As we all know, with limited budgets and shared Internet access, schools don’t always have the best resources for live streaming.
But the truth is, streaming doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming to be done effectively. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the best streams possible:
1. Use a Dedicated Router for Streaming
Streaming over a public WiFi connection is pretty much a death sentence for the broadcast, as too many devices start bottlenecking the bandwidth on that network. When you’re streaming, the last thing you’ll want is people connecting to and using the same network that you’re streaming on. So it’s highly recommended to get a dedicated router.
Daron Connelly, teacher of TV Broadcasting and Video Production at Corner Canyon High School, does this to get the best connection possible when broadcasting school events. For sports games, assemblies and graduation, Connelly brings a dedicated Netgear Nighthawk X6 router and establishes his own WiFi network. He connects the router to an Internet source via Ethernet, which allows all of his devices to use a network free from obstructions.
2. Ethernet is King
Wireless may be convenient, but it’s not as foolproof as a hardlined connection. Broadband goes through multiple stages to be converted into a WiFi signal which means there are that many potential points of error.
Whether you’re streaming directly through an encoder or going through a router first, do your best to acquire an Ethernet connection. It’ll always a more consistently solid connection.
3. Run a Speed Test
One of the most common mistakes in streaming is not knowing the limits of your Internet connection. It’s tempting to just configure your encoder settings to stream at the highest resolution and bit rates, but what if your connection isn’t up to snuff? You’ll end up dropping frames real fast and your viewers won’t get to see their students score that game-changing touchdown!
Before configuring your encoder settings, always run a speed test to see what download and upload speeds you’re getting. Use that information to determine what resolution and bit rates would be best to stream with. We recommend www.speedtest.net.
4. Add Network Bonding To Your Kit
Schools typically don’t have the luxury of super fast Internet connections. Coupled with the fact that not every location on campus has a reliable Internet source, it could make broadcasting very complicated. If you’re having trouble finding a way to stream at school, we recommend going with a 4G LTE solution: VidiU Go.
The VidiU Go is Teradek’s latest live streaming encoder that’s designed for affordable, high-quality streaming. It contains two USB ports that allow you to connect 4G LTE modems to the encoder, which both feed broadband Internet to it together. What’s the purpose of this? VidiU Go offers network bonding, which combines the two modems, Ethernet and WiFi into a single connection for streaming reliably.
In the event one connection has issues, the others will fill in as backup. This allows you to stream your event from anywhere: home & away games, outdoor events, graduations on the field, special trips, and more.
To learn more about the VidiU Go, go to teradek.com/collections/vidiu-go-family.
5. Facebook vs YouTube
When choosing your platform of choice (some schools have their own private platforms for streams), it’s important to know the pros and cons of each one. Most schools like to stream to either Facebook or YouTube, so let’s compare the two.
Facebook is a great platform because it’s easy to find viewers. Chances are your school already has a Facebook Page with students and families following it, so if you go live, they’ll get notifications and see the live on their News feeds. Viewers can tune in from home, work, or anywhere without needing to search.
However, Facebook Live only allows for a max 720p resolution at 30 fps, compared to 1080p resolution at 60 fps on YouTube Live. So with YouTube, you’ll have much higher quality video that viewers will enjoy, but you sacrifice the network of followers that Facebook has. In addition, streaming to YouTube means you’ll have to do some advertisement to inform your community. So be sure to choose the platform most appropriate for your situation.
Streaming is an excellent way to allow families that can’t attend events to stay involved with your school, but without a solid video quality, those viewers won’t be tuned in for long. Follow these steps to ensure that your streams remain solid through every broadcast from your school.