How to Multistream: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started7 min readReading Time: 6 minutes
As the video streaming market matures, it becomes more competitive. Viewership continues to rise, more streaming platforms have emerged, while content creators are racing to expand their audience reach.
So how can you thrive in this vigorous industry? Besides many video engagement tactics with livestreaming, multistreaming is another answer.
What is Multistream?
It is every content creator’s desire to engage as many audiences as possible. Through livestreams, content creators can broadcast to any publish destinations of their choice such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, DLive, or to their own website domain.
The problem is, if you livestream on one single network—say Facebook Live for example—you can only reach a certain number of viewers who are available on that platform. If you want to spread your content to another platform—such as YouTube—you will have to set up the entire process and stream your content all over again.
Multistream is the perfect solution for scenarios as such. In layman’s terms, multistream means to broadcast a stream to multiple destinations, or content delivery networks (CDN), at the same time. Multistreaming is also known as simulcasting.
This is a newly introduced term in the broadcasting technology industry. Multistream is very much similar to livestreaming and regular streaming. The only difference is the publish destination that this method can deliver to.
For example, let’s say you are a marketer; you want to promote a product that your company is offering, and your chosen media channel is video livestreaming. When you livestream your video content to Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and your company’s website, for example, at the same time, that is called a multistream.
Benefits of Multistream: Why Should You Use Multistreaming?
Before multistream became popular, if you want to stream one piece of content, the only choice you have is to create a separate stream to each publish destination. This procedure is cumbersome, repetitive, and time-consuming.
For content creators, multistreaming is a surefire solution to remove those hefty and repetitive tasks. Some benefits of multistreaming are:
More opportunities to engage with your audience
Why stream to one platform when you can do more? Thanks to multistreaming, content creators will no longer have to choose which destination they can stream to in one session. They can focus on their core community in one platform while exploring other opportunities to engage with users on other platforms.
Optimize audience reach
Because you can stream to various platforms, you can reach your audience across multiple networks in one single streaming session. The more channels or platforms you broadcast, the more possibilities your audience can see your content. Multistream is a great way to increase your viewer base. And if your goal is to promote or sell a product, the more audience you have, the higher chance your conversion is.
Save time and effort
A great feature of multistream is that you only need to set up once. Configure all of your settings, have your video footage ready, and then go live. If you livestream to different destinations at different times, you will have to customize your settings and redo the entire setup process.
Make the most of the native platforms
Every social platform is designed with a specific objective. For example, YouTube live is often used for monetization purposes, Facebook Live helps you reach and engage with your current audience, Twitch is for gaming content, while Vimeo is preferred for the ability to control viewers’ access. By streaming to more than one platform simultaneously, you are not restricted to a certain platform’s limitation.
Comparable audience insights
By streaming to multiple sites, you can gather insights and information on how your content performs. This comes in handy especially when you need to measure your performance on different platforms and explore which channel generates the most traffic to your content.
Consolidated actions in one place
With so many publish destinations to manage at the same time, there are many solutions that provide a multistreaming platform such as Castr. Castr acts as a hub that connects between your video input and multiple outputs. You will be able to stream to 30+ social media networks while getting all analytics insights in a unified dashboard. Try Castr for free
Who Should Multistream?
Any content creator that wants to reach as many audiences as possible—can benefit from multistreaming. This includes but is not limited to:
- Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers
- Business-to-business (B2B) marketers
- Business owners
- Educators, tutors, trainers
- Religious organizations
- and more.
How Does Multistreaming Work?
There are three ways that multistreaming works: streaming software encoder, streaming hardware encoder, and cloud multistreaming.
Streaming software encoder
An encoder converts video files between multiple formats. Encoders are necessary to convert your RAW video files to digital files that can stream to your social platforms.
Software encoders are programs on your computer that performs the conversion. The most popular and free software encoder is Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). There are other streaming software encoders that have in-built multistreaming capabilities such as vMix, Streamlabs, or Wirecast.
Software encoders are best for starter and intermediate broadcasters as they are less expensive and easy to set up. But keep in mind that these programs can consume your CPU and bandwidth, causing delay and many other issues to your multistream. If you use a software encoder for multistreaming, you’ll need to have a powerful computer with high internet upload speed. This could be a large investment, especially for beginners.
Streaming hardware encoder
A hardware encoder is a physical device that captures, compresses, and converts your RAW video files into compatible files before they are ready for multistreaming. Some common hardware encoders are Pearl-2, Pearl Mini, TriCaster, TeraDek, for instance. Hardware encoders are more suitable for advanced broadcasters because they are more expensive and require complex configurations.
Cloud multistreaming has gained popularity as it provides middle-ground benefits between software encoders and hardware encoders. The cloud does all the hefty work in terms of internet upload speed, bandwidth, and CPU, while the cost is far less expensive than that of a regular hardware encoder.
You may need an encoder (either software or hardware) to connect your video stream to the cloud streaming service. For example, if you have an external camera as your video source, capture audio while recording screen, or perform editing tasks while livestreaming, then an encoder is necessary. In other cases such as streaming from webcam, mobile, tablets, or using pre-recorded videos, a single cloud video streaming solution would suffice.
Castr provides a cloud-based streaming platform that takes one stream from your video source and distributes the content to more than 30 destinations. Only a minimal setup is needed. You don’t have to invest in costly hardware while reaping all the benefits of advanced video streaming. Try Castr for free
How to Multistream
Streaming to multiple sites take more time to set up, but the basic process is quite simple. Here’s how to multistream:
- Determine which destination you want to broadcast to (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, DLive, Periscope, etc.)
- Choose your preferred multistreaming method: with a software encoder, with a hardware encoder, or with a cloud streaming service
- Set up your encoder or cloud streaming service
- Connect to your publish destinations
- Go live
- Multistreaming (or simulcasting) means to broadcast streams to multiple destinations, at the same time.
- Multistreaming offers many values for content creators, including: more audience reach on more media platforms, optimizing audience reach, saving time and effort, taking advantage of each native platform, gathering analytics from multiple streaming destinations, and performing all actions in one place.
- There are three options of multistreaming: hardware encoder, software encoder, and cloud multistreaming service.
- You can start a multistream with these basic steps: choose your preferred destination, choose your multistreaming method, set up your software or hardware, connect the tools or programs together, and you’re all set to go live!