You might be wondering whether to choose Red5 Pro vs. Agora for your live streaming video development. And we understand - it can be hard to figure out which one is better for you and your specific needs.
Agora is an established communications platform as a service (CPaaS) company that strives to provide robust interactive voice chat, live messaging, and live video streaming options for application development. Here at Red5 Pro, we share that passion for live video streaming, and we make it our goal to create customizable video streaming software that works in real time. But although there are some commonalities, there are also some key differences that might drive you to choose one over the other.
We’ve put together a list of 6 comparisons between key live streaming features in Red5 Pro vs. Agora to help you decide.
Red5 Pro and Agora both boast real-time video and audio streaming with data channel support, stream recording, and the ability to broadcast a variety of video resolutions. However, Red5 Pro offers a few features that are not yet available with Agora, particularly when it comes to stream transcoding and ABR support.
Transcoding allows a user to publish multiple variants of a single video stream and deliver to the subscribers the best variant based on their available bandwidth. Red5 Pro’s transcoding includes the ability to subscribe to a stream via adaptive bitrate (ABR), which allows dynamic upgrading and downgrading of stream quality based on the subscriber’s network conditions. Additionally, Red5 Pro allows for transcoding VP8 and H264 video as well as Opus audio, to meet the needs of an assortment of use cases. These features are not currently available when using Agora.
Agora offers a real-time engagement platform as a service (PaaS), which lets users manage, build, and scale their applications with ease. There are some drawbacks to their approach, however, particularly around flexibility in deployment options. Red5 Pro allows for deployment in private data centers along with edge, cloud, multi-cloud, and even offline deployment, while the Agora PaaS offers customers no choice in where their solution is deployed. Red5 Pro also permits CDN integration with the product and is currently developing a PaaS option for those who prefer it.
In terms of development, Agora provides a wide range of APIs, but the API-only approach ultimately means less flexibility for developers, as they are limited only to what is offered. Red5 Pro, on the other hand, offers flexible and programmable components that allow for customization.
3. Autoscaling and Stream Management
Related to deployment, Red5 Pro provides autoscaling technology with the help of our Stream Manager, an architecture management and information service. It automates the process of creating and deleting Red5 Pro server instances so that they scale up and down as needed without requiring constant monitoring or manually adding and deleting instances as subscribers join or leave. The Stream Manager also coordinates between broadcasters and subscribers to connect them to the best server for their broadcast and subscribe sessions. This process reduces unnecessary server usage so that users never pay for more than they need. The Stream Manager also monitors the Red5 Pro service on each node and replaces faulty nodes to prevent service disruptions. This is a convenient, helpful technology that is easily accessible with Red5 Pro’s model. Behind the scenes, Agora has a similar system to handle service failures, but it is hidden behind APIs. Red5 Pro’s model allows for more transparency and ease of use.
4. Diversity of Developer Tools
When it comes to developer tools, Agora and Red5 Pro both have plentiful options available for users. Both companies offer HTML5 SDKs, mobile SDKs, and developer APIs.
Agora shines when it comes to live chat SDKs. There is a general Real-Time Messaging and Chat SDK that can be used for projects requiring in-app chat rooms, calling and call management, and more. Agora also has a separate Unity SDK that allows for real-time voice communication and chat messaging specifically within Unity projects, to upgrade your gaming experience. In comparison, if gaming is your area of interest, Red5 Pro currently has both a Unity SDK and an Unreal Engine plugin under development, both of which will improve the company’s connections to cloud-based and online multiplayer gaming development, among other use cases.
Red5 Pro has a few additional developer tools that are not currently available with Agora, namely the plugins for React Native, Cordova, and Xamarin. To learn more about any of these options, please contact our team.
5. Transport Protocol Compatibility
Both Red5 Pro and Agora understand the power of WebRTC as a live streaming transport protocol. When done properly, WebRTC allows for fast and reliable interactive real-time broadcasting. This is a robust solution that can handle the wide range of customizations and creative projects that developers design. However, for Agora, this is the sole option when it comes to streaming. Red5 Pro has mastered WebRTC streaming, but is also compatible with several other transport protocols, including RTMP, RTSP, and SRT ingest; RTMP Restreaming; and MPEG-TS Multicast and Unicast. With so many options, you can bring any idea to life.
6. Attractive Pricing Model
When designing a new application, it’s important to choose software that can grow with the product, both in terms of connection handling and pricing. Agora follows a pay-as-you-go, per-stream per-minute pricing model, which can become cost-prohibitive at scale. Red5 Pro’s per-node pricing allows for a more cost-effective solution at scale. We discussed the importance of autoscaling earlier, which increases and decreases server instances as needed so that you are never using or paying for more resources than necessary. This helps keep costs to a minimum.
For those who like the convenience of a hosted solution, Red5 Pro has a hosted solution in development and, in the meantime, offers an Enterprise plan in which we set up and manage an account for you.
The bottom line is that Red5 Pro is designed for creativity. Intended to be highly customizable, Red5 Pro allows you to develop a product to fit your goals and bring your ideas to life. These ideals are held up in all aspects of our product, including deployment options, development tools, and compatible transport protocols.
If any of these features pique your interest, we would love to discuss them further! For more information on the feature differences between Red5 Pro and Agora, or to discuss your plans for a flexible live streaming solution, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call.