The auction industry is quickly moving towards a more online presence. However, there is nothing like a live auction – the sights, the energy, the competition. In order to keep up, we must adapt and one way to combine the old with the new in the auction world is to introduce live streaming. With a live stream, you can introduce the excitement of a live auction while broadening your bidder base to an online audience. Considering this, we have reviewed some of the leading technologies in live streaming, both free and paid.
The primary benefit of using free live streaming services is that…(you guessed it) they’re free. If you are on the fence about whether or not you want to commit to doing simulcast auctions long term, you’d probably be best off starting out with one of these free services and seeing how you like it. Keep in mind that these are going to offer you the bare bones in terms of capability and ease of use, so try not to judge all live stream technology based off of a single use of a free service. Let’s take a look at what the two major free services offer.
YouTube Live is a pretty popular service that can cater to hobbyists (game streaming), small businesses, and more. It streams your video into a standard YouTube style media player with a 16:9 ratio. While the YouTube button will appear in the lower corner when the navigation bar at the bottom is revealed, the logo has become so ubiquitous that people tend to automatically tune it out. This makes YouTube Live a free, almost private–label solution for simulcasts. YouTube will provide you with an embed code to insert into your own site’s interface, making implementation relatively simple.
The one hang-up is the fact that you will be required to download and use a third party encoder in order to connect your recording device to YouTube’s servers. When we were testing it we downloaded a free software encoder called OBS Studio, which we found to be easier to use than other alternatives.
Facebook Live is the other major free live streaming platform. Most people use the service to stream personal videos directed at social sharing, but it can also be used for businesses. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook had 2.2 billion monthly active users. That’s a very wide audience you have the ability to reach through a livestream. Better yet, the longer your livestream lasts, the more views it is liable to get. Facebook also auto-saves these live streams after they are done so your audience can still access it when it is over. No, they can no longer participate in it, but it is a nice way to market your services.
Now for the dreaded downfalls. Unfortunately, Facebook Live may not be all that reliable. Users report interruptions, blurry video, and sound distortion from time to time. It is free to use and widely used, at that. However, you may encounter technical issues that could put your auction at risk of delay.
With LiveStream, you are able to stream your content to your audience over almost any platform and social channel using the LiveStream API and platform. You can also embed the LiveStream software onto your own website to make sure it’s seen as soon as viewers reach your web page. LiveStream uses HTML5 for embedding the player into your website so it’s flexible and virtually always compatible and customizable. It also gives you the ability to be able to view cross-platform analytics, stream HD videos with unlimited storage, unlimited ad-free user hours, and the software includes customer support (email only). LiveStream claims a 99.9% guaranteed uptime with support 365 days a year.
Prices start at $75 a month. You must keep in mind that, at the starting price point, you do not have control of your branding. This is not a white label product at the basic level package. If you’re unsure of this being a good business solution for you, they offer a free 30-day trial.
Ustream.tv provides Facebook and Twitter integration, 50 GB storage, HD broadcasting (up to 720p), and the ability to embed videos anywhere. It offers password protection for those so even if it’s shared, you can be choosy with your audience. Something to keep in mind is that the starting price package does not include a white label option. It will have Ustream.tv branding, but there is the option to upgrade to a package that will provide this option to you.
However, as far as live streaming services go, $99 a month is a pretty hefty price when there are much more affordable options out there. If you’re unsure if this is a good fit, you can always try it out for 30 days for free.
DaCast comes with 300 hours of ad free viewer hours, includes analytics, channel password protection, full 1080p HD broadcasting, and live chat and email support. You have the ability to completely re-brand the platform for your needs since this is a white label product the starting price.
DaCast’s entry-level price is a mere $19 a month. This special price is only available through annual bidding. This package seems like the better choice for those who may have a tighter budget or do not have the need for a platform with all unlimited storage. DaCast only comes with 20 GB of storage with the starter package, but you can always upgrade if you need more. A 30-day free trial is offered. However, free trial users have very limited storage and capabilities.
With the right network and plenty of bandwidth, you’ll have the ability to reach audiences far and wide, further improving your marketing and extending your reach to bidders like never before. We hope to have offered some insight into which services might be right for your business.
Combine your livestream with the premiere online auction software! Sharp Auction Engine offers a free 30-day trial.
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