On May 31, 2017

Which Live-Stream product should I use?

If you’ve been thinking about live-streaming your wedding, you’ve probably just realised that there are a lot of solutions out there that can do the job for you. In this tip we review some of the most popular live-streaming products in order to help you decide which is right for you.

Ustream App for iOS or Android

This app has been around for quite some time, and has recently been bought by IBM which has injected a lot of new tech into the service.

Pros:
You can stream direct from the free app (for iOS or Android) or from a computer – both of which are easy to use. Plus, you can also get a recording of the stream after the event.

Cons:
Before you can start streaming you will need to set up an account and password, along with a Channel to send users to (where viewers will go to watch the stream). If you’re using a computer to run the stream from, it will need to have the latest version of Flash installed otherwise you are likely to get an error about Flash being vulnerable.

If you choose to set up the free account, your stream will be subject to advertising, which isn’t a great experience for your viewers at home. Additionally, adaptive streams (where the stream file is compressed on-the-fly depending on the amount of data available) are not available on the free plan. The good news is you can pay to have the advertising removed (around $99USD per month).

A potential downside to using Ustream for weddings is in the viewers experience – those watching at home will see a basic video player with other live videos shown below. There’s nothing technically wrong with this interface, it’s just not particularly user friendly for older members of your friendly, nor does it look particularly ‘wedding-y’.


YouTube LIVE

YouTube has been around for a long time now and has recently added live-streaming. It also has merged Google Hangouts into its live-streaming feature set. You can find out more on the YouTube Live-Streaming Guide.

Pros:
When you live-stream using YouTube, viewers can write comments that can be seen by other viewers. This can be a great way to get everyone involved in your wedding day. You can also protect your privacy by setting the stream to Private, Unlisted or Public.

Cons:
Unfortunately, in order to use YouTube Live to live-stream your wedding, you’ll need to set up an account (which a lot of people have already); then create a Channel; and then verify that Channel, and then ‘Enable Live-Streaming’. It all seems a bit convoluted really. Perhaps the biggest downfall of the YouTube Live product is that in order to use it, you’ll need to have over 1000 subscribers to use the App version (ie, to stream from your SmartPhone or tablet), or download encoding software to run the stream if using a computer.

Another downfall of using YouTube Live to live-stream a wedding is that your viewers at home will be watching your beautiful wedding in the not-so-beautiful YouTube interface.


Facebook Live

Facebook recently rolled out live-streaming throughout New Zealand in 2017, and it is a really easy solution for weddings.

Pros:
This is one of the easiest live-streaming solution we tested, and it is great that a recording of your wedding is recorded to Facebook. It is published to your page after the event (but you can remove it if desired).

Additionally as with all content on Facebook, people can leave comments which is a nice way to keep those at home included in your big day.

Cons:
Facebook recommends using a strong WiFi or 4G connection as a minimum in order to upload the stream. This level of connection is unfortunately not always possible with outdoor weddings, especially those in remote areas.

Another downfall (which seems to be common to all products we tried) is the interface through which people will view your wedding – once again it is cluttered and lacking the wedding vibe (see the image on the right for proof!). Also don’t forget that the people at home will need a Facebook account in order to view your live-stream.


Watch My Wedding

We couldn’t review the solutions above without making mention of our own New Zealand built and owned product – Watch My Wedding. This solution gives you everything you need to live-stream your wedding, in a box couriered to your door.

Pros:
The live-streaming hire kit comes to you by courier to your door, and includes a small camera (small enough to hide amongst some decorations) and a streaming unit. The whole product has been specifically designed to be easy to use for those running the stream at the wedding (the stream starts with the push of a single button), as well as those watching at home (they don’t need to download any software or create logins or passwords.

One of the most important factors is that the streaming unit comes with three inbuilt data connections so it will automatically connect to the strongest data carrier at the venue. That means your stream is uploaded at the best quality possible, and also means that if one data carrier goes down for the day, you are still able to use another.

Those watching at home will see a simple page with a countdown timer (great for those in a different time zone), and the live video can be watched at full screen on laptop, desktop, tablet or phone.
Another nice feature of this service not found anywhere else is that on your private streaming page, your guests can leave comments which are later printed and sent to you. They can then be easily added to the official Guestbook from the wedding celebration.

Additionally, a high-quality recording of the wedding is also available to watch on demand for 7 days after the event, plus a recording can also be posted out on USB to keep.

Cons:
Unfortunately the service has not been rolled out overseas yet – so you can’t take it with you for a destination wedding in Fiji.

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