When it comes to online video streaming, 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.
To help you narrow down options, we’ve put together a comparison of the 10 top 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.
In today’s digital world, live video streaming has 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.
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 platforms.
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.
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.
Do you need monetization tools or password protection? Are marketing or sales tools useful to you? Perhaps you are looking for an easily embedded white-label video player.
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.
Look for a service that partners with a CDN (content delivery network) to deliver broadcasts to viewers.
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.
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.
Streaming solution plans with Dacast come at three levels. The video streaming pricing plans include:
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.
Flowplayer has three pricing plan packages: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise:
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 video hosting platform built for everybody from beginners to professionals.
Vimeo Livestream offers three main pricing plans, including:
For more details, check out our comprehensive guide to Vimeo Livestream pricing.
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.
Youtube is free of charge.
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.
IBM pricing plans range from $99 to $999 per month and include the following:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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.
Brightcove packages are all custom priced and are no longer posted.
The three pricing tiers include:
For more information on Brightcove’s pricing, please contact them for a quote.
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 is free of charge.
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.
With JW Player, live streaming support begins at a free trial level. There are 3 pricing plan tiers:
Publishers and broadcasters should contact JW Player directly for pricing and features.
Dacast is a professional and feature-packed live streaming video 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.
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 March 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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