Streaming videos online is one of the leading ways of distributing media in today’s economy, and it can be a great asset to your congregation. Setting your services up for online streaming is also less expensive than you might imagine, with just a few pieces of equipment and software needed to get started.
For a simple video streaming setup, you can use just a decent personal computer and a video camera. This is a great option for churches with smaller budgets. A prebuilt computer from a local electronics store should be available for around $500, including monitor and accessories. You can further lower the cost by just purchasing the computer tower, then supplement with second-hand accessories. Video camera prices vary widely based on the quality of the camera. For a decent model, you should expect to pay over $150.
An audio mixer is one additional tool to consider, and for medium to large churches it is likely one is already available. If one is not available, an 8 channel audio mixer, which should be enough inputs for most churches, can be purchased for around $300.
A video mixer is the next most important option, but the pricing easily clears four digits. It should only be looked at for those who want to put a professional edge on their video, as you can expect to pay professional prices.
You will need broadband Internet access, software for capturing and streaming the video, and a hosting service for a website or video stream.
A high-end broadband service might cost $100 a month, but as you will not be directly streaming to viewers, an average service at about $50 will suffice.
There a large number of options for video recording and streaming. The prices range from freeware to $40 for professional level software.
Unless you expect hundreds of viewers, you can opt with a simple HTTP streaming option that works on any website that supports video. There are free options in website hosting, and paid hosting should not run more than $10 a month for a simple website. For streaming servers, the price increases to around $50 a month.
Total Initial and Recurring Costs
The total minimum investment consists of a computer, camera, and software. For the highest priced options in these categories, the total should be near $1,000, with recurring Internet access and server costs of $150 a month. For the lowest priced options, the initial total should be around $700, with recurring costs of about $60 a month. With just 100 active members in the congregation, you can set your church up for streaming video with each person tithing a few dollars, making it an affordable option for a church of any size. Church video streaming is truly within reach for most churches today.
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