Ever since the rise in popularity of the use of streaming media technology, a lot of people have been confused regarding the difference between the terms live streaming and webcasting. According to one company that provides services for live stream in Sydney (https://golive.com.au/what-we-do/live/live-streaming-sydney/), many people think that they basically have the same meaning while others argue that they have a different definition and word usage.
In line with the confusion and misunderstanding about these two terms, this article will try to clearly answer the question regarding whether or not there is a difference between webcasting and live streaming.
Is There a Difference Between Webcasting and Live Streaming?
In order to answer this question clearly, we first need to define the terms Webcasting and Live Streaming separately to get a better understanding of their true meaning and purpose.
What is Live Streaming?
According to Cloudflare’s website, live streaming is the process of transmitting media (audio or video) over the internet in real-time, without pre-recording it. Some examples of live streaming events are live TV broadcasts like sports events and concerts that you can watch over the internet and those social media broadcasts that you can view in Facebook Live and Youtube Live.
Live streaming usually involves one-to-many connections that can be accessed by multiple users at the same time. An example of this would be a person using his mobile phone to stream a live video to a group, organization, or community.
What is Webcasting?
Based on the information provided by Informatics, webcasting is the process of broadcasting a live video over the internet. This process is operated in real-time and it enables the viewers and the webcaster to communicate freely.
Webcasting is commonly used as a marketing tool for companies and the speaker usually portrays the role of a subject matter expert to his or her audience. Moreover, webcasting is also used for training, conference, and corporate communications.
Similarities between Live Streaming and Webcasting
Now that we have discussed the individual definition of each term, let us first enumerate their similarities before we go on and discuss their differences.
Webcasting and Live Streaming has the following similarities:
- Both webcasting and live streaming are broadcast live
- They both have one-to-many connections
- They both use the internet to transmit their media
- Both videos are transmitted real-time
- They both cater to multiple users or audiences
Difference between Live Streaming and Webcasting
After discussing their similarities, let us now try to discuss the difference between the two terms.
Here are some of the differences between Webcasting and Live Streaming:
Webcasting is More Interactive
Although live streaming sometimes has a chat feature where viewers can comment about the video or audio being broadcast, webcasting is a more interactive approach.
This means that in webcasting the speaker reacts to the comments and questions presented by the audience and tries to answer or explain it to them clearly. In live streaming, interaction is minimal and usually, the viewers are the ones communicating with each other.
Live Streaming is More Free-Form
Unlike webcasting, live streaming is more free-form. This means that anything can be broadcast in live streaming, like games, movies, sports events, graduations, weddings, and birthdays.
On the other hand, in webcasting, there should be a certain topic or theme to be discussed by the speaker, like company processes, job training, the introduction of a new product or technology, and other instructional formats.
Webcasting is More Formal
Typically webcasting requires more preparation and is usually announced to the public, group, or community ahead of time. It is more professional and requires more manpower to broadcast the event, unlike in live streaming, where it can be shown instantly without preparation or announcements.
The Speaker in Webcasting Needs to Be Knowledgeable About the Topic
Unlike in live streaming, where the speaker can talk about any topic without needing to prepare for it, the speaker in webcasting events should be knowledgeable about the topic being discussed in the broadcast. He or she should act as a subject matter expert when talking to his or her audiences because the speaker will need to answer questions and inquiries about the topic that is being discussed.
Webcasting Needs Special Equipment
Live streaming usually involves less equipment and can sometimes be broadcast using just a mobile phone. On the other hand, webcasting requires the use of special equipment in order to facilitate the interaction between the speaker and its audience.
Special software, microphones, projectors, and video cameras are some of the most common equipment used in a webcasting broadcast.
In general, both live streaming and webcasting are processes that involve the use of the internet to broadcast media to multiple users. They are both transmitted in real-time and are watched by a multitude of people.
However, they do have their differences in terms of preparation, equipment, user interaction, and method of discussion. It really depends upon the topic and presentation on whether or not a live broadcast over the internet should be called a live stream or webcast.