Zoom Video SDK vs. Stream Video

Jeroen L.
Jeroen L.
Published March 15, 2024

In our recent Twilio Alternatives post, we made some claims about Zoom being easy to integrate. However, customization with the Zoom Video SDK is very limited. Let's look into that claim some more to see how we think Zoom Video SDK compares to Stream Video.

We will also look at the Beta Zoom Video SDK UI Toolkit and compare those to Stream Video’s UI Components.

Zoom Video SDK Overview

The Zoom UI Toolkit provides prebuilt components to quickly set up and run a video and chat user interface based on Zoom's Video SDK. You can access a basic, yet functional, video chat environment with minimal developer effort for integration. Stream Video also provides pre-built components to set up and run a video and chat user interface you can integrate with ease.

But that's where the similarities end.

Zoom's SDK offers UI components that allow you to build a conference calling experience, much like Zoom's Zoom One Virtual Meetings offering. There are some features you can add on top of the basic virtual meeting format, such as:

  • Screen Sharing
  • Chat
  • Cloud recording
  • Subsessions
  • Live transcription and translation

Stream offers all of these features and adds lots of flexibility. Stream's SDKs not only give you an easy start but also support you down the line by allowing full customization of a UI by providing theming APIs. If that's not enough, Stream allows you to customize or replace entire UI components.

Why Stream Is the Best Zoom Alternative

Stream’s Video SDK contains everything you need to create a video conferencing, livestreaming, or audio-only user experience.

In November 2023, we published a full article showcasing how easy it is to recreate Zoom's iOS Meeting Client. It demonstrates how you can get started quickly while achieving performance and massive functionality in very little time.

When you integrate the Stream Chat SDK, you will get full features and customizable chat components and still pay less than you would to Zoom, more on pricing later. Stream Chat offers all the features your users want and expect in a chat experience, including:

  • Flexible SDKs and UI components for React, React Native, Angular, Flutter, Unity, Unreal, iOS, and Android helping you to build video and chat experiences in days, not months.
  • Offline support and optimistic UI updates to ensure all chat features still work well if the internet connection is unreliable.
  • A global edge network to guarantee optimal latency and performance under any network conditions.
  • Stream proudly provides zero channel limitations.
  • A catalog of engaging chat features like reactions, threads, unread counts, message editing, URL previews, invites, read indicators, and typing indicators.
  • Stream's technical support average response time is less than 30 minutes.
  • Persistent chat conversations you can return to after you end your video call.

Comparing the Cost of Zoom to Stream

Zoom’s pricing will set you back $0.0033 per minute per participant when video calling. This includes the chat feature that stays active and available for the entire duration of the call session. You get a monthly free tier with 10,000 free minutes.

Stream Video costs you $0.003 per minute per participant when video calling. Stream's monthly free tier for video contains 66,000 free minutes.

So, for Zoom, you pay $184.60 a month before the pay-as-you-go metering starts running with Stream.

For Chat with Stream, you would be looking at $399 a month for 10,000 Monthly Active Users (MAU).

Beyond those initial numbers, the cost of Zoom compared to Stream scales within arm's length of each other—but with one caveat. For essentially the same price as Zoom's Video SDK, you get both Stream's video and chat SDKs with all their features, data retention, and performance. You will get full-featured persistent chat channels that will outlast any video-calling session if you would like.

So, while in the same range when looking at the costs of Zoom and Stream, in a head-to-head comparison, Stream wins hands down and provides more bang for your buck when looking to integrate a holistic user engagement solution.

Migrating to Stream

If you are already using Zoom's Video SDK and want to migrate to Stream, our team will ensure this can happen without issues. We have dedicated staff members who can help you move all relevant data from Zoom to Stream without any downtime.

Switching to Stream for your video and chat needs will get you:

  • A solution that provides more value for your money
  • Excellent performance, scalability, and low latency
  • Advanced video and chat features OOTB
  • The possibility of incorporating video and chat into your product according to your specifications and requirements
  • A support team that has your back and can even provide code-level support when needed

Try Stream Video and Chat

If you prefer to dive into code first, here are some tutorials to get you started:

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