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What Bitrate Should I Stream At? | Datavideo

What Bitrate Should I Stream At?

May 10 2021

Live streaming has become a global phenomenal in the past two years. Streaming has become a preferred medium for sharing content whether you are promoting yourself, making new friends, marketing your products, or hosting meetings. The challenge is to make the most out of your videos in a complex network environment that relies heavily on a well-configured video encoder.

Owing to 4G/5G mobile and wireless communications technology, the ubiquity of smartphones allows everyone to view live video streams at any time. Moreover, because of the unlimited data plan offered by all major mobile service providers, no one has ever seriously questioned the required network speed for quality live streaming. 

Let's use an essential smartphone as an example. When the receiver is a mobile device, a 720p video will play reasonably well on the phone at a transfer rate of approximately 1.5 – 4 Mbit/s. As a result, Wi-Fi or 4G/5G mobile networks will be adequate to generate a smooth video stream. However, the drawbacks are poor audio quality and blurred images due to the movement of the mobile device. In conclusion, streaming via mobile devices is the most intuitive and cost-effective way to deliver good quality videos without compensating measures.

For high-quality video streaming, you can raise the video resolution to 1080p, but it would require a transfer rate of approximately 3 – 9 Mbit/s. Please note that if you would like to have a smooth playback of a 1080p60 video, it would require an upload speed of 4.5 Mbit/s to achieve a low latency video streaming for such a high video quality. If you are streaming over a mobile network that cannot provide a stable transmission bandwidth, we recommend setting your video resolution to 1080p30. In addition, if streamed for a long time, the mobile device may overheat, causing the network transmission to delay or halt. Videos made for live broadcast, video conferences, and e-learning usually stream at 1080p30. Receivers such as mobile devices, PCs, smart TV, and video conferencing systems also offer image processing capability.

Next, let's take a look at live streaming for business. Many commercial events now include live streaming shows to allow participants to view online without physically being at the venue. In addition, large-scale events stream to the audience at 1080p30. These commercial events involve costly equipment such as lights, speakers, cameras, and switchers, , so we cannot afford the loss caused by unexpected loss of network connection. To ensure quality transmission, we suggest using fiber-optic networks. You will need an upload speed of at least 10 Mbit/s to satisfy the requirements of concerts, gaming tournaments, and large-scale commercial events. 

For high-image-quality programs such as sports games, video producers will use a high image resolution of 2160p30/60 for live streaming. The upload speed must increase to 13 – 50 Mbit/s by using fiber-optic networks. In addition, you will also need an HEVC device, a dedicated backup line, and a streaming device. A professional video producer knows that any mistakes made during live streaming may cause unrecoverable loss and damage to the company's reputation.

The reader has already understood various video streaming requirements based on the above descriptions. To sum up, it is necessary to use a workflow customized for your environment. Once you've recognized your live video streaming requirements, you will then be able to stream at an appropriate rate and customize the streaming settings for your application.