10 Popular Tools for Broadcasting Live Video Online

Easily Broadcast Live Video to People Online All Over the World

Young man with laptop reading to digital video camera
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You may already have some experience editing and uploading videos to YouTube, Instagram or other popular video sites out there, but have you ever broadcast yourself or an event for an audience to watch live? Like, in real time?

It's easier than you might think, thanks to the popular live video broadcast tools available today. You don't necessarily need any fancy equipment as long as you have a working camera and microphone, built-in to your computer or smartphone or connected as separate devices.

The following popular tools are used by individuals, business owners and event holders who want to broadcast live video over the internet to their audiences.

Host Luncheon To Discuss Election 2016 At Samsung 837 In NYC NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Actress Renee Elise Goldsberry (R) speaks to Facebook Live during a luncheon hosted by Glamour and Facebook to discuss the 2016 election at Samsung 837 in NYC on July 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by
A Glamour and Facebook interview being held on Facebook Live, phone in foreground, featuring actor (r) Renee Elise Goldsberry. Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Glamour

Facebook encourages you to "broadcast live to the largest audience in the world." With Facebook Live, anyone with a Facebook profile or Page can reach a live audience on iOS and Android devices and Facebook Mentions. While a broadcaster is live, the video appears in the News Feed and on the broadcaster's profile or Page with a "live" indicator. When the live broadcast ends, the video is still viewable on the Page or profile for people who missed the live broadcast. The creator can leave it up or take it down at any time.

Use Facebook Live to reach new audiences and interact with followers in real time. A Facebook Live session can last up to 4 hours.  More »

IBM Cloud Video acquired Ustream in 2016 and transitioned broadcasters using Ustream to the new IBM Cloud Video service. The IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager—the equivalent of Ustream Pro Broadcasting—is a cloud-based platform for the delivery of live video and on-demand content. Primarily a business-oriented service, IBM Cloud Video is designed for large audiences for event streaming or marketing launches. 

IBM offers a 30-day free trial of the Pro Plan which accommodates 100 to 5,000 viewer hours, 720p broadcasting, ad-free broadcasting, channel password protection and customization.

The Enterprise plan is customized for your business.  It has all the same features as the Pro Plan plus 1TB video storage, 1080p broadcasting, dedicated event support, multiple bitrate streaming, live analytics, multi-device compatibility and much more.  More »

People with established Instagram accounts can share a live video with their followers in real time. When the live video is over, it is no longer viewable on Instagram.

The Instagram live video interface displays the number of viewers and comments. The broadcaster has the capability to respond to comments or to turn them off altogether.

Live video generates a colored ring around the broadcaster's profile picture. The video doesn't appear on the profile grid. At the top of the broadcaster's followers' Feeds, the broadcaster's profile pic with the colored ring indicates a live video. Followers can tap it to see the video. 

The live video can be seen only by approved follower for private accounts. For public accounts, anyone on Instagram can view the live video. More »

Even though YouTube is known for providing all types of videos that are previously recorded, edited and uploaded, it offers a broadcasting feature for live video that you can access by clicking on "Live events" found in the Video Manager of your account. After you verify your account and enable live streaming, set up your webcam and engage with your audience in real time as they watch your broadcast. You'll be able to answer questions or reply to viewer comments live. 

YouTube provides professional controls for your broadcast and allows you to monetize your videos with ads if you so choose.  More »

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Livestream is a robust service for people and businesses that are serious about their live broadcasts. Livestream powers 10 million events annually and claims the title of world's #1 live video platform. The service is high quality and easy to use. The company promises fast and outstanding customer service. 

Livestream offers a suite of three packages:

  • Basic for beginners to video broadcasting
  • Premium for organizations and small companies 
  • Enterprise for businesses with advanced live streaming needs

Livestream offers a free account with limited features so you can try out their live streaming products. More »

Twitter uses Periscope Producer for live broadcasts on the social media site. Comparable to Facebook's Live video, Periscope Producers enables Twitter broadcasters to stream live video using Android and iOS smartphones and other sources.

The live video can go anywhere on Twitter that a Tweet can go. Your live videos are automatically saved as a Tweet, and you have the option of saving the video to your device when the live stream ends. It is also searchable in Periscope. You can delete any of your posted videos at any time.

During the live broadcast, broadcasters can interact with viewers More »

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Twitch is a platform used by video gaming enthusiasts who enjoy live-broadcasting their games and watching other users play, compete, teach and do all sorts of other things that gamers do. If gaming is your thing, then Twitch is where you want to be. If you're looking to broadcast something unrelated to gaming, you should choose a different option.

Twitch Prime membership is included with Amazon Prime. More »

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Bambuser focuses on making its mobile video sharing easy to use. Its Iris technology makes low latency, live video capabilities possible and facilitates the distribution of HD mobile live video. The site is well positioned to meet the mobile live video stream needs of individuals and businesses alike. 

Users connect with the Bambuser app for Android and iOS devices. The service is also accessible through webcams and cameras connected to computers. After your live broadcast, the stream is saved to your account where other people can watch it.

Bambuser offers a free trial and three tiered Premium + packages suitable for private individuals and for businesses: Basic, Standard, and Plus.  More »

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YouNow is a popular live video streaming and chat app that is used more for casual video broadcasts than for professional work. Users must be at least 13 years old and consent to allow YouNow to use their videos however the company wants. Because many teens use the app, privacy is a concern. The site exercises caution with content, but live-streaming is unpredictable, so there's no way the site can guarantee viewers won't see something objectionable.

  More »

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If you're looking to place a bigger emphasis on viewer interaction and chatting, Tinychat may be worth a try. Tinychat is an online video chat community used mostly for casual chatting purposes. You can set up your own video chat room in any category or topic and invite other users to join, or you can join an existing room to view and chat. More »

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