In today’s internet, live video has emerged as one of the most engaging forms of communication channels. Due to immense developments in technology and internet connectivity live streaming, which allows people to communicate bilaterally in real-time over the internet, has become much more accessible and open to all. Most brands understand the value of live streaming today and invest a lot of resources in coming up with live video streaming strategies for their digital marketing needs.

Bitrate in live streaming is almost as important as the equipment that is used to record the video. Using the right bitrate is crucial for providing a smooth viewing experience for the viewer of the live stream. 

Live video streaming services offered by dedicated live streaming companies focus on providing the best bitrate for their clients. In this blog, we are going to understand what bitrate means and why it matters, way more than you think, for live streaming video.

What is Bitrate and Why Does It Matter?

To understand bitrate in live streaming video, you should imagine your live video as a collection of data instead of the final video we see on screen. This data is transferred over the internet in real-time so other people can watch your video, a process known as streaming. Bitrate is the rate at which this data is transferred over the internet within a certain period of time.

Bitrate in live streaming video is usually measured with Mbps (megabits per second). This number refers to the amount of data (measured in megabits) you send over a period of time (which is measured in seconds). Bitrate in video streaming depends on a lot of factors including internet speed and the quality of your live video stream, the speed of your network and the speed of the network of the viewer of the live stream.

When you are live streaming a video, you’re essentially taking a video feed, putting it through an encoder to compress the data as much as possible and then send that data over the internet. Your bitrate determines how quickly the data is sent over the internet to your viewers. Bitrate has a large impact on the viewing experience of the stream as it determines how quickly and effectively your data is transferred. 

The bitrate in video streaming depends primarily on the uploading capacity of your network and the downloading capacity of the people viewing the stream.

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Best Bitrates for Live Video Streaming Services

1. Platform – Specific Bitrates:

Even though the ideal bitrate depends on a wide range of factors such as the resolution of the video and the FPS (frames per second), here are some basic guidelines for choosing the best bitrate in video streaming, depending upon the platform you’re streaming on.

  • For Facebook, the maximum bitrate should be set to 4000 kbps. This is because, when compared to Twitch or YouTube, Facebook has a lower accepted resolution of only 720p.
  • The ideal bitrate for YouTube is around 3000 – 6000 kbps. As it is a video-centric platform, there are a lot more options compared to other platforms like Facebook and Twitch.
  • For Twitch, the ideal bitrate for live streaming video is between the range of 4500 to 6000 kbps. 

2. More On Bitrate and Live Video Streaming:

Lastly, the right bitrate for your live video depends on the network connection at the source (i.e. the network of the person streaming the video) and the network connection of the end-user (i.e. the person watching the live video). The bitrate for the live video should be set using based on what most of the viewers can handle. 

It is better to test out what bitrate is more effective for you and your audiences rather than deciding on one that is best for you, as ultimately the goal of having the correct bitrate in your live videos is to ensure a smooth viewing experience of the live stream.

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How To Find The Best Bitrate For You?

The best bitrate for you is one that allows you to broadcast at the highest quality while maintaining the stability of the live stream for the viewers. The importance of providing a stable stream for viewers is vital because – 

  • If your viewers have to wait for buffering when watching your stream, they might stop watching and your engagement rates will go down.
  • If your video is not streaming smoothly, it takes away the appeal of the real-time nature of the live video.

When deciding the best bitrate for your live stream, stability should be given a higher priority than the quality of the video.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind when you’re live streaming to ensure your viewers get the smoothest and most optimum viewing experience, such as your network, equipment, and management of the entire process. To ensure their live streams are always smooth and successful, most companies go with the live video streaming services of a dedicated live streaming company.