How to Start Live Streaming, New Post

Conferencing and Meeting Video vs Live Video Streaming

This post covers the differences between live video streaming tools like BoxCast and live video meeting (or conferencing) tools like Webex, join.me, Google Hangout, Skype, GoToMeeting, and Zoom. It's part of our series on How to Start Live Streaming.

Everyone knows the value of using the right tool for the right job. You wouldn't use a push mower to cut the grass on a 5 acre farm.

In the fast-paced world of live video, it can be tough to recognize the differences in separate types of tools for organizations.

Besides differences in individual platforms, there are actually two completely separate categories of live video tools:

  1. Live Video Meeting Tools
  2. Live Video Streaming Tools

If you're beginning your search for a live video platform for your organization, this post will help you understand which type of tool you need.

If You Take Away Nothing Else, Remember...

Live Video Meeting Tools = Quick multi-directional live video communication between a few people

Live Video Streaming Tools = High quality, one directional live video communication to a larger audience

 

Live Video Meetings Tools

Video meeting tools provide live video for person-to-person or group-to-group interactions.

They can connect cameras (usually laptop webcams) in many locations with little to no lag time. Video meeting tools are perfect for face-face video conversations and meetings.

Live Video Meeting Tools

When to use live video meeting tools

Video Conference Calls

If your organization often sets internal or external meetings between groups of people in multiple locations, video can greatly enhance the experience. With low-latency live video, you can more closely replicate the experience of meeting in person than an audio conference call. You can read emotions and discuss ideas with more clarity.

Live video meeting tools provide an easy web link to share video between conference rooms. You can set them up on laptop webcams or install video systems in your conference rooms.

One-on-One Video Conversations

Meeting tools are also great for one-on-one meetings. If you have two people or small teams in different locations who need to meet virtually, many services offer web links that allow for quick face-to-face conversations.

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Interactive Video Meetings

If you have a small group of individuals (under a few dozen) in many different locations (think a fully remote team), video meeting tools can be a great way to host interactive meetings. These tools will allow for discussion among individuals invited to the meeting.

You May Have Heard of...

There are countless live video meeting tools on the market. You may have come across any number of these names:

...among many, many more.

Resources for Comparing Live Video Meeting Tools and Plans

Zoom vs Webex vs GoToWebinar vs Webinarjam by GrowthMarketingPro

Best Video Conferencing App: Skype vs Hangouts vs GoToMeeting vs Zoom vs Join.me vs Appear.in by Process Street

What live video meeting tools are bad for

Live video meeting tools cut lag time at the expense of quality.

You shouldn't be using these tools for:

  • Sending a stream to more than a few dozen people
  • Hosting big or recurring events
  • Creating high quality live video

 

Live Video Streaming Tools

On the other side, live video streaming platforms allow broadcasters to stream events to viewers around the world.

They support high production quality and live video of the level you might see when you turn on your TV. To do so, they all have a little bit of extra latency.

Live Video Streaming Tools

When to use live video streaming tools

Content from One Location

If you have an event (religious service, sport, council meeting, presentation, concert, etc) that you want to stream out to many viewers, you want a live streaming tool.

Few of the plans offered by live video meeting tools even allow for viewership in the triple digits. Even then, when you use one of those tools, you're paying for your viewers to be participants, when they are really only watchers.

Your focus should be on improving the viewer experience and making the stream as easy to access as possible, not on making sure your broadcaster can see every viewers' face.

High Quality Streams

If you want your stream to be top quality video (reliable high definition picture, high frame rate, adaptive to viewer conditions, etc), you should always use a live video streaming tool rather than a meeting tool.

Meeting tools sacrifice quality for interaction. If you don't need interaction, then you can deliver much higher quality live video content.

You May Have Heard of...

Live video streaming has become more and more popular in recent years. You may be familiar with names like:

What live video streaming tools are bad for

Live video streaming tools don't allow for two way communication. If you need a comment box, that's no issue for them, but if you want realtime face-to-face discussions, they are not the right tool.

You shouldn't be using these tools for:

  • Creating live video with under one second of latency
  • Holding face-to-face video meetings

 

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

Here at BoxCast, we use both types of tools for different purposes.

We use Zoom for our weekly team meetings and RingCentral Meetings for one-on-one external meetings.

We (of course) use our own platform as a live streaming platform for webinars and all-company meetings.

If you're still looking to learn more about some of these topics, check out our posts on live streaming latency, the various levels of high definition, and how to maximize viewership by streaming to multiple locations.