What are the Technical Streaming Specifications for Dacast?


The Dacast video streaming platform is compatible with most typical computers and setups. This list contains a long checklist of everything you need for streaming. From cameras to live broadcast software, from the basic to the technical, this blog has it all with a greater focus on live broadcasting. This blog is going to talk about technical streaming specifications for live and VOD specifications in two separate sections:

Live Streaming Complete Checklist

Here is a full checklist of everything needed to start live streaming. Reference the sections after the checklist for more details.

  • A Dacast account with a live channel you create
  • Computer or hardware encoder
  • Internet Connection
  • Webcam
  • Capture card or ability to accept video feeds
  • An RTMP encoder

To get started first, you will need either a computer or hardware encoder (more on this later) from which to broadcast from. Assuming the former, Dacast is compatible over most setups that include Windows (XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, etc), Mac and Linux based machines. If its PC based, it should have at least 2 GB of RAM and at least 500MB of free hard drive space. For Macs, you should have at least 1 GB of RAM, at least 500MB of free hard drive space, at least Mac OSX version 10.5, 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster and Quicktime 7 or later with a compatible video capture device.

Second is internet, when broadcasting, you will need an internet connection. For live, your connection speed should be at least twice what you intend to stream at. For example, a 450kbps stream would need at least a 900kbps connection. If you are doing a multi-bitrate stream, add up the totals (example, 450kbps + 800kbps would need around a 2.5mbps connection).
Then comes when live streaming, you will need either a webcam or a digital camera with a UVC, iLink, USB3 or Firewire connection to your computer or hardware encoder. For a quick and easy approach, most modern laptops come equipped with a webcam already. There are hundreds of camera solutions out there to use over Dacast, but if you are new to streaming and need some basic suggestions, here are three that other Dacast clients have found useful:

Canon FS400Sony HDR-HC9Panasonic AG HVX200A
technical streaming specifications

Capture cards or ability to accept video feeds is essential to complete the process. A lot of modern computers, such as laptops, are already setup to process and accept video feeds. If your laptop has a webcam built in, for example, it’s already setup to accept video content. If you need a video capture card, or just want to see compatible ones, below is a list of ones useable over the most basic encoder, which is Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (more on this later):

  • Osprey 100
  • Osprey 440
  • Osprey 450e
  • Osprey 230
  • Osprey 240e
  • Osprey 530
  • Osprey 560
  • Osprey 700HDe
  • Digital Rapids DRC500
  • Digital Rapids DRC1600
  • Pinnacle PCTV pro PCI
  • Epiphan VGA2USB LR

As the final step for live streaming, you will need an RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) ready live encoder. The most basic encoder for this, which is a free download, is Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder. To download this, simply sign in to your Dacast account and follow the steps under “stream” to install this program.

For other encoders, the following are examples of sources fully compatible over the Dacast service:

  • Telestream Wirecast
  • NewTek TriCaster
  • Osprey Talon
  • Discover Video
  • Envivio 4Caster
  • Digital Rapids TouchStream
  • Elemental Live

These encoders can broadcast out using H.264 or VP6 as their video codec over Dacast. MP3, M4A, and AAC can all be used for the audio format when streaming as well.

If you are not sure, any compatible operating system would work as long as they are connected the right way:

  • Windows ( XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 )
  • Mac
  • Linux

VOD Streaming Complete Checklist

Streaming video-on-demand content is much easier than live, mandating just a Dacast account and media files. Below is a checklist to get started:

  • A Dacast Account
  • Compatible audio or video file
  • Optional transcoding
  • iOS streaming

Compatible audio and video file types are first needed to get started with. Dacast natively supports a wide range of media file types for both video and audio streaming. These audiovisual files can be used on Dacast for VOD Streaming and also with the Playlist Scheduler. If a file type is not supported, which includes formats such as AVI and WMV, these files can still be used over the system but with a small fee to encode or “transcode” them. This is a manual process, with the incompatible files having to be selected after upload and then encoded for a price that is shown before agreeing and conversion starts. Below is a list of the files that are supported without the need to be encoded:

  • MP4
  • AAC

Transcoding can be optional based on the compatibility of the files. This is a manual process, with the incompatible files having to be selected after upload and then encoded for a price that is shown before agreeing and conversion starts. When transcoding, audio, and video files are guaranteed maximum compatibility over the Dacast system for viewers to watch and enjoy.

Dacast employs an intelligent dual video player. This player will switch between HTML5 and Flash depending on the viewing source. Mobile devices such as tablets and phones will receive an HTML5 player for viewing. Desktops and laptops will receive a Flash player to view video content. Viewing content over game consoles, such as through a Nintendo Wii with the Opera browser, is also possible. Below is a list of some of the more common browsers supported:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Google Chrome
Compatible Video FormatsCompatible Audio Formats
  • H264
  • MP3
  • AAC
  • M4A

There are many companies that provide professional encoding software and services (to stream in Real-Time Messaging Protocol, RTMP). These are compatible with Dacast, but not required if you use Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder. Below are just a few examples:

By Suprita Kochhar. Connect with me on Google+ at +Suprita Kochar

Suprita Kochar

Suprita is a social media analyst and a regular content contributor to the Dacast marketing and team.