Live streaming refers to broadcasting that happens in real-time. Instead of providing recorded videos, live streams showcase an event as it takes place in the present. Via live streams, creators and businesses can showcase their products, events, conferences, sports matches, and more. This kind of streaming occurs through several video streaming platforms, social media platforms, and applications.
How does Live Streaming work?
Live streaming is not as effortless as it seems, and behind the curtain, many things make it possible. Let’s have this live streaming guide here and talk about all the aspects of live streaming to gain a deeper understanding.
🗜 Compression And Encoding
Once the video is captured on the camera, it goes for compression. In compression, unnecessary frames are removed which also reduces the total size of the video. This is especially helpful in the videos where the person doesn’t make much movement. Only the parts where movements happen will be considered for their frames; for example, a person’s hand movements and their still background.
Next, the video goes for encoding, which converts the video into a format that devices can recognize. Without compression and encoding, it’s impossible to stream video data.
Since videos are large files containing a lot of information, sending them for streaming at once makes it difficult to load. That’s why, in this step, the encoded and compressed video is broken down into segments or chunks.
🗜 CDN Distribution
The segments are then transmitted to millions of users around the world. Here, CDN, a network of servers scattered around the globe, comes into play. When a user joins a live stream, his request gets registered in the nearest server of the CDN and gets responded to. When the request goes to the nearest server, it means that the request has to travel less which also means faster response and less latency.
So if someone from your audience lives in China, their live stream request would be responded to by CDN’s server present in China rather than another country.
🗜 CDN Caching
While understanding CDN, it’s also important that you know CDN caching. In a CDN network, there are two kinds of servers: Origin and Proxy. When a video is requested, it gets stored in the proxy server; these proxy servers are the ones located nearest to the user. An already-requested video or live stream gets cached from the proxy server, and hence, it doesn’t have to travel to the origin server. This approach saves a lot of time when the request has to travel a lot less by avoiding the origin server.
🗜 Decoding And video playback
Upon the user’s request, CDN delivers the live stream on the user’s device. Before getting streamed, the stream gets decoded and decompressed, where a media player interprets the data and allows it for video streaming.
Types of Live Streaming
There’s more to live streaming than just streaming the data in real time. There are different kinds of live streaming, and understanding these kinds gives a deeper understanding of the concept. Here are the types:
➥ In Person
This kind of streaming comprises a stage, a presenter, and a host where the audience remains virtual. The show goes on in a physical venue, but it’s accessed by the audience using live streaming.
In hybrid live streams, the setup remains the same as the in-person stream; however, some amount of the audience remains in the physical venue as well. This way, the broadcast happens for the virtual audience and the audience in the room.
Virtual live streams are virtual for everyone, including the host and presenter. Here, everything connects from their own location virtually through a social media platform, application, or streaming website.
How to Set Up Your Live Stream?
To start live streaming, you would need a few essentials. These essentials are beneficial if you don’t wanna invest in anything fancy yet. Let’s get to know which things you should have in your beginner live streaming kit-
The very first thing you need is a camera, whether it’s your smartphone or you’re using a more professional camera like a DSLR.
It’s important to record with a high audio quality for which you would need a microphone. You can also use your phone’s microphone, but the audio might not be very clear.
There are a lot of budget-friendly mics available that you can attach to your lapel or on your shirt/top and deliver a clear voice in your live streams.
🚀 Stable Upload Speed
Make sure you have a data pack with good upload speed so you can stream lag-free. This is especially important if you wanna live stream video games.
Again, this is important for those who wanna stream video games. You need a desktop or a laptop with a strong internet connection, external camera, and microphone to transmit premium-quality live streams.
Pro Tips to Live Streaming Tips For Creators
Before you start your live streams, make yourself aware of some tips. These tips would let you lead better streams every time-
⏩ Choose A Medium
First of all, you should know which platform or website you’re gonna use to host your streams. There are plenty of platforms and applications available that you can consider for their features and budget before finalizing one.
⏩ Pick The Right Time
Before starting a live stream, it’s crucial to find the right timing. You should know when your audience will be most active; here, time zones play a crucial part, especially if you have global audiences. Mornings for people in Asia will be at a different time than those living in the USA. The more conscious you are about this time difference, the better timing you will be able to choose.
⏩ Keep The Setup Ready
The next step is to have all the required equipment ready. If you are a beginner, don’t spend on fancy things. Instead, have a camera, a tripod, a microphone, and a laptop; you can also allocate a specific space in your room for live streams. Once you are comfortable spending more, you can consider some lighting, a better mic, a better camera, and other such stuff.
⏩ Brand Your Streams
This tip is for those who have spent some years creating content and live streaming. Such creators would benefit by looking for a platform with customization capabilities. Search for platforms that say white-label as these platforms let you brand your video player, and hence let you solidify your brand image.
⏩Bring Streams Within Your Community
With time, creators are able to build a community where people who love exploring your channel exist. You should consider live streaming within your community often so these people can feel connected and have more exposure from your brand.
Also, when you live stream to people who already know you, you can influence their decision-making process. For example, you get a sponsorship of a particular product; by live streaming within your community, you are more likely to influence people to make the purchase since they have already put their trust in you.
⏩ Keep Audio And Visuals Neat
These are the aspects of live streaming that accept no compromise. Audience is first attracted to visuals and clear audio quality than anything else. No matter how refined your communication is or how useful your ideas are, no one would bear poor audio and video quality. The good news is you can achieve this without making heavy expenses as your smartphone itself can give enough clarity.
You can make the device more effective by clearing the clutter in the background. Try to record at a time when you have the most peace or lock your room to avoid as much external sound as you can; you can also try switching off your fan while streaming.
⏩ Monitor The Quality Of Your Live Streams
It’s always wise to know if you are able to provide quality live streams. For this, you can record your live streams and monitor them for any possible improvements. It’s easy to catch faults when we record ourselves; record your streams and watch them often, and you will be surprised to see how many improvements you can actually make.
⏩ Collaborate Often
It’s advised to collaborate to make your live streams more interesting. There are always creators creating content in the same niche, and many of these creators are open to collaboration. All you have to do is ask them to become a guest in your live streams and let your audience have something new to relish.
⏩ Market Your Streams
Never fail to market your streams or promote your channel, as this is the only way to increase your exposure. The more ways you adopt to market yourself, the quicker your audience reach will increase. Utilize social media platforms and post regular updates there; you can also go the SEO way or run paid campaigns.
Features to consider while Choosing a Live Streaming Platform
Live streaming platforms make your journey as a creator effortless with their range of features, tools, and support. However, not every platform serves the same, and many might miss the most essential features. Here is a list of factors that you should always look for while choosing a streaming platform for yourself.
🛡️ Video Security
Always check the platform for the security measures they take. Terms like AES, SSL, and DRM ensure that the platform takes its users’ privacy seriously, and hence can be considered.
📢 Ad-free Streaming
If you opt for a streaming platform that is free of cost, chances are you might be bothered by running advertisements in between. It’s up to you if you are fine with running a few ads or want to pay a little bit and keep your streams clean.
Several platforms allow customizing several aspects of a video player and videos. All of this contributes to branding and brings your brand to your viewers. Such platforms are called white-label platforms, and they might charge you a bit more than the platforms without white-label features.
Analytics is another important aspect of your streams that you should definitely say Yes to. These are the insights that inform you about your videos’ performance or which of your videos are performing the best and which ones are not. Analytics also lets you know the demographics of your audience. By inspecting these analytics, you can alter your marketing strategy and achieve better results.
9 Best Live Streaming Platforms
Finally, let’s head to the 9 most used streaming platforms that are excellent for live streams as well as hosting pre-recorded videos. Creators and businesses can explore these platforms for their features and choose the most suitable one.
#1 GUDSHO Video – Premium Live Streaming Platform for Enterprises
GUDSHO Video facilitates live streaming capabilities for businesses all around the world. The platform is specifically designed for premium content creators who want a niche-specific audience and innovative features. The platform avails various pricing plans, and each plan allocates specific resources. This way, GUDSHO Video serves all sizes of businesses!
- 24/7 live streaming capabilities
- On-demand video hosting
- 5+ Monetization Models
- Revenue options such as SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, etc.
- AES encryption and SSL certification for security and privacy
- Convert Live to VOD
- Schedule & Record Live Streams
- Features like a guest invitation, special screening, single sign-on, custom subscriptions, etc.
#2 VPlayed – Tailored Solution for Your Unique Live Streaming Needs
VPlayed provides you with streaming solutions where you can have your choices of customizations, features, monetization options, and more. With VPlayed, you can have your own OTT or streaming platform designed so you don’t have to rely on third-party apps or websites. They also provide application development so you can have your own apps and connect with more and more people quickly.
- Uninterrupted live streaming and pre-recorded live streams
- OTT platform and app development services
- 7+ monetization options for your platform
- Customization features for your video player
- Security measures from AES to DRM and more
#3 OnTheFly – Stream Live Videos On Any Social Platform
Another one in the list known for its stable and reliable multi-streams, OnTheFly lets you live stream to every known social media platform. You can also host pre-recorded videos here or record your live streams and schedule them for streaming. The platform needs you to have no installations; everything can be done from a single browser.
- Broadcast yourself in real time to multiple platforms
- Customized live streams to show off your branding
- High-quality live stream recording that get stored on the cloud
- Have conversations with your audience in a single venue
- Live podcasting with your choice of guests
#4 Onestream – Live Streaming Solution for Anyone and Everyone!
If you wish your live streams to reach more than one platform at once, opt for Onestream. The platform lets you live stream to more than 45+ platforms at once. You can handle all the chats and conversations in one venue, eliminating any need to switch between the platforms. The concept of multi-stream is a big timesaver and lets you connect to the maximum audience possible worldwide.
- Multistreaming to all social media platforms and RTMP platforms
- Customizations for live streams for branding
- Schedule recorded live streams whenever you want
- RTMP encoders like OBS, Zoom, and XSPlit
- Embedding options for live streams on any webpage
#5 Be.Live – Stand Out with Branded Live Streams
Create as many live streams as you want and multi-stream to multiple platforms simultaneously. The platform also provides you with a range of customization features to add logos, widgets, backgrounds, etc. The comment assistant lets you handle all the conversations in one place; creators can try their 14-day trial period. That’s not it! You can also trim and edit your content to repurpose it and attract more traffic.
- Options to highlight commenters and choose winners
- Receive analytics for insights on your audience and their engagement
- Shoppable live streams for Amazon and earning commission
- AI-supported platform to ease your creations
- Choose from three available plans as per your needs
#6 Livepush – Multistream Platform to Twitch, Facebook
Livepush is another multi-stream platform where you can stream to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other such platforms. You can also schedule your recorded live streams and start them at a time when your largest audience is available. Using their CDN technology, you can have ultra-smooth and fast live streaming that enables your global fans to connect in a jiffy.
- Rapid live streaming with StackPath Global CDN
- Real-time analytics to find peak engagement times in your streams
- HTML5 web player code for easy embedding
- Geoblocking to allow your streams only in authorized regions
- Create live streams with MP4 and MOV files
#7 Livestream by Vimeo – Live Streaming Software for Enterprises
Vimeo lets you live stream your events, webinars, conferences, and more. It’s one of the most professional platforms businesses can use to connect with their customers, employees, and community. With Vimeo, you can create a subscription channel, upload your videos, and monetize them. The security and privacy support is superior, which keeps every bit of your data safe.
- Adaptive streaming that adjusts video quality as per viewer’s data speed
- Centralized CMS to manage live streams and recorded videos from one place
- Customizations to add your logo, background, and other visuals
- Live support when you stream during business hours
- Ad-free live streams and on-demand streaming
#8 Wave.video – Customizable Live Streaming Platform
With Wave.video, businesses can broadcast fully customized live streams and connect with global audiences. Their video editor lets you tweak various aspects of your videos and make them look more visually appealing. While live streaming, you can also record your streams and webcam videos to broadcast the recording later to your fans.
- Web-based live streaming that needs no installation
- Fully customizable streams to make them look more professional
- Thumbnail maker to allure the audience to click your videos
- Embedding options to add your videos on blogs and websites
- Invite guests to live streams as well as pre-recorded streams
#9 Streamlabs – All-in-one live streaming software
Streamlabs offers a complete and ultimate live streaming toolkit to let you unleash your real potential and connect like never before. The platform brings you a vast range of creator tools so you can prepare highly professional and customized streams. Every backup goes to the cloud, which means you can access all your data with a single click. Multi-stream is another way the platform impresses businesses and lets them connect to all the platforms at once.
- Browser-based streaming that needs no software
- A vast array of customization options for streams and pre-recorded videos
- Multi-stream and collaboration abilities
- Highlight your supporters and commenters in a personalized way
- Streamlabs app store to unlock a huge number of applications
Choosing the right live-streaming platform would be the prime factor determining your brand’s success and how much traffic you attract. Additionally, it’s important to know the basics of a live stream setup, so you have all the essentials that allow you to stream yourself neatly. Estimate your audience and plan the topics you want to discuss, know the kind of live stream you need, and follow the above-mentioned tips. Lastly, check the analytics and know your peak performance to keep improving yourself and your marketing strategy.
Explore these live streaming platforms, and you might find the right one!