Key factors to consider before choosing your bitrate:
Target audience download capacity: Consider the projected download speed of your target audience. Generally, a viewer should have a download capacity that is 1.5 times greater than the stream’s bitrate. If your audience primarily has dial-up, broadcasting at a higher bitrate will be counter-productive.
Your upload capacity: If you are streaming live, make sure your upload speed is 1.5 times greater than the stream’s bitrate.
Bandwidth Consumption: Broadcasting at a higher bitrate leads to greater bandwidth consumption per user.
Bitrate Comparison Chart
Included below is a list of common video and audio broadcast types and their recommended bitrate in kilobits per second (kbps). Note: Many bitrate choices are available. The following bitrates are meant to act as guidelines only.
|AM radio||20kbps||This is an excellent bitrate for broadcasts that are primarily talking.|
|FM radio||32kbps||This is the current industry standard for FM radio broadcasts. It will work well for any music broadcast, or as a higher quality option for voice broadcasts.|
|Higher quality music||64kbps||Using this bitrate will provide a higher quality broadcast that works well for delivering near-CD quality music.|
|CD quality music||128kbps||This is generally the highest audio bitrate you should use. It will deliver excellent quality. Note: You should compare a 64k broadcast to a 128k broadcast, as many people do not feel the slight increase in quality is worth doubling their bandwidth usage.|
|Static image (e.g. a person speaking at a podium)||128kbps||This should generally be the lowest bitrate that is used for video. It can be used in situations where significant movement is not expected.|
|Standard Video broadcast (e.g. conferences, concerts, instructional video, etc)||282kbps||This bitrate is the current internet standard for video broadcasting. Most viewers on a high-speed connection (DSL, cable etc.) can effectively view these broadcasts.|
|High quality video broadcast (weddings, sporting events, racing, etc)||548kbps||This bitrate will provide a higher quality broadcast that is often preferred by people whose broadcasts contain a lot of movement or action. It is also an alternative to 282kbps broadcasting if you want a higher quality. Note: Some viewers may have difficulty watching your stream.|
|Very high quality broadcasting, fast action video, high detail video (sailing, car racing, etc)||1128kbps||This level of broadcast is necessary for high quality broadcasting of fast moving events, and can also be very effective for situations that require a high level of detail. Often broadcasters will offer this in addition to a lower quality broadcast.|
|DVD quality video||2137kbps||A very high quality stream that would be most effective for a specific audience capable of streaming data at such a high rate.|