Good Morning Everyone,
First time user and I have to say, I am impressed. With that, our church needs some help. I am trying to get a good and reliable situation going. Basically, we have a sound board, a PC and internet service. Given that, I am trying to find the best way to stream our services online. Such as; hardware, software, online service, ISP and the kitchen sink. Any help would be great and look forward to your replies/discussion.
At our church (broadwaychristian.org), we put in Boxcaster’s hardware and streaming solution and have been quite pleased. It’s not the cheapest solution by any means, but it’s dead simple and super reliable, which was key for us since we usually have very non-technical people running sound and lyrics. We have an HD camera plugged into the BoxCast via HDMI, an audio feed plugged in from the sound board, and it just automatically starts streaming 10 minutes before the service starts (set up on a recurring schedule), and stops well beyond the normal end time. It’s pretty much set it and forget it. We have done almost zero to it since deployment. The receptionist in the office even figured out how to go into the web interface and set up a special event for a wedding and send the (private) link to the bride in advance. Again, no special setup required beyond turning on the camera and sound board.
I’ll say that we’re blessed to have Frontier FiOS in town, so upstream bandwidth isn’t an issue, even though we’re on the cheapest plan and do minimal traffic shaping.
If you have upstream bandwidth limitations, you’ll want to be sure you’ve appropriately accounted for that before you start buying hardware and testing this out, because no solution will work well without sufficient bandwidth.
You can also consider Haivision. They work with many churches and ministries.
I’ve been looking at Vimeo’s new live event streaming services. We already use Vimeo for our message hosting - and their pricing, imho, is quite reasonable.
They handle all the video encoding, etc. so you don’t need an encoder on site (or decoders elsewhere). We use Living As One for our broadcast to multiple campuses, though I suppose one could theoretically accomplish something similar with Vimeo…maybe?
Could probably use YouTube, but I think Vimeo provides a cleaner experience.
The main consideration for using solutions other than Youtube and Vimeo is if you have international viewers. Youtube and Vimeo are blocked by some countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.
If your viewers are mainly US local then Youtube and Vimeo should suffice unless you need more features to incorporate into your web experience or have a more customised video library and video feeds to other platforms. From my experience apart from the price, it is usually the Video Content Management System that is deciding factor followed by the CDN that distributes the videos.
Vimeo bought Livestream which has been a very solid live streaming product for quite a long time. They’re one of the original players in the democratization of video distribution.
YouTube works, but it’s really built and designed around having your audience inside of the YouTube ecosystem (same as Facebook, etc.).
I probably wouldn’t replace LAO/Haivision with any of these basic streaming solutions, they really solve different problems.
Can you enlighten me on the different problems these solutions solve? Just want to make sure I’m understanding fully!
Sure. A few things. Some are simple, and probably not so important in most cases like having consistent timing (one second isn’t always one second when it comes to computers). They’re also designed to be more robust and easier for use in a live scenario (where livestream, etc. are designed to be easier to use in a consumer scenario). For example, Living as One allows you to time-shift your show so that there’s plenty of buffer to handle any connection issues where a web-stream is going to just stop or drop to a low resolution after just a few seconds of issues. A Haivision system is going to custom encode a stream based on real-time network performance and needs, so instead of the fairly coarse banding you get (usually 480p, 720p and 1080p), the system can adapt to exactly the bitrate available. There’s also going to be significantly less end-to-end lag in a system designed for Point to Point streaming compared to a Point to Multipoint Broadcast solution.
There are other differences, but that’s kind of the gist.
Thanks Alex! There were several of those I wasn’t familiar with!
Thank you everyone for your replies and discussion. I am leaning towards the Vimeo solution, but have one question, how is the audio range on it and can you connect sound to it via a sound controller board? This would be the Mevo Plus camera.