Virtually everyone nowadays is doing live streaming: whether to stream live video over platforms like Twitch or Youtube Live, live video conferencing/meeting via Zoom and Skype, and even FaceTiming with your iOS devices, streaming live video over the internet is now a day-to-day necessity.
Both individuals and businesses are now constantly broadcasting live video over the internet for various purposes, and at the moment live streaming is also one of the most effective ways to gain attention from prospects and customers.
Yet, how can we start streaming live videos on our own website? What are the benefits of streaming on our website or app compared to using third-party solutions like YouTube or Facebook Live?
Here, we will walk you through how to stream live video on a website, and without further ado, let us begin.
Live Streaming On Your Website
Streaming live video on a website or an app is made possible by embedding a video player on the said website. This video player is backed by a video hosting system behind it, which will process the live video data and broadcast it to your viewers via the video player.
Thus, if you want to start live streaming on your website, generally you have two main options:
1. Building your own video hosting solution
If you have the programming skills and knowledge, and/or if you have the available budget to hire a professional developer, then you can build your own video hosting solution and video player from scratch.
This option will provide you with the most freedom and versatility in including your logo, brand colors, and other branding elements, as well as adding unique features and functionalities not available on other third-party solutions.
However, not only this approach can be very expensive, it can take a long time before you can fully deploy the solution.
2. Using a professional video hosting and streaming platform
Off-the-shelf, professional live streaming software like Viloud allows you to easily embed the video player on your website without any programming knowledge.
With Viloud, you can easily customize the video player with your brand’s logo, links to social media profiles, brand colors, and other branding elements. Also, you’ll be able to publish both on-demand and linear 24/7 channels, providing your viewers the option to switch between both easily.
If you want to stream your live video on other platforms (i.e. Facebook Live or YouTube Live), you can easily ingest the live stream to this third-party platform using the .m38u links.
Thus, this is a much more accessible method than building your own platform from scratch, and you can start streaming live video on a website with just a few simple clicks.
Essential Live Streaming Equipment
Besides the video hosting platform as your streaming destination, there are three other elements you’ll need to successfully stream live video on a website:
– 1. Video/audio sources: the sources feeding audio and video data to the video player. In live video streaming, video cameras are the primary video source, and microphones are the main audio sources. However, we can also use pre-recorded video files as the sources.
– 2. Encoder: essential equipment in live streaming. An encoder will convert or encode the video data coming out from your camera from continuous images into a stream-friendly, continuous video file to ensure reliable, stutter-free streaming.
– 3. Internet connection: internet connection is important since you are broadcasting your video content live. If your connection is slow, then your viewers can experience buffering issues.
Let’s discuss each one of them.
– 1. Video and Audio Sources
As discussed, cameras are the primary video source in live video streaming, and nowadays we can get video cameras in various price ranges and various quality:
– Your laptop’s built-in webcam
– Your smartphone’s camera
– A camcorder
– Professional DSLR camera
Also, your computer’s screen with screen capture software can also be a viable video source.
Similarly, microphones also come in a wide variety of price ranges, quality, and connectivity.
Nowadays there are also USB microphones below $500 that are pretty decent in quality that you can connect right away to your computer (without needing a physical encoder or capture card).
– 2. Encoder
Above, we’ve briefly discussed how essential an encoder is for live streaming your videos online, and in essence, we can choose between software or hardware encoders.
– Hardware encoders: a dedicated physical encoder, now comes in various sizes and price tags. They are typically more expensive, but more reliable with lower latency. Also, you can use the physical encoder to connect your video/audio sources to your computer without needing an additional capture card.
– Software encoder: basically software that runs on a computer or other devices (i.e. your smartphone). They are typically more affordable than hardware encoders, and there are even free options like OBS and Wirecast that are pretty decent. However, you might not get the same latency speed and reliability offered by hardware encoders.
– 3. Reliable Internet Connection
How fast would you need your internet connection?
A general rule of thumb is to look at your target bitrate: your internet bandwidth should be at least 1.5 times your stream’s target bitrate, or 2 x the target bitrate for more reliable delivery. For example, if your target bitrate is 4 Mbps, then you’d need at least 6 Mbps of bandwidth.
By following the tips we’ve shared above, it should be pretty easy by now to start streaming live videos on your own website by following these steps:
– 1. Connecting your audio/video sources to your encoder or a capture
– 2. Configure the encoder
– 3. Configure your streaming destination
– 4. Embed the video player to your website
– 5. Copy and paste stream key and stream URL from a streaming destination into your encoder’s UI
Voila! You can start streaming your video content right away.