YouTube has recently entered the market of live streaming and online broadcasting, In addition to already being known as the most versatile online platform for streaming videos, YouTube is backed by its own infrastructure making it possible for them to offer all these services, completely free of charge, forcing other companies to think twice about their current price plans. In this article we are reviewing the top online live broadcasting services and the differences between these services. If your interested in using YouTube Live don't forget to check out our "Why YouTube LIve is BIG deal" post.
Offering pretty much all the features which other services provide with no charges or obstructive advertisement is what YouTube does best. Where other companies would ask for money, YouTube has offered all of their services for completely free in an attempt to grow the Google network of services.
Let's simply take a look at the features that YouTube offers while comparing it to other services at the same time. However, before we begin, let's take a look at a common term in the market, "VH" or Viewer Hours, it's basically a number which denotes how many hours worth of bandwidth has been used and you'll see it used on nearly any premium streaming service.
Regardless of whether your viewers are watching your stream at HD or a lower quality, it counts towards the same number, 10 viewer hours can be anything from 10 viewers watching for an hour or 600 viewers watching for just a minute each.
LiveStream offers a benefit as far as bandwidth is concerned. There's no limit as to how many people are watching your stream or for how long so the concept of viewer hours doesn't actually exist.
Instead of selling viewer hours, LiveStream sells features such as the ability to embed the player on other third party websites, whether it be your own or Facebook's, the ability to block your content based on location and password protected events as a whole.
When it comes to YouTube however, you can make your entire broadcast private for no charge (although it requires some web development skills) while preserving the ability to embed it on any website, also free of charge. This gives you the ability to hide your broadcast behind your own business' firewall, on a password protected page of your website while also giving you the ability to make it public.
LiveStream and most paid services do have better performance for professional applications. One major difference is video latency. With YouTube Live you can expect a 30-45 delay in video and audio streaming to the far end. LiveStream will produce the video stream in a matter of seconds.
UStream on the other hand sells viewer hours as well as storage space, once you reach the storage limit you'll have no choice but to either invest into additional storage or delete existing archives. As far as features such as full HD broadcasting, the ability to stream at different qualities, advanced analytics or audience controls, you'll have to pay the enterprise-level prices starting at $2,500/mo.
The benefits which YouTube has over Ustream might be minimal as far as advanced features for enterprises go but even so It's definitely a force to be reckoned with, purely because if you're streaming on YouTube you have no reason to worry about your users being unable to watch the content. Regardless of how bad their internet is, if they're able to watch any other video on its lowest quality without having to buffer, they'll be able to watch your stream without issues as well. Again UStream is going to give you more options and lower latency.
Telestream and Wirecast
Telestream on the other hand provides much more than simple broadcast services. Ranging from screencasting, video editing software and webcasting applications to advanced software which not only help with finalizing your video content but also aid in analyzing it at a professional level.
When it comes to their webcasting software, it's hard to find a better alternative and as far as professionalism goes, it's one of the best if not the best webcasting software. Allowing you to stream to Ustream, Twitch, YouTube, Microsoft Azure and countless other services, simultaneously with their Tricaster. TeleStream offers the ability to take a RTSP video stream and prepare it for YouTube Live which only accepts RTMP.
In the near future, YouTube itself is definitely going to offer additional services, probably paid ones as more people begin to use their live streaming services, right now the benefit of running your content through YouTube enmass for the public is solely the easy of access, a familiar interface and an additional way for content creators to earn money.
But from a business point of view, unless YouTube offers password protected streaming, it's not going to be a viable alternative to professional streaming websites solely due to the possibility of confidential information being access by third parties during the broadcast itself.
It's not that YouTube's servers aren't secure, the issue arises due to the fact that YouTube isn't meant for private broadcasts, even setting a broadcast as unlisted would let anyone with the direct link watch it without any issue and in these circumstances, services like Ustream and LiveStream are more preferable.