If you’re trying to stream live over the internet you have a dizzying array of options and service providers. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll categorize these providers, tell you which category you should consider, and how to choose between vendors within a category.
Jumping right in, Figure 1 breaks live streaming platforms and services into four categories. Here’s a brief description of each:
- Free social media services. These are free services offered by Facebook, YouTube, and other providers.
- Standalone paid services. These are services that primarily stream live video for a fee, supplying encoding, players, delivery, and other features. Prominent examples include Livestream, BoxCast, Vzaar, and StreamShark.
- Platforms. These are providers that perform live streaming as a component of a larger service offering. These include the most prominent online video platforms (OVPs) like Brightcove, Kaltura, and Ooyala, and other providers like DaCast, JWPlayer, and IBM Cloud Video (formerly Ustream).
- Developer products. These are providers that offer developer-oriented products for integrating live streaming into custom applications. Examples include Bitmovin, Microsoft Azure, Softvelum (Nimble Streamer), and Wowza.
As always, the lines around the edges get blurry for some companies who could claim membership in two or more categories. In addition, these company references are meant as examples, not as an exhaustive list; if your company isn’t listed, feel free to add a mention in the comments.
Not addressed in this article are turnkey platforms for OTT providers like those supplied MLBAM, Verizon Digital Media Services, Anvato, and iStreamPlanet. Our focus is primarily on companies seeking to produce their own live streams; not to become their own Netflix competitor. ...read more