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Free Vs Paid Live Streaming Platforms

If you’re looking to start live streaming, then you’ll need to choose a platform. There are lots of different choices available that result in different qualities of video. Read more about how to choose between free and professional live streaming platforms, as well as loads of other live streaming tips on our blog!

What Is A Live Streaming Platform?

A live streaming platform allows you to stream live videos to places such as your own website or blog, for example. Live streaming is more complicated than embedding standard on-demand videos and requires specific technology in order to make it possible. Website platforms themselves don’t have the capacity to live stream videos directly, nor give you as much control over your project, so you have to go through a third-party platform.

If you don’t have a website, but want to start live streaming videos, many platforms will also create a free website template to give you a place to showcase your video.

Free vs Paid Platforms

When it comes to choosing how to live stream video for your business or organisation, you’ll need to select which platform is the best fit for your needs.

Free Platforms

There are currently only two platforms that offer free live streaming: Facebook and YouTube. Live streaming, as mentioned, is a complicated process which is why there are so few free platforms available. 

Free platforms are basic, which is why they don’t cost. You can live stream quite simply, but you don’t have a lot of control over your stream — there’s not really any capability to tweak settings or customise your video.

Videos through live streaming platforms are also usually lower quality than those through professional, paid platforms. Your users might also have to watch ads, which you have little control over.

Main Advantage

The biggest advantage is, of course, that they’re free, which makes them accessible to amateurs and hobbyists.

Suitable For...

Free platforms tend to be best suited to hobbyists and nonprofessionals. They’re popular with gamers, for example, or people who are doing the most basic live streaming. It tends to be most used by people streaming from their phones, rather than with professional camera equipment.

Hobbyist using free live streaming

Paid Platforms

When it comes to paid platforms, there are a few more out there to choose from including Zidivo. Be careful when searching for the right paid platform for your business, many come at high prices without high-price benefits! Compare prices and benefits carefully and try out free trials to get a feel for the platform.

Paid platforms have a lot more capability than free ones. They give you complete control over your video and stream so you can tweak and play with the settings to get your video exactly how you want it.

Unlike Facebook and YouTube, a professional live streaming platform will allow you to embed the live video into your own website, rather than viewers watching through the third party platform itself.

Many third-party platforms will also give you support. Zidivo’s support is unlimited as we’re here to help you in any way we can should you need us, making the process to go live as easy as possible.

Professional Platform Features Include:

  • HTML5 players
  • Real-time video analytics
  • Third-party encoder capabilities
  • Live embedding
  • Multiple campaign management for agencies

Main Advantage

The biggest advantage to a paid platform is more control over every element of your live streaming.

Suitable For…

Professionals, businesses of all sizes and organisations. Loads of people choose a paid platform for live streaming including:

  • Event planners
  • Conference organisers
  • Venues
  • Retail/eCommerce businesses
  • Sports teams
  • Videographers
  • Training companies / educational institutions
  • Auction houses
  • Religious organisations
  • Radio stations / DJs
  • Security/monitoring companies

If you’re looking for a professional live streaming platform, try Zidivo free for 30 days.

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