The Best Live Streaming Platforms (2020)

The Best Live Streaming Platforms (2020)

Updated

This is a list of the best live streaming platforms I recommend and use.

In this list you'll find:

Let's get started...


Free Streaming Platforms

Free for both streamers and viewers.

Facebook

Facebook Live

Top Pick for 2020!

With 2.5 billion monthly active users and live videos receiving some of the best engagement on the platform, Facebook Live is a natural choice to send your live stream.

While people do not usually consume content on Facebook the same way they do on other streaming platforms like YouTube or Netflix, I believe it is still a valuable marketing platform and a great way to get yourself or your brand in front of a large audience easily.

Protocols Accepted: RTMPS

Formats Accepted: Up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (4 Mbps max bitrate)

My Favorite Feature: Ease of use

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YouTube

YouTube Live

Best Platform for SEO

YouTube is the #1 most visited video platform and the #2 most visited website in the world, which makes it a no-brainer for SEO.

High quality streaming up to 4K60, the ability to embed live streams on your website, and tools like live chat give you a robust platform to build your community.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP

Formats Accepted: Up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps (51 Mbps max bitrate)

My Favorite Feature: Organic reach and discoverability

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Twitch

Twitch

Not Just for Gamers

While Twitch is widely recognized as a streaming platform for gamers, it can still be a great option for non-gamers as well.

Riding on Amazon's AWS infrastructure makes it a great alternative if you're trying to diversify your destinations for redundancy and reliability.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP

Formats Accepted: Up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (6 Mbps max bitrate)

My Favorite Feature: Community building tools

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Instagram

Instagram (via Yellow Duck)

Great For Short-Form Content

Instagram is also a great marketing tool and has a large demographic that often can't be reached on other platforms like Facebook.

Similar to Facebook, shorter content works better but long-form streams can also capture people's attention.

*Streaming from third-party utilities like Yellow Duck is not officially supported by Instagram's terms of service. However, many large organizations have been using it successfully for quite a while with seemingly no consequences. However, I must recommend that you use it at your own risk.

Protocols Accepted: Instagram app or third party utilities only

Formats Accepted: 720 x 1280 (vertical 720p) at 30 fps recommended

My Favorite Feature: Different format and a younger audience gives you more creative freedom

Learn More About Yellow Duck

Paid Streaming Platforms

Paid subscriptions required for streamers. Free for viewers.

Resi

Resi (Formerly Living As One)

Top Pick For 2020!

Patented Resilient Streaming Protocol takes streaming quality and reliability to a whole new level.

Subscription plans include social (distribute to YouTube or Facebook), web streaming (embeddable player), and multisite (connect remote physical locations).

A proprietary hardware encoder is required along with a subscription plan, which makes for a fully integrated and robust ecosystem that just works.

Protocols Accepted: *Resi Encoder Required

Formats Accepted: Up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps (Prism Encoders) or up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (Ray Encoder)

My Favorite Feature: Absolute reliability, even on slower and inconsistent Internet connections

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Boxcast

Boxcast

Reliable & Feature-Rich

An established and reliable infrastructure as well as great hardware encoders that make their platform robust and user-friendly.

Features like simulcasting (Facebook, YouTube, and Periscope), smart TV apps (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and Chromecast), automated captioning, ticketed events, and even multisite players make Boxcast a quite capable option.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP

Formats Accepted: Up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps (Boxcaster Pro) or up to 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps (RTMP and Boxcaster)

My Favorite Feature: Boxcaster hardware encoders make setup and starting a stream super simple

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Vimeo

Vimeo

Budget-Friendly Streaming & Hosting

I have been seeing a trend the last couple of months with consistent reliability issues with Vimeo/Livestream - both on the streaming service itself and with their Livestream Studio software. Unfortunately the problems have become too common for me to continue recommending the platform until I see better results. Once I see more reliability and less consistent problems I will recommend it again. In the meantime I suggest finding alternatives.

Vimeo purchased Livestream in 2017, giving them a well established streaming infrastructure to add to their already well established hosting platform.

Embed live streams on your website, multicast to platforms like Facebook/YouTube/Twitch, and use their Studio 6 software to add more production value.

Live engagement tools like live Q&A, live polls, audience chat, email capture, and custom calls-to-action make this a great value.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP or through Livestream Studio software

Formats Accepted: Up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps - recommended 5 Mbps max bitrate (live streams transcoded to 30 fps, but archives will remain in 60 fps)

My Favorite Feature: The whole package - Vimeo Premium includes unlimited live streaming (up to 12 hours per event) and up to 7TB of hosting

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Multi-Streaming Platforms

These services distribute a single stream to multiple platforms or destinations. Also referred to as simulcasting and re-streaming services.

Castr

Castr

Top Pick For 2020!

Using Akamai for their backend, Castr is a robust solution.

It can simulcast to 30 different social platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, and more.

In addition to offering simulcasting, it also offers live streaming and video hosting.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP, RTSP, HLS, and MPEG-TS

Formats Accepted: Up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps (6.5 Mbps max recommended bitrate)

My Favorite Feature: Flexibility - simulcasting, cloud transcoding, custom RTMP destinations, live streaming CDN, embeddable players, video hosting, and more

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Restream

Restream

Popular & Reliable

ReStream was one of the first players to offer simulcasting as a service. Since then, it has quickly grown to be a popular middle-man and has added many great features.

A full software studio, live chat, and scheduler give you a solid platform that offers more than just multi-streaming.

Protocols Accepted: RTMP

Formats Accepted: Up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps (15 Mbps max recommended bitrate)

My Favorite Feature:

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