This year, live streaming is forecast to account for 82% of all internet traffic. Whether it’s Esports, a live video from your favourite Instagram influencer or a brand new product launch, live streaming is here to stay.
If you’re looking to start live streaming, you’ll want to strike the right balance between factors like price, functionality and compatibility. We’ll help to run you through some starting points when it comes to choosing live broadcasting software for the first time.
What is Live Streaming Software?
Put simply, live streaming software helps to bundle your video and audio inputs into an accessible, compressed format, ready for streaming. This is referred to as encoding, and can take place via software or hardware. Your output is then delivered to live streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, ready to be engaged with by your audience.
Live streaming software has evolved considerably over the last decade. The most basic form of streaming software covers the aforementioned encoding process – the practice of converting your video and audio input into a suitable format for live streaming. However, more and more streamers are demanding the complete package. Solutions like AirBox can go above and beyond in giving streamers full control: facilitating intuitive graphics, effortless encoding and formatting and comprehensive production tools to enhance your streams.
What do I need to start live streaming?
In general, if you want to start live streaming at a more advanced level (as opposed to using your webcam or smartphone) there a few things that you’ll need:
This one may sound obvious, but it’s crucial that your internet connection consistently provides high performance and reliability. There’s nothing worse than buffering and crashing during a live stream, and it could cost you frustrated viewers.
The bread and butter of your stream lies in your video and audio inputs. Your camera set up and screen recordings will form the video, whilst microphones and mixer feeds will form the audio. Quality is key here – it’s worth acquiring durable, quality cameras and microphones to achieve this, even if they are second-hand.
Assuming you’re not taking the hardware route, you’ll need reliable encoding software to deliver your streams to your chosen platforms. This is your live streaming software. Encoding software will bundle your real-time video and audio outputs and deliver it as a deliverable live stream.
Capture cards are necessary when not using USB-enabled microphones and cameras for your streams. A capture card is an intermediary device that helps to capture feeds from external cameras and video game consoles, allowing them to be encoded via your chosen software and streamed.
This is the provider that will make your live stream accessible to your audience. Popular choices include, but are not limited to: Twitch, Mixer, YouTube and Facebook Live. It’s always worth checking that your chosen encoding method is compatible with the streaming platform/s you want to use.
What should I look out for when choosing live streaming software?
First and foremost, consider your price range. Are you a first-time streamer looking to give it a go, or are you an established media organisation? Free, open source live streaming software is perfect for beginners. If you’re looking to take it up a level, expanding your price range will do wonders in regards to overall quality, functionality and the appearance of your stream.
Compatibility is also something to look out for. Ensure that the live streaming software that you choose will cooperate with your chosen streaming platform, and won’t result in tricky ingest server issues. For the most part, popular streaming software choices will function seamlessly with mainstream streaming platforms and social networks using Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP).
Functionality will depend largely on your price range. Taking on more advanced streaming software solutions can help to increase the cap on your input sources, which will help if you require multiple cameras and audio sources to be captured. Furthermore, you’ll want to look out for features like graphics and titling plugins and add-ons to give your stream a professional finish.
Free trials – who doesn’t love them? It’s worth checking if the paid streaming software that you’re considering has a free trial option before you invest. A free trial period enables you to confirm compatibility and get accustomed to the user interface, so that you can be on top form when you start streaming.
Lastly, consider the support offered by your chosen streaming software provider. Ideally, issues will be nonexistent when setting up. If problems do arise, make sure that you have access to a team of experts on a 24/7 basis – minimising your downtime and keeping your streams on track.
Why choose PlayBox for live streaming solutions?
AirBox Mega from PlayBox supports a huge range of video and audio formats, and has a proven track record when it comes to high quality live streaming across streaming platforms. AirBox is incredibly robust, exceeding the demands of thousands of broadcasters across the world, and we’d love to take you through a demo and show AirBox in action. Feel free to book a free online demo.
For cloud-based live streaming software that is directly accessible through your browser, check out Cosmos Energy by PlayBox Technology. Cosmos Energy represents a fast, trusted live streaming solution that can be set up in a few minutes. Find out more about Cosmos Technology.