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Five Misconceptions About Live Streaming Events

Five Misconceptions About Live Streaming Events

Oct 12, 2016

According to a 2015 survey by Deloitte, streaming video is quickly overtaking television as the preferred method of video consumption. The paradigm shift is most evident among consumers aged 25 and under, 25 percent of whom have no television service whatsoever. People don’t just use on-demand services such as Netflix to stream video content online — watching video content is among the most popular activities on social media services such as Facebook and Twitter, as well. People spend time online streaming all forms of video content from live news broadcasts to concerts.

If you aren’t planning to stream your next event online, you’ll definitely limit the potential size of your audience. Nevertheless, there are some common misconceptions about live streaming that cause some companies to limit their events to in-person attendees only. In truth, streaming online is the right decision for almost every type of live event. In this article, we’d like to dispel some of the common myths and misconceptions about streaming events online. Do you think that streaming an event live isn’t the right decision for your company? You may be incorrect. Allow us to explain why.

Streaming an event live will cost too much.

Dedicated video streaming equipment isn’t inexpensive. At minimum, you’ll need one camera, one external microphone, a video encoder and an Internet connection. Although it is possible to use a camera with a built-in microphone, audio quality and speech clarity will suffer. You can also use a computer in place of a hardware video encoder, but a computer will do the job with software and potentially decrease the quality of the video.

A single camera and dedicated microphone can produce a streamed broadcast with excellent audio and video quality. If you want to maximize viewer engagement, though, you’ll need at least one additional camera. With two cameras, for example, you can use one camera to record a speaker and a second camera to capture audience reactions.

Although video streaming equipment requires a bit of an up-front investment, you can minimize your costs by purchasing only the equipment that you absolutely require to make the broadcast happen at first. You can purchase additional equipment later to increase video quality or viewer engagement. In the meantime, you’ll earn great dividends when your larger viewing audience results in more leads and subscribers.

I’ll need to hire more employees to make live streaming work.

While it is true that a streaming video setup won’t configure itself, you can probably stream events online without taking on additional manpower if you always host events in the same location. Once you install your equipment, there is no reason for it to ever move. Once you configure your encoder for the first time, it can interface with a website automatically. Simply turn the encoder on, and it’ll do the rest. Your audience can view the event through a simple web interface.

You can even configure your encoder to continue displaying information — always accessible through your web interface — when you aren’t streaming an event. Configure your encoder to play recordings of past events, an event schedule, news slides and more.

No one will attend live events if I stream them online.

A common misconception about live streaming is that people won’t attend an event if they have the ability to view it remotely. Consider the national pastime for proof that this isn’t the case. Major League Baseball offers two streaming services — MLB.TV for computers and set-top boxes and At Bat for mobile devices — that allow baseball fans to watch live and pre-recorded games. A single subscription fee gives you access to every game — in every stadium — for the full season. The services are so popular that they boasted a combined 3.5 million subscribers as of 2014.

Do these streaming services prevent people from wanting to attend games, though? Not at all. Around 73 million fans attend regular season MLB games each year. How is it that MLB’s streaming services don’t interfere with game attendance? MLB has a blackout policy that prevents fans from streaming games — or watching them on television — if they’re close enough to attend.

If you don’t want to stream an event to people who could attend, it’s simple enough to set up a blackout based on IP geolocation. If a viewer’s IP address is within the blackout zone, the stream won’t play.

I don’t need a dedicated encoder. I can buy a USB video capture adapter from eBay for $20.

While it is true that you can use a computer to capture and broadcast video, your viewers probably won’t be very happy with the quality that you can get from an older computer or inexpensive USB video capture adapter. Video encoding is one of the most resource-intensive tasks that a computer can perform — and the resources required to encode video increase along with video quality. Many people who watch streaming content online today expect high-definition video with few dropped frames and no pauses for buffering. A USB video capture adapter can’t handle the task because it’ll rely on your computer’s processor to handle video encoding. If you want to stream an event in a level of quality that your viewers will accept, you’ll need dedicated encoding hardware.

I know that I need a dedicated video encoder, but I’ll just patch in the venue’s security cameras to save some money.

A security camera often produces an excellent image. If you point it at a stage, though, it won’t do a very good job of providing security. In addition, most security cameras don’t have optical zoom lenses. They actually “zoom” by manipulating images digitally. Although a digital zoom feature can enhance a camera’s ability to provide security, it produces low-quality images compared to a true zoom lens. When you stream events online, you’ll get the best possible image quality by using a camera designed for the job.