Multisite Video: Which Delivery Option Suits Your Church Best?
Among the major options available are prerecorded file delivery, satellite, point-to-point streaming and leveraging the public internet for streaming.
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Multisite video venues have spread across the United States, and have proven to be a dynamic church planting strategy for churches that are seeking a scalable and resource-efficient model for deep engagement within local communities.
Since the first multisite video campus launch nearly two decades ago by North Coast Church in California, options for video delivery to multisite campuses has progressed with many potential methods to choose between.
What are the options for multisite video delivery?
There are four major methods to deliver video to remote sites:
1) prerecorded file delivery,
3) point-to-point streaming, and
4) leveraging the public internet for streaming.
When choosing which method is right for your application, there are a few factors to weigh. These include quality of video and experience, reliability of playback, ease of use, delay of video playback, and of course, costs - both upfront and ongoing.
Video is captured and stored in a digital file (ex.: an mp4 recording) or on an analog tape, then transferred to the remote site, over a network or delivered by hand. When hand-delivered, this method of playback is playfully coined “sneakernet.”
When campuses are relatively close together, sneakernet is the most affordable method of streaming. Video quality can be uncompressed, resulting in very high resolution with no risk of artifacts. Stability is also a large factor here, as playback is reliable with the option to add redundancy with multiple files. It is also the simplest form of playback, requiring the least amount of technical understanding and the least expensive equipment.
File-based streaming requires close distances and long periods of time between the first service at the broadcast site and the first service for the multisite. Often times, pastors will even speak to an empty room earlier in the week to accomplish this type of video distribution.
File based delivery works well, if you are beginning the journey into multisite and have a Friday or Saturday night service at the site where the pastor is speaking from. Transporting this type of large file is often time consuming and stressful, and doesn’t give flexibility for which sermon to use.
If the pastor isn’t as comfortable with his first message, it has to be used anyway. As a church grows beyond two or three campuses, it becomes more important to transition into more scalable methods of video delivery.
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