BoxCast Team • August 22, 2018
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
There are countless live video meeting tools on the market. You may have come across any number of these names:
...among many, many more.
Zoom vs Webex vs GoToWebinar vs Webinarjam by GrowthMarketingPro
Live video meeting tools cut lag time at the expense of quality.
You shouldn't be using these tools for:
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.
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.
Live video streaming has become more and more popular in recent years. You may be familiar with names like:
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:
Here at BoxCast, we use both types of tools for different purposes.
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.