If you’ve ever looked for a video SDK to integrate real-time video into your application, I’m pretty sure you’ve run by Agora.
Founded in 2013, Agora was one of the first companies that set out to build a developer platform that provides broadcast, voice, and video calls for mobile and web applications through their software development kit (SDK).
But while Agora’s platform was ground-breaking in the early 2010s, over the years, the SDK provider has lagged in releasing meaningful updates leaving the room open for new platforms, like Dyte, to offer a refreshing take on live video.
PS: if you’re an Agora customer, I urge you to read along to know about the things you are missing out on by sticking with the platform.
What to look for in an Agora alternative?
Live video is hard, and Agora makes it harder. To just build a basic live experience in your app with Agora you need to integrate [and pay for!] the different SDKs it provides. So when you set out to look for a live video solution, look for -
Any SDK that you choose should give the developers complete control over the UI and the experience, at the same time it should also offer low code prebuilt UI options to help you get started quickly and not spend weeks in initial UI bootstrapping.
- Network management
You shouldn’t worry about hard coding the different edge cases that can disrupt a video call while building live in your product. It should be the platform that automatically takes care of the backend, leaving you with more time to focus on building new features.
- Collaborative features
You should expect the SDK to offer in-built collaboration features like screen share, chat, polls, emojis, etc. so that you don't have to go around looking for a bunch of other SDKs to integrate with to add these features to your live video calls.
- Single SDK
You shouldn’t need to mix and match 10s of SDKs to build a live service in your application. A single SDK should offer everything you need from video calling, to voice calling to streaming and more.
With that said, in this guide, we’ll look at the leading players that deserve your consideration in the video SDK market.
The 10 best alternatives to Agora
We’ve compiled a list of ten Agora alternatives to give you a taste of what you can expect when in the market for a live video SDK.
- Zoom Video SDK
- TokBox Opentok [Vonage]
- AWS chime
Reviews of Agora alternatives for building live video call experiences in your product
Below we’ll do a quick review of each alternative solution to give you a better overview of Agora's competitors. All reviews highlight our own findings and the considerations of real users.
Jitsi is a set of open-source projects that allows you to build and deploy video conferencing solutions in your applications. They are best known for Jitsi Meet and Jitsi Videobridge.
Jitsi Videobridge – an XMPP server (Prosody) capable of hosting thousands of video chats. Its WebRTC is compatible and offers encryption by default.
Jitsi in short
- Jitsi is free, open-source, and offers end-to-end encryption meaning you can review how the platform works and modify the code to fit your needs.
- The live experience offers active speakers, Text chatting (web only), room locking, screen sharing, raise/Lower hand, push-to-talk mode, audio-only option, and more.
- But many key features like shared text document based on Etherpad, Streaming, Telephone dial-in to a conference, Dial-out to a telephone participant, and more only work if Jibri is configured.
- Recording call requires more work. You need to live stream your conference to YouTube and access the recording there or set up Jibri to do this.
- Getting support to fix your issue can take over 48 hours.
- The tool doesn’t automatically manage user bandwidth in case their network goes bust—leaving them with a blank screen.
Jitsi is 100% open source and freely available to use and develop with. But you need to get your own servers and create UI from scratch. You need to pay extra to get product support.
Twilio started by helping people automate phone calls and SMSes. But now, it offers developers a bunch of APIs to build business communication across channels.
You can use Twilio to create an app from scratch or add communication features to an existing solution. The SDK supports a variety of languages, from Java to Ruby.
Twilio in short
- Twilio provides web, iOS, and Android SDKs. When using multiple audio and video inputs, devs must manually configure them, for which they have to write extra code.
- If your user’s call ends up dropping or user faces any issues in the call, you can use Twilio’s call insights to track and analyze the errors.
- Twilio supports a maximum of 50 hosts within a call and a maximum of 50 participants, including hosts.
- Twilio doesn't offer any plugins for ease of product development.
- With the SDK you need to invest engineering resources in hard coding the different edge cases that can disrupt a user’s video call.
Its pricing starts at $4 per 1,000 minutes, with recordings costing $0.004 per participant minute, recording compositions for $0.01 per composed minute, and $0.00167 GB/day for storage after the first 10 GBs.
Twilio’s free support plan offers API status notifications and email support during business hours. Users have to pay for more services like 24/7 live chat support, support escalation line, quarterly status review, and guaranteed response times. The price depends on the support plan, usually a percentage of the monthly plan or a certain minimum amount (lowest being $250/month and highest being $5000/month).
Dyte offers a real-time video and voice SDK that helps you integrate custom, secure, high-quality live video and voice to your web, mobile, and desktop applications and websites in just a few lines of code.
The key benefit of using dyte is that the product does the heavylifting when it comes to managing the audio/video publish and subscribe logic — giving you more time to build innovative features to improve user retention.
With Dyte you get:
Custom experience: Build branded live experiences inside your product from the ground up with our Core SDKs or use our UI kit of prebuilt components for a low-code experience.
Reliable video: Ensure your user's live video always runs smoothly with minimal lag and frame drops, no matter the network conditions, with smart bandwidth switching.
Collaborative features: Make your user's live experiences interactive with out-of-box features like chat, emoji reactions, whiteboard, and screen share. Add extra features on top of the live video with plugins.
Easy integration: Embed live video to your product in minutes with our first-class API support and one-click configuration across platforms.
Detailed analytics: Access detailed analytics on video call metrics like participant interactions, duration, and more to analyze participant interest throughout the session.
Cross-platform streaming: Stream live events to millions of viewers across YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more with RTMP built-in the platform.
Seamless Scaling: Scale live audio/video in your web app from just a couple of users to over 10,000 and stream to millions of viewers via RTMP output.
Support across platforms: Build your live video app for one platform and have it seamlessly run across browsers, devices, and operating systems with minimal development work.
- Mobile: Flutter, Android (Java/Kotlin), iOS(Objective-C/Swift), React Native
- Desktop: Electron
Here's a detailed comparison between Agora and Dyte SDKs.
Dyte offers free 10,000 minutes that get refreshed every month. Aka you only pay after you exhaust the free minutes, then product pricing starts at $0.004 per user per minute, with recordings cost at $0.010 per minute and RTMP out at $0.015 per minute. Estimate cost here.
Dyte offers free 24*7 support to all customers. You can reach out to the team through the channel of your choice anytime you need to get a few basic queries answered, have a big event coming up, or need technical heavylifting.
EnableX offers live video, voice, and messaging SDKs as building blocks that let you develop live experiences in your apps faster. It's targeted at service providers, ISV, SI, and developers.
EnableX in short
- The SDK offers a video builder to deploy a custom video-calling solution into your application. Or lets you build custom live video streams with tailor-made UI, hosting, billing, and other core functionalities.
- You can access its self-service portal, which provides reporting capabilities and live analytics to track quality and leverage online payments from clients.
- It lets your users stream live directly from your app or sites or stream directly on YouTube or Facebook for an unlimited reach.
- The support team can take up to 72 hours to respond to your help request.
- The SDK takes weeks to integrate into your application.
- The SDK doesn’t optimize users’ videos in case they face device or network issues.
The SDK charges $0.004/ participant minute for up to 50 participants/room. For pricing with over 50 participants, you need to contact their sales. The recording is charged at $0.10/participant per minute, transcoding at $0.10/minute, and storage at $0.05/GB/month. RTMP streaming costs $0.10/minute.
Zoom Video SDK
The SDK helps you build custom live video-based applications powered by Zoom’s technology.
Zoom introduced Video SDK when they realized that the classic Zoom client couldn't serve many customer use cases, and customers would notice more benefits if they could just access the tech behind Zoom.
The SDK provides video, audio, screen sharing, chat, data streams, and more, as a service. You can build with all of these features or pick and choose. The Video SDK also has full server-side APIs and webhooks.
Zoom Video SDK in short
- With Zoom Video SDK, you can build customizable video compositions with up to 1,000 co-hosts/participants per session.
- The SDK offers limited customization to the live video. It only lets you add screen sharing, 3rd-party live streaming, and in-session chat to the call and manage its layout.
- Zoom supports seven major languages and provides open translation extensibility which opens any app to international growth and improved user experience.
- The SDK only allows the use of predetermined roles of a host and participant. For use cases that require modified permissions for peers, Zoom may pose difficulties.
- You only get slow email support unless you pay for the support plans.
- The SDK partially helps manage the user’s bandwidth consumption in case of network degradation.
Zoom Video SDK pricing
Zoom offers 10,000 minutes free every month, and you have to pay only after you consume it. Then the pricing starts at $0.31 per user minute, with recordings costing $100 per month for 1 TB of storage, and telephony at $100 per month.
Zoom offers three customer support plans: Access, Premier, and Premier+. Pricing for these plans has to be obtained by contacting Zoom.
TokBox Opentok [Vonage]
The TokBox OpenTok — now known as Vonage Video API, is another option to consider when building custom video experiences for mobile, web, or desktop applications.
Opentok was founded in 2008 when the management decided to change business strategies from offering a struggling consumer video conference product to offering the tech behind it, allowing companies to embed a video conference component into their website.
Besides live video, the API offers voice, messaging, and screen-sharing capabilities and includes client libraries for web, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, server-side SDKs, and a REST API.
OpenTok in short
- The SDK lets you build custom audio/video streams on mobile devices with effects, filters, and AR/VR. It supports use cases ranging from 1:1 video, group video chat, or large-scale broadcast sessions. The calls can be video and voice, voice-only, or mixed.
- In the call, participants can share screens, send data, and chat messages between all participants.
- The SDK offers performance data for detailed session review through the account dashboard or by using its insights API.
- It encrypts all voice, video, and signaling traffic with AES-128 or AES-256 encryption. Optionally, all video recordings can be AES-256 encrypted as well. The SDK is GDPR and HIPAA-compliant.
- It only supports 55 participants per call.
- The company offers chat based support that can take up to 72 hours to respond to your request.
- You can only have up to 2,000 concurrent room participants during a stream.
- The platform doesn’t take care of the live video backend, leaving you to invest resources in building edge case management capabilities.
OpenTok offers usage-based pricing based on the number of participants in a video session, dynamically calculated each minute. Plans start from $9.99/month with free 2,000 minutes/month included in all plans. It charges $ 0.00395 per participant/minute after you've consumed the free minutes. With recording starting at $0.10/minute and HLS streaming at $0.15/minute.
Whereby offers browser-based meetings through a permanent room owned by each user that guests can join simply by clicking the link without any downloads or registration required. They recently started offering a hybrid meeting solution for distributed teams that reduces echo and doesn’t need expensive meeting hardware.
Whereby in short
- The tool lets you customize the video interface across logos, colors, and buttons with their no-code interface editor. But the customizations are very basic and you can’t make a completely custom experience with Whereby.
- It lets you offer video calls anywhere—from your website, and mobile apps to web products. No need to open external links or apps.
- Whereby doesn’t mine or sell user data. The product is GDPR-compliant, and all content is encrypted.
- The SDK only offers a basic set of collaborative features like screen sharing, recording, picture-in-picture, and text chat. But doesn’t offer the ability to add more interactive elements through APIs.
- It doesn’t automatically manage user-host publish-subscribe logic — leaving you to add them manually.
Whereby starts at $9.99/month for up to 2,000 user minutes renewed monthly, then charges $0.004 per additional minute, with cloud recording & live streaming at $0.01 per minute.
Email and chat support is available free for all accounts. Technical onboarding, customer success manager, and HIPAA compliance are available for enterprise plans.
Chime is a video conferencing tool from Amazon Web Services focused on business users. Beyond VoIP calling and video messaging, Chime includes virtual meetings, allowing users to host or join a remote meeting through the service.
Amazon Chime enables users to schedule online meetings and attend them using audio or visual services. The service does not offer an SDK which would allow you to embed Chime inside your application nor does it allow you to customize the user interface.
Amazon Chime in short
- The product lets you conduct and attend online meetings with HD video, audio, dial-in numbers, and in-room video conference support.
- Amazon Chime includes collaborative features like screen-sharing, remote desktop control, and individual/group text-based chats.
- It can host team meetings (up to 250 participants), record, schedule, assign delegates, give meeting controls, etc.
- Amazon Chime uses AWS Identity and Access Management policies for enhanced security and lets you administer users, manage policies, and set up SSO.
- Amazon Chime only supports recording audio content in .m4a format. And the recording turns into a video (.mp4) for screen shares. However, there is no means to record attendees.
- The tool doesn't offer session analytics unless you opt for the pricey enterprise plan.
- It has a basic bandwidth management capability baked in and can manage minor disruptions to the user’s network.
- The platform doesn’t have edge case management capabilities leaves you with more on your plate.
Amazon Chime pricing
The product offers a basic tier for free and includes one-on-one audio and video calls and group chat. Moving up, the plus tier costs $2.50 per user per month and includes all basic features along with screen sharing, remote desktop control, 1 GB of message history per user and integrates with Active Directory. The pro tier costs $15 per user per month and includes all Plus features. Pro also enables business professionals to schedule and host meetings for three or more people -- up to 100 attendees -- record meetings, integrate with Outlook and use other features.
Daily allows developers to build real-time video and audio calls that work directly in the browser. The SDK handles the common backend video call use cases across different platforms with sensible defaults.
With Daily, there are two main approaches for building real-time video and audio calls: Daily Client SDKs, which can be used to build custom UIs by interacting with Daily's core APIs, and Daily Prebuilt, an embeddable video chat widget that can be added to any web app with a fewer lines of code.
Daily in short
- You can add collaborative features like HD screen sharing, breakout rooms, raise hand, live transcription, whiteboard, and customizable text chat to enhance the user experience.
- With Daily, you can embed prerecorded video, host interactive real-time calls with 1,000 people, live stream to millions with minimal latency, and get real-time call data for debugging and optimization.
- Understand users' interaction with your live video by accessing logs around events and media quality metrics from every client in every session, and get detailed usage statistics in the Daily dashboard.
- The project’s mobile SDKs are still in the beta phase of development, meaning you can’t be certain how it’ll evolve and whether will it be able to solve your use cases.
- Support can take up to 72 hours to resolve your issues.
- The tool can’t manage users’ live video interactions on its own. You need to add publish-subscribe logic to it.
- The platform doesn’t have edge case management capabilities.
Daily charges $0.004/ participant minute with free 10,000 minutes refreshed/month. With audio charged at $0.00099/user/minute, streaming at $0.0012/minute, RTMP out at $0.015/minute, and recording at $0.01349/GB
Email and chat support is available free for all accounts. You can select an add-on package starting from $250/m for advanced support features.
Mux offers an API that enables developers to build live and on-demand video experiences into your application. The tool lets you broadcast a real-time session to millions via a live stream, then immediately stream an on-demand version when it’s done.
Mux aims to take the guesswork out of video encodings, delivery, and renditions.
Mux in short
- The SDK lets you embed real-time video and live streams in your application. You can use the SDK to add live video across web, iOS, and Android SDKs based applications.
- Each call supports up to 100 participants in a real-time webRTC environment with their video on.
- You can get advanced video analytics by using Mux Data — which is a separate offering that lets you deep dive into how your users are consuming content.
- The SDK offers no in-built support to help you manage video call disruptions or to manage the publish-subscribe logic of meeting users.
The tool offers a one-time $20 in credits for new sign-ups and then charges $0.004/minute for real-time video, $0.04/min for encoding, $0.003/min for storage, and $0.0012/min for streaming.
It additionally offers simulcast at $0.02/minute, and auto-generated captions at $0.024/minute after the first 6,000 minutes.
There are many video conferencing SDKs available in the market. Most if not all promise a low-code experience with most tasks managed by the SDK, but that's simply not the case. Dyte is the only SDK in the list that truly allows you to create live experiences in under 10 minutes.
Don't believe us?
Check out Dyte's Quickstart guide and explore the sample app of build on top of Dyte to see if our claim sticks.
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Can't wait to see what you build using Dyte.