Real-Time Streaming + VOD: How to Get the Best of Both Worlds

One of the greatest advantages of real-time streaming is its potential for interactivity. Sub-second latency is as close to true real time as technology allows, which is so fast that our brains can barely recognize the difference. This speed opens doors for audience participation in ways other kinds of streaming don’t enable: chatting, video sharing, hand raising, etc.  

Real-time streaming is in high demand nowadays. But you know what else has been in high demand for a long time now? Video on demand (VOD). You may assume these are separate video delivery methods and it’s impossible to have the best of both worlds — one is in real time and the other is for viewing whenever you want to, after all — but it’s more than possible; in some use cases, it’s necessary.   

If your business relies on interactive streaming, you also need a video solution that supports recording. This feature empowers you to repurpose live streams as VOD assets, thereby turning them into evergreen content. You can reap all the benefits of interactivity while publishing a library of content that can keep viewers who couldn’t attend live engaged for weeks, months, or even years.  

Let’s dive into why live streaming with recording for VOD is necessary and how to make it happen.  


Why Live Streaming Recording for VOD Is Necessary 

You don’t want your live streams to be one and done when they can continue to serve you for a long time to come. Say you’re hosting a live stream but a significant portion of your audience can’t attend — do you want to let them miss out, or host the same event over again? Neither option benefits anyone. Instead, it would be much more efficient to record the stream and publish it online for anyone who couldn’t tune in to watch on their own time.  

Here are some examples of where this is essential: 



Imagine you’re a student taking online classes. Most of these sessions are live and require you to sit at your laptop at the same time every week. Fortunately, the stream is in real-time, so you can ask questions and interact with your professor just as you would in person.  

What if something came up that made you skip a class, though? It’s frustrating to catch up on material you missed. Instead of making the teacher repeat what they said later or try to get the same information from a classmate, it would be so much easier if the class was recorded and posted online. No, you can’t ask questions anymore, but you can still hear the professor explain everything in their terms and listen to your fellow student’s questions that might be similar to yours. Even better, you can rewatch the session any time you need to refresh your memory or reinforce the material.  

Take surgical training, for example. Too many people can’t be in the operating room at the risk of compromising the procedure, but students have to learn somehow, right? It’s advantageous to have a camera in the room streaming to students who can watch the operation in real-time and learn by long-distance “shadowing.” Those who couldn’t attend can still watch the surgery later, and those who did can still benefit from rewatching.  

Students are more likely to turn to organizations and institutions that make learning easy this way. As an educator, you’ll serve your students better by making learning as accessible as possible regardless of their locations and busy schedules.  

This concept applies to workplace training and seminars, too. It’s great to tune in live the first time, but if trainees can’t, it’s not the end of the world because they have access to the content for reminders whenever they need.  


Meetings and Conferences

Virtual meetings and conferences are especially popular post-pandemic. Remote gatherings are much more convenient and permit a higher number of attendees. Real-time interactive streaming is essential for these kinds of events to imitate in-person meetings as much as possible, but again, what if not everyone can participate live? Someone who couldn’t join an in-person meeting would have to miss out, but an advantage digital events have is that you can record them and share the videos with everyone.  

Sharing past meetings and conference panels is an excellent way to build your content library, too. Someone who hasn’t heard of your business before may be excited to find a catalogue of conferences someone from your company has spoken at, thereby boosting your brand authority and providing a valuable resource.  


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Government Meetings

Are you as engaged in local politics as you’d like to be? If not, what’s holding you back? A likely answer is convenience and accessibility. You don’t have time to visit Town Hall regularly and participate in city council meetings. If they were streamed live, though, that would be a different story. Governments around the country use legislative content network Granicus, for instance, to stream public meetings that allow their constituents to tune in from home and participate as if they were there. Governments that record said meetings and publish them online make their conversations much more transparent, boosting trust and civic engagement.  



Most people don’t watch the news live anymore; they read or watch them later, which makes live stream recording for VOD an essential capability for news broadcasters. Viewers can catch up on the latest current events on their own schedules this way and glean more valuable information because the stream was live, not pre-recorded. VOD is also easier to republish on other platforms and social media sites to expand viewer reach.  


How to Record Live Streams for VOD

Not every video solution on the market enables you to record live streams, store them, and republish them as VOD content. Those that do also don’t necessarily boast sub-second latency that’s essential for interactivity. Wowza’s enhanced Real-Time Streaming at Scale feature for its cloud-based solution Wowza Video, however, makes all of the above possible. 

Real-Time Streaming at Scale leverages WebRTC, the fastest video delivery framework available. WebRTC isn’t known for scalability, though, so Wowza uses a custom video CDN that bypasses this limitation and empowers users to stream to a million viewers with sub-second latency. You can make your streams as interactive as you please with the ability to record and store them in a Wowza Video’s CMS for later publication.  


Don’t waste your time producing live streams and on-demand content separately. Make your interactive events continue to serve you by repurposing them as videos-on-demand. You’ll reach a whole new audience of viewers who can’t participate live while establishing trust and creating a collection of content that engages old and new viewers alike for a long time to come.  


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About Jacob Yoss

Jacob is Wowza’s resident content writer, creating blog posts, case studies, and more that educate Wowza’s audience. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Jacob currently travels the world as a digital nomad and is also passionate about social justice, art, and fantasy literature.