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Josh Hayes September 17th, 2019 02:38 AM

Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Hi folks. My niche for the last 5 years or so has been filming corporate conferences. Strangely, I almost never get asked about live streaming them, and when I do it's usually a pretty bare bones operation and reliant on an ethernet connection via House AV.

However I have a potential client asking me to budget the cost of me supplying the internet connection. That puts me a little out of my element. Any advice? Should I purchase a portable internet connection of some kind? I already asked if they have venue or AV selected and they don't, so I don't really want to tell them that's an AV question and possibly lose a bid.

Thanks :)

p.s. I'm gonna ask the potential client what desired Livestreaming output is as well. Perhaps another to attack the problem would be to use hardware like Black Magic's Procaster where a fast internet connection isn't nearly as necessary.|?

David Barnett September 17th, 2019 06:25 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
I looked into this about a year or two ago for a remote purpose. Best bet I found was I think AT&T has a bit of a pay as you go type hotspot. It might cost $100 for the unit & minimum $50 or something bandwidth upfront. Seemed no strings attached whereas Verizon Go is like a year or two plan to purchase. You should also look into tethering your phone for wifi as a backup/last minute emergency.

Typically, if it's corporate the venue should have internet. If they do, call in advance or try to stop by and speak with someone in A/V, generally they'll allow you to run an ethernet cable (buy a 50 ft or 100ft) so long as you tape it down. You might need to bring a router too if you need more than 1 connection.

For software you can check out OBS Studio, it's freeware & there's tutorials on Youtube. It's gotten better and I think has presets for Youtube, DaCast, Livestream, Facebook etc, or you enter in the server path or XML file. If you go a paid software route I'd check out Wirecast, it's pretty easy & stable, fairly cost effecient albeit not for just 1 stream job.

Chris Harding September 17th, 2019 06:28 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Hi Josh

I almost exclusively use a Netgear Nighthawk router which is a 4G device and does give you a pretty solid connection .. you just have to decide what sort of plan you need based on how many of these conferences you are likely to do. Mine gives me 10GB of data a month (fixed cost and what I don't lose I lose) but then again I never know how many streams I am going to do. It does increase slightly in Summer as we also do weddings but we also do funerals which are not sunny weather dependent but our streams can be in a Church, in a park or in the middle of nowhere so portability is essential ... if you can make sure you have the option of ethernet cable connect on your device as it's a LOT more reliable than wifi

Andrew Smith September 17th, 2019 06:45 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
What Chris said.

Having the 4GX cellular technology has taken all the stress (well, most of it) out of streaming. I used to attend venues ahead of time to test and double-check their connectivity and speed, and for very good reason.

It's so refreshing to not have to do that any longer. Especially as the venue's account executive for functions will say "that's an AV thing" and the AV person has to then say "that's an IT thing" and you are perhaps eventually allowed to get through to the right person whom the venue isn't used to having people connected to and it all feels weird for them.

By default, just go the cellular connection and keep it simple.


Chris Harding September 18th, 2019 12:04 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Thanks Andrew

You also the advantage of having your own standalone router whereas using a venues connection you have absolutely no idea what you are plugging into. Apart from instances out in the middle of nowhere 4G has been pretty solid for me. Just two other points ..get yourself a nice tall lighting stand so if your connection is a little flaky, you can hoist the router up in the air for a better signal and default to ethernet connections rather than wifi.

Always also make sure that you physically record the event too so if all goes wrong you can always restream later. I let my main camera record to a card and then also do an MP4 recording on the computer of the switcher output

Andrew Smith September 18th, 2019 12:29 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Plus clients may value masters that are better quality than what was squeezed out through a stream. Most organsiations should have a sense of history or at least want to show-and-tell later. Especially if there are embarrassing bits to trim out for the 'official' recording.


Jim Michael September 18th, 2019 05:09 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Do you as part of your standard procedure measure throughput at the site prior to the event? Thankfully 4G access has greatly improved but gaps in coverage exist. Have you ever needed to get a microwave link to obtain the required throughput?

Chris Harding September 18th, 2019 05:33 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Hi Jim

I do a speed test when I get on site as I'm only concerned with upload ... I basically work on the stream being no more than half the upload speed .. The measured speed may also determine whether I can leave my router on the computer trolley (I have a custom cart which just wheels onto site) or whether I need to hoist the router on top of my 3m stand.

As long as you have a clause in your terms and conditions that allows you to "record and restream later" if the 4G signal is an issue ..you are pretty safe. Our main broadcasts are funeral and wedding services and you can easily drop down to 2mbps and still have a fairly good picture and most 4G sites will give you at least 5mbps upload!

Josh Hayes September 18th, 2019 01:53 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Wow this is all awesome info. Thanks so much, definitely gives me perspective.

Also, I had no idea that raising a router up might give better signal? I thought that was a joke at the first mention but then could tell later it was a real point. That's so random. Also good to know though!

Chris Harding September 18th, 2019 07:08 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Hey Josh

There are many factors that affect 4G reception .. I have only 4mbps at best in my "office" as it has a steel roof .. place the router on a stand and hoist it up and I can get 20 mbps upload ..quite often if you find you have a poor signal placing the router outside the door and higher up works wonders I always keep two 10m runs of ethernet cable with me so if I have to move the router position I can still stay cable connected.

Josh Hayes September 19th, 2019 06:40 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
(adds 2 10m runs of Ethernet Cable) to list of items needed for the proposed event.

Thanks Chris!!!

Chris Harding September 19th, 2019 06:15 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
It always pays to have a tablet or phone with the speed test app from Ookla on it Josh. Check the speed where you are planning to setup and obviously if the upload is good you can stay right there. Otherwise look at other locations and heights if inside the venue sucks!! We have a desirable wedding location here which has terrible reception on the beach due to some rock faces right there BUT put the router on top of the mini cliff on a stand and the upload speed triples!! You can just carry a roll of 20m of cable ..I just split it in two for convenience!!

Josh Hayes September 21st, 2019 02:46 AM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Awesome! I do always have my laptop with me so I can offload footage so that's perfect for speed tests.

Lico Francisco January 21st, 2020 12:53 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Maybe i am late for the party. I was checking with Tmobile and they offer a hotspot for $15.00 for 20GB of data on your phone. That's what the agent told me when i asked him. Where i broadcast internet speed up and down is a joke so i have to rely on my cell phone using two apps to tether to my phone for internet.

Craig Seeman January 21st, 2020 09:59 PM

Re: Internet Connection Cost for Livestreaming
Make sure you have reliable moble connection otherwise you may want to consider a much higher priced bonded device. Keep in mind the potential for speed throttling as you near your capacity.

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