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5 misconceptions about live-streaming (and how to improve your own use)

Perfect your streaming speeds and image resolution with these video performance tips.

5 misconceptions about live-streaming (and how to improve your own use)
[Photo: Terje Sollie/Pexles]

With more people logging in through digital mediums while working from home, streaming video and virtual meetings are more widely viewed.

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Through streaming video, you can be build brand awareness, showcase and monetize new and existing products and services, deliver support, and even make your staff viral video stars. Customers typically find video more engaging and easier to process than text, so investing in video capabilities is a sensible choice. But if you’re looking at live-streaming, there are many options on the market and a lot of factors to consider before choosing the right solution.

Even if you consume a significant amount of live-streamed videos, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what aspect of the video is the most important from the viewer perspective. To make things even more complicated, there are many persistent myths about what is and isn’t critical in the streaming video space. Here are five of such myths (and a few facts debunking them).

High-quality video is not critical

If you’re contemplating a live-stream solution and believe you don’t need top-quality live-streaming video to capture and hold viewer attention, think again. According to a survey from New York magazine, the overwhelming majority of viewers (67%) consider video quality the most important factor when watching a live stream. Your clients won’t stick with your stream if you don’t deliver the video quality they expect.

Audio quality is less important than video quality

Another important element is audio. High-quality audio is also a must-have if you’re engaging customers via streaming video.

An experiment conducted by USC illustrated this perfectly. Researchers showed the same science lecture video to two groups: one watched with high quality sound, and the other group saw the exact same video with lower quality audio. The people who viewed the video with lower quality audio rated the talk “worse, the speaker less intelligent and less likeable and the research less important.” This demonstrates that audio quality is linked directly to credibility in viewers’ minds.

Video resolution is the most important element

If you’re not an expert, it’s not unreasonable to believe the amount of detail is the most important possible consideration for video, but that’s not true. The way your streaming video solution handles motion is more critical than being able to see details like veins in a leaf. As filmmakers extol, it’s tough for an audience to read expressions, gestures, and body language if the motion is jumpy, blurry, or interrupted by pixilation. High-definition video creates the right balance.

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HD is supported by all internet connections

People watch so many online videos now that some assume connection speeds must support HD streaming everywhere. But the fact is, most viewers watch streaming content when connected to Wi-Fi and if they’re at a coffee shop using a connection that’s shared by 10 other people, a 50 Mbps (or megabits per second) speed connection can quickly drop to 3 Mbps, which will result in buffering with HD video—and the loss of customer attention. To prevent this drop-off of attention, try streaming with multiple bitrates, or using various amounts of data encoded for a unit of time.

Settings are typically the same everywhere

This myth can also result in lost customer attention due to poor quality video and/or a degraded playing experience. Encoding relates to video compression and formats, and every online video platform has its own requirements for detailed settings. It’s important to set the right “codec” (which are standards for encoding or decoding compressed video) to maintain a quality viewing experience for everyone.

Live streaming is incredibly popular, and it is increasing in importance as a business tool for one simple reason: it’s effective. Explainer videos can teach customers or prospective buyers more about a product or service. Live streaming can generate brand awareness, build excitement, and even provide new sources of revenue.

But before your business can take advantage of all that live streaming has to offer, you’ll need to decide which streaming video solution works best for your company. Before making a choice, take a look at what your options are, and keep viewer needs in mind. With these five myths busted, you’ll be in a better position to select the solution that works best for you.


Greg Ellis is the COO and VP of business development and sales at Dacast, an online video platform

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