The Best Software for Church Live Streaming
Live streaming for churches has become a near necessity in recent years. Basic live streaming doesn’t take much effort or gear to get running: an iPhone and a stable internet connection are all you need to start a live stream video on Facebook, YouTube, or other social media platforms.
But most churches aren’t content to stick with such a simple setup long-term. And stepping up to a more professional setup adds a lot of additional complexity.
One of the first and most crucial decisions to make is what church streaming software you’ll use. There are numerous live streaming software vendors on the market, offering both general live streaming solutions and church-specific live stream software.
Below we’ll describe the must-have features that the best live stream software for churches should include, along with a quick survey of some of the top options available for purchase today.
Must-Have Features for Church Live Stream Software
Supports Current and Future Hardware
Make sure any church live stream software you consider supports all the hardware you’re currently using, along with anything that’s in your pipeline for a future budget year. Compatibility and hardware support can be a mixed bag because of the wide range of devices and formats in use. People are using everything from cheap PC webcams and microphones to broadcast quality equipment.
Whatever you’re using — or hope to use in upcoming years — make sure the software you’re evaluating can handle that hardware.
If you’re using video switchers, hardware encoders, or other hardware that sits between your inputs and your streaming PC, evaluate support for those as well.
The best live streaming software won’t struggle with compatibility, but lesser options may.
Pro Quality Design Tools
Live streaming is more than video and audio alone. Stream design is something that churches sometimes overlook, but successful live streamers outside the church (in gaming, for instance) have mastered it. Stream design is a catch-all term for the visuals that accompany live video and audio within a stream, including frames, overlays, multiple cameras or angles, transitions, and so forth.
These visual assets must be built and configured. While it’s possible to use a separate app, you’ll have an easier time integrating visuals if you can design them within your streaming software. The best solutions offer robust design tools or, like ProPresenter, are directly integrated into a broader presentation solution that includes a pro-grade scene editor.
Professional Software Encoder
Converting audio and video into a format and bitrate that can be live-streamed is called encoding, and there are two approaches: hardware encoding and software encoding. Hardware encoding relies on an external hardware video encoder such as a Blackmagic encoding device. The results are reliably high in quality, but adding external hardware creates new complexity and potential compatibility issues.
Software encoding keeps the process on your PC or Mac. You’ll need more powerful hardware to handle software encoding, and the software encoder you use can make a big difference in performance demands and output quality.
Technically, ProPrsenter uses “hardware” encoding since it uses a GPU to do the encoding, but the general software makes the process be considered software encoding since it’s using software on a computer to make the process work.
ProPresenter’s software encoding capabilities are professional-grade, giving you the ability to output crisp video streams at whatever resolution your hardware can handle.
Think about who manages your Sunday service live stream. At most churches, the person sitting at the computer isn’t a highly trained paid staff member. They’re a volunteer. So it’s crucial that your streaming solutions use a simple interface that doesn’t require major training to operate.
Behind the scenes, you still want full control and high flexibility. But while you actively stream your church services, you want something that runs well without much hands-on effort.
Along the same lines, live streaming for church services needs to work reliably. There’s no time to call up technical support when your live video just isn’t working — services don’t pause to wait on technical fixes.
Choosing cheap or free streaming solutions may seem like a smart way to save money, but if those options don’t produce a highly reliable live broadcast, they aren’t accomplishing your goals.
Resilient Streaming Protocol
The industry-standard protocol for streaming is RTMP (along with RTMPS for secure streams). This protocol works reasonably well and is responsible for most live streams you’ve watched or produced. It uses a fire and forget approach to sending packets over the internet.
But it’s not the most resilient streaming protocol on the market.
Resi’s Resilient Streaming Protocol, or RSP, adds error correction to keep streams running smoother, fully protecting against audio and video quality loss during transmission. Resi is so powerful, your stream can survive two minutes with no internet connection at all — you could even sever the cable and then plug a new one in without losing the stream.
ProPresenter is the only presentation software and church live stream software that offers Resi’s RSP. If high stability despite a weak or unstable connection is a priority, Resi is worth the investment.
Learn more about how Resi works.
ProPresenter: The Best Streaming Software for Churches of Any Size
Churches looking for the best software for church live streaming need ProPresenter: it’s the most complete, most professional live streaming solution packaged within a full professional-grade presentation application, and we built it to meet the needs of churches and houses of worship.
With ProPresenter, you’re gaining access to a highly reliable streaming solution that’s robust and flexible for professionals yet easy to operate for volunteers, the most resilient streaming protocol on the planet, and an industry-leading set of design tools. ProPresenter is also the leading church-focused presentation app: features include the ability to design beautiful, engaging slides for your services and granular control over multiple distinct video outputs. Send one feed to your main screens, another to the lobby, and a unique feed to your live streaming platforms.
If you need the best all-around pro-quality solution for live streaming—and for in-house presentations, too—ProPresenter is in a class all its own.
See ProPresenter for yourself today: we’re offering an unrestricted two-week free trial of the full ProPresenter experience. Download now to get started!