Live-streaming: 3 Traps to Avoid | Tech, No Babel

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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Live-streaming: 3 Traps to avoid

In churches, we have limited resources, so we try different strategies to save money. Unfortunately, they’re not all created equally. Some actually cost more than they save. Avoid these traps at all costs.

1. Not owning your traffic. What happens if you send the people in your online congregation to another website for your live-stream? Some live-streaming providers don’t let you embed the video, so that’s your only choice. Most of the time it will be fine. What happens, though, if you need to switch at the last minute? You have no way to tell your online congregation.

2. ProPrietary hardware & software. Wirecast costs $500. The Teradek Vidiu costs $700. So why wouldn’t you want to buy a $200 version of the software and a $300 version of the hardware? Lock-in. There are live-streaming providers that sell you these products at reduced prices, but that means you can only use them with that provider. Imagine you want to switch. You can’t. You need replacement gear because your hardware encoder or software only work with this one service. So, your $200 software actually costs $700 because you need to buy the $500 version now in addition to the $200 version you bought already. The same is true with the hardware. Even if you sell the old stuff, your cost will not be recouped totally.

3. Free hardware. If it’s truly free, that’s one thing, but don’t forget installation and repair costs. If you have a $30,000 budget, and you need to take $5,000 from that budget for installation and repairs, that actually means that when you do need a new system, you’re down $5,000. If you make up the difference some how, that means that you would have had $35,000 to work with, but now you’re back to the original sum. Be careful that “free doesn’t turn out to be expensive.”

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Paul Alan Clifford, M.Div.

Paul Alan Clifford, M.Div. has been a tech volunteer with Quest Community Church in Lexington, KY since 2000 and is the founder of TrinityDigitalMedia.com, llc. He became part of the technology in ministry team when his church’s attendance was around 200 in one Sunday service and has witnessed it’s growth to 5,200 average weekly attendance in one Saturday service, four Sunday services in one online and two physical campuses. He literally wrote the book on podcasting in churches, twitter in churches, & servant-hearted volunteering, as well as writing various articles for publications like “Church Production” and “Technologies for Worship” magazines.