Streaming, webcast, on demand – What Are The Differences?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a huge increase in the demand for online and live streamed services to enable people to connect with events and services even if they can’t physically be there. 

Whilst online coverage can’t replace in-person connection, our interactions and behaviours have changed since the pandemic, with many still choosing to avoid large-scale events due to health, cost or logistics. Our reliance on event live streaming is only increasing, and with anything new, we get asked lots of questions around streaming and webcasts.

Live streaming a funeral service in a beautiful bright church

There are a few different terms for streaming. It can get confusing knowing what’s what at times. Here is a breakdown of some more common things you may hear:


Streaming, simply put, is a way of transmitting data over a network. Anything you watch over the internet that you don’t download first is being streamed. Think of how Netflix works – you decide what you want to watch, click play, and watch it straight away. If you haven’t had to wait for the entire thing to download first then the content is being streamed.


Live streaming is streaming of live content. This is the crux of what we provide and is the online version of a live TV broadcast. If you watch something over the internet that is happening right now then it is being live streamed.


On demand refers to a video that can be played at any time. This could be a live stream that has now finished and can be watched again or simply an uploaded video. Familiar platforms such as Netflix or YouTube host on demand videos, playable with just a click!


A webcast is a stream of either live or pre-recorded media. This is similar to traditional broadcasting – a live feed or recording is played from a single source and made available to many different people at once. Essentially, this is a term for live streaming something that might not necessarily be live. It differs from on demand content in that even if the source is recorded, it is only watchable at the specific time it is made available.

As you see, there are a few different terms for things that are functionally the same. The only real difference is whether the content is live, recorded, or watchable at any time. All of our live stream services include playback options too.

If you have any questions around the technicalities of our services, please get in touch.