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Microsoft Stream Analysis (Classic): Where It Works, Limitations & Alternatives

By Rabeea Tahir & Shahan Zafar
A person streaming a video

Microsoft Stream Classic is a video content management system that is probably included in your Office 365 subscription, or should I say - was included. Microsoft Stream recently announced a new vision for Microsft Stream where the new version will make video a part of SharePoint. The idea is to have a system to centrally access all types of files - as opposed to having a separate video portal as in the case of the classic stream. 

The change in vision for Microsoft Stream may be ideal for many - those that prefer all documents in one place as it makes it easy to share data and also ensure privacy and governance. However, certain features of the Classic Stream will be lost, for instance:

  • There are no playback speed options in the new Stream. 
  • There's no pre-encoding to enable ready playback for large video files.
  • The new Stream doesn't allow you to add quizzes or forms to videos.
  • There's more - Read in our blog on the New Microsoft Stream.

Nevertheless, for those that are looking for a video portal approach to managing and streaming their content, there are other options. VIDIZMO, is one such platform that offers a YouTube-like portal to stream live and on-demand videos to internal or external audiences. It's packed with features that the new Stream doesn't offer such as AI-generated transcripts, transcoding, video embedding and more. it integrates with MS Teams and SharePoint, giving your users a choice - access video files separately or along with other files. 

Through VIDIZMO, you get access to added features on top of what the New Microsoft Stream offers in SharePoint. Click here to learn about additional features you get for video in SharePoint.

webcast picLearn More About VIDIZMO SharePoint IntegrationGet Free Trial on the Azure Marketplace

 

Table of Contents

What is Microsoft Stream Classic?

What is the New Microsoft Stream?

What Microsoft Stream Does Not Offer?

Our Analysis: Where Microsoft Stream Stands

 

What is Microsoft Stream Classic?

Microsoft Stream Classic is a corporate YouTube-like video platform that allows people in organizations to upload, share, manage, and view videos from a centralized video platform.

Microsoft first entered the enterprise video market in 2015 with the launch of Office 365 video, which has now converged into Stream. Despite its promise, Stream currently only offers an intelligent and password-protected enterprise YouTube, without several basic functionalities provided by most industry-recognized enterprise video platforms.

Microsoft Stream (Classic) provides the following product capabilities as part of Microsoft Office 365 enterprise subscription:

Video upload and (limited) metadata editing: Stream's input of video file types is limited to formats supported by Azure Media Services. Users can upload video files individually or in bulk. Once uploaded, the file owner can make changes to file name/ title, add a description, choose a thumbnail, assign hashtags or upload caption files.

Video playback on internal sites: Once the videos are automatically transcoded for playback on all devices, users can watch the videos within the Stream portal. However, it must be noted that the classic Stream does not support external stakeholder access and only allows authorized active directory users to access the videos, whether they are embedded on other organizational sites or played within Microsoft Stream.

Video sharing within the organization: The Classic Stream allows video owners to share and assign videos to one or multiple channels, a custom group of viewers, or make the videos private. The video files can only be shared within the company via a link, email or an embed code, which displays the content on other organizational platforms.

Organizing videos: The Classic Stream enables users to create channels to organize videos by topics or other categories. Channel creation and content contribution can be restricted to an authorized list of users. Videos can also be organized in mini-group portals, only available to authorized group members. Groups also contain channels for further categorization of content. However, you can't create folders for simplification or add custom metadata (such as author name, shoot location etc.) to enable better filtering of videos. 

Intelligent video search: As part of an upgraded premium plan, Microsoft Stream features a range of intelligent features that improve content searchability within the portal. All videos are supported with speech to text transcription, which becomes searchable text that helps users jump to any spoken word in the video. However, Stream doesn't offer face detection in a clickable timeline that shows every person who appears in the video.

Microsoft Stream Classic is an enterprise YouTube that only fulfills a few business video use cases in a password-protected cloud video storage solution with limited streaming capabilities. However, for organizations that have grown out of rudimentary video use cases to the more advanced enterprise-grade video application and integration with line of business operations, Microsoft Stream is far from competing with enterprise video platforms such as VIDIZMO, which has been recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management.

Microsoft Stream Infographic

Microsoft Stream Classic, however, has had a new vision and will be known as the New Microsoft Stream. Some of the features that were included in the new Microsoft Stream

What is the New Microsoft Stream?

The New Microsoft Stream will integrate video into OneDrive and SharePoint - essentially creating a centralized place to manage both documents and videos. The idea is to merge the strengths of the Classic Stream (video playback) with SharePoint (document management). For instance, in the classic Stream you couldn't share video files externally but now you can through SharePoint. It works the other way round as well. For instance, in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams' recordings weren't ingested into your folders, making it difficult to share and collaborate on. Now they are!

You can benefit from the following in the New Microsoft Stream:

  • Better organization of video as now you can categorize them neatly in folders.
  • Recorded MS Teams meetings will be automatically ingested into the Team SharePoint (or OneDrive folders for private meetings).
  • Share videos outside your organization through links.
  • Benefit from APIs to integrate your SharePoint videos with other applications.
  • Set custom retention policies for deleted video files.

However, you'll lose on the following Microsoft Stream Classic features:

  • Playback speed options will no longer be available. 
  • Editable video transcripts in multiple languages won't be available.
  • Video files won't be pre-encoded so your users might struggle to watch them in low bandwidths or certain devices. 
  • Can't add quizzes or forms to videos.
  • No options for easily embedding video files.

What Microsoft Stream does not offer?

Microsoft Stream (Classic and New) lack a range of fundamental platform capabilities that are integral for most medium to large organizations employing video for critical business functions.

Over the years, many of Stream’s lacking capabilities have become a standard requirement for most enterprise video platforms in the market. In fact, the capabilities mentioned in the Gartner Market Guide for Enterprise Video Content Management, are missing from Microsoft Stream.

VIDIZMO, recognized as a Challenger in Gartner Magic Quadrant for EVCM, contains all capabilities offered by Microsoft Stream and much more. 

Learn More About VIDIZMO

Following are 18 main video platform functionalities that are not available in Microsoft Stream:

  1. No External Sharing or Viewing (Classic Stream)
    Microsoft Stream does not offer external sharing or public viewing. Video use is no longer limited to a company’s internal workforce, and this is where Microsoft Stream falls short. Organizations now increasingly need to give external access to partners, investors, third-party contributors and even customers, an option that is not available in Microsoft Stream since it only allows internal content viewing and sharing. This problem, however, is addressed in the New Stream.

    However, video platforms like VIDIZMO can provide secure external stakeholder access to specific videos or dedicated portals for public access or viewing by specific third parties. For instance, VIDIZMO can share marketing videos on a company’s website and social media channels for viewing by customers, prospects, etc. by making them available for public viewing. Similarly, any CEO broadcasts could also be sent to investors, partners or other stakeholders by giving them external viewing access.

    Within external access too, VIDIZMO provides several options, ranging from YouTube-like public access, password-protected videos in end-to-end encrypted formats, or a dedicated external YouTube-like portal with third-party username and password credentials.

    Learn more about Video Sharing in VIDIZMO.

  2. Content Organization and Searchability (Classic Stream)
    It's difficult to organize large amounts of videos in Microsoft Stream, with options to create channels but no folders. Moreover, Microsoft Stream offers very basic search features. You can only search by title and description. No filters, No tags! 

    This problem is addressed in the New Stream. However, a new problem has risen where the new Stream doesn't provide a portal or video gallery approach in SharePoint.

    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, allows you to categorize your video files into playlists, collections or categories. You can also add tags to videos using AI, add any custom attributes of choice (Location, author name, instructor name etc.), search using transcripts, faces objects and much more. All of this helps you in better organizing video content as use increases.
    A screenshot of the filtering capabilities in VIDIZMO

    Learn More About Search in VIDIZMO.

  3. Platform branding, UI and feature customization
    Most organizations today already use a large number of business and IT applications. The last thing employees want is yet another application with a new or non-familiar user interface. To resolve this, companies opt for white-labeled enterprise platforms like VIDIZMO that not only have the company’s branding, but are also come with the company’s domain name and other configurable platform settings. Not only does this prevent the platform from appearing as a separate disintegrated entity from the rest of the business applications, but it also improves and simplifies platform adoption across the company.

    Here is what the VIDIZMO interface looks like as opposed to MS Stream:

    A snapshot of branding in VIDIZMO that MS Stream doesn't offer

    While most enterprise video platforms come with customized branding and configuration options, Microsoft Stream only offers a standard, non-configurable interface without any corporate branding options. Additionally, Stream does not allow any types of configurations to platform features and functionalities, flexibility most enterprise video platforms like VIDIZMO offers to facilitate custom organizational requirements.

    Learn More About VIDIZMO White-label VOD Platform.

  4. Encoding profiles control and file format support
    With encoding profiles, video and media producers can exercise a significant degree of control over encoding quality and other settings such as choice of software or hardware encoders, which may be pertinent for different types of video use. In both the Classic and New Microsoft Stream, admins can't configure encoding profiles to be created.

    VIDIZMO gives users complete and granular control over their encoding video output quality, support formats, codecs, etc. 

    Additionally, since Stream exclusively uses Azure Media Services for encoding, it only supports a limited number and types of file formats to convert from as compared to the vast range of file formats supported by VIDIZMO. Due to its support for Azure Media Services and encoding.com as well as flexibility of integration with any encoding software, VIDIZMO provides the widest range of support for video file formats and encoding flexibility.

  5. Support for CDN or third-party eCDN/ SDN
    Typically, videos are streamed across content delivery networks (CDNs) such as Akamai, Azure, and Amazon Web Services or third-party eCDNs/ SDNs such as Hive or Kollective that enable video delivery to a geographically dispersed user base or to external users such as partners, customers or the to the public outside the corporate firewall. Currently, Microsoft Stream offers no support for Azure CDN or third party eCDNs, though it is on Stream’s roadmap. In addition, videos hosted in Stream can only be shared with internal co-workers, not external stakeholders.

    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, provides supports for all CDNs and third-party SDNs, while also provisioning VIDIZMO enterprise CDN (eCDN) for optimizing bandwidth and video delivery over enterprise networks. Because of this, VIDIZMO can be set up on a wide area network (WAN) with CDN and edge caching servers in the cloud, or a local area network with VIDIZMO eCDN and edge caching support on-premises for live an on-demand video streaming delivered to users in varying bandwidth conditions or in geographically dispersed locations.

  6. Storage limitations
    Microsoft Stream has certain quotas and limitations associated with some of its key features like video storage and video file size outlined here. Moreover, there are limits to the number of AD users that can be assigned to a video along with caps on group, channel and tenant size – all of which can be extremely limiting for medium to large organizations producing large volumes of video for distribution to a large user base. Moreover, firms in more regulated industries have data retention policies that require long-term content storage, which would become extremely problematic with Stream’s storage constraints.

    VIDIZMO imposes no such limits or quotas on its users as we provide an unlimited storage capacity for an infinitely scalable user base.
  7. Flexibility and choice of deployment models
    Microsoft Stream, a cloud-based platform, does not offer deployment options on-premises, or in private or hybrid cloud. This is an issue if you need to choose your cloud provider and datacenter location, due to compliance and security requirements. Moreover, you can't choose to store and stream videos on your on-premise datacenter.

    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, provides the flexibility to choose where your data is stored and processed. You can choose your cloud provider (Azure, AWS and more) in commercial or government cloud, your data center location, and even choose to deploy on-premises or in a hybrid infrastructure. You can also get on VIDIZMO cloud as SaaS. 

  8. Interactivity 
    Video is boring when it just involves one-way communication. Videos require interactive content to engage audiences and enable collaboration. This involves adding surveys, handouts, comments, timed annotations to on-demand videos. In the case of live videos, you'd need live chat or QnA functionality as well to gather feedback from viewers. 

    Microsoft Stream (the new one) doesn't offer this functionality. VIDIZMO, on the other hand allows you to add quizzes to videos, forms and surveys, handouts and related files, annotations and much more.

    Learn more about VIDIZMO interactive video.  

  9. Detailed analytics
    Video analytics are vital to determine the ROI of video communication, analyze viewing behavior, and generate detailed reports of who watched what videos, when and how much. For trainers, video analytics are fundamental to gauge how trainees are engaging with the video content, when viewers typically stopped watching the videos, as well as user-specific data like which employees watched the videos, for how long, etc.

    For corporate communication, business leaders need to assess how many people across the company attended the webcast, drop-off rates, etc. Additionally, the lack of analytics could also be an issue for networking teams who need analytics to monitor and resolve any quality of service (QoS) issues with the streamed video. While such insights are provisioned by most video platforms like VIDIZMO, Microsoft Stream currently only provides a simple count of how many times a video was watched and liked by viewers.

  10. Integration with existing line of business applications
    Microsoft Stream currently provides integration with Microsoft Office 365 tools such as SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, etc. (O365 integrations are also available in VIDIZMO) but it still lacks interoperability with other third-party software such as CMS like Jive, Drupal, etc., LMS such as Moodle and Blackboard, CRM solutions like Salesforce, or online meeting services such as WebEx, Go-To-Meeting, etc. The New Stream, however, will offer an API to integrate with other business applications. 

    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, provides integration with all line of business applications and IT systems, whose details can be found here.

  11. Rich Video Player
    The Classic Stream offered a rich video player with transcripts, people's timeline, playback speed controls, quality controls and captions. These features are to be replaced with the OneDrive player. On top of it, the OneDrive player has progressive playback. 

    VIDIZMO EnterpriseTube offers a rich HTML5 video player that you can embed on any site, and has annotations, editable transcripts, quality controls, playback speed options and more. You can even brand the player to include your colors and fonts. You can even choose what buttons to show on the player to restrict the actions audiences can perform (e.g., don't allow them to seek forward in your training videos)

    A-Rich-HTML5-Video-Player
    Learn more VIDIZMO online video player.

  12. Video editing and auto-generated transcript editing
    Every video platform needs to have basic video editing functions to make recorded videos suitable for sharing or presentation to a wide set of audience. VIDIZMO, for instance, has in-built video editing features that allow users to trim videos, split them into clips, incorporate a title screen, or add a custom thumbnail, among other things. Microsoft Stream does not offer any of these essential video editing features except for the addition of a thumbnail. Additionally, VIDIZMO allows users with authorized access to edit automatically generated machine transcripts to attain greater accuracy of all video transcripts and closed captioning. Users can conveniently add or remove content from the transcripts directly from the transcription pane that runs alongside the video playback screen.

  13. Support for non-video media assets
    Video is a tremendously powerful media asset, but it is not the only one used by organizations today. Contemporary organizations use a wide range of rich media assets such as audios, images, PDFs, slides, infographics, SCORM content, etc. in combination with video for training, documentation-supported communication, marketing, and collaboration. Despite its name, video platforms like VIDIZMO support all types of video and non-video media so all of a company’s digital media could be collectively stored, managed, shared, and viewed through one consolidated platform. Without this provision, organizations will have to invest in a separate tool for managing their long and growing list of non-video assets – which would be the case with Microsoft Stream as it does not provide support for non-video digital assets.

  14. Video Embedding
    Videos are not only meant to be shared internally, as these may need to be shared for marketing or public relations purposes. Hence, it's important to be able to embed videos on your website. The Classic and New Microsoft Stream, both don't offer easy options for embedding your videos
    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, offers rich video embedding options to add videos to any internal or external site. You can enable authenticated embedding as well. 

    Learn more about video embedding in SharePoint.



  15. Bulk editing of video settings
    Video creators and editors typically make use of bulk editing of video settings to minimize time and efforts required to assign video settings, permissions, meta details, etc. For instance, in Stream, you'll need to delete every video individually as there is no option to select multiple videos and bulk delete them.

    VIDIZMO, on the other hand, allows bulk editing of all videos being added to the platform where a range of settings or changes are applied to all video with a single click, instead of doing it manually for individual videos, which is especially impractical in case of bulk media upload. Microsoft Stream, however, does not support bulk editing and, therefore, requires the users to go through each video’s settings individually.

  16. Content ingestion tool & broad integrations support
    Currently, Microsoft Stream does not have any content ingestion tool that allows for bulk upload or automatic upload of video files from watch folders, the way VIDIZMO does using its Publisher Tool. Stream only provides limited or partial support for integration with Skype for Business (on the roadmap) but still does not offer broader integrations with other live video sources such as WebEx or Go-To-Meeting or video conferencing tools like Cisco TelePresence or Polycom RealPresence. Video platforms like VIDIZMO, on the other hand, seamlessly integrates with such all such services and automatically captures live or on-demand videos and delivers them to any number of audience, and on any device, through the VIDIZMO portal.

  17. Content moderation, time-based archival, & data retention policies.
    Even though Microsoft Stream now employs some restrictions over who can create channels and upload content, it still lacks content moderation workflows for videos to go through a structured approval process before they’re made available for viewing, which prevents unfiltered videos from hitting the portal. Similarly, most enterprise platforms also come equipped with basic governance features such automatic video archival after a given date or data retention of video files over an extended time period – all of which Stream lacks.

  18. Redaction
    One of the hot suggestions for Microsoft Stream on Stream UserVoice, has been the ability to blur faces and other PII, for compliance purposes. Microsoft Stream lacks a tool that can automatically redact PII from videos, without needing to use separate software. VIDIZMO, on the other hand, provides such a tool that uses AI to make it convenient and speed up the process for you.

    Focus-More-on-Cases-Than-Complex-Administrative-Workflows
    Read VIDIZMO Redaction Brochure

 

Microsoft Stream Pricing

MS Stream is included in Office 365 Enterprise subscriptions and these start at $8 per user and go over $20 per use user. 

For Office 365 business users, Microsoft Stream is not included in the Business Premium or Business Essentials plans, and for others it only offers varying levels of platform capabilities depending on plan subscriptions. 

Microsoft Stream, on the surface appears to be less costly than an enterprise video content management system. This brings down to one question that IT administrators would have; "Why pay for an additional enterprise video content management system when we already have Microsoft Stream bundled with our Office 365 subscription?". The answer is simple; Microsoft Stream will cost your in lost productivity, and also make it difficult for your large enterprise to meet compliance needs. Think about it, it's definitely an issue if you need to download a video and upload it on another platform, every time you need to redact PII within the video. The same goes for other limitations within Microsoft Stream.   

Our Analysis: Where Microsoft Stream Stands

With its current capabilities, Microsoft Stream offers a foundational enterprise YouTube product that can be useful for smaller organizations with fewer video use cases and limited video storage and distribution needs. However, with its existing capabilities, it is highly unlikely that Stream will be able to handle even slightly more advanced, not to mention the continuously evolving sophisticated video use cases now being demanded by organizations across all industries. Additionally, Stream video is only available to an organization’s employees so it doesn’t serve other key business stakeholders such as partners, customers, investors, etc., thereby only serving partial video communication and collaboration needs.

Enterprise video platforms like VIDIZMO, on the other hand, are capable of handling large-scale video needs for all video use cases, including customized industry-specific video uses. Additionally, VIDIZMO’s video streaming platform is capable of managing any volume and all types of video and digital media content in a comprehensive platform that is accessible to internal employees and external users such as partners and customers, with varying levels of access rights and permissions. VIDIZMO is available in all deployment models in the cloud and on-premises and offers high interoperability with all different line of business applications and IT systems and well as high customizability to suit specific customer needs.

Even with some basic features on its roadmap, Microsoft Stream is far behind its competitors in a rapidly evolving enterprise video platform market with players like VIDIZMO that will always have a competitive advantage in terms of platform features and functionality, it’s breadth of use, and the number of customers and enterprise needs it can serve. Overtime, even as Stream plays catch up in a fast growing market, a video-focused vendor such as VIDIZMO that solely specializes in video streaming solutions will always have superior product features and functionalities coupled with continuous innovation and platform enhancements adapted and customized for changing customer needs.

To learn more about VIDIZMO video streaming capabilities or for inquiries regarding our pricing plans, contact us today or visit our website for details regarding our solutions and offerings.

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Tags: enterprise video streaming, online video platforms, enterprise video platform

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