Video Bitrate: What Is It & How Do You Choose?
Video is one of the primary mediums for consuming content online. One survey found that video is the primary source of information for 66% of people. Furthermore, 92% of internet users watch video content each week.
Online video is effectively used every day for digital marketing, content creation, broadcasting meetings, delivering effective messages and much more. And as video becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the competition gets stiffer. The importance of higher-quality video, higher resolution and frame rate and upload speed becomes greater. After all, 62% of people are likely to have a negative perception of a brand that releases low-quality videos. But to create and upload video better quality videos that will engage and retain readers today, you need to understand video bitrate.
In this article, we’re going to cover video bitrate. We’ll provide a guide to bit rates including how the ideal bitrate will affect video quality. We’ll round off with the optimal bitrates for 20 popular streaming platforms. By the end, you can add this knowledge to improve your video content strategy and use an appropriate video hosting platform to help you achieve your video ambitions.
Table of Contents
- What is Video Bitrate?
- What is Video Resolution?
- A Guide to Video Bitrates
- Bitrates, Encoding & Frame Rates
- Mobile Bitrates
- What is the Best Video Bitrate for Streaming?
- Optimal Bitrates for 20 Popular Streaming Platforms
What is Video Bitrate?
Every piece of digital content you produce will be made up of bits. Video bitrate refers to how many units of data a video can process or transfer. Once you’ve finished a video and it’s ready to process, if you choose a low bitrate it might get compressed regardless of how high the resolution and frame rate were at the start. With this being said, it’s essential to choose a high bitrate to maintain a high-quality, seamless streaming experience with fluid viewing.
By implementing a bitrate that’s high enough to move your data over the internet, your viewers will benefit from a smooth, reliable stream. Benefiting from clear information and visuals, your viewers will be more likely to act favorably if they have a positive impression of your business.
In essence, bitrate is the speed at which your video content uploads to the internet from your camera or server. It is also the speed at which your viewers can download your video. Bitrate is usually measured in Megabits per second (Mbps), a figure that represents the volume of bits uploaded to and downloaded from the internet each second.
What is Video Resolution?
Video resolution and video bitrate are interconnected but are not the same thing. Both factors need to be aligned for a successful outcome.
Video resolution refers to the number of pixels that form a video frame to create an image on a screen. The more pixels a video has, the higher its overall image quality will be. However, If you only think about video quality in terms of resolution, you’ll be missing half the picture.
Videos with high resolution require a high bitrate because they’ll require more data to move more pixels. Therefore, with a high resolution that matches your high bitrate, you can reach your viewer more effectively and with greater reliability.
A Guide to Video Bitrates
You’ll be encouraged to produce high-resolution videos for your target viewers that require a high bitrate to stream successfully.
You should also consider the differences in internet speeds between consumers.
The bitrate you choose will largely depend on the internet connections of your end users. Though releasing videos with high bitrates can be extremely valuable, it’s important to account for those who might have to contend with lagging videos and constant buffering.
You should always tailor the bitrate of your videos to the demands/expectations of your target audience. A great way to meet differing demands is by releasing videos in different bitrates so that those with slower internet connections can digest content accordingly.
Bitrates, Encoding & Frame Rates
You can release multiple versions of your video with different bitrates. This will increase the availability of your video to various users and you won’t need to transcode multiple versions of your video at different bitrates either.
Multi-bitrate streaming is a great way to make multiple copies of your video at different bitrates. Viewers can then select a viewing quality that’s suitable for their device. Alternatively, with adaptive bitrate streaming, they’ll receive the highest-quality version of your video based on their internet connection speed at that moment.
You should also ensure your video’s frame rate and resolution are high enough to prevent jerky, slow videos that fail to meet their intended purpose. Though there’s no optimal frame rate, if you’re shooting moving shots you should focus on a higher-frame rate to keep your audience engaged.
In today’s mobile-driven consumer landscapes, it’s vital to consider the bitrate of videos streamed on mobile devices. Live streaming from mobile devices can be unpredictable, but you can accommodate this by providing video files at bitrates that stream well on mobile devices.
You can utilize multi-bitrate streaming to provide a wide range of bitrates in your videos and reach considerably more people. Viewers can then choose the best quality video available to their device at a given time.
What is the Best Video Bitrate for Streaming?
Finding the right bitrate for your content can be a challenge.
Here are some highly recommended bitrates based on the planned resolution of your video:
|Max Video Bitrate
|Max Audio Bitrate
|4K – 2160p
|UHD (Ultra High Definition)
|2K – 1440p
|QHD (Quad High Definition)
|FHD – 1080p
|FHD (Full HD)
|HD – 720p
|SHD (Standard HD)
|SD – 480p
|FWGVA (Full Wide Video Graphics Array)
|LD – 360p
|nHD (Ninth of High Definition)
|ULD – 240p
|WQVGA (Wide Quarter Video Graphics Array)
Optimal Bitrates for 20 Popular Streaming Platforms
If you’re looking to stream your content, here are the optimal bitrates for 20 of the most popular streaming platforms:
|Optimal Video Bitrate
|Optimal Audio Bitrate
|Up to 4.5 Mbps
|Up to 6 Mbps
|IBM Cloud Video
|Up to 8 Mbps
|Up to 10 Mbps
|Up to 5 Mbps
|Up to 9 Mbps
|Up to 10 Mbps
|Up to 12 Mbps
|Up to 12 Mbps
|1.5 to 4 Mbps
|2.5 to 4 Mbps
|Up to 4 Mbps
|Up to 25 Mbps
|Up to 6 Mbps
Quality video is necessary today to compete in the online video space. Whether you plan on live streaming and video streaming, creating an online video library or anything else, you’ll improve your video production by utilizing the best video bitrates.
As we’ve outlined, there are optimal bitrates to transmit your video data for different scenarios and platforms. Generally, higher video quality requires a higher video bitrate. A higher bitrate in general, including a better audio bitrate, too, means a higher quality video file that will maximize your video quality and lessen interruptions. Ultimately, better video quality makes you more competitive and will result in your viewers returning to your video content again and again.
Dacast is a platform that fully supports multi-bitrate streaming capabilities. With Dacast, you can transcode your videos using a few intuitive settings. The result is that multiple users can stream your content from various devices simultaneously. Furthermore, Dacast’s adaptive bitrate streaming allows you to create videos that will be streamed on your viewers’ devices in the optimal bitrate for their devices.
To begin providing the best VOD, live-streaming content and overall video experience for your viewers, try Dacast. Sign up for our risk and commitment-free trial and you can try Dacast free for 14 days.
If you have any questions or feedback about video bitrates, send us a question or comment and we’ll be sure to get back to you. For regular tips and exclusive offers why not join our Linkedin Group?