🔖 Assumed post audience: someone who wants to watch concert/3D live online but not sure which host to pick (if choices exists).

These are non-exhaustive list of platforms that I’ve watched on before. I’ve included my rough take on each platform and the dates. Over the time these list might get outdated as the streaming platform keep updating their site.

eplus

Link: https://ib.eplus.jp

Last watched: 2023-03-18, hololive 4th fes.

Verdict: avoid if possible 👎

Okay-ish for watching the live stream. Unusable for watching the archives. Getting a bunch of audio issues on the archives like noises and out of sync, after a while, no audio plays.

hololive official fanclub (subscribe only with no one time ticket, kinda counts) (service ended as of January 2024)

Link: https://hololive-fc.com

Last watched: 2023-11-22, variety show with Matsumoto Rika as guest.

Verdict: service has been discontinued, nothing new here 🤷

Latest impression

No issue from the streaming side. But the way they handle the end of service wasn’t great. There’s only 2-3 months gap between the announcement (2023-11-30) and the closure (2024-01). And no partial refunds for those paying annual subscriptions. Sure now they’re hosting all the contents for free now, but there’s no way these archives will be hosted online forever.

Now hololive is hosting their exclusive content on YouTube membership instead.

(Also their announcement page doesn’t load when opened from Internet Archive. Which means their website kinda sucks according to my personal standards.)

Previous impression (2023-06-18)

A relatively new hololive exclusive platform, showed up at early 2022. Surprisingly decent considering it’s their own platform and doesn’t have the same problem with Niconico even though they list Dwango in the footer1.

Their website feels weird though with all commenters’ name feels generated (2023-06-17: Seems like this is no longer the case, names are no longer bot-like). And most of the videos views and comments are weirdly exact multiples of thousand.

Also, they stopped supporting Firefox on 2023-05-302. Which is a sad thing, but not a deal breaker.

Niconico (Dwango)

Link: https://live.nicovideo.jp

Last watched: 2023-03-15, Nornis 1st live

Verdict: video stream quality sucks, archive not included 😭

Same old nico nico douga but with different name. Functionally, it’s great. Practically, I can’t like it.

Last time I watched Nornis’ live, it’s still stutter on lowest stream quality. I don’t know if what’s causing it, but Niconico connection to Indo has never been good regardless of ISP. Plus, to watch archive (Timeshift in Niconico) you need to subscribe to their premium service(2023-06-17: cost JPY 550 per month).

SPWN

Link: https://virtual.spwn.jp

Previously watched:

  • 2020-12-21, hololive 2nd fes “Beyond the Stage”
  • 2021-02-17, hololive 1st live “Bloom”
  • 2021-10-21, Hoshimachi Suisei 1st solo live “STELLAR into the GALAXY”
  • 2022-03-20, hololive 3rd fes “Link Your Wish”

Verdict: pretty safe choice if available 👍

Latest impression (2022-ish)

So far the most platform I’ve been using and has the least problem with. From time to time has bad connection to Indo even after turning on low latency mode on their video player.

YouTube (member only live, kinda counts)

Link: https://youtube.com

Last watched: pretty much every month

Verdict: probably the live you want to watch is not here 😔

It’s YouTube. They probably have the best infra for running live stream in the world right now.

But they don’t run ticketing for one-time watch.

Zaiko

Link: https://zaiko.io

Previously watched:

  • 2023-01-28, Hoshimachi Suisei 2nd solo live “Shout in Crisis”
  • 2024-05-04, Hanabasami Kyo 4th one-man live “FLORIST”

Verdict: works great except for the occasional stutters

Latest impression (2024-05-05)

Honestly I forgot about this site until I tried to buy a new ticket this year. Then I realized I have an account already in my password manager.

I don’t remember anything noteworthy from the first impression. Which is a good sign, no major issue back then.

But during the FLORIST live, there are stutters. And it’s the type where the stream repeats the stuttered part. e.g. lyrics: one two three, stream: one two two three. “Hmm, is it a remix? I don’t remember this part” is what I initially thought. Turns out no, it was stream issues.

I don’t see change in graphic quality during stutters. So I doubt it’s caused by the “auto” quality in the video player settings. Which should result in video downgrade if the player decides to lower the quality during the stutter. I also don’t see the stutters during archive playback.

Other than that stutters, Zaiko works great.

Some neutral stuffs:

  • Hovering cursor on seek bar in archive give visual preview, which is great. Not every platform has this basic stuff.
  • There’s no live chat replay in archive? I don’t really read the chat, but it sure feels weird looking at empty chats during archive.

Z-aN

Link: https://www.zan-live.com

Previously watched:

  • 2023-06-17, Planet Station stage 8
  • 2023-08-27, Hololive Splash Party
  • 2023-09-03, KOKO 2nd one-man live “PLAYER II -Kamitsubaki City AREA 4-”
  • 2023-09-13, Blue Journey 1st live “Yoake no Uta”
  • 2024-01-13, V.W.P 2nd one-man live “GENSHO II -MAJYOKAKUSEI-”
  • 2024-01-14, KAF 4th solo live concert “KAIKA”
  • 2024-04-09, Albemuth 1st one-man live “Guilty and Eden”
  • 2024-04-10, Harusaruhi 3rd one-man live “Shamanism III”

Verdict: superb, my first choice these days 🌟 (assuming it’s not hololive event)

Latest impression (2024-05-04)

At this point, I believe troubles doesn’t exist for Kamitsubaki x Z-an combination. Smooth live, good video and audio quality, works on Firefox, and watch archive works!

Whether they can handle the load for hololive event is yet to be proven though.

Previous impression (2023-09-13)

Watched yet another big event, and there’s a blackout mid stream. No sound, no video. They said the troubles only last 90s, but it felt like forever3. With the live comments still running, I saw a lot of frustrated comments. That makes me feel sad. It was a theatrical type event and setting the mood was pretty important. And the blackout ruined the mood buildup for me.

With all the recent troubles, I’m starting to lose faith in Z-aN 🙁

Previous impression (2023-09-03)

Still my favorite platform, everything from my first impression still applies (assuming the site isn’t down if they’re hosting a big event with >100k viewers). And they even fixed the errors on Firefox.

On 2023-08-26, their site couldn’t handle the load from Hololive Splash Party though4. The live postponed live that day never happened. It become a recording distributed on YouTube and the live ticket refunded. I did not expect them to fail that bad. Live viewers count should be under 200k from my estimates.

Also saw nginx error page from their site that day. Weird feeling but I feel relaxed after realizing they also use some familiar tech in their stack.


Unrelated to the platform itself but I have to say this: if you’re even remotely interested with the idea of a virtual singer singing cool songs in a future dystopian world, you need to watch this live. It’s AMAZING and you won’t regret it.

2023-09-03: KOKO one-man live is just to good I had to forgive Z-aN for their previous issues.

2023-09-03: KOKO one-man live is just to good I had to forgive Z-aN for their previous issues.

First impression (2023-06-17)

First time watched on Z-aN, surprisingly a great platform! Good to the point it become a trigger for me to make this notes. From registration flow, payment (it uses Stripe at the moment), stream connection, archives, even bonus digital goods from buying tickets, this Z-aN tick all the boxes.

Other issues

My only gripe is Z-aN is unusable on Firefox. Works smoothly on Vivaldi so I have not tried other browsers. They fixed it as of 2023-08-27! Hooray 🥳

Z-aN video player fail with `The m3u8 file loaded file` error message

On Firefox, after few mins the video player will error out, needing a page refresh

Trivia

Showing date input with 'Please enter your date of birth as a single-byte number.' from Z-aN registration flow

Bonus: Z-aN wants me to enter my date of birth as a single-byte number, I have no idea how to convert a date into a single byte.


Why did you write this?

Starting to lose track with the many live streaming platform out there. As these live streams ticket aren’t exactly cheap, I created this note to avoid using the bad ones if possible. Most of the time there’s no choices though. Even when there are choices, at most it’s 2, it’s pick bad or the less bad one 🥲.

Changelog

  • 2024-05-05: more Z-aN updates, add Zaiko
  • 2023-09-13: update Z-aN entry, issues keep happening
  • 2023-09-03: update Z-aN entry, add KOKO one-man live pic
  • 2023-06-17: initial version

Post 13 of #100DaysToOffload.