The Top Live Streaming Services for Churches in 2021: A Comparison
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The story goes that Herbert Asquith, British Prime Minister from 1908-1916, was once enjoying a weekend at the estate of the famous Rothschild family when he encountered impeccable service…and a few slightly overwhelming choices.
As the curtains in his room were being drawn back in the morning, one of the butlers asked politely:
“Tea, coffee, or a peach off the wall, Sir?”
“China tea, Indian tea, or Ceylon tea, Sir?”
“China, if you please.”
“Lemon, milk, or cream, Sir?’
[pause] “Jersey, Hereford, or Shorthorn, Sir?”
When it comes to finding the best live streaming service for your church, the options can be similarly mind-boggling. They just go on and on.
Early this year, when COVID-19 forced churches of all sizes to quickly come up with ways to connect with members who were no longer in the same room, you may have just settled for one of the easiest and free-est options: Facebook Live or YouTube Live.
But like a lot of people, you quickly discovered that “free” has its price: unreliable service, ads you can’t control, someone else owning your content, etc. So now you find yourself needing to come up with a better solution. You want to partner with a company that can reliably handle live streaming for churches, but don’t know where to start or who to trust.
We get it. And the last thing you have time for these days is wading through the online swamps of information on all the top live streaming services for churches. (You’d probably much rather find yourself in an English manor choosing types of milk for your tea!)
We want you to be confident that you’re stewarding your church’s resources well in this area. So we’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of 4 of the top live streaming services for churches. (Full disclosure: we’ve included ourselves in this list. Live streaming is what we’ve been doing for a living for the past 10 years, and as good as the other guys may be…we work hard to be even better. You get to be the judge, though.)
Quick side note before our comparison: we’ve also written a helpful (and free!) PDF to help you better understand “How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Partner for Your Church.”
Click to download your copy now. It’ll help even more after you read the rest of this post.
Comparison of the Top Live Streaming Services for Churches
Let’s start with brief summaries of some of the top live streaming services for churches:
WSN is a turnkey solution for live streaming a church service. They work with each individual client to customize the right gear for their situation…no cookie-cutter packages. Their dedicated streaming software and network ensure seamless broadcasts, and their support team responds in minutes regardless of what service package you select.
Standard features for all package levels include: unlimited streaming, 1080p resolution, multi-device compatibility, user analytics, and automatic archiving.
Full Disclosure: This is us.
Now, why would we include ourselves in a comparison blog post? Here’s another way to look at it: why would we want to mention the other guys at all? We could easily not do a post like this and avoid drawing attention to the competition. Most companies think that way. They only want you to pay attention to them…hoping you won’t look any further and come across a better deal.
We think you deserve to have the best information to make the wisest live streaming decisions for your church.
When you’re choosing who to partner with for your live stream ministry, take a look at at least 3 different providers—and make sure we’re one of them! We believe we are uniquely able to combine experience with the technology with an understanding of the importance of your mission.
They are one of the few providers specifically serving churches. Features they advertise include: live support; the ability to embed your live stream anywhere; easy integration with popular social media platforms, archived videos, and viewer analytics.
One interesting service they offer is “Multi-Campus DVR.” If your church has more than one location, it allows your other campus(es) to tune in on a delay then rewind to the beginning of your broadcast and watch from whatever point they need.
3 plans to choose from (after a 30-day free trial):
Basic ($79…paid annually, so it’s $948/yr)
- 10 hours per month allowed
- Email support
- Up to 720p resolution
- 100Gb storage
Standard ($99…paid annually, so it’s $1188/yr)
- 20 hours per month allowed
- Email/chat/phone support
- Up to 1080p resolution
- 200 Gb storage
- Unlimited hours
- Priority email/chat/phone support
- Up to 1080p resolution
- 500 Gb storage
- Password protection
- Dedicated Roku & Apple TV channels
- Hardware Video Encoder ($475, Basic & Standard Plans)
- Software Encoder ($510, All plans)
- Additional Storage ($10/mo per 50GB)
- Additional channel ($40/mo)
This is one of the bigger players in the live streaming industry. They have been in business since 2010 and have served over 150,000 broadcasters. In 2018, they won a Readers’ Choice Award for Streaming Media. They work with a wide variety of businesses in addition to churches including: Sports, Sales/Marketing, Fitness, Government, Entertainment, & Education.
Features include: live and on-demand streaming, easy setup, unlimited viewers included in all plans, customizable video player, video privacy and security, and video storage.
3 Plans to choose from (all billed annually) plus a custom option for larger events:
Starter ($39/mo; $468/yr)
- 50GB storage
- Email/chat support
- 1080p resolution
Event ($63/mo; $756/yr)
- Starter +
- Live Countdown
Scale ($188/mo; $2256/yr)
- Event +
- Phone Support
- Unlimited live channels
Dacast’s site also includes a pricing calculator if you are unsure how much service you’ll need from them. To get a recommended plan, just plug in a few variables like: how often your content will be streamed, how many people will be watching, how many minutes, etc.
Similar to Dacast, BoxCast is a company that serves many industry areas. They are different in that they developed their own “tv station in a box”, Boxcaster, a streaming hardware integration device that greatly simplifies the process. They have since added a Pro version as well as a software app that lets you stream with just your phone.
Their 3 basic plans require annual commitments, but can be billed monthly or annually. All plans include unlimited streaming and automatic recording. However, they are on the more expensive end of the providers we’ve compared. (We didn’t even include their $999/mo premium plan, since it is probably above the needs of most churches.)
Essential ($99/mo; $1188/yr)
- Up to 1080p resolution
- Unlimited phone/email support
- Live + DVR
- Post-production tools
- 90 days of storage
Growth ($149/mo; $1788/yr)
- Downloadable documents for your viewers
- Graphic overlays (logos, bottom third titles)
- 1 year of storage
Experience ($199/mo; $2388/yr)
- Up to 1080p resolution
- Automated captioning
In many ways, WSN is like the butler Prime Minister Asquith encountered long ago. We are here to serve you and guide you through the many choices you’ll face in the world of live streaming. We know video streaming inside and out, can anticipate the problems you’ll likely face, and are standing by to deliver excellent results.
Live streaming can be a headache. That’s why WSN is the only company that offers turn-key streaming solutions. You don’t have to be an expert on networking or hire a full video team to stream live. At WSN, we have a world class network, backed by a robust web platform, and we can show you how to connect the pieces to create the high quality production your audience expects.
Download your free PDF on “How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Partner for Your Church.”
Then give us a call to learn more about how we can help. We might even have some tea around here somewhere!