Top 10 Video Streaming Platforms: Everything You Need to Know [2021 Update]
Table of Contents
When it comes to online video streaming as a service, it can be a challenge to know where to start. Before going live, broadcasters need to consider which video delivery platform suits their streaming needs.
With so many video streaming platforms on the market, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you.
When it comes to choosing a professional video streaming platform, you should compare key features, including monetization options, video API access, storage, secure video uploading, analytics, and more.
To help you narrow down options, we’ve put together a comparison of the 10 best video streaming platforms in the world. We’ll review the basics of a streaming solution and discuss the importance of comparing features, particularly reliability and price. We’ll wrap things up with recommendations on how to choose the right platform for you.
With that outline in mind, let’s get to it.
Table of Contents:
- B2B Video Streaming: How Video has Broken into Business
- Why Use a B2B Streaming Video Provider?
- What to Consider When Comparing B2B Video Platforms
- Top 10 Video Streaming Platform Comparison in 2021
- Why Choose the Dacast Live Streaming Platform?
B2B Video Streaming: How Video has Broken into Business
In today’s digital world, video streaming as a service solutions have become a primary way to engage with customers. Video content plays different roles in different industries, but the popularity of the medium is apparent across the board.
The demand for online video continues to grow exponentially. As a direct result, so do the number of business video hosting solutions designed to meet that demand.
There are several free, consumer-grade platforms that are available, but professional broadcasters need something that was specially designed to fit their needs. They need to use a B2B enterprise video platform.
Why Use a B2B Streaming Video Provider?
In order to understand the need for a professional streaming platform, you have to know the difference between B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) video streaming solutions.
Many amateur vloggers and content creators use B2C streaming services, such as Youtube, to broadcast their content. These platforms are typically free, but they come with a plethora of limitations. Free B2C streaming services typically acquire the rights to your video content and can monetize it themselves.
Most businesses and organizations won’t want to give up the distribution rights to their content if they don’t have to, which is the main reason professional broadcasters opt for a B2B video platform.
Free B2C streaming video providers also typically display third-party ads and comments on your broadcasts, which serves as a distraction from your valuable video content. If you plan to stream live events like concerts, meetings, and religious events, you’ll want a B2B streaming platform that keeps the broadcasting process simple and professional. Likewise, if you want to stream live video on your website, you’ll need to choose a platform that supports that feature.
What to Consider When Comparing B2B Video Platforms
In order to effectively compare online streaming platforms on the market, you should start by narrowing down what exactly you want to achieve.
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.
The features that work well for you may not be necessary for other broadcasters. On the flip side, a feature that is really important to another broadcaster may be completely unnecessary for you.
Beyond features, it is important to consider reliability and price.
When comparing platforms for reliability, pay attention to the features that ensure smooth streaming every time. If you’re trying to live stream a major event, you can’t use a spotty streaming solution.
CDN-powered live streaming services allow you to stream content globally without reaching a viewer limit.
In addition to the reliable solution, you should make sure the streaming service comes with 24/7 customer support.
Price is an equally important factor for many broadcasters. 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.
When users find high-quality online streaming platforms at a great price, they tend to commit right away. However, we recommend comparing pricing plans to narrow down your options.
Despite the relatively competitive prices, these investments are still hefty. We recommend shopping around or taking advantage of free trials.
Comparison of the 10 Best Video Streaming Platforms in 2021
With those key features in mind, we’re ready to review the five top enterprise-grade video streaming platforms.
Take a moment to review the features that each of these platforms offers. Identify which features are most important for your streaming goals.
Which are the non-negotiables? Are there features you could afford to do without?
Let’s dive in.
This platform is designed for broadcasters from enterprises, schools, and other professional organizations
Dacast provides comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting solutions. Users can embed videos on their own websites while maintaining 100% control of their content. Among other features, Dacast offers an integrated paywall, password protection, referrer restriction, and an analytics dashboard.
- Secure, global content delivery, including industry-best video hosting
- 24/7 tech support with all plans, including email and live chat
- Video security features, including password protection and encryption
- RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) ingest, playback, and streaming support
- Low latency HTML5 channels for video streaming
- Expo galleries video portal
- Live encoding support for the top video encoders
- Zoom live streaming integration
- Player API access for 3rd party player integration
- Video API access on premium plans (event and scale)
- Multi-bitrate streaming
- Annual transcoding data included
- Real-time analytics
- Ad-free streaming
- Live streaming and VOD packages on all pricing plans
- Unlimited viewers and live channels
- Mobile streaming support
- White label and branding control
- Embeddable HTML5 video player
- SVOD, AVOD, and pay-per-view TVOD monetization options
- Mobile device support
- Live stream recording
- China Video Hosting
- Plans for every budget
- Takes a little bit of time to learn all of the features
Streaming solution plans with Dacast come at three levels. The video streaming pricing plans include:
- 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.
Read more here about live streaming pricing plans in more detail.
Flowplayer has offices in the United States, Finland, and Sweden. Flowplayer was launched in 2013, but the site provides very little background information on the company’s history.
Flowplayer is an online video platform that serves large media houses and small businesses. They are primarily known for their white-label streaming services and top-of-the-line monetization solutions.
If you are looking for an online video platform that is simple and straightforward, Flowplayer could be an option for you.
- High-quality video player
- Live streaming capabilities
- Award-winning monetization solutions
- Live streaming and VOD hosting
- Real-time video analytics
- Android and iOS SDK for mobile app development
- Mobile streaming
- Tools for marketing
- Multiple options for video monetization
- Dedicated customer support
- No China Video Delivery
- Very basic platform
Flowplayer has three pricing plan packages: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise:
- Standard – $25/month, includes 50,000 monthly plays, custom player, video management, playlists, and analytics
- Professional – $100/month, includes 50,000 monthly plays, all standard features above, and adds video monetization and ad analytics
- Enterprise – $500/month, includes a minimum of 500,000 monthly plays, and features above, and adds live streaming, live analytics, DRM, mobile SDKs, and dedicated support
3. Vimeo Livestream
Although Vimeo Livestream now serves a professional clientele, it began as a B2C platform similar to YouTube.
Vimeo offers a variety of features that support live streaming and VOD hosting.
Vimeo is a professional video hosting platform built for everybody from beginners to business pros.
- Pay for what you use
- Editing tools included
- Ad-free streaming
- Pay-per-view and subscriptions
- Professional looking platform
- Easy-to-use API
- User friendly
- Monetization options
- Built-in transcoding software
- Customizable video players
- VOD and live streaming
- Monetization costs up to 10% of revenue
- Gets expensive as you purchase add-ons
- No China video delivery
Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:
- Premium pricing: $75/month
- Their Premium plan includes both live video streaming as a service and VOD. This plan is the way to go for professional broadcasting.
- 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.
- 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.
4. Youtube Live
YouTube is probably the most popular video streaming platform on the market. It was one of the first platforms to make online video streaming popular.
This Google-owned website is one of the best options for consumer-grade broadcasting, but many businesses use it as a means to dip their toes in the world of video broadcasting.
As we mentioned, YouTube is not ideal for business hosting since the platform has limits on monetization and it does not give users full ownership of their content.
The biggest perk of using Youtube? It is completely free to use and is pretty easy to navigate.
- Ad-based monetization limited to users with large followings and watch times
- No notable security features
- Popular among consumers
- Powered by Google
- Easy to share videos
- Videos can be embedded in other websites
- No white-label capabilities
- Free to use
- Viewers are familiar with the site
- Easy to embed the player on your website
- Live and VOD hosting
- No white-labeling
- Only ad-based monetization (with limitations)
- Limitations on broadcasters’ ownership of content
- Off-brand third party ads and logos
Youtube is free of charge.
5. IBM Cloud Video
Once known as UStream, IBM Cloud Video is a reliable streaming video service, capable of both live streaming and VOD hosting. IBM Cloud Video is pretty expensive, making it best suited for enterprises and organizations with a large budget.
IBM Cloud Video is a hosting solution for both live streaming and video on demand.
- Reliable platform
- Stellar customer support.
- An internal content delivery server
- Built for enterprises and large organizations
- Professional platform
- Great for professional broadcasters
- Reliable technical support
- Equipped with powerful features for broadcasters
- Hong Kong (China) video hosting
- Only ad-based monetization
- Some limitations with internal content delivery server
- Some important features only available with high-ticket plans
IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:
- Silver plan: $99+/month
- Gold plan: $499+/month
- Platinum plan: $999+/month
- Custom: Please contact IBM Cloud video for custom plan pricing.
Wowza is one of the oldest online video hosting platforms in the game. Although some of Wowza’s plans are more expensive, it is known for its budget-friendly options. This platform hosts both live streams and video on demand.
The top feature from Wowza is its amazing security features.
Wowza is a video hosting platform for broadcasters with a wide range of budgets.
- Video content management
- Supports high-definition streaming
- Robust security features
- Video API
- Simulcasting capabilities
- Powerful security
- Supports streaming on most devices
- Live streaming and video on demand
- Connects with Google Analytics
- China video delivery
- Monetization through integrations only
- Basic: $99/month and includes 20 hours of live streaming and 1,000 viewing hours based on a 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 a 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
Check out Wowza’s pricing page for alternative plans and packages.
Twitch.tv 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.
- Tools for tipping
- Primarily used to stream video games
- Live chat for viewer engagement
- Mobile broadcasting
- Compatible with both iOS and Android devices
- Mostly geared towards consumers
- No advanced video streaming tools
Twitch does not charge content providers to use their platform, but they allow them to make money off of their users. This program is called Twitch Subscriptions, and it includes 3 tiers:
- Tier 1 subscription – $4.99/month
- Tier 2 subscription – $9.99/month
- Tier 3 subscription – $24.99/month
Brightcove is a video hosting platform with a special emphasis on monetization and marketing. This platform has been around since 2004, and it has grown with the video streaming as a service industry.
Brightcove is known as a luxury B2B video platform that is best suited for larger enterprises.
Brightcove is a video hosting platform specifically designed to help with marketing and monetization.
- Video monetization
- Marketing and advertising tools
- Live streaming
- Powerful app integrations for maximum customization
- Insightful video analytics
- Privacy and security tools
- Built-in editing features
- Many apps and integrations
- Reliable technical support
- Additional purchase required for 24/7 support
- Difficult for beginner broadcasters to use
Brightcove packages are all custom priced and are no longer posted.
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
For more information on Brightcove’s pricing, please contact them for a quote.
9. Facebook Live
Facebook offers both “Live” and “Watch” which allows businesses and organizations to host on-demand content or broadcast live content.
Live streams can be hosted on personal profiles, pages, and groups, but on-demand “Facebook Watch” videos 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.
It is common for broadcasters who use premium streaming solutions to connect their accounts to multicast to both Facebook and their websites. This allows users to tap into their existing Facebook audiences while accessing the professional tools of a video hosting solution.
- Facebook Live
- Facebook Watch
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Pages
- Easy video sharing
- Live commenting and reacting
- Paid ads
- Some tools for business use
- The app is free
- Viewers are familiar with the platform
- Live chat promotes engagement
- Taps into existing following
- No monetization options
- Time limits on live videos
- Cannot remove Facebook’s branding
Facebook is free of charge.
10. JW Player
JW Player was originally founded as a video player. However, the platform has since expanded to include video hosting and delivery services.
Recently, the company added live streaming to its offerings as well. JW Player is a highly capable player that is based on open-source coding. The live streaming platform includes the player itself, among other useful features.
- Live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) hosting
- A cloud-based content management platform
- Custom video galleries
- Up to 1080p HD streaming
- Support for monetization via advertising
- Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming
- Email support through the $100/month plan level
- Video API access on all plans
- Only custom-priced Enterprise plans offer DRM
- Monetization via advertising
- HD streaming
- Video recommendations engine to generate custom “watch next” recommendations for increased viewership
- Global content delivery
- No China video delivery
- Only basic security features
- Only ad-based monetization
With JW Player, live streaming support begins at a free trial level. There are 3 pricing plan tiers:
- 30-day free trial subscription which includes full API and SDK access, and a non-commercial license, with 25 GB hosting bandwidth and 75 GB streaming.
- Starter pricing plan for $10 per month, which includes an HTML5 Video Player and video gallery, with 150 GB hosting bandwidth and 500 GB streaming (50,000 plays) per month billed annually.
- Enterprise plans are available with custom pricing for high-volume storage and streaming. Enterprise plans support live streaming, while lower-tier plans only support VOD.
Publishers and broadcasters should contact JW Player directly for pricing and features.
Why Choose the Dacast Video Delivery Platform?
Dacast is a professional and feature-packed live video delivery platform option for businesses and organizations that are looking to start broadcasting on a professional level.
Our use of an HTML5 video player means all Dacast streams are compatible with mobile, desktop, tablet, and any other device.
When you compare Dacast’s pricing plans to the video streaming platforms above, we remain the only service to offer so many features in its Starter plan at only $21/month.
If you need API access, monetization, and rapid phone support, we recommend the popular Dacast Scale Plan at $188/month, which includes 2000 GB of streaming data per month and 1000 GB of storage. Or if you need to stream events once, occasionally, or on an irregular schedule, we have the Event plan at $63/month; this plan includes 6000 GB of streaming data per month and 10 GB of storage.
Choosing Between Video Streaming Platforms
When choosing the B2B video platform for your business, you’ll want to check what types of plans are available and what level of commitment is required.
Ultimately you want to go with the platform that fits your budget and meets your needs in terms of features and capabilities.
No matter which direction you go for video streaming platforms, we hope this article has helped you to make a more informed decision.
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.
Remember: take the time to compare price, reliability, and other important features you’ll need before committing to a streaming service. Also, take advantage of free trials whenever possible.
While we’re on the topic of free trials, be sure to check out Dacast’s 30-day risk-free trial. Give Dacast a try and explore all of our amazing features.
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!
*To our readers: Please note that this post was originally written by Max Wilbert. It was revised in 2021 by Emily Krings to include the most up-to-date information. Emily is a strategic content writer and storyteller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.
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