One of the ongoing growing trends in the church is utilizing streaming services that provide content live to the web or for social media pages.
If your church is looking to livestream in the near future, there are a number of service options to consider.
Having talked with many churches about the option of live streaming, I have heard a variety of questions about it.
Those questions have included:
Should we livestream?
How much will it cost?
What’s the best service that is available?
An array of megachurches is producing high end video productions, while many smaller churches are simply streaming with just a smartphone. The gamut is wide when it comes to streaming service options that are available in terms of hardware, software and streaming platforms.
In this piece, I’ll offer a high-level overview of a few companies that offer some great options at an affordable price.
BoxCast is a great option for any size church, because it takes the guessing out of livestreaming. They provide the encoder, and you hook up a camera or switcher. Once you schedule the event details, they do the rest. You can also use real-time messaging protocol, or RTMP, or your own encoder, if you wish not to use theirs.
They offer two encoders to choose from: The BoxCaster and BoxCaster Pro. The first is a cost-effective solution with a single HDMI, 1080p60 input. The Pro version has a built-in touchscreen, 12G SDI and HDMI inputs with loop through, ingest up to 4k60, balanced audio feeds using XLR or ¼-inch cable connections, along with offering HEVC compression. The BoxCaster Pro is truly future proof.
Streaming plans from BoxCast start with their Essential Plan at a rate of $99 per month, and it gives you everything you need, plus more, to get started. BoxCast offers custom plans as well, but a majority of churches, in my view, should go with the Essential plan when beginning to stream. Contact them today to get a 14-day free trial of the BoxCast platform.
Customer service and support with BoxCast are available seven days a week until 9 p.m. each night. BoxCast is just a phone call or email away with great support, to ensure you’re taken care of.
ChurchStreaming.tv is another great streaming provider worthy of consideration. They have some great features like video replay, Apple TV and Roku integration, as well as audio extraction for audio-only streams.
In addition, you can use all types of encoders with ChruchStreaming.tv. Both hardware or software encoders. ChurchStreaming.tv's “Unlimited Plan” covers everything you need, at a rate of $139 per month. No contracts, unlimited streaming, unlimited viewers and unlimited destinations. They allow up to 1080p HD streaming to multiple locations like Facebook, YouTube and your church’s website, all at the same time.
You can contact them for a 30-day free trial of their streaming platform, to enjoy all the benefits listed above, plus many more.
Vimeo has been a great option for hosting video content for years now, and many churches use them for video on demand (VOD) on their websites. Now that they offer livestreaming, along with their hosting services, they’ve become a great option for both.
At just $75 per month, they offer a great amount of options like unlimited live events, livestream to multiple destinations, password protection for privacy and studio encoding software. Vimeo has custom plans, if you need more streaming options, but most churches can get exactly what they will need in terms of streaming from Vimeo’s premium plan.
Vimeo will be there to answer your questions about setting up your stream or while you’re streaming, as well as other questions as part of their support. They offer both phone and email support seven days a week.
If your church is looking to livestream in the near future, consider these three options as many churches already have. While there are many other streaming service options out there, realize that is best to take the time to do your research when deciding on the best option to see what will be the best fit for your church.