Hardware and online subscription recommendations for making your live stream easier to operate than boiling a pot of water!
As we've described in our other articles on live streaming (support.goarch.org/live-streaming), there are many factors involved in deciding what solution is right for you. We've been asked "What's the easiest solution possible?" and "How can we operate our live stream with a single click?".
Determining what is the "easiest" or "simplest" solution is a bit subjective, though there does seem consensus that clicking a big red button to start or stop one's live stream without having to worry about anything else is by far the most desirable feature.
"Simplicity" will certainy have some trade-offs. The trifecta of cost (both upfront and recurring), functionality (or features, scope), and ease (or time) need to factor into your decision. Regardless of the solution, there may be some complexity in getting it initially set up, and there is always the potential for something to go wrong and may require someone more technical to step in to troubleshoot. Further, there may be increased up-front and ongoing costs via a monthly subscription involved to ensure the desired simplicity.
Figure 1: The tradeoff of limited resources
Various solutions at varying price points are reviewed in our article "Live Streaming at any Cost."The following list are a selection of specifically computer-less solutions to consider, though using a computer with broadcast software is also a fine way to go. Other similar solutions do exist, and we encourage you to research and decide on the solution that is right for you. Any of the solutions below can be used with YouTube Live, Facebook Live, ReStream.io, the Archdiocese streaming service, or any other Custom CDN.
1) Professional Video Production Hardware
Though it comes with a hefty price tag, the Panasonic AV-HLC100 switcher and control board ($10,449, https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1401752-REG/panasonic_av_hlc100p_live_production_center_streaming.html) is an all-in-one solution that makes operating a complex live stream as easy as possible. The AV-HLC100 has a plugin called NewTek Streaming that has the ability to push to a Custom RTMP stream or one of the many presets (Facebook, YouTube Live, Vimeo, Periscope, etc.). Not only can a single button be configured to start and stop your streams, but your camera(s) can also be monitored and controlled easily from the same device.
Coupled with one or more NDI or SDI cameras and the audio from your sound system, this complete, though expensive, system is the right balance of simplicity and power.
Example: St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL: https://www.stjohnthedivinejax.org/live-broadcast
Case Study from St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church: https://na.panasonic.com/us/case-study/livestreaming-st-minas-church
2) Hardware Based Streaming
With the Teradek VidiU Go ($1,499, https://teradek.com/collections/vidiu-go-family and https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1401708-REG/teradek_10_0229_vidiu_go.html/overview), you can easily stream to a single destination. For multiple destinations, you'll need to subscribe to their monthly service (see below). Once configured, use the Start/Stop button on the Vidiu Go device to broadcast to the world.
Multiple VidiU Go devices (connected to multiple cameras) can be used and controlled using the Live:Air software, available for iPad (https://teradek.com/collections/live-air-family). With Live:Air, you can go live with a click of a button on your iPad.
3) Monthly Subscription Based Streaming
(a) The Teradek VidiU Go has an accompanying optional subscription service named Sharelink (https://teradek.com/collections/sharelink) that allows one to stream to multiple destinations simultaneously. Fixed price plans start at $25/month, though less expensive on demand and more expensive fixed price plans exist as well.
(b) Another option is to use Vimeo LiveStream (https://vimeo.com/features/livestreaming#pricing) with one of their ready to go Live streaming Mevo cameras. The Mevo Start camera (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1547920-REG/mevo_mv3_01b_bl_start_camera.html) was just released in early 2020 for only $399. Their monthly streaming subscription is $75 / month.
The Vidiu Go - Share Link combo has a higher up front cost (cost of the Vidiu Go + cost of a camera), but a lower monthly subscription cost, whereas the Vimeo LiveStream - Mevo combo has a lower up front cost, but a higher monthly subscription cost.
We've just outlined some really great, and different, options for you to consider for your live streaming set up. Though no solution is perfect and there may be some trade-off of cost, functionality, or ease, there are so many benefits to implementing a simple easy-to-use, and effective live streaming solution at your parish.
If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Internet Ministries at [email protected] and we will gladly assist you.