Buyer’s Guide: Live video streaming software and production solutions
Beyond large-scale events and trade shows, organizations across the spectrum are looking for new ways to deliver content via streaming platforms, searching for something other than the familiar Zoom meeting. With that comes a roadmap of choices on how and where to distribute content to ensure reach and engagement.
While many ad hoc solutions have appeared for traditional broadcasters looking to work remotely, non-broadcast organizations are also looking for new ways to leverage technology to help them carry on in the months and years ahead.
This streaming technology can help fill the gap left in the live production world by canceled internal and external events, such as conferences, award banquets, presentations, sales meetings, town halls, employee training, company updates and product demos.
Houses of worship and churches looking to go digital can also utilize these live video streaming solutions to gather remotely or to extend their reach.
Below are some of the streaming solutions that companies and organizations of all sizes can quickly implement to take their events digital with limited technical or hardware knowledge.
In reviewing options, we focused heavily on browser-based live studio solutions to ensure maximum compatibility, with many able to use either DSLR or tablets and phones as cameras.
These streaming solutions also range the price spectrum from open source to monthly fees.
NewscastStudio does not explicitly endorse any of the solutions below but has tested them and in some cases used them in real-life production workflows.
Recently used by Rosie O’Donnell for her “Broadway’s Biggest Stars…At Home!” telethon, StreamYard represents a good mix of value and features.
With three tiers, the service goes from free to $49 a month and offers a variety of branding and graphic overlay options with up to six on-screen participants at once.
- 6 on-screen participants at once with up to 10 in the off-camera waiting room
- Supports screen sharing and chroma key functionality
- Can record up to 8 hours in a single stream
- Can output to 5 destinations at once including Facebook Live, YouTube, LinkedIn, Periscope, Twitch and custom RTMP delivery
- No limits on streaming in paid plans
- Integration of social media comments in real-time
- Ability to play pre-recorded video assets on live stream
With the ability to multistream to over 30 social platforms, Restream can connect you with your audience basically anywhere.
The platform has been widely used by gaming companies such as Activision and Ubisoft along with presidential campaigns and non-traditional broadcasters.
Along with its Restream Studio product for true live production, Restream Scheduler allows users to stream content at a future date. Through scheduling, organizations can target different time zones at the appropriate hour or pre-produce content in a video editing program they’re more comfortable with, such as Adobe Premiere.
- Pricing for both individuals and companies, ranging from free to $250 per month
- Full support for graphic overlays and branding in the Pro plan or higher
- Compatible with Zoom and a variety of other software to allow for greater operability
- Multi-streaming to up to 30 different social platforms at once (limited to one channel per platform)
- Consolidated chat from all social platforms to read and reply to messages on-air
Restream Schedule is billed as a separate add-on based on duration, file size and queued streams.
Used by arts organizations like the Arctic Philharmonic along with Golf Channel and NASCAR, Switcher Studio provides a large feature set in a browser-based package.
Nexstar Media Group’s WSPA, for example, is using Switcher Studio to power Facebook Live sessions allowing branding and a broadcaster look without a control room.
- Pricing ranges from $39 to $350 per month based on the plan selected. Plans include different limits on users and remote guests.
- Supports multi-camera production with up to nine local devices at once, such as iPhones or iPads
- Full support for graphic overlays and branding along with a cloud media manager to pre-produce and store elements
- Full support for guests and remote interviews without them needing to download software
- Support for screen sharing
- Streams to main social platforms including Facebook Live, YouTube, LinkedIn, Microsoft Stream, Twitch and Periscope. Also supports custom RTMP connections.
- Includes audio mixer
- Includes an extension to add a scoreboard for live sports streams
- Ability to play pre-recorded video assets on live stream
Wirecast from Telestream
Available as software-only or as a turnkey streaming production solution, Telestream’s Wirecast is designed with professional use cases in mind, prioritizing encoding and production features.
Wirecast is offered as Wirecast Studio for $599 or Wirecast Pro version for $799. The key difference being the number of remote live guests via Wirecast Rendezvous technology and the production toolset. For example, Wirecast Pro includes scoreboards and instant replays for sports production, guest audio mixing and control of PTZ cameras via NDI or VISCA.
- Supports multiple capture and live inputs with no limit on the number of sources
- Can integrate with advanced capture cards like Blackmagic and AJA
- Fully supports NDI protocol
- Integrates social media curation and display on-air
- Supports a variety of graphics and branding, along with clocks, timers and stopwatches for sports
- Multi-viewer output
- Mutl-track audio recording on Wirecast Pro version
After buying the initial software for your Mac or Windows computer, Wirecast also offers a yearly support package for $99 to $299.
Turnkey solutions from Wirecast Gear range from $5,995 MSRP to $8,995, depending on final options.
Open Broadcaster Software
Our list of live video streaming production options would not be complete without a mention of Open Broadcaster Software, a free, open-source solution.
Known as OBS Studio, the software is fully configurable to support a variety of workflows and plugins.
- Supports an unlimited number of scenes
- Includes audio mixing with filters built-in for noise suppression and gain
- Easy connection to common streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live, YouTube, LinkedIn, Periscope, Twitch or custom RTMP delivery
- Supports multi-viewer with 8 sources on screen
- Modular UI that can be re-arranged based on the production needs
Looking for more options to consider? Explore our Directory listing of additional live video streaming solutions.