Yes, simulated live streaming provides the freedom to be working on something else while live streaming your content.
What is simulated live streaming?
Simulated live streaming is a technique that allows you to live stream a pre-recorded video or previous live stream at a scheduled time to make it appear as an alive broadcast.
Think of simulated live streaming as live streaming an on-demand video.
Simulated live can also be referred to as:
- Pre-recorded live
- Scheduled live
- Simulated live VOD
How does simulated live streaming work?
Like programming for a TV station, the pre-recorded media that has been uploaded will go live at a preset time. To setup a simulated live stream, there are a few ways to achieve the same thing.
Using a third-party service
The easiest and most reliable route available is to use a third-party service that’s been built specifically to run a simulated live stream.
The service will allow you to upload video assets and stream them to an endpoint at a scheduled time. For example, restream.io offers this service to stream a pre-recorded video.
The output might be an RTMP feed which is sent to another RTMP server. For example, you might want to schedule a pre-recorded video of yourself in a webinar on Facebook and have the viewers think you are broadcasting the content live.
Make your video player UI appear it’s live
Another option is to not bother with any third-party service and just run an on-demand video asset but make the video player UI appear to be live.
To make the video player appear to be live you can:
- Add a red dot in the corner of the player that flashes
- remove any timeline and the ability to rewind the video
- Make sure to sync the playback with a fixed time so that anyone viewing the video is synced to the current time.
Build your own streaming server
If you want a little more control and have some technical know-how, the third option is to build a platform that can accept an uploaded video asset and be scheduled to send out an RTMP (Real-time messaging protocol) stream.
This would involve using specific software such as FFmpeg and GStreamer to process the video asset to convert from one media format to another to push out to the RTMP server.
Going down this route would involve a lot of testing and error handling to make sure the service is smooth. For example, handling instances when your server and video player disconnect for reasons such as network issues.
You probably wouldn’t want to go down this route unless you have a lot of resources, or want to save money on additional subscriptions.
Benefits of simulated live streaming
So why not just run a live stream? Well, these are a few reasons why you might want to run a simulated live stream instead:
- Eliminate any risk associated with network issues causing latency issues.
- Reduce your overheads by not needing to use specific software
- Avoiding last minute technical issues
- Presenters can be outside their timezone to be “live” and not need to be present
- Avoid any mistakes in the content you are broadcasting
- Re-use the same live stream across different timezones.
How can businesses use simulated live streaming?
One of the most popular use cases for a simulated live stream is attracting signups for a webinar. It’s possible to schedule hundreds of webinars across multiple timezones playing the same live stream. But to the viewer, it appears live.
This enables businesses to record their content once re-use the same content over again and not have to actually be present at the live event.
Other use cases include re-streaming a recording of a live stream. Let’s say you run a live stream event and that live stream is recorded. The recording can then be streamed as a simulated live event.
How to run simulated live streaming on social networks
Most of the popular third party re-streaming services offer simulated live streaming or in other words, pre-recorded live.
Meaning, all you need to do is simply upload a video, schedule the day and time you want it to go live and confgure the stream key for you chosen social media networks.
Here is a list of vendors that offer pre-recorded live streaming: