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How to Choose the Right Webcasting Service

"Traditional" webcasting services like Wowza and AWS Cloud, though powerful and reliable, often came with expensive usage costs and longterm commitments that made it difficult for newer webcasters still gaining a foothold in the industry. Newer services like Mux and Pushr offer more flexible pay-as-you-go arrangements with less expensive transcoding, DVR, and storage costs that make them more accessible to newer webcasters, as Robert Reinhardt explains in this clip from Streaming Media East 2022.

The recent extreme growth in webcasting services has led to more service offerings and increased competition, which is great news for anyone looking for a flexible range of pricing and features. “Traditional” streaming platforms -- such as AmazonVimeo, and Wowza -- still expect subscription commitments for their products and services and charge a high overhead to run live streaming.

“Is it cheap to go for anything bigger than basic packages for live streaming? They might not even have an all-you-can-eat kind of model,” says Robert Reinhardt, CTO, videoRx.  Many of these traditional services have been around for a long time, but even some newer ones, such as Millicast, can be pricey because of their high-quality offerings like WebRTC and low latency. “You're going to pay a lot more for a low latency feed that's going through Millicast than you would through an HTTP-only kind of streaming service,” Reinhardt says.

There are many factors to consider when looking at webcasting products and services. “If you're building your own experience for someone and you like JW Player, even for the player itself, there's a licensing cost,” Reinhardt says. “You're going to have to figure out how to either reuse your own license for client work or have your client bring a license to the table.”

But the good news is there are a lot of new services with more flexible and affordable models. Reinhardt mentions Nimble Streamer and Pushr, which is a Vancouver-based webcasting company that he has a stake in. “We're going to be moving from our Wowza infrastructure over to Pushr because it can do everything we were doing with Wowza,” he says. “It can do a lot, and I'm not slagging Wowza by any stretch, but in terms of cost, [Pushr] is incredibly cheap, and it's a full service offering in terms of what we need to do. It can do metadata injections if you need sports scores to show up. They do transcoding, DVR, and storage at much, much cheaper cost.”

It is important to pay attention to the various service offerings such as video quality, free trials, service support. Reinhardt further breaks down the price offerings between these new and old services. “What I really liked about Pushr, for example, is that it was a super low monthly commitment. It was not an exorbitant price at all. Whereas with Wowza Cloud, I think I had to pay at least $40 a month just to maintain an account,” he says. He mentions that while that price point may not be too bad if you are using it for a one-time project, it can be easy to forget about a free trial or a subscription and to keep unknowingly paying the monthly fee.

Reinhardt also mentions Mux as another comprehensive and affordable webcasting option. “I was just looking at Mux's pricing,” he says. “They often think of themselves as video for developers and engineers and supporting the democratization of video online. And I think part of that is they do want that barrier to entry cost to be down. And so I was really impressed with how low Mux's live streaming fees were.”

Reinhardt reiterates that these newer platforms such as Nimble Streamer, Pushr, and Mux are just a few of many new competitive webcasting services out on the market today, which makes the barrier of entry for webcasting easier and more affordable than ever.

Learn more about Webcasting Services at Streaming Media West 2022.

Watch full-session videos from Streaming Media East 2022.

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