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Live Streaming Costs

Live streaming costs is one of the topics we are most often asked to explain, so here’s my stab at outlining the factors involved from a PlanetStream point of view. Obviously you’ve also got to provide cameras, other hardware and an internet connection.

Here goes:

The hardest thing to figure out is how many viewers you will get as that is the biggest influence on cost. The cost of the service is based on three things and I’ll explain those so you can give them some thought.

Image Quality
This is expressed in Kilobits per second (Kbps) and the more Kbps the higher the quality. Generally the lowest quality you would use for video is 300 Kbps which will look good in a smallish window but not so good on a full screen. The most common quality used is 800 Kbps which whilst not quite up to the standard of a DVD is really pretty good. Anything above that might not be appreciated by many viewers as their internet connection could become the limiting factor.

Viewing Time
The longer you broadcast, the more it costs, as you would expect.

Number of Viewing Minutes
This is the hard one to work out as it is often a mixture of guesswork and wishful thinking. You need to figure out not only how many people will watch the broadcast but also how much of it, on average, they will watch. There is a big difference between 100 viewers watching all of a 1 hour broadcast and 500 viewers watching 5 minutes of a 1 hour broadcast. Two things can help you with this.

Firstly we have a “Live Streaming Calculator” that allows you to play around with the above three numbers to see the effect of different scenarios. Secondly our streaming plans allow to quickly and easily upgrade from a small capacity plan to a larger one. This means you can start cautiously but react quickly to increase capacity if you need to.

Tony Burt

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