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VOD vs. Livestreaming: What's Better For You?

Before deciding on VOD vs. livestreaming, it's important to understand what they are and their advantages and disadvantages.

Broadcast Operator , Content Distribution
John Yacano10.08.20223 min read

Online video streaming has taken over the world as more and more people are cutting cords and making the switch from traditional TVs to online videos. According to a survey conducted in the US in 2021, more than 70% of respondents said they were inclined towards online content and did not subscribe to satellite or cable TV.

To dive deeper, read our complete guide to video content management systems.

Online streaming can either refer to video-on-demand (VOD) or livestreams. As a content creator, you are faced with a difficult decision, whether to livestream or have videos on-demand on your OTT platform. There is no correct answer here—it depends on your target audience and your vision for your platform. A hybrid of the two is what most content creators go for.

Before deciding on VOD vs. livestreaming, it's important to understand what they are and their advantages and disadvantages.

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What Is VOD?

With VOD, your users can access your content whenever they want. The videos are pre-recorded and edited before uploading for a better user experience. This is the biggest reason why online streaming has become such a hit—users don't need to consume content according to the schedule set by the broadcaster. Instead, they can do so at their own convenience.

What Is Livestreaming?

As the name suggests, livestreams are videos that are delivered to the user as they're being recorded. There's minimum editing involved as the delivery happens in real-time. Livestreams are usually used to showcase events like sporting tournaments, beauty pageants, and award shows. They're also used on social platforms like Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitch where audiences can interact with the streamers.

VOD vs. Livestreams 

Let's take a look at the factors that could influence your decision to choose VOD or livestreaming for your content.

Video Quality

Because of the heavy editing involved, the video quality with VOD is far superior. Since livestreaming delivers your videos in real-time, there is very little scope for modifying the picture quality. It's difficult to deliver livestreams at high resolutions, which even large platforms like YouTube and Twitch struggle with. They've still not been able to reliably and consistently transfer these live videos at resolutions higher than 1080p.

Level of Control

Since you have time to view the videos and process them before making them available to your users, you can exert better control and eliminate unwanted elements that you wouldn't want your user to see. With livestreams, if there's a blunder, your users will be able to see it, as you're seeing it at the same time as them.


Since video-on-demand can be accessed at all times, users are not bound by a schedule. They do not have to plan their life around the time the program will be aired or streamed. They can watch the desired content at their own discretion. This makes the entire experience very convenient for the viewers. With livestreams, audiences must be available at the exact time the video is being streamed, making them slightly less desirable than VOD.


If you want your videos to be interactive, livestreams are your go-to option. With VOD, since the videos are pre-recorded, it's not possible for users to interact with them. Interactions make your videos more engaging, attracting repeat users to your platform.

What's the Verdict?

You'll only be attracting one type of user if you choose between VOD and livestreaming. A balance of the two is what you need to attract maximum viewers. Audience engagement is as important as acquiring new users, and this can only happen if you're mixing it up and giving them a taste of both VOD as well as livestreams. 

If you need help getting started with your OTT platform, we're here to help you. Contact us today.

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