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Best Live Streaming Apps & Platforms For Any Device

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Best Live Streaming Apps & Platforms For Any Device

Are you using social media in the best way to deliver streaming content to your audience? Most major social media sites now offer streaming features to their users in one form or another. Live streaming provides a way for creators to generate revenue using ads, subscription programs, and other forms of monetization. 

Understanding the strengths and limitations of the best live streaming apps on the market helps choose one for your streaming content. This article will explain which features you should pay attention to when selecting a live streaming app and provide our picks for the best live streaming apps for computers and mobile devices. 

What Are Live Streaming Apps?

Live streaming apps allow viewers to access public officials, social media influencers, industry experts, and other creators. These apps connect creators with their audiences and provide a way to make money from their live streams using ads, partnerships, and other monetization efforts.

Many major social sharing sites are included in our list of video streaming platforms below. Keep reading to discover which social platforms offer the best streaming features for creators. 

How Do You Use Streaming Software?

Social streaming software makes it easy to deliver content to your audience. The best live streaming apps let you broadcast instantly with just a couple of taps on your phone or clicks on your computer screen. Each platform works differently, but generally, all you have to do to reach your viewers is open the app and start broadcasting. 

Who Uses Live Streaming Platforms?

Various content creators and professionals use live streaming platforms to make money and interact with their followers. Many major brands have a presence on streaming sites, and some professionals get their entire income from monetization efforts on social sharing platforms. Below are some of the most common uses for live streaming platforms. 

Businesses and Brands

Businesses and brands use streaming services to increase brand awareness and promote their products or services. Streaming platforms provide brands and companies a unique opportunity to interact with customers and better understand their target audiences.  

Speakers and Trainers

Public speakers, life coaches, online trainers, and other professional subject matter experts use streaming platforms to promote and deliver content and services. Some subject matter experts have used streaming services to start a podcast and make money podcasting. Personal trainers and life coaches especially can make money on streaming platforms by monetizing their broadcasts. 

Influencers

Mobile broadcasting features are important for influencers who need to live stream on the go. Social media influencers use streaming platforms to broadcast their content quickly and interact with their followers and subscribers. These live streamers use streaming apps to reach national and global audiences with just a couple of taps.    

Gamers

Gamers use live streaming platforms to broadcast gaming sessions and interact with other gamers to exchange experiences and advice. Twitch is a popular streaming platform and online community for content creators in the gaming niche. 

7 Key Features of Live Streaming Apps

The features and limitations associated with a streaming service can hugely impact how viewers access your content. Do your homework and research the features of each streaming platform you’re considering for your content. Below you’ll find a list of the top seven features to consider when reviewing streaming apps. 

1. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Adaptive bitrate streaming provides a smooth streaming experience to viewers no matter the strength of their internet connection. People who don’t have strong internet connections could experience disruptive buffering while streaming your content. Some viewers won’t watch your content if buffering is too frequent. 

Platforms with adaptive bitrate streaming make a real-time diagnosis of a viewer’s connection and system resources to provide them with the best streaming experience at the highest possible quality. Those with stronger connections get higher-quality content, and viewers with weaker connections can still enjoy your content without worrying about buffering. 

2. Multi-Bitrate Streaming

The best live streaming platforms use automatic transcoding so you can stream your content from different HTML5 devices across a variety of connection speeds. Multiple versions of your content are created from your video files for adaptive bitrate streaming during the multi-bitrate streaming process. This is a vital feature if you don’t have a lot of technical experience or knowledge of transcoding.   

3. HTML5 Video Player

Make sure the streaming platform you choose for your content uses an HTML5 video player. This player has replaced the Adobe Flash Player as the standard video player across all devices. The HTML5 video player is compatible with almost all devices and systems and is the most customizable player on the market. Live stream platforms that use the HTML5 video player make your content accessible to viewers from any browser or device at any bandwidth. 

4. HLS Video Streaming

HLS video streaming controls how your system delivers your content to your viewers’ devices. HLS protocol, or HTTP Live Streaming, is the system used to transfer your visual and audio media over the internet and works with the HTML5 video player to provide viewers with a seamless live stream experience. HLS video streaming uses coding to quickly deliver your content to users at the highest quality possible. 

5. RTMP Ingest

Check to see if the streaming app you’re considering supports RTMP technology. Your video files need to be encoded before you can stream them online, and using RTMP technology is currently the most efficient way to do this. RTMP technology makes it easy to transfer large files over the internet with low latency to deliver a reliable streaming experience to viewers.   

6. M3U8 Links

Whenever your content is accessed from an HTML5 video player, the stream contains an m3u8 link with a security token. These security tokens communicate with the servers of your streaming app to make sure security measures you’ve placed on your content, like password protection and age restrictions, are enforced. Keeping your content protected is essential if live streaming is a source of income for you. 

7. Mobile Broadcasting Support

Do you need to stream while on the go? Improvements in technology have made phones an excellent budget-friendly camera option to use as a webcam for streaming video content. The best live streaming platforms come with a companion mobile app to stream from anywhere. Mobile streaming capabilities give you more freedom to create content, and you can start streaming instantly whenever the mood may strike you. 

What is the Best Live Streaming App?

The best live streaming app for you will depend on your budget, whether you need mobile streaming capabilities, and whether or not you want to monetize your content. Each streaming app has different guidelines and restrictions for making money from your content. If you plan to monetize, make sure you have a clear understanding of how you get paid for your content when deciding on which streaming service will be best for you. 

Some live streaming apps are better for specific niches or types of content. Understand which streaming platforms viewers use to watch your content to determine your niche’s best live streaming apps. 

How to Choose a Live Streaming App

If you’ve compared the features listed in the section above and still can’t decide which live streaming app to choose, ask yourself these five questions: 

  • How many people use this app to stream content? 
  • Is it easy to use the app to live stream content? 
  • Can I monetize my content the way I want?
  • Is this the best app for my niche? 
  • Does the platform provide captions and other accessibility options?

Make sure any platform you choose is easy to use and accessible to users looking for that type of content. 

Best Live Streaming Apps and Platforms 

Our selections for the best live streaming platforms and apps are based on price, ease of use, and popularity. We’ve created a list of video streaming platforms and apps that have outstanding features and let you broadcast from various devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets. 

Best Live Streaming Platforms for Computer

Gamers, life coaches, and other professional streamers rely on streaming platforms to deliver the streaming content they create on their computers to viewers. These are our picks for the best live streaming platforms for content creators who use their computers. 

Twitch

Twitch is the most popular streaming service for gaming content. The platform has a huge viewer base and provides its creators with monetization options with long-term earning potential. 

Price: Free with subscription options that range from $4.99/mo to $24.99/mo 

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Key Features:

  • Monetize content using donation, subscription, and ad features 
  • Users can subscribe to their favorite live channels 
  • The subscription model provides live streamers with long-term earning potential 

UStream

UStream was created by IBM and provides cloud storage for your video content along with its live-streaming capabilities. The platform allows creators to interact with viewers using features like chat and instant polling and is used a lot in the entertainment and technology industries. 

Price: Subscription plans range from $99/mo to $999/mo  

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Key Features:

  • Easily integrates with Facebook and Twitter feeds 
  • The platform promotes live stream events via targeted emails
  • Record and store videos to use for future broadcasts 

Best Live Streaming Apps for Mobile

Mobile broadcasting is important for social media influencers and other creators who depend on streaming apps to connect instantly with their followers. These mobile live-streaming apps have features on-the-go live streamers love. 

Instagram Live 

Instagram live has Facebook integration that allows you to post content across multiple social sharing sites simultaneously. Mobile broadcasting is easy because you can use the Instagram app to live stream. Instagram allows followers who miss your live streams to see your content via Instagram Stories. 

Price: Free 

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Device Compatibility: Android and iOs

Key Features:

  • Use cross-platform posting to share content simultaneously on Facebook
  • Interact with your audience using live chat commenting features 
  • Use the Instagram mobile app to go live quickly from anywhere 

TikTok

TikTok is a great way to reach viewers if your content targets younger audiences. You can access TikTok’s exclusive live streaming feature if you have at least 1,000 followers and are over the age of 16. The platform has strict community standards that sometimes make it difficult to approve content. 

Price: Free

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Device Compatibility: Android and iOs

Key Features:

  • TikTok’s suggestion algorithm broadcasts your live streams to users not already following you 
  • Monetize gifts you receive from viewers during live streams 
  • A wide selection of filters, effects, and frames to apply to your live streams 

Best Streaming Platforms for Any Console

If you create content at your desk and on the go, use a streaming platform that will give you the freedom to stream no matter where you are. The best live streaming platforms can be used effectively from computers or mobile devices like iPhones or iPad. Check out our picks for the best platforms to stream from any console type. 

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is available to anyone with Facebook, making it an excellent option for creators looking to reach a broad audience. You can live stream from any desktop or mobile device using the Facebook app. If you already have a Facebook page, you’ll have a built-in audience that will receive notifications when you post new content.  

Price: Free 

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Key Features:

  • Live streams are automatically saved and posted 
  • Schedule live events up to a week before your broadcast
  • Followers receive notifications about your live streaming events 

YouTube Live

Billions of people use YouTube every day to stream content. If you have over 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, the live stream features will be unlocked for you to use to connect with your audience. The platform provides many different monetization options and added security for your content. 

Price: Free

Monetization Available?: Yes 

Key Features:

  • Use the YouTube app for mobile live streaming 
  • Record your stream and schedule it to go live later
  • There are many opportunities for monetization  

How Live Streaming Apps Make Money

Live streaming apps provide content creators with a way to make money through ads, affiliate marketing, and other monetization efforts. We’ll explain how you can use streaming platforms to monetize your content and start generating revenue. 

Advertisements

One of the most traditional ways to earn money from your content is to run ads before and during your live stream. Pre-roll ads appear before your content, and mid-roll ads run in the middle of your stream. You make money based on the total number of viewers you have when the ads play. Each type of in-stream ad can generate significant revenue when used effectively. This can be a lucrative option for creators with a large following and many monthly active users.  

Subscriptions

There are a couple of ways a subscription model can be used to generate revenue with streaming content:

Subscriptions for Streaming Content 

A subscription model may be structured so that viewers have to pay a monthly subscription fee to be granted access to your streaming content. Under this model, viewers are granted access to all of your streaming and VOD content once they become paid subscribers. This is how Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and SlingTV operate. Once you subscribe, you get access to all movies, tv shows, and live tv features on the streaming platform. 

Subscriptions for Premium Features 

If you choose this subscription model, viewers can access your content for free, but they have to pay a monthly subscription for premium features. These features could include anything from access to live chat during live streams to exclusive content or advance access to content before you go live with it.    

Partner Programs

A sponsorship through an affiliate program is a great way to connect with your audience and make money simultaneously. Partner programs require you to share a custom link to a sponsored product or service with your viewers during your live video streams. You get a percentage of the sale every time one of your viewers clicks a link and makes a purchase. Social media platforms have rules for sponsorships through affiliates, so make sure the live streaming app you choose supports any partner programs you’re involved with or plan to pursue. 

Pay-Per-View Model

This model is best for established creators who have a following and know their viewers will be willing to pay to watch their live stream. As the name suggests, viewers have to pay every time they want to watch when you’re live broadcasting. You’ll only be able to generate revenue this way if you have compelling and unique content enough that viewers will pay to access it. 

How to Live Stream From Multiple Cameras

Video switchers let you live stream using multiple camera angles. Switchers can be either hardware or software and used with desktop or mobile devices. If you’re considering using a video switcher to add production value to your content, be sure the switcher you choose is compatible with your device. 

How to Simulcast Your Event on Different Services

A good content creation platform will let you broadcast simultaneously across multiple streaming platforms. Riverside.fm enables you to stream high-quality video and broadcast instantly across many different social sharing sites simultaneously. The platform is easy to use and trusted by creators in various industries for their content creation and streaming needs.    

The Best Apps for Streaming Content 

The best live streaming platform for you will depend on your budget, the type of content you create, and how you want to use your content to make money. A large part of choosing the best streaming app is understanding where viewers see the type of content you create. Many streaming platforms on the market have great features, so it’s essential to understand your needs before selecting one for your content.

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