The way we consume entertainment has been completely changed over the past decade, moving from standardized television to streaming television websites like Netflix and Hulu, to the all-time popular live streaming video options, like Facebook and Instagram Live. Nowadays even more people than ever before are choosing to broadcast live video over the internet through comprehensive video streaming platforms. These platforms allow users to host, broadcast, embed and even monetize their content. With this said, there are tons of live video streaming platforms out there, and it can be sometimes overwhelming when trying to pick one. Here are three popular ones that you should check out.
Twitch.tv is a spin-off live streaming website of Justin.tv, and is primarily targeted towards young individuals and gamers who want to showcase their gameplay skills for video games. It is considered to be a social video platform that is centered around broadcasters building communities which can interact safely with one another through various video game channels and e-sports competitions. Recently, Twitch has allowed creative content to be streamed, such as cooking channels, painting channels, as well as arts and crafts, in addition to music broadcasts and “in real life,” broadcasts. In real life broadcasts usually feature streamers going to the gym, talking to their audience, walking viewers around their hometowns or even watching television shows and movies with their viewers. Pre-recorded content is allowed on the platform, as is video on demand.
For those who want to stream on the platform, you have the option to download either Open Broadcast Software (OBS) or Xsplit which are programs that connect you to Twitch’s Streaming Service, and configure them by setting up a “scene”. This involves choosing what bitrate you will be streaming at, whether you want game capture or window capture mode, what resolution you want to stream at, and of course whether you want your microphone to be picked up or not.
In terms of the advantages for Twitch, this can be considered as a free to use tool where you can just simply sign up. The Open Broadcast Software is also free to use, whereas Xsplit costs a monthly fee in the form of a subscription. You get to build up your own community, accept donations through your channel, earn a sub button so people can subscribe to you every month (more money), and basically get paid for doing what you love, whether that is streaming video games or painting. The cons of using twitch are that it can be very hard to grow your community because Twitch as thousands upon thousands of partners already. It requires a huge time investment if you want to get anywhere with it, and it should never be used as a primary income source as it is very volatile for the majority of streamers.
Livestream is what is considered to be an “all-in-one” live streaming software solution for individuals as well as organizations who want to reach multiple platforms on the web. The main audience for this platform centers primarily around those who want to broadcast live events. For those who alternatively want to stream live videos on the platform, all you need to have is your event, a camera, and an internet connection. Unfortunately, it is a flat-rate-fee platform, where you pay a monthly fee to use it. This can range anywhere from $42-799 a month and includes features like live chat with moderation, VOD archives, studio software, live embedding, analytics, streaming to Facebook and Youtube, advertising, branding, and so on. The major pro with Livestream is that a huge part of the work is done for you in terms of getting moderation on your channel, having access to advanced controls and even analytics. A lot of these types of services do not come on other platforms. The major con with it is that you will need to pay to use the service, and for those who want to stream on the go, they will need to buy their broadcasting software which can be relatively expensive.
DaCast is considered to be one of the best platforms for streaming as it gives broadcasters the ability to stream to the cloud, which puts less pressure on the device you are using to broadcast. The platform has a low cost of entry, being free to get started, with the starter plan being $19 a month. The platform caters to those who want to stream sporting events, fitness, religion and spirituality, news, media, and online learning/education. It comes with fully customizable tools, seamless integration of video and audio monetization as well as it allows broadcasters to have more than one live channels. The positives behind the platform are that there is no software required, no device restrictions applied, no video file limits set, and no contract needed. They have a customizable video player, secure hosting, analytics, white label service, video embedding, mobile streaming, and a built-in payment system. The disadvantages are that the plans do have a limitation on bandwidth, storage, and viewer hours.