Setting your bit rate and resolution correctly for perfect streaming

Lesson Details:
October 07, 2020


I: Introduction

There is a lot of information out there on the web about the benefits of streaming live video to your audience over traditional video. It’s easy to understand why businesses are investing in it now. And, the reasons are many.

For instance, audience retention levels are higher than any other medium. As well, viewers often don’t skip over commercials. And, if they do, the ones you run on live video are different than those you run with pre-recorded content.

As well, live streaming is interactive. Not only can you hear the audience but they can engage by posting comments, asking questions, or even tipping.

II: Body

But, you must be careful that your live video doesn’t end up looking like a mess. If you are seeing video glitches, lagging issues, or buffering issues, then you are not capturing the full potential of live video.

One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to pay attention to your bit rate. The bit rate refers to the data rate of your video stream. It is measured in kilobits per second (kbps) and can be configured manually on your device.

It is important that you set your bit rate correctly because some devices will automatically set it for you based on the bandwidth of your internet connection.

The reason this is important is that if your bit rate is too low, you will have video glitches, lagging issues, buffering issues, etc. If your bit rate is too high, you will have quality issues on your video. You will see pixelation, blockiness on the screen, and blurring.

So, how do you know what bit rate to use? Here are some tips:

1) Use the highest bit rate possible without compromising the quality of the video. This will allow you to transmit a high-quality picture at a lower resolution to your viewers. For example, if you have a 1080p camera and have a bit rate of 5000kbps, then go ahead and use that setting because it allows you to transmit a 1080p image at a lower resolution while maintaining a high-quality picture at a much smaller file size.

2) In general, when using a fixed bit rate, choose the next highest size available within each range. For example, when streaming from a 720p camera at 6000kbps, do not go down to 5000kbps because it will reduce the quality of the picture and increase pixelation and blockiness. Instead, go up to 8000kbps or 9000kbps instead because it will maintain a high-quality picture at a smaller file size.

3) When using a variable bit rate (VBR), choose a bit rate that is 3-5% higher than the maximum available bit rate. For example, if the maximum available bit rate is 6000kbps, then select 6350kbps or 6600kbps to maintain a high-quality picture at a smaller file size.

4) If you are streaming from an SD camera and want to maintain a high-quality picture and still maintain a lower resolution than HD, then select a lower bit rate than if you were streaming from an HD camera and want to maintain a high-quality picture and still maintain a lower resolution than HD. For example, if you stream from an SD camera and want to maintain a resolution of 480p and want to maintain a high-quality picture, then select 4000kbps or 4500kbps instead of 6000kbps because it will allow you to capture a high-quality picture at lower resolution while maintaining small file sizes. You will see pixelation and blockiness on the screen but it won’t be as bad as if you used 6000kbps and selected 480p (or worse). The reason for this is that if your camera is SD and has a maximum bit rate of 6000kbps then it may use all of that bit rate when transmitting images at 480p resolution. So, it would take up all of that bit rate and there would be nothing left over for transmitting images at 720p (for example). Whereas if your camera was HD and had a maximum bit rate of 6000kbps then only 3000kbps would be used when transmitting images at 480p resolution (for example). So there would be plenty of bandwidth left over for transmitting images in 720p or 1080p resolutions which would result in better quality pictures in those resolutions if you were using 6000kbps in this example.

III: Conclusion

It all comes down to ensuring that your live video streams perfectly so that your audience can enjoy it completely without having to worry about lagging issues or buffering issues or video glitches or pixelation or blockiness or blurring or any other kind of quality issue that could detract from their experience viewing your content.

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