Let’s take a second to talk about the popularity of video content and video streaming platforms. Right now, businesses, organizations, and individuals are producing and outputting a record amount of video content. Digital cameras are everywhere and easily available in consumer to professional tiers. Internet bandwidth has increased dramatically over the past few decades. All of which have lowered video production costs and barriers to entry.
Video, particularly live streaming, has become a cost-effective strategy for engaging with your customers, employees, clients, other businesses, and even to engage and entertain the general public. What makes this possible for content creators both small and large are video streaming platforms. As it stands, digital video viewership (and you can read that as “streaming viewership”) in the U.S. alone is predicted to surpass 249 million in 2022.
If you’re producing video content, “Which platform to use?” is a big question. In this post, we’re giving an overview of the best. We hope this breakdown is informative both for those just looking to enter the streaming field as well as seasoned content producers who can benefit from improving the quality and suitability of their platform. Continue below for our guide to the top 10 video streaming platforms!
- Choosing the Right Video Streaming Platform for Your Needs
- Top Video Streaming Platforms
- Advantages of the Kaltura Video Streaming Platform
- Final Thoughts
Choosing the Right Video Streaming Platform for Your Needs
While video streaming platforms and their features are not interchangeable, the real key to finding the best possible tool for the job is to understand your own budget and needs. Keep in mind the requirements of your content, your overall broadcasting goals, and look for the features best supporting them.
Professional broadcasters have different needs than independent streamers. If you’re on the B2B or enterprise side, it’s probably wisest to focus on video streaming platforms developed more specifically to your requirements. In other words, larger business-oriented services possibly with enterprise subscription plans. (A consumer service like YouTube is probably not the best choice for all your business content!)
Secure feeds and meetings, scalability, advanced broadcasting features and strong support options, and a high level of customization are likely to be major factors in the utility of a video streaming platform you choose. Additionally, using a professional video platform typically doesn’t create any complications with the distribution rights to your content. Likewise, most professional platforms don’t partner with third-party advertising or impose their brand-specific features or limitations, keeping your video streaming process simple, clean, and professional. If anything needs to be foregrounded, it can be the branding of your choice.
That said, individual streamers can be “professional broadcasters” as well. However, you’ll have a completely different set of needs from video streaming platforms and quite possibly will be broadcasting very different types of content. This use case could range anywhere from a small content operation within a larger organization to an independent content creator broadcasting over B2C (business-to-consumer) services. Things an individual streamer will want to be concerned with are ease of use and ability to use a minimal equipment setup, acceptable budget (as individuals may not have an organizational budget for expenses), and some adequate capacity to scale up, should your audience begin to expand exponentially.
Top Video Streaming Platforms
Below is a loose ranking of the best video streaming platforms currently on the market for both business/organizational use as well as for individuals. Each platform has a capsule review as well as several bullet points specifying advantages and disadvantages.
For Large Businesses and Organizations
- Kaltura is an advanced video streaming platform with a variety of products for organizations, streamers, and broadcasters. Whichever of our solutions is best suited to your needs, we’ll ensure it’s a vehicle for quality streaming and comes with best-in-class video broadcasting, media management, and security and privacy features. Not only are our video solutions strong at enterprise level, but we’d also recommend Kaltura as a great solution for individual streamers. Students, employees, and content creators will all have an easy time creating video and setting up and streaming content within a Kaltura-based system. Kaltura enables anyone to become a broadcaster, as well as options and features to make your content streams as polished or as “lo-fi” and minimalist as you’d like.
PROS AND CONS:
- Video for every use case, on any device.
- Supports both live-streaming and on-demand video.
- Highly customizable tools and environment designed to scale easily and custom-fit your content and brand.
- Powerful video creation and enhancement tools.
- IBM Cloud Video (professional tier) debuted as UStream more than a decade ago as a video conferencing app, and its unique content delivery network (CDN) is now a known and reliable quantity. It’s a hosting solution for both live streaming and video on demand and offers several different packages depending on your customer needs.
PROS AND CONS:
- Reliable platform with great customer support.
- Strong set of features.
- Very good for professional broadcasters.
- Relatively high subscription prices make it best for business and enterprise customers.
- Several important features are only available via higher-tier subscription plans.
- Vimeo Livestream is one of the largest video streaming platforms on the web and offers a wide range of subscription service plans as well as excellent privacy and security settings. Vimeo acquired the 10-year-old streaming service Livestream in 2017 and incorporated it into their services focusing on professional and enterprise customers, and since then it’s been setting a standard for professional-grade streaming.
PROS AND CONS:
- User-friendly, professional-looking platform.
- Built-in editing tools and transcoding software.
- Expect to pay professional-grade prices.
- Monetization costs 10% of revenue.
- Brightcove is one of the oldest private streaming platforms on the market, and over its long lifespan has developed powerful features. It’s known as an enterprise-level solution that works with several large multinational organizations. With Brightcove you know you’re going with an established and dependable product, although they might not be as ahead of the curve as some other services.
PROS AND CONS:
- Can deliver live streams to global audiences, but also use cases cover marketers, broadcasters, entertainers, and internal communications.
- Strong security features.
- It’s frequently commented that its high-end custom plans are better featured than basic plans.
- Comes with a price tag; unfortunately, that price tag is also not publicly shared on their website and may result in sticker shock.
- JW Player is a technical ancestor of the YouTube player and is a user-friendly platform for live streaming and hosting. It’s expanded in recent years to support live streaming, video hosting, and delivery services. JW Player’s live streaming platform includes the open-source video player itself as well as several other features. It also supports global content delivery and offers live streaming support even at a free trial level. However, for plans beyond trial/starter, it’s necessary to contact JW Player directly for prices and a guide to the features.
PROS AND CONS:
- Cloud-based platform supporting live streaming and VOD (on-demand) hosting.
- HD streaming supported by multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming.
- Security features are very minimal. Support is only included in higher-priced plans.
- Only allows for ad-based monetization.
For Small Broadcasters and Individuals
- Dacast provides “comprehensive live streaming and online video hosting solutions” giving users the ability to embed videos on their own site while maintaining control of their content. While not necessarily the best possible choice for a large-scale business platform it was designed with an eye toward broadcasters from enterprises, schools, and professional organizations.
PROS AND CONS:
- Standard video streaming features.
- Useful on-demand webcasting capabilities
- User-friendly interface with good functionality.
- Generally, an ad-free user experience.
- Subscription-based starting at $25, no free tier service.
- Uscreen.tv This is an audience-focused, self-described “video monetization platform.” Uscreen offers live streaming, video-on-demand, membership and monetization features, and a brand-centered experience. Pricing is relatively straightforward with three tiers of access, although customized enterprise plan pricing is a bit opaque on their website.
PROS AND CONS:
- Affordably priced, with strong admin, analytics, and other features.
- Highly customizable and interoperable.
- Limited interface and payment methods.
- Poorly rated customer service.
- Vimeo isn’t just an enterprise tool; at its free, Plus, and Pro tiers, it’s also been beloved by independent/student digital filmmakers and other content creators. Vimeo Livestream started as a B2C platform, and its services for beginners outshine most purely “social media” video streaming platforms. Premium plans unlock the “live streaming” option.
PROS AND CONS:
- Consumer-tier app that’s the foundation of an outstanding professional video streaming platform.
- Unlike other consumer-oriented video apps, live streaming options are behind a paywall.
- IBM Cloud Video (free trial to Silver tier) Here we’re recommending the lower-tier service, closer to the Ustream conferencing services from the “old days.”
PROS AND CONS:
- Free trial allows individual users to test-drive advanced broadcasting features for 30 days; could be a useful one-off or stopgap measure to get your stream going before making a longer-term decision about video streaming platforms.
- Silver tier service could be great for small businesses with a small but active content operation
- As mentioned above, at this point IBM Cloud video is still mainly intended for enterprises and large organizations
- Social Media This includes common consumer video platforms YouTube and Twitch, as well as social giant Facebook, Twitter’s live service (formerly Periscope), and other apps in that class.
PROS AND CONS:
- Most social media platforms, particularly big names, are well known and using them will be familiar to your audience.
- Well known by audiences for gaming and entertainment content.
- Basic accounts are often free; subscription accounts are usually available which enhance features and are typically inexpensive relative to B2B services.
- Third-party ads and content may be a concern; pay attention and check by platform.
Advantages of the Kaltura Video Streaming Platform
Whatever type of live streaming platforms you’re researching to present live content or community experiences on behalf of your business or organization, Kaltura takes pride that our services are best in class. We would love to be your enterprise-class platform solution for all your content, live streaming, and webcasting.
With Kaltura, you and your teams are empowered to easily create and manage engaging broadcasts. Our flexible and reliable end-to-end live streaming solution makes it possible to easily broadcast any event of any size. We offer high-quality streaming with fast-loading players based on ABR technology, 1080p video, and outstanding design and user experience. Kaltura Town Halls and Live Events are also modular, fully customizable, and complemented by a high-end content management system and on-demand video platform with a range of technology included for individualizing content.
From live streams created and launched directly from Microsoft Outlook to studio streaming and live events with multiple presenters and locations, we want to help anyone to become a broadcaster. Additionally, we can offer white glove production service at enterprise level, executing on both live content creation and streaming management. Whether you’re looking for a smaller scale tool for facilitating content engagement for select groups or for a full production live broadcast, our mission is to power your video experience. If you’d like to evaluate for yourself what Kaltura has to offer, encourage you to request a demo and take our video streaming platform for a spin.
While at Kaltura our mission is to provide the best value to the widest group of users via our video streaming products, we also realize that video streaming platforms are not “one size fits all.” This article alone is not the definitive word on the best platform. However, we do hope that it will create a solid foundation for your own further research into the field. Remember to check what types of plans are available, what kind of commitment level is required, and that whichever platform you decide on fits your budget and meets your streaming needs. There’s a lot to consider when evaluating video streaming platforms, so we hope that no matter which brand or services you ultimately choose, this has helped you better understand your needs and your options.
Ready to get your video streaming on track? Try Kaltura Video Portal today.