What Livestreaming Tools Are Best for Your Business?

livestreaming tools

As business owners experiment more with live video, the choices in livestreaming tools are becoming increasingly diverse. For software and accessory makers, word of mouth and user acquisition are crucial to solidify top-of-mind status early on, before the market for SMB livestreaming tools reaches oversaturation and eventual consensus.

Selling points you’ll hear will range from cloud convenience to budget-conscious rental rates and everything in between. Expanding on this discussion, Luke Watson spoke with Small Business Trends at the offices of Roker Labs to narrow down live video innovations you should be aware of.

With 10 years of experience in the worlds of celebrities, influencers, movies and music and connecting people to their passions, Watson has long recognized the power of live streaming video. As director of Roker Labs (a unit of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc.), he pioneers new technologies and methods to transform viewers into participants across leading social broadcast platforms, such as Facebook Live, Twitch, and Twitter.

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Small Business Trends: Hey Luke, so you’ve tried most of the tools, new and not so new. Sometimes I think you’ve tried them all. Which ones stand out?

Luke Watson: Ben Ratner and I came up with this. Team effort.

Telescope [Telescope, Inc.; Telescope.tv] is customizable and allows you to do cool and innovative things, circumventing Facebook’s native limitations. It allows you to do comment-based polling and reaction polls on Facebook, and branded lower thirds and title cards. It lets you highlight comments as video overlays.

EasyLive [Easy Live, Inc.; Goeasylive.com] is a Facebook partner service similar to Telescope. It allows more overlays and its tech magically keeps your stream alive if you experience dropped connections. No one else seems to offer that. As a cloud service, you can easily send any graphics to them. EasyLive’s price point starts at very affordable.

Grabyo [Grabyo Limited; about.Grabyo.com/facebook] is a cloud-based service that provides a mix of production and content distribution tools. Their specialty is in grabbing “yo” (your) clips from streams while they’re live and bouncing them out as independent uploads that are optimized for specific platforms. For example, if you have a sponsored segment on a live show, you can add their branding and create a standalone clip in real time. This is a great way to drive awareness to your live streams across all social platforms in a non-intrusive, platform-optimized manner.

Magewell [Nanjing Magewell Electronics Co., Ltd.; Magewell.com] The Magewell SDI USB 3.0 Capture Dongle can send full HD video to your computer from any SDI source. It does not require any drivers, so it’s an easy plug and play solution for streaming and capturing video. You can use this to bring in a single camera, or a more complex output signal from a switcher.

TriCaster, TriCaster Mini, rental TriCaster’s [NewTek, Inc.; NewTek.com/TriCaster] NewTek was well-positioned for the explosion in live streaming video, having a pre-existing business tailored to media producers, prosumer and professional alike.

The Tricaster Mini was their response to accessible, low-cost live, especially across social platforms. I say this because it comes in at a lower price point than their other options, and it features connection options that are consumer-friendly, such as HDMI over SDI, and is engineered to be highly mobile. While it isn’t as powerful as higher-end TriCasters from a hardware perspective, the Mini packs a professional punch with the same high-end software and compatibility with other TriCaster accessories, which allows for easy scaling of capabilities.

TriCasters are also well regarded for retaining value, which means that you might start with a Mini, but, if you outgrow it, you can easily trade-up to a more powerful model without losing too much of your investment or compromising your work flow.

All TriCasters are available with control surfaces. They make production look more professional and make the controls much easier, though everything can be done with just your mouse and keyboard if you’re on a tight budget.

NewTek does not sell hardware directly, but distributes through a network of vendors. Roker Labs works closely with NewTek and we would be happy to refer anyone interested in buying or renting a TriCaster to the vendor that best fits their situation, for the model that best fits their needs.

NewTek has three 4-input models – Tricaster Mini (HDMI or SDI), Tricaster 410 (SDI) and the Tricaster 460 (SDI), two 8-input SDI models (Tricaster 860 and Tricaster 8000), and the IP Series — which has a limitless number of camera inputs!

Small Business Trends: So if someone wants to reach you with requests or questions, what’s the best way?

Luke Watson: We post our news, studies, and recommended hardware/software providers at RokerLabs.com. We can also be reached at info@rokerlabs.com, @RokerLabs on Twitter, or in the Live Streaming Managers Facebook Group that we moderate. You’re welcome to tweet @LukeWatsonNYC to reach me directly, and follow @Essential_TV or Facebook.com/EssentialTV if you’d prefer to discuss movies or TV. If you’ve got a technical question, Ben Ratner @BenMakesTV is your guy.

Images: Al Roker Entertainment, Inc.; Luke Watson

This is part of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world.

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Alex Yong Alex Yong is a staff writer and host of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world. Alex was named a must-follow PR resource in Cision North America’s list of the top 50 Twitter influencers utilizing rich media tweets, alongside Guy Kawasaki and Lee Odden.

9 Reactions
  1. Johnathan Weberg

    I haven’t tried Telescope yet, and haven’t been satisfied yet with a lot of the live streaming tools I’ve seen and used.
    I do know, that live streaming, and creating videos in general is a great way to increase conversions, and it draws more attention with some trust.

    Have been doing videos every single day now, and I’ve seen a lot more opt-ins and conversions, live streaming is next in my agenda.
    Great post my friend!

    • Thanks Jonny – there were more tools but not enough time to talk about them all. one’s described as TriCaster in the cloud (but not by NewTek/TriCaster) and big brands are using it and loving it. It is not in this Luke Watson interview. I bet more tools will hit the market this spring and summer

  2. I am seeing all these live videos on Facebook and Instagram. It seems to be a new trend but I don’t know how valuable it is for some niches.

    • To those niches I say: be mostly social. Watch more than you broadcast; broadcast once in a while; skew those livestreams ‘personal’. In time, toss in some education to see if viewers are interested; if so, expand.

  3. Some topics are perfect for livestreaming like gaming or cooking for example. It is also great for celebrities.

  4. Livestreaming has its limits. I cannot sit still and watch an hour of livestream – it takes too much time.

    • Yes, I truly wonder who has the time to watch a 90 minute livestream from end to end. When Vine was around, Vine did create “stars” (I hate that word) with agency contracts, etc., because anyone, even a busy media-buyer, can watch 6 seconds. But because Vine didn’t make rain for Twitter, Twitter cut Vine (Well, to be precise, Twitter morphed it into something named Vine Camera, but essentially it got the axe)

  5. I would recommend using on premise R-HUB live streaming servers for your business. It is one of the best live streaming tools which enhances message effectiveness by displaying entire desktops and HD video. You may try the same.