Comparison of the Top 6 Video on Demand Software Solutions – What You Need to Know [2021 Update]

Video On Demand VOD Software

Today’s viewers want complete control over their video streaming experience. That’s why many broadcasters are providing video on demand (VOD) streaming content for their audiences. Choosing a VOD software solution, however, can be challenging.

Let’s take a closer look at video on demand and how it differs from live streaming. We’ll also cover the key features to look for in a video on demand platform and compare the top 6 VOD software solutions currently available.

Table of Contents

  • What is VOD?
  • Key Features of a Video on Demand Software
  • Comparison of the Top 6 Video on Demand Software Solutions in 2021
  • Conclusion

What is VOD?

video on demand vod platform
Video on Demand (VOD) can be useful for businesses and organizations of any type to host videos online.

VOD streaming allows viewers to select the video content they want to watch, whenever and wherever they choose. Viewers have the option to stream the content immediately or download it to view later on.

Let’s take a closer look at how VOD works and how it’s different from live streaming.

How Does Video on Demand Work?

VOD requires video content to be stored online and readily accessible by users. For this, most broadcasters use video on demand software to host, manage, and share their content. 

These VOD platforms usually store the video content on a cloud server in a compressed or encoded file format and transmit the stream to end-users through the Internet. In addition, many VOD solutions allow viewers to create their own playlists, fast forward, or rewind videos and control their viewing experience in many other ways.

What Is the Difference Between VOD vs Live Streaming?

VOD streaming differs from live streaming because users can choose what to watch from a library of options. Viewers can start, stop, and resume content whenever they want and as many times as they’d like. On-demand streaming, therefore, is more flexible for viewers than traditional broadcasts.

Live streaming content, on the other hand, is chosen and made available by broadcasters. Viewers can choose whether they want to watch one or more live channels, but they can’t control the specific content. These live streams are delivered in real-time as events unfold, so they may be more authentic and less polished than VOD content.

Luckily, broadcasters can repurpose live content as VOD content using live stream recording. That way, their audience can continue to enjoy the content long after the event is over.

Key Features of Video on Demand Software

VoD Software platform
There are numerous features to look for when choosing VOD software.

Now that we’ve covered what on-demand video is, let’s look at some of the key features VOD software should have.

Transcoding

When video files are uploaded to a streaming platform, the software needs to support a variety of formats for multiple viewing devices. That means the capability for video transcoding of different file types, sizes, bitrates, and more.

The best VOD software can support a wide range of formats, and transcode video on-the-fly to give users the best viewing experience possible. Moreover, it should be straightforward to set up automatic transcoding so that broadcasters don’t have to worry about manually creating each file format.

Video Content Management

Another key aspect of on-demand video is the ability for viewers to find the right content easily. This requires a VOD software solution that has robust video CMS capabilities.

An effective video CMS should let broadcasters categorize and tag their content, which the software can use to build playlists and recommend videos automatically. This metadata makes it much easier for end-users to search for videos within a vast library of content as well.

Content management features, therefore, enable brands to reach the right audience and maximize the ROI for the videos they publish.

Video Monetization

Unless VOD content is meant for internal training or corporate events, most companies will want to monetize their video content. That means a VOD software solution should have options for generating revenue from content that align with their business.

In particular, these are some key video monetization options to look out for:

  • Advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) is video content that is free for viewers but requires them to sit through ads. Broadcasters can quickly begin generating revenue with this method, but the ROI is often much lower because ads are paid based on view or impression.
  • Subscription video on demand (SVOD) gives viewers unlimited access to a catalog of content for a regularly recurring fee. Many broadcasters choose an SVOD model because they can have more predictable revenue each month from their subscribers.
  • Transactional video on demand (TVOD) requires payment per specific piece of content. Viewers can usually browse through a library of VOD content, and purchase videos to watch for a limited number of views or period of time. If their content is high-quality, content creators can often expect the greatest ROI using this method.

VOD Multi-bitrate & Adaptive Bitrates

Most broadcasters have audiences with a wide range of devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs. The problem is that these devices have varying process power and are used anywhere there’s an internet connection. Broadcasters can’t guarantee their viewers have a strong connection and ability to playback video at high bitrates.

That’s why a VOD software solution that can provide multi-bitrate streaming with options for low and high-quality video is crucial. Viewers can choose the highest bitrate that their device is capable of playing smoothly. Broadcasters, however, will need a VOD solution with the option to transcode their videos into multiple bitrates from a single source file.

Another method is adaptive bitrate streaming, where an adaptive video player can automatically adjust the stream quality based on network conditions and other factors. That way, viewers can have an optimal viewing experience without issues.

HTML5 Video Player

HTML5 Video Player
Dacast’s HTML5 Video Player is fully customizable and has robust white-label and VOD monetization features.

Along with the ability to deliver multi or adaptive bitrate streams, VOD software should include an HTML5 video player that can handle adaptive playback. Otherwise, viewers could still experience buffering or latency.

As we’ve said before, a video player is the most tangible part of the streaming experience, but that doesn’t mean viewers should have to think about it. Broadcasters are shifting from Flash Players to HTML5 video players because they just work.

VOD Settings

While most live streams are encoded by broadcasters before they reach a cloud streaming platform, a quality VOD software solution should be able to handle encoding after video content is uploaded. Video file compatibility should never hold back a brand from delivering on-demand content.

Video Privacy and Security

The ability to upload video content securely is critical, especially for companies with sensitive internal videos or training material. Companies should be confident that their VOD content will remain private when it’s stored within an online platform.

Beyond secure upload, however, it’s crucial for VOD software to provide advanced security measures like encrypted streaming, password-protected videos, and viewer restrictions. These features ensure companies keep data safe from piracy and comply with industry regulations.

Comparison of the Top 6 Video on Demand Software Solutions in 2021

With the previous features in mind, let’s look at the top VOD software solutions for broadcasters to consider.

1. Dacast

Video on demand software
Dacast is VOD and live streaming software for users of all experience levels.

Company Background: 

Dacast offers enterprise-grade video on demand and live streaming software at reasonable prices. This streaming cloud-based video platform is ideal for broadcasters that require a scalable solution for hosting and delivery.

The Dacast VOD software makes it easy for users of all experience levels to maximize the ROI of their video content. Once users learn the platform, they’ll have a wide range of video options to take advantage of.

Basic Functionality:

Dacast is a VOD and live streaming platform for brands that need a scalable, enterprise-grade video solution.

Key Features:

Pros:

Cons:

  • A short learning curve to taking full advantage of the platform

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

Dacast has pre-packaged plans starting at $39/month and custom pricing for special events or large enterprises. The packages include:

  • Starter – $39month, billed annually for 1,000 GB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage monthly
  • Event – $63/month, billed annually for 6 TB of bandwidth upfront and 50 GB of storage upfront
  • Scale – $188/month, billed annually for 24 TB of bandwidth per year and 1 TB of storage
  • Custom – Please contact us for custom pricing information.

Best Use Cases:

2. IBM Video Cloud

ibm cloud online Video on Demand Software
IBM Cloud Video offers reliable VOD and live streaming, but can get expensive.

Company Background:

IBM Video Cloud is a reliable VOD platform that also offers live streaming through the cloud, but this comes at a high cost. The platform offers live streaming and VOD hosting for enterprise broadcasters.

Basic Functionality:

IBM Video Cloud offers reliable VOD and live streaming services to broadcasters.

Key Features:

  • Cloud streaming for VOD and live events
  • Secure video content sharing
  • Advanced video analytics
  • Live polling tools
  • Live video recording and auto-archiving

Pros:

  • VOD streaming that’s consistent
  • Enterprise-level features
  • Great customer support
  • Multiple monetization options

Cons:

  • Limited closed captioning support
  • Doesn’t use a top-tier CDN
  • No API support with general plans

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

The pricing plans for the IBM Video Cloud include:

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

Best Use Cases:

  • Marketing and enterprise VOD hosting
  • Streaming video on demand for sales
  • Live event streaming in the cloud

3. Kaltura

kaltura Video on Demand Software
Kaltura is a video on demand software solution for large institutions.

Company Background:

Israel-based Kaltura provides a VOD software as a service (SaaS) solution that helps large institutions deliver video streams.

Basic Functionality:

Kaltura specializes in video management and hosting services for employers and universities that offer educational content to employees and students.

Key Features:

  • Video on demand hosting in the cloud
  • Advanced security capabilities
  • Cloud TV service
  • Multi-bitrate and adaptive video streaming
  • Content delivery via a combined CDN approach
  • Advanced security features, including several authentications and encryption options

Pros:

  • Great for university and enterprise-grade broadcasting
  • Monetization options (SVOD, AVOD, and TVOD)
  • Hands-off SaaS solution
  • Totally customizable
  • Flexibility on features due to support for integrations

Cons:

  • Tech support uses a ticket-based system, which is slower than chat or phone
  • The “pay-as-you-go” structure can get pricey
  • Difficult to learn
  • Slow uploading and processing of video content

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:

Like most SaaS solutions, Kaltura is priced based on bandwidth and feature usage. Free trials are also available.

Best Use Cases:

  • Video streaming for sales
  • Live events in the cloud
  • Enterprises and Education VOD

4. Muvi

Muvi Video on Demand Software
Muvi is a SaaS solution for OTT video streaming.

Company Background:

Muvi is a SaaS solution that offers OTT video streaming. Broadcasters can use the platform to build, manage, and deploy apps and websites with video content.

Basic Functionality:

Muvi allows broadcasters to easily set up video streaming without technical knowledge.

Key Features:

  • VOD and video management capabilities
  • Live streaming to a variety of devices
  • Support for content monetization

Pros:

  • A comprehensive set of tools for VOD streaming
  • Support for streaming content to most devices
  • Built-in CDN

Cons:

  • The platform could be bloated for some broadcasters’ needs

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 has a variety of plans and add-on options. Its standard solution started at $399/month, but there are free trials available as well. Packages include:

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

Best Use Cases:

  • VOD for all broadcasters
  • Live video streaming
  • Audio streaming

5. Wistia

Wistia Video on Demand Software
Wistia is a VOD software solution for “TV-quality” streaming.

Company Background:

Wistia is a video on demand software solution that provides “TV-quality” streaming. This includes a white-label video player that’s fully customizable.

Basic Functionality:

Wistia’s solution lets broadcasters create, manage, and stream video content live and on-demand.

Key Features:

  • Video storage and management
  • Interactive cloud tools for video content
  • CRM integrations

Pros:

  • Custom branding of the video player
  • Cloud video organization
  • In-depth analytics
  • Customer support

Cons:

  • Issues with some customization options

Upload Guidelines and Specs

  • Minimum dimensions: None
  • Maximum dimensions: Maximum of 4K (3840 x 2160)
  • Supported aspect ratios: Any
  • Maximum file size: 8 GB
  • Maximum video length: 2 hours
  • Total file storage: Up to 10 videos with the pro plan ($99 per month), $0.25 per month for every extra video
  • Accepted video formats: MP4 (recommended format), .MOV, .AVI, .WMV, .FLV, .MKV, 3GPP

Pricing

Wistia pricing plans have 3 tiers, and include:

  • Free – $0/month
  • Pro – $99/month
  • Advanced – Please contact Wistia directly for pricing information.

Best Use Cases:

  • VOD for enterprise video and marketing content
  • Streaming video for sales
  • Live event streaming through the cloud

6. Wowza

wowza Video on Demand Software
Wowza is a VOD and live streaming platform with the option of self-hosted media streaming infrastructure.

Company Background:

Wowza offers an online video platform for VOD and live streaming. The streaming company also provides additional services such as a self-hosted media server for live events.

Basic Functionality:

Wowza enables broadcasters to deliver video content—both on demand or live—to end-users.

Key Features:

  • Self-managed streaming infrastructure
  • Managed live streaming service

Pros:

  • Stream VOD to any device
  • Adaptive video playback
  • Secure video delivery with encrypted streaming

Cons:

  • Media server solution requires technical knowledge

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 recently overhauled its pricing plans and added several options. These are split into 2 main tiers: Streaming Cloud and Streaming Engine. The Wowza Streaming Cloud offers 3 distinct pricing plans and services. Live Event Pricing, monthly plans include:

  • Basic: $99/month; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours based on video resolution of 720p
  • One Month Event: $149 one-time purchase; includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1000 viewing hours also at 720p
  • Plus: $499/month; includes 150 hours of live streaming and 7000 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 plans. 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

Best Use Cases:

  • Self-hosting video on demand content 
  • Live streaming at scale

Conclusion

With so many VOD software solutions on the market, it’s crucial that broadcasters choose a professional and private hosting platform that meets their feature and pricing requirements of enterprise-grade businesses. Companies shouldn’t compromise when it comes to delivering video content to their viewers.

If you need video on demand software that’s affordable and feature-rich, consider the Dacast Online Video Platform (OVP). You can try our 30-day trial to see if the platform meets your unique business needs.

Sign up today to start your trial. No credit card required. 

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