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Broadcasters and video content creators consider live stream quality an essential part of providing customers with the best viewing experience.
Some live streamers who broadcast from a fixed location, such as a house, building, or stadium, may enjoy a regular and stable broadcast.
Others who stream on the move may rely on LTE signals through cellular network gateways. Signals may fluctuate unless reliable equipment is used.
Regardless of how the video is broadcast, the live stream quality can impact the viewer’s experience. For example, less-desirable video quality may cause viewers to stop watching such streams.
According to Verizon, average or poor quality video services may cost over-the-top (OTT) media companies about 25% of their revenue. OTT services deliver media to viewers directly through the internet, such as a live stream.
Delivering high-quality live streaming services is important to viewers and broadcasters. Fortunately, today’s technology provides more opportunities for broadcasters and content creators to produce better-quality videos.
Suppose you are a video content creator or planning to be one and are interested in live streaming. Here are some tips to consider to provide high-quality live streams.
The equipment you use to stream videos may determine the level of quality of your live streams. If you want to create professional-looking videos, use only high-quality professional equipment.
For example, cameras with high-definition modes like Full HD (1080p) or 4K provide the highest resolutions. These are preferable for streaming events with increased viewership, such as live sporting events.
Consumer cameras or smartphones may provide sufficient quality for streaming on social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch.
When purchasing quality equipment, consider your budget, who your audience is, and the media channels your audience frequents.
If you purchase a 4K camera and have a narrow target audience, ask yourself if you are getting good value from your investment.
Alternatively, using a smartphone with a low-resolution camera to live stream a football game may cause your audience to miss many details. Your video may also look amateurish.
To broadcast a live video, you must ensure that your internet speed is fast enough or has high bandwidth. Fast speed ensures that your video maintains high quality throughout the stream.
To determine whether your internet speed is sufficient, compare your broadcast bitrate and your upload speed. Bitrate is the number of bits transmitted at a given time.
A rough estimate is to have your upload speed at least twice the full broadcast bitrate. The total bitrate is the sum of the audio and video bitrates of your broadcast.
If you are using multi-bitrate streaming, add all of the total bitrates.
Afterward, test your internet speed to check whether your upload speed is sufficient enough. The upload speed is the rate at which data is transmitted from your computer to the internet.
High upload speed matters more than download speeds, especially for broadcasters and live streamers.
Other considerations include the following:
- Subscribe to a fast internet plan, such as a fiber optic connection.
- Use wired or ethernet connection instead of wireless or Wi-Fi whenever possible. Wi-Fi tends to be unstable, especially when the broadcaster is constantly moving locations.
- If Wi-Fi is the only practical connection, consider staying closer to the router.
- Free up bandwidth by closing unnecessary applications on your computer or unneeded devices in the network.
An online video platform (OVP) is a video hosting service that provides streaming and video management solutions.
Many of these services provide security and monetization services so you can keep your videos secure and generate revenue from your videos.
Some things to look for in an OVP include:
- High-resolution broadcasting
- Customer support, especially for live streaming issues
Some popular OVPs include IBM Cloud Video, Vimeo Livestream, and Kaltura. There are also social media OVPs available, such as YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, and TikTok.
There are times when the internet speed fluctuates during a live stream. Rather than allowing the video to freeze, you may want the broadcast to continue nonetheless.
Multi-bitrate streaming allows you to stream videos in varying qualities simultaneously to adapt to varying internet speeds.
For example, aside from broadcasting in 1080p, consider streaming in 720p, 480p, and 360p so viewers can still view your video despite the reduced qualities even at slower speeds.
Today, online video players are adaptive, meaning they can automatically detect the viewer’s internet speed and adjust the video’s quality accordingly.
For example, a slower internet connection will deliver a low-quality video. When the internet speed becomes faster, the video automatically adjusts to a higher resolution.
There are numerous services and processes involved in a live streaming event. To ensure a smooth streaming and viewing experience, test your equipment and related applications and services before broadcast.
For example, when broadcasting in multi-bitrate, you should test the quality of the video at varying bitrate levels. Consider trying out your video with fast and slow speeds to determine whether video buffering is within tolerable levels.
Test your overall workflow by making a private test broadcast. This test is to ensure your workflow goes smoothly from preparation to broadcast to post-production.
Livestreaming is a good way for broadcasters and video content creators to generate revenue. Ensure that the live stream quality is sufficient, especially for the target audience.
Aside from having interesting and compelling video content, broadcasters and content creators should consider investing in various equipment and streaming services to provide viewers with a quality viewing experience.
Check out the services of various online video platforms to compare their services and subscription packages. Additionally, inquire with your internet service provider about the best internet plan for your live streaming needs.