Friday, April 03, 2009

Webinar vs. Webcasting vs. Web Conferencing Finally Explained!

Web conferencing – Collaborative interacting over the Internet
Web conferencing allows a presenter to show an audience what is on his/her computer screen and collaborate in a number of ways.

  • Data: Web conferencing is focused on computer-based data (presentations, documents, software apps, or a desktop), which it can display and easily manipulate. That makes it easier for the businessperson to use, and makes it fit most day-to-day business meetings and events. Some Web conferencing platforms offer Webcam video.

  • Web & phone: Most Web conferences use an audio conference call to let the group hear the presenter. Phone audio is more reliable and higher quality than Internet audio. And it allows real-time interaction among participants in the event. But it does add the cost and effort of using the phone as well as a browser.

  • Small to mid-sized groups: The data-sharing and two-way interactivity work well for groups up 500 attendees. Also, costs scale with the number of users, making very large Web conferences more expensive than similarly sized Webcasts. Meetings can be hosted or attended from any PC with an Internet connection. No production or special equipment is required.

  • Two-way: Web conferences are more interactive, with the ability to share presentation rights and control of applications among all group members. For collaboration, in-depth presentations, sales demos and training it can’t be beat.

Webcasting (web'kast') – Broadcasting over the Internet
Webcasting technologies use streaming media technologies to broadcast audio and video or audio only with power point slides (optional) over the Internet to a large audience.

  • Video: The biggest difference between Webcasting and Web conferencing is the predominance of video vs. sharing desktop applications and content. That makes Webcasting preferable for high-profile public events. To make the video TV quality requires onsite production support, powerful servers, and lots of Internet bandwidth, which is why the base cost of a Webcast can be very high.

  • Internet-only delivery: Live or archived video is delivered over the Internet and the audio is provided via speakers on your PC.

  • Large events: By using high-capacity distributed servers, Webcasting companies can deliver events to audiences of thousands. The services digitize the content and then send it to servers that distribute the content to the audience. The processing steps introduce a delay between the presenter and the audience – for example, the audience is seeing what the presenter did 30 seconds ago, although it appears live to the attendee. Unlike production costs, per-attendee distribution is cheap – just the cost of bandwidth – so very large events are less expensive as Webcasts than they are as Web conferences.

  • One-way: Streaming media is a technology developed to compress and transfer video and/or audio data through the Internet in such a way that the file can start to play while it is downloading. The content can either be “live" or “archived”. The distribution is fine for large events in which there can’t be much interaction between the audience and the presenter anyway.

Webinar web-in-AR) - Web-based Seminar
A is a term used to describe a specific type of web conference short for "Web Seminar". It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. In some cases, the presenter may speak over a standard telephone line or through the use of VoIP audio technology, to allow for a truly web-based communication.

  • Power Point slide presentations

  • Audio through the phone (conference call), VoIP (Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers), or combination.

  • Web-browser tours

  • Recording for viewing at a later time)

  • Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)

  • Text chat - For live question and answer sessions, limited to the people connected to the meeting. Text chat may be public (echo'ed to all participants) or private (between 2 participants).

  • Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)

  • Screen sharing/desktop sharing/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen. Some screen sharing applications allow for remote desktop control, allowing participants to manipulate the presenters screen, although this is not widely used.)


  1. We tried a few Webinar providers and learned the hard way that you get what you pay for. We've been using Communique Conferencing for the past year and are VERY happy. The customer service is fantastic.".

  2. Thanks for this.
    I've been looking for a good webinar software before. Im now using StealthSeminar software. It has great service and very easy to use.

  3. Who is the best or more cost effective webcast provider?

  4. Wow, these was really and awesome post. These clarification here about Webinar, Webcasting and Web conferencing was really superb. Thanks for such great sharing.

    web conferencing