Live streaming is the delivery of video and audio data (or sometimes one or the other only), over a network. It’s just like other live broadcasts you may think of such as news or talent shows like Britain’s Got Talent. The only difference is the signal carrying the data is formatted to travel over a network rather than through the air (broadcast TV) or over coaxial cable.
The formatting process converts and compresses the signal in a process called encoding. This creates chunks of data that are sent out, one after the other, over a network. This series of chunks creates a data “stream” which is where the process gets its name.
At the other end of the stream are the viewers. These could be people watching on a smartphone, tablet, computer or even traditional TVs connected to the Internet. In order to watch the stream though, they need to have a player that can decode it back into audio and video then display it appropriately.
Live streaming is much easier today than it used to be, but there are still several factors you need consider before you begin. These include how many viewers will you have, how long will you be streaming, and what quality you want the stream to be. These factors will impact how much bandwidth you’ll need as well as some other details you’ll need to decide.
Traditionally, there are two options for live streaming: doing it yourself or outsourcing to a production company. Doing it yourself can be incredibly easy today thanks to services like YouTube and Facebook Live. But these free services also come with limitations. Companies may want more control over their live stream than you can get with these services. Building an in-house infrastructure and staff to manage the live streaming can be expensive and impractical.
Outsourcing to video production companies can be an effective solution, and they often pair with streaming service providers offering more options and control over the live streaming.« Back to Glossary Index