Live Webcasting Software

Often when we speak to businesses about Panopto’s live webcasting software, the first question we hear is, “How is this different from GoToMeeting or WebEx?”

On the surface, there are a number of similarities between webcasting software and web conferencing software. Both involve the transmission of video to multiple parties. Both allow for some level of interactivity between the person speaking and other attendees.

However, these technologies have a number of important functional differences in their scalability and in the user experience. For example, web conferencing software is more conducive to smaller meetings where there’s a need for conversation among many or all participants.  Webcasting software is optimized for presentations where an individual or small group presents content to a larger audience.

In this interview, Eric Burns, Panopto’s co-founder and chief product officer, discusses the fundamental distinction between web conferencing software and live webcasting – latency.  Latency is the time it takes for data to get from one point to another.  With video, latency determines the delay from the time the presenter shows something to the time the audience sees it.

With web conferencing software, target latency is less than a second, making it conducive to live interactive conversations. There’s a tradeoff, however, when it comes to video latency.  In general, solutions with lower latency have lower scalability limits. That’s why most web conferencing software has an upper limit of 500-1000 attendees.  Webcasting software, by contrast, has higher latency, but allows for audiences in the thousands or tens of thousands.  So the two technologies are complementary and best suited for different purposes.

As part of our conversation, Eric also discusses the technological breakthroughs that are enabling anyone to stream live webcasts from their laptops, and the impact this will have on webcast software adoption in the next few years.

For more information on live webcasting, click the video below or go to


Published: December 09, 2013