For creating a live video streaming system, there are mainly three options.

  • Using a media server
  • Self-streaming via IP camera
  • Using a streaming website or app
  1. Using a media server: You need a media server for sure. Well-known media servers are Adobe Media Server, Wowza Media Server, and Red5. If you want to go with this option, there are two methods; you can buy a license and install the software on a server, or you can pay for service.In the first option, you have to pay for a license. As today, Adobe is offering only perpetual licensing which costs $995 for a one-time payment. Wowza is offering three alternatives for licensing based on monthly ($95), annual ($65/month) and perpetual ($1.995) payments. Red5 is an open source media server, and it is for free. Buying a license is not adequate for streaming because you still need a server. You can use a VPS, a dedicated server or cloud services for this purpose. The important point while selecting a server is bandwidth. Video streaming can easily consume your bandwidth in a short time. A typical server cost is no less than $10 per month depending on bandwidth requirement. If you want to implement this option, you need experience in managing a server because you have to install media server and its dependencies, edit configuration by yourself. If you have these skills and experience, you can save money in long-term. I recommend using Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) CloudFront.  It is supporting well-known media servers and has everything you need.In the second option, you can pay for service. These solution is satisfying both licensing and server management steps. You don’t have to invest in software licenses and pay server separately, and you don’t have to struggle with server management. Wowza is offering a cloud-based streaming service starting from $49 per month, and Adobe is offering minimum $1.813 per year via AWS CloudFront.For both options, you need an IP Camera which is supporting real-time streaming protocols like RTSP and RTMP. And you need a stable, fast internet connection and a static IP address.On the other hand, there is another solution which is not flexible and product based which means you have to use a specific camera by a specific manufacturer and its service as a whole. Nest Cam is offering 10-day video history for $100 per year and 30-day video history $300 per year. You have to buy their camera which costs another $199. But don’t forget this system is only for surveillance, you can’t broadcast a live stream, and you have to use the Nest’s system. If you don’t want to make a monthly payment, there are some other products on the market like Logitech’s Circle for $199. You can pay just once and use this system for a lifetime. But you have to use their app to watch the stream.
  2. Self-streaming via an IP camera: IP cameras has built-in web servers for live video streaming. You can access by an IP address and port combination.  You need a static IP address and privilege for router configuration. A port must be dedicated and forwarded via a router. If you are using a public network for accessing the Internet like Universities’, you have no change if you are not the network administrator.
  3. You can use YouTube, Facebook, Ustream, LiveStream, Periscope, SnapChat, and other applications. But it has to be public if you don’t care and the privacy is not the issue.

There is another way which is for free with a Raspberry Pi and WebRTC. If you want to learn how-to-do check this blog post “Building an affordable live streaming camera using a Raspberry Pi“.

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