Live Stream Roundup

In my last post, “Getting Started with Live Streaming,” I covered all the basic parts you need to consider to get up and running. Now I want to dig a little deeper into the options available for each piece. Today, I will start with streaming service providers. There are a number of quality providers out there. The trick is finding one that works with your budget, equipment and potential viewership. This is not an exhaustive list and you will want to visit the website of the providers for more details on their features and pricing.

If you want to learn more about the terms I am using to compare the services, my previous post explains them all. All of the listed platforms offer a free trial. If you already have equipment, it would be worth giving a couple a try.

ChurchStreaming.tv

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ChurchStreaming’s performance, reliability and customer service make it my top choice for live streaming. They will talk you through the whole process and even log onto your computer to set things up for you. Their new pricing structure might put them out of the reach of some churches but if you are serious about making live streaming work for your church, they make a great choice.

www.churchstreaming.tv
Price: $139/month
Bandwidth/Viewers: Unlimited streaming. Up to 250 live viewers. No overages.
Free/Discounted Software? Discount and monthly rental available for Wirecast
Embedding? Yes
Ads? No
Archiving? Yes, on platform and integration with Youtube, Vimeo, Amazon and others
Roku/Apple TV? Both
Chat? Yes
Analytics? Yes, advanced
Mobile? Viewer is mobile responsive
Adaptive Bitrate? Yes
Support: Yes, via email, phone and remote support software
Free Trial? Yes. 30 Days
Backend: Wowza running on dedicated servers
Notes: Works with Adobe’s free Flash Media Encoder and other popular software including Wirecast which they offer at a discount.

Livestream

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This is a really great deal for churches who don’t need to embed. The bonus of the free software makes the overall cost very low and the cost of trying it out $0. There are a large number of churches, including United Methodist churches, using this platform.

www.livestream.com
Price: $42/month basic plan, $199/month premium
Bandwidth/Viewers: Fixed rate, no overages.
Free/Discounted Software? Yes. Live Stream Producer is free. Also, free version of Studio Software.
Embedding? No for basic plan, yes for premium
Ads? No
Archiving? Yes, Unlimited
Roku/Apple TV? Roku
Chat? Yes
Analytics? No on basic plan, yes on premium
Mobile? Yes
Adaptive Bitrate? Yes
Support: Email only for basic plan. Premium includes phone support
Free Trial? Yes.
Backend: Multiple servers running CDN.
Notes:  The biggest drawback is only relevant for their basic plan. It is ideal to be able to embed the live stream on your church’s website. However, if you are just getting started and that is not a deal killer, this might be a great choice.

DaCast

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This is a very competitively priced and robust service. They use a very different pricing model and you basically pay for the bandwidth you use. They have an easy to use calculator to help figure out how much you might use. Go to www.dacast.com/streaming-pricing-plans, and click on the “calculator tab.”  To give you an idea, a church with 50 live stream viewers per week (which would likely be a lot for a smaller church), each watching for 1 hour with a 1.5Mbps stream (a high-quality stream) would use 108GB over 200 viewer hours with a total price of $27/month. ($25 monthly charge plus $2 overage.)

www.dacast.com
Price: Starting at $25/mo.
Bandwidth/Viewers: Each package allows for a fixed amount of bandwidth, viewer hours and storage. Once you exceed these amounts, you pay a fixed rate per GB.
Free/Discounted Software? No
Embedding? Yes
Ads? No
Archiving? Yes (amount depends on package)
Roku/Apple TV? No
Chat?
Analytics? Yes
Mobile? Yes
Adaptive Bitrate? Yes
Support: Support level based on package
Free Trial? Yes.
Backend: Akamai
Notes: DaCast works with Adobe’s free Flash Media Encoder and other popular software. 

StreamingChurch.tv

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The basic plan is very affordable but it includes ads. I am not sure what the content of those ads would be but I am sure they would be willing to share that information. The premium plan is rather expensive for a pay as you go plan.

Since I originally posted this article, I have been in contact with StreamingChurch.tv and they clarified some things and let me know about some changes to their service. The best part is – no ads on any of their packages! Their plan prices have gone up a little but now that the ads are gone, their packages are super competitive.

www.streamingchurch.tv
Price: One-time activation fee of $79, then three plans: Basic $47, Premium $99, Premium Plus $127 UPDATE: Basic is now  $79
Bandwidth/Viewers: Free for Basic plan, 77cents/Gb on Premium, Free up to 100Gb/month on Premium Plus UPDATE: Free 20Gb/month on Premium, Free 100Gb/month on Premium Plus. Overages 77cents / Gb (Premium) 50cents /Gb (Premium Plus)
Free/Discounted Software? Free church app, website and church management software
Embedding? Yes
Ads? Yes, 30-second pre-roll ad for basic. UPDATE: StreamingChurch.tv has updated their packages and no longer has ads on any plan.
Archiving? No for basic plan, yes for other plans
Roku/Apple TV? Roku available on Premium and Premium Plus
Chat? Yes
Analytics? Yes
Mobile? Yes
Adaptive Bitrate? Yes
Support: Support level based on package UPDATE: StreamingChurch TV now offers 7 day a week support, even on Sunday mornings when you need it most.
Free Trial? Yes.
Backend: No CDN, limited quality with larger audiences. UPDATE: Multiple CDNs with unlimited quality option on premium and premium plus options
Notes: Works with Adobe’s free Flash Media Encoder and other popular software.

 

USTREAM

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USTREAM is a well-known professional platform. It is also available in a free version, however, the free version contains ads. Their lowest priced plan is affordable, but churches need to be careful and note that this only includes 100 viewer hours per month. That would be 25 people watching a full worship service per week. Over that and you pay 50 cents for each additional viewer hour.

www.ustream.tv/lp/pricing-live-stream-church-service
Price: $99/month for Church Plan or Silver Plan, next tier is $399/month
Bandwidth/Viewers: 100 viewer hours, 50 cents per each additional viewer hour.
Free/Discounted Software? Free church app, website and church management software
Embedding? Yes
Ads? No
Archiving? Yes, up to 50 GB
Roku/Apple TV? Roku available on Premium and Premium Plus
Chat? Yes
Analytics? Yes
Mobile? Yes
Adaptive Bitrate? Yes
Support: Support level based on package
Free Trial? Yes.
Backend: Unknown

TruthCasting

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TruthCasting might be the winner in terms of price. Small churches can go with the smallest package and have no overage charges for bandwidth or viewers. It lacks some of the fancier features of other service but for churches on a budget this is a low-cost way to enter the world of streaming.

http://start.truthcasting.com/services/live-streaming/
Price: $25/mo for churches under 100 members, $50/month up to 500 members
Bandwidth/Viewers: Unlimited streaming, unlimited viewers.
Free/Discounted Software? No
Embedding? Yes
Ads? No
Archiving? Yes, unlimited
Roku/Apple TV? No
Analytics? No
Mobile? Yes
Adaptive Bitrate? Unknown
Support: Yes, via email and phone.
Free Trial? Yes.
Backend: Unknown
Notes: Works with Adobe’s free Flash Media Encoder and other popular software.

Have you had success with another provider? Is there a feature that I left of the comparison list? Let me know in the comments.

One thought on “Live Stream Roundup

  1. Pingback: 4 Reasons Your Church Should Be Streaming Live | pastorwill.net

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