of over 180,000 servers worldwide. The Akamai CDN allows Dacasters to broadcast high-quality streams to a large audience all over the world. Additionally, Dacast makes it easy to stream live video right from your website. That way, you can focus on maintaining the look and feel of your site and content.
If you need API access, monetization, and rapid phone support, we recommend the popular Dacast Premium Plan at $125/month. In particular, this plan includes 2000 GB of streaming data per month and 200 GB of storage. You can also click here for our live streaming pricing plans for more details.
Whichever of the video streaming platforms you do choose, we hope this article has helped you to make a more informed decision. Remember: take the time to compare price, reliability, and other important features you’ll need before committing to a streaming service. And take advantage of free trials whenever possible!
And whatever your streaming goals, needs, and audience size, we’re here to help. Dacast offers an all-in-one professional streaming solution with no need to engage with intermediaries. In short, we guarantee our users an easy, seamless experience, backed by our 24/7 support service and a complete knowledge base.
After reading this video streaming platform comparison, are you ready to go live today? If so, you can sign up for our 30-day free trial (no credit card required) by clicking the button below:
And finally, for regular tips and exclusive offers, you’re also invited to join our LinkedIn group. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your live broadcasts!
By Max Wilbert.
*Note to our readers: We’ve updated this article to reflect the latest comparison information as of January 2020.