What are the different types of video API?

As demand for online video experiences grows, video APIs are becoming increasingly popular. Companies are racing to develop innovative ways to deliver content to their customers. This requires developers to continuously build video applications to keep up.

Using a reliable video API service enables developers to build video applications faster. Different API services are suited for distinct video product requirements. This article will discuss different types of video API, with examples, so you can choose the right type that fit your use case.

What is a video API?

A video API can be used to create, record, store, analyze, stream and distribute video files programmatically. Different platforms may provide all or some of these features.

Here is an example use case to clarify how a video API might be useful:

You want to add a video streaming feature to your product. Instead of building the infrastructure yourself, you can use a video streaming API provider that takes care of the backend like maintenance, storage, and processing. This lets you focus on building your product and user experience.

Why use a video API?

A recent HubSpot survey revealed that audiences engage higher with video content over other forms of communication like emails, or blogs. As the demand for video content increases, there should be an efficient process to generate, store and deliver content to users.

Video applications are a foundational layers that enables the delivery and usability of this video content. Many apps on your phone or browser are video applications or have a feature that enables viewing videos. But, building these video applications can be hard, costly, and may take a long time. This is where a video API can help you build your product faster.

What are different types of video API?

Below is a summary of the main types of video API and their use cases.

Video streaming APIs

Video streaming is the continuous transmission of video data, allowing users to watch videos without having to download an entire file in advance. Popular apps like YouTube and Netflix are examples of video streaming. These types of service are called video-on-demand, because the video has been pre-recorded and can be played back as users request them.

Video streaming APIs allow anyone to build and add streaming features to their product. They take care of encoding, storage, and delivery for the end-user, so developers don't need to build from scratch. A streaming API handles the backend functionality and provides the required infrastructure out of the box.


Video editing APIs

A Video editing API enables developers to edit and deliver customized media content to their end-users. Most editing APIs can quickly render multiple videos in the cloud and may also optimize the video files for delivery using a CDN. The whole process happens fast enough that it looks like real-time personalized content generation.

A robust video editing API supports complex editing capabilities and high-performance rendering. Some include reliable hosting or integration with 3rd party hosting providers. With a video editing API, developers can integrate interactive video capabilities and develop reliable video products faster.


Live video streaming APIs

Live streaming delivers video data but in real-time, as it is recorded. Live streaming is typically used for sporting events, live music performances or video game live streams. A live streaming API takes care of all the capture, encoding and broadcasting requirements for you.

The process of building a live streaming product from scratch is challenging and resource intensive. Using an off the shelf live streaming API can be the easiest and fastest solution.


Video platform APIs

A Video Platform API is a feature of an all-inclusive service that includes on demand and live streaming capabilities, video player, content management system (CMS), monetization and a searchable content catalogue. These platforms are also known as online video platforms (OVP).

There are two types of video Platform APIs:

Proprietary video platform API

This type of Video Platform API provides access to the platforms features but doesn't allow customization of the video player UI, CMS, workflow, search results, and monetization. Mostly, they are an extension feature of the main product.


Customizable video platform API

This type of platform provider supports all-inclusive services like the above but is aimed at businesses who want to build their own OVP. Customizations include a custom branded video player, advertising, and full control over monetization.


Client-side video player APIs:

A Client-side Video Player API is used whenever a video is displayed in the client's browser or device. These types of APIs are built-in to the client's browser or devices operating system.


The right type of video API to choose will vary with the requirements of your product. Choosing the right service will enable you to launch faster with a high return on investment and lower total cost of ownership over time.

Hopefully this article helped you understand different types of video API and to choose the right type for your application. You can quickly get started with the Shotstack video editing API to manipulate and edit videos. Learn more about video APIs and cloud based video editing from our guides and tutorials.

Get started with Shotstack's video editing API in two steps:

  1. Sign up for free to get your API key.
  2. Send an API request to create your video:
    curl --request POST 'https://api.shotstack.io/v1/render' \
    --header 'x-api-key: YOUR_API_KEY' \
    --data-raw '{
    "timeline": {
    "tracks": [
    "clips": [
    "asset": {
    "type": "video",
    "src": "https://shotstack-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/footage/beach-overhead.mp4"
    "start": 0,
    "length": "auto"
    "output": {
    "format": "mp4",
    "size": {
    "width": 1280,
    "height": 720
Kushal Magar

27th July 2022

Studio Real Estate
Experience Shotstack for yourself.