How To Build a Live Streaming App on iOS and Android [2023 Update]

In 2023, mobile is king. Today our smartphones are much more like computers. People are increasingly relying on them for everything they do, including entertainment. We’re watching more video on your mobile devices than ever before.

An estimated 2.72 billion people will watch live or on-demand video on their mobile devices. This trend is so strong that mobile data usage is projected to quadruple by 2024 to accommodate the growing demand for high-definition mobile video streaming.

With this increasing shift to mobile devices, businesses and professional broadcasters must make their live video content fully available to viewers on mobile devices. After all, viewers need to be happy if we want to keep them. One of the best ways to do this is to create a live streaming app.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the main components of creating your own live streaming app. We will start with the foundations to build one. This will include the most important information you need to know and consider. We’ll also talk about the ever-expanding mobile streaming industry before comparing apps for streaming and watching mobile video content.

Let’s not forget the technical details. We’ll delve into the power of HTML5 video players and how to configure mobile apps via APIs and SDKs from professional streaming video platforms. Plus, we’ll also tell you how Dacast’s expert technicians can help you get up and running in no time.

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Table of Contents:

  • What is a live streaming app?
  • Why is streaming important? mobile?
  • The basics of live streaming app development
  • What is a streaming video API?
  • What is a streaming video SDK? live streaming?
  • What is an HTML5 Video Player?
  • How to Create a Live Streaming App in 9 Steps
  • Get Inspired by Other Apps
  • Types of live streaming apps
  • What to do after starting a live streaming app
  • Conclusion

What is a live streaming app?

live video streaming app development
Use your mobile app for either streaming or viewing.

Mobile live streaming has a double meaning. It could refer to streaming video from a mobile device or accessing online video content on a mobile device. It’s important to recognize that this post refers to viewers accessing and streaming content from their iPhones and Androids.

Many broadcasters use mobile streaming apps to host their streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu.

Creating a custom mobile app allows broadcasters and content creators to design the exact type of user experience they want. Modern live streaming mobile apps vary widely in style and functionality. Some are simple platforms, while others provide access to an entire library of live and on-demand streaming content.

Mobile apps are ideal for broadcasters looking to monetize their video content. For example, creating a scalable mobile app has the potential to significantly increase your subscriber base.

Unsurprisingly, creating your own live streaming app requires some resources. These investments can be considerable at first, but they can help expand the potential of your streaming business.

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Building a live streaming app can work great for TV stations, sports broadcasts, news, and others. media outlets that have a large collection of content and live events to share with their audience.

Why is mobile streaming important?

mobile live streaming
Mobile live streaming is becoming more and more popular.</figcaption

Before we get started on creating a streaming app, let’s look at some of the statistics around mobile streaming so you have a better idea of ​​the importance of streaming live mobile.

These figures demonstrate that the growing trend towards mobile viewing will It’s here to stay.

  • By 2023, three-quarters of all mobile traffic will be video. Mobile video is pushing the boundaries of data and helping drive new technologies like 5G.
  • More and more fans are watching sports on mobile phones and devices. Over 30% of fans now stream sports to their phones or tablets.
  • 80% of sports fans use a “multiscreen” approach while watching sports, checking stats, or chatting with friends while watching.
  • According to David Jurenka, a senior at the NFL vice president of digital media, “Fans can’t tell the difference between a TV, a tablet, or a phone.”

Building a live streaming app is a great way to get in front of your fans. viewers on their mobile devices.

Basics of Live Streaming App Development

When it comes to live streaming app development, there are a number of different approaches you can take a station Developers can be as creative as they want, but all live streaming apps require a common technology.

Before creating a live streaming app with Dacast or another online video host, it’s important to identify and understand the three essential technical aspects of the mobile streaming game.

To give you a better foundation in building live streaming applications, let’s discuss the streaming video API, the live streaming SDK and HTML5 video players.

What is a streaming video API?

The term API is short for Application Programming Interface . The API is a simplified, standardized coding language that allows a developer to easily interact with a given software or application.

In other words, the API is like a set of detailed instructions for developers. These make it easy to create a mobile app that interfaces with an online video platform like Dacast. Your developers can use the commands specified in the API to create a mobile app that connects with the streaming platform.

When it comes to professional streaming, there are two types of APIs to consider: player and video.

The video API helps you access your content management system (CMS) to customize the backend streaming experience and access additional features. The Player API is used to customize the video player.

When you create a live streaming app, you should use the Player API as it allows your developers to create a player that works seamlessly with custom mobile apps.

According to Streaming Media, “Video workflow and delivery environments are incredibly complex, and the way to create a best-in-class system or even just gain finer control over tasks, especially when delivering video at scale—it’s by API.”

Most companies are migrating to API-based workflows for online video. According to our internal analysis, the number of viewers Watching Dacast live streams and video-on-demand on mobile devices increased from 9% in 2016 to 39% in 2017. That’s roughly a fivefold increase, with that increase being greatest among broadcasters using Dacast’s APIs. Dacast, and the number continues to rise today.

What is a Live Streaming SDK?

SDK software development velopment kit
A live streaming SDK is a mobile software development toolkit, which enables broadcasters to create streaming applications.

The key element in building a mobile app is a live streaming SDK.

SDK stands for Software Development Kit. NordicAPIs defines an SDK as “a set of tools, helper libraries, relevant documentation, code samples, processes, or guides that enable developers to build software applications on a specific platform.”

In other words, A Live Streaming SDK is a type of technology that allows developers to easily create real working examples. To put it in perspective, the Streaming Video API is like a set of instructions, and the Streaming Video SDK is more of a set of tools to help you implement those instructions.

Dacast offers iOS and Android SDK to make live video streaming app development easy for broadcasters and developers. These live streaming SDKs let you build, test, submit to app stores, and launch a mobile video app in as little as a month.

With the support of these toolkits, you can also integrate all of the great features of the Dacast platform, including:

  • Video monetization
  • Analytics
  • Security Options

Dacast code is imported directly into Xcode or Android Studio, allowing a developer to get started right away. Comprehensive documentation makes it easy to use these SDKs as efficiently as possible.

We’d also like to point out that in the past, m3u8 bindings were used to build mobile streaming apps. However, SDKs have since superseded this technology.

What is an HTML5 video player?

html5 video player
By using HTML5, developers no longer care what browser or extension their visitors use.

There was a time when Adobe Flash Player was good enough to stream almost the entire web. However, things have changed. This player is no longer powerful enough for modern devices, nor does it work with mobile devices.

To keep up with the explosive use of mobile devices, Apple developed a protocol called HLS. This allows viewers to view video content in an HTML5 video player for all devices. HTML5 has revolutionized the video landscape. Now he is the new king of the block.

The HTML5 video player works universally. It is compatible with all mobile devices. And it is the best video player to build your mobile streaming app.

How to Build a Live Streaming App in 9 Steps

live streaming app
Developing live streaming apps is very simple.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to creating a live streaming app:

1. Build a team

Video app development is fairly easy, but it requires technical knowledge that you can’t get by watching a few YouTube videos or creating a test project. You’ll need back-end and front-end developers, business strategists, marketing experts, user interface experts, and graphic designers.

From a time and financial standpoint, it’s better to build the app only once. time with the right equipment. from scratch instead of trying various cheaper developers who do a mediocre job.

Modern video application development is highly competitive. To make your app stand out, you need a team of experts to create a live streaming app for Android or iOS.

2. Choose an Online Video Host

To build a live streaming app, you’ll need to invest in online video hosting. All of your video content will live on this platform and you will simply embed your video players into your application.

The platform you choose will depend on your unique streaming needs. Here are some things to look for in a video hosting provider:

  • Storage: Find out how much storage you need to offer your users before you start streaming video from android. application development Storage may depend on the purpose and characteristics of your application. For example, if you’re developing an app that offers broad categorization and offline downloads, you’ll need more storage than an app that only supports backing up a limited number of streams.
  • Security: You must offer exceptional security features so that your users trust your platform. Some of the features you should work on while developing a streaming video platform include password protection, secure paywalls, dynamic token security, HTTPS, and SSL encryption.
  • Features: If you’re looking to build a live streaming app, features like APIs, SDKs, and an HTML5 video player are non-negotiables.
  • Additional features: look for deals on additional features based on your streaming goals. If you want to generate revenue from your video content, you’ll want to look into monetization support.
  • Budget: Your budget should also come into play. Look at different pricing plans and see what you can afford. Consider the return on investment (ROI) you want when setting your budget.

3. Choose Your Content Delivery Network

One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll also need to choose a CDN if you want to build a live streaming application that can scale (and why not you? right?).

Choosing the right CDN and negotiating the best rates is something you want to be very strategic about. Fortunately, if you choose a platform like Dacast, you can take advantage of our relationships with CDNs and the affordable rates we’ve been able to secure.

To see how Dacast stacks up against the top platforms on the market, check out our comparison of video hosting platforms. If you decide to use Dacast, you must register for an account. Premium accounts and above have access to the Dacast Video API.

4. Download SDK for iOS or Android

Once you choose your online video hosting platform, download the Live Streaming SDK provided by your platform. If you’re using Dacast, this is pretty simple. All of our API and SDK code is documented in a player documentation page that is fairly easy to navigate.

At this point, you’ll need to figure out if you’re developing an app for iOS or Android. You can create both, but focus on one at a time. We recommend starting with the one that aligns with the operating system most used by your audience.

5. Load the SDK into mobile development software

You will need a mobile development environment, such as Android Studio for Android or Xcode, which is popular for iOS.

Please note Note that while you can’t yet develop a native iOS app with Android Studio, there are still ways to develop a hybrid app that can run on both iOS and Android devices. Similarly, you can use Xcode to develop Android apps, but you’ll need a $99/year Apple Developer account to launch these apps on the Apple app store. That said, you should choose an app that supports your specific development and streaming needs.

Once you’ve chosen one, upload your SDK to this platform.

6.Start Live Streaming App Development

Use the provided API code and Live Streaming SDK tools to develop your mobile app. At this point, you’ll customize your app to best represent your brand and create the best viewer experience.

This is where you’ll also consider what features you want to include. The following are common features you might consider:

  • Sign Up: Consider whether you want to allow users to sign up using social media accounts, email accounts, user IDs, Apple , etc.
  • Personal profile: For example, will you promote real photos, biographies or the possibility of having followers?
  • Chat: Comments and chat boxes are ways to promote the community in your app.
  • Search Feature: A search feature makes it easy to find videos. Also, consider whether you’ll take advantage of hashtags.
  • Notifications: What kind of notifications you want to alert your users about and how you want the notifications to look. as? Some examples of common notifications are reminders, communications, and other timely information.
  • Streaming Schedule: Depending on the type of live streaming app you choose, this can be an incredibly powerful feature. useful for helping your live streams get more viewers
  • Donation: Will you give streamers on your platform the ability to collect donations for their hard work?

This is where the support of an experienced developer comes into play. Hiring a professional will help you bring your vision to life. A small bug can affect the functionality of your application, so the support of someone with technical knowledge is important.

When vetting developers, be sure to prioritize security awareness as well. Building a live streaming app is exciting and apps are usually built prioritizing functionality first, but today security is becoming even more important. This is even more true if you want a live streaming app that can monetize (who can’t?).

Since there are so many live streaming app alternatives out there today, users are less forgiving. with platforms experiencing breaches. . The damaging effects on your reputation may be irreversible. That’s what happened to Sony during the infamous 2014 Sony cyberattack that damaged its reputation in Hollywood.

7. Work on UI/UX

A bad user interface is one of the things that will cost you customers. Before you create a streaming app, do some competitor analysis and determine the features of your existing apps that your ideal users praise.

Then take inspiration from them and incorporate even better features into your streaming app. Also, remember to work on both UI and UX because apps with a UI don’t always have a good UX.

So build your video streaming platform in such a way that it provides a smooth experience from from the first time the user logs into the application to their last interaction, in addition to designing an attractive interface.

8. Beta Testing and Soft Release

An important step in the development of streaming video applications is beta testing. You need to develop a user persona for your testers, determine how many testers you need, and decide on a testing schedule.

Testing gives you valuable feedback on critical features such as performance, user interface, lag, navigation, and more to improve before launch.

While skipping this step will speed up your app’s time to market, it could cost you a lot in the long run and you risk launching a lesser quality app.

Things to pay attention to during testing:

  • Identify opportunities to improve or add features
  • Major and minor issues
  • Quality guarantee

9. Package and submit the app

Once your app is complete, package the app and submit it for approval to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The process approval may take 1-3 days. Again, if you want to submit an app to the Apple App Store, you’ll need to sign up for the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99.

Remember that the process for submitting a paid app has additional steps compared to by submitting a free application.

This is the best guide to this process.

Alternatively, you can use internal distribution mechanisms and have viewers download the app directly from your website.

Take inspiration from other apps

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many live streaming apps out there and companies that have spent millions figuring out best practices like what increases engagement.

Visit the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store to find live streaming apps that you can be inspired, especially those with whom you will be competing closely.

Next, ask yourself questions like: What do app users like? What are the things they don’t like? What are the common things that users leave positive feedback about? What are the common things that users leave negative reviews about? Reviews about other apps are a gold mine to improve your app.

Types of Live Streaming Apps

Once you’re inspired, Consider that there are several types of live streaming applications that you can create. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.

Video on Demand (movies and shows)

Want to create the next Netflix? Or a niche version of Netflix? Video-on-demand streaming exploded during the pandemic. People love being able to switch off their brains and watch some videos. There’s still plenty of room to create live streaming apps for a variety of movie genres.

Apps you can take inspiration from are Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu. Apart from these giants, also consider taking inspiration from BroadwayHD and Criterion Channel.

Some of the key features that you should include in such an app are:

  • Easy navigation: People watch on-demand content to wind down at the end of the day. Therefore, you should prioritize simple navigation and categorization when creating a live streaming app.
  • Search and filter: The more content you have in your app, the more difficult it is to for users to find what they are looking for. Your algorithm should be such that it quickly recognizes keywords and displays the content users are looking for.
  • Monetization options: on-demand content is often placed behind a wall paid, so monetization options are essential. Find out how many options you can include, such as subscription, ads, and a one-time purchase for a limited time.
  • Video analytics: Your users want to understand how their content is performing. Features to include here are number of views, watch time, and so on.
  • Security: You need to assure your users that their on-demand content won’t be hacked and sold somewhere else. For that, pay attention to essential security features while building a streaming app.

Live Streaming Sports

Are you looking to create the next ESPN+? Sports have stood the test of time and it’s no wonder live sports streaming apps are huge today. And they’ll just keep getting more popular.

There are plenty of opportunities to build a live sports streaming app without feeling like you’re competing with giants like ESPN+ and Fox Sports. Some ideas to flex your creative muscles are live sports streaming apps that cater to a local audience or are more geared towards something like high school sports. Whatever your intentions, there is plenty of room for innovation in the space.

Get inspired by YipTV, LaLiga Sports TV, which caters to Spanish sports, and FloSports, which covers a variety of niche sporting events. , including women’s rugby, MMA and much more.

Some of the key features that you should include in such an app are:

  • Mobile Friendly : The trend of streaming sports on mobile devices is increasing. There has been a 37% increase since 2021 in the number of people watching sports on their mobile phones in the UK alone. So make sure your app is mobile friendly.
  • Stats Window: Watching sports is often not complete without a player or game stats window on the side, so be sure to include this while building a live streaming app.
  • Extensive programming library: If your app must serve a global audience, then it should include as many live streaming channels as possible. sports as possible.
  • 4K Streaming and HDR: Deliver higher quality streaming to enhance the viewing experience for your users.
  • Downloads Offline: Sports fans love to watch replays of important in-game events and watch exact matches repeatedly, so your users would appreciate having an offline streaming option.

Audio broadcast live

Such Maybe you want to build the next Spotify. Or a more specialized version of Spotify. If so, this is for you.

There are opportunities to create podcasts that cater to specific genres or topics. Similarly, there’s plenty of room for creating audio-only streaming apps that help niche artists gain exposure.

Get inspired by platforms like Luminary Podcasts, Breaker – The Social Podcast App, Pandora and IDAGIO for classical music. music.

Some of the technical specifications that you should include in such an application are:

  • Compatibility with devices because people stream music from their phones , laptops, audio mixers and other devices.
  • Advanced search and categorization to make it easier for users to find artists, albums and songs.
  • Social media integrations for sharing music or clips to Instagram and Facebook.
  • Custom playlists and music collections based on user history and preferences.
  • Multiple streaming option. DJs and music producers who broadcast their content live would need this option.

Platforms that allow streamers to build a following

Apps Live streams that allow users to have followers are nothing new. However, there is still plenty of room for niche platforms. For example, Twitch is aimed at gamers and TikTok at Gen Z’ers (well, at least initially it was). There will always be room to target different niches.

Some of the key features you should include in such an app are:

  • Audience engagement so players and priests can answer questions and take surveys.
  • User profiles. If multiple users want to stream from the same institution, having different profiles will make streaming convenient.
  • Parental Controls. Underage children make up a significant part of live streamers in the gaming niche, so consider adding parental control features while developing a video streaming platform to make your app stand out.
  • Payment gateways for live streamers to monetize their content and get paid conveniently.
  • Great overlay options

What to do after Starting a Live Streaming App

Once your app has been submitted and approved by the App Store and/or Google Play Store, it’s time to promote it.

First, you’ll want to encourage your current audience to download your app. Post on social media and send a blast to your email list.

From there, you need to devise a strategic marketing plan. Determine the best way to reach your audience and how you are going to make your offer. You can use content marketing, paid ads, or a combination of both.

If you’re monetizing your video, your desired conversion will be more than an app download. You may want your audience to subscribe to or purchase access to specific content.

There are several monetization models you can choose from. As a summary, here are a few:

  • Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD): With this model, you can make viewers or listeners only view or listen to the content if they pay an ongoing fee. Think Netflix and FloSports.
  • Ad-Based Video On Demand (AVOD): You can allow advertisers to advertise on your app’s videos. Instead, you can charge viewers a small fee so they can get rid of ads entirely. Think Spotify and YouTube Premium.
  • Transaction-Based Video On Demand (TVOD): With TVOD, you can earn money by charging one-time fees to access specific content. or special events such as sports championships. Think Sky Box Office or Apple iTunes.

Final Thoughts

mobile streaming app
Create a live streaming app to reach your viewers in a new way.</figcaption

Considering how popular mobile viewing is today, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to take advantage of it. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever for businesses and professionals to reap the benefits of building their own apps.

While there are some technical aspects, the process is easy to understand. It’s also easy to follow and apply, especially if you have a technical expert working in your corner.

Dacast offers that expert support. We provide technical support, consultation, and other services to get you up and running quickly. With Dacast, you will receive a host of better video solutions. Feature-rich live video tools. White labeling. Video API. Online video hosting. HTML5 video delivery. Dacast does it all.

You can get started now by signing up for our 14-day free trial. It’s risk free, quick and easy. Start building and streaming today. No credit card required.

Start your free trial.

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