Live Streaming vs Video Conference - What is the difference?

5 min read
June 15, 2023

In today's hyper-connected digital world,  live streaming and video conferencing have become powerful tools that transform how we communicate, connect, and share information. These technologies have overtaken traditional communication, facilitating real-time interactions and bridging geographical distances.

Table of Contents 

  1. What is live streaming? 
  2. What is video conferencing? 
  3. The differences between live streaming and video conferencing 
  4. When is live streaming ideal?
  5. When is video conferencing ideal?
  6. Integrating the best of both experiences
  7. Embracing the future of communication with Digital Samba

But are these two means of communication interchangeable, or is there a difference? In this article, we will explore live streaming and video conferencing. We will also discuss their differences and whether they can be integrated to maximise the experience.   

What is live streaming? 

Live streaming refers to the real-time broadcasting of video and audio content over the internet, allowing viewers to access and interact with the content as it happens. Although viewers can engage with the content, the host mainly pilots live streaming. 

Live streaming encodes and transfers audio and video signals from a source, like a camera or a microphone, to a streaming server. This server then distributes the stream to users accessing it via various devices, enabling them to view the content in real time. 

Whether it's a  concert,  sports event,  or a breaking news report, live streaming connects people with their interests in real time. With the right OBS recording format, as well as high-quality video and audio equipment, you can deliver a seamless live streaming experience. 

What is video conferencing? 

Video conferencing is powerful communication technology that facilitates real-time audio and visual interactions between individuals or groups located in different locations. Utilising video, audio, and chat technologies in business applications enable smooth customer service, meetings, learning sessions, telehealth, etc. 

What is video conferencing - Digital Samba

Video conferencing is a two-step process: compression and transfer. Analogue audio and video (AV) input from the camera and microphone is recorded during the compression step, indicating various elements like colours, brightness, depth, and shades. Then, codecs compress this data to save bandwidth before converting it into digital packets. 

During the transfer phase, these packets are transferred through the network to a cloud service provider, who then forwards them to other conference attendees.  Codecs decompress the data at the receiving endpoint so that analogue audio and video are optimally delivered to the recipient's screen and speakers.

Video conferencing offers various advantages, including enhanced collaboration, adaptability, cost-efficiency, and scalability. 

The differences between live streaming and video conferencing 

The main differences between live streaming and video conferencing are:

Live streaming 

Video conferencing

Live streaming broadcasts content to a large audience and primarily focuses on one-to-many communication.

Video conferencing emphasises interactive and collaborative communication among a smaller group.

Live streaming typically provides limited or delayed interaction.

With video, audio, and chat capabilities, video conferencing allows for real-time, two-way contact with faster response time. 

Live streaming allows for unlimited audience size.

Video conferencing is typically designed for smaller groups of participants

Live streaming is often used for entertainment, events, and broadcasting.

Video conferencing is great for meetings, collaboration, and real-time interactive sessions.

Live streaming may require higher bandwidth and specialised equipment for broadcasting.

Video conferencing places a greater emphasis on enabling continuous communication with minimum latency and efficient bandwidth use.


When is live streaming ideal? 

In many situations, live streaming is the best tool in the modern digital environment. The world of entertainment and performances is one of its main applications. 


When is live streaming ideal - Digital Samba


When is video conferencing ideal?

Video conferencing is ideal in various scenarios, mainly when collaboration and effective communication are paramount. Here are some situations where video conferencing excels:

Integrating the best of both experiences

Combining the strengths of live streaming and video conferencing opens a world of possibilities for enhanced audience engagement and interaction. Here are some possible integration strategies for these technologies:

  • Hybrid Events: Blend in-person and virtual experiences by hosting hybrid events. This keeps the advantages of face-to-face engagement while reaching a larger audience.
  • Interactive Features: Integrate discussion and Q&A from video conferencing into live streams to make them more participatory. This promotes real-time engagement and audience participation.
  • Breakout Sessions: During a live stream, use video conferencing for breakout sessions or smaller-group discussions. This facilitates targeted information sharing and collaboration.

The fusion of these technologies improves audience participation, increases reach, and accommodates various event forms. This dynamic integration allows digital encounters to be more immersive and engaging.

Embracing the future of communication with Digital Samba

Digital Samba, a leading video conferencing API and SDK, provides a frictionless solution for your communication needs. With its advanced features and reliable infrastructure, Digital Samba empowers you to host secure meetings, collaborate with teams worldwide, conduct interviews and training, and deliver presentations.

For GDPR-compliant and end-to-end encrypted video conferencing, embrace  Digital Samba. Discover how our solution can transform your communication into a seamless experience!

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