Adaptive bitrate

What is ABR Streaming:

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming is designed to deliver video in the most efficient way possible. It is able to switch between different qualities of the video to reduce buffering based on the users' connection.

Example: When opening a video, it will start playing at the lowest quality. If your connection is fast enough, the video will switch to a better quality. It can also switch to lower quality in case your connection drops and then return to high quality once your connection is back to normal.

Apart from the resolution, the video also needs to have a bitrate setting. The bitrate is the number of bits that are transferred over a period of time, usually seconds. Whilst there isn’t one best bitrate for each resolution, here are the recommended settings:

  • 1080p: 3500kbps to 4500kbps
  • 720p: 2000kbps to 3500kbps
  • 480p: 1000kbps to 2000kbps
  • 360p: 400kbps to 1500kbps
  • 240p: 300kbps to 700kbps

Tips for choosing the right bitrate:

Used bitrate depends on the content of the video. For instance, if you are streaming a sports event like car races with a lot of movement, it is better to choose a higher bitrate, whereas a talk show with relatively static shots can use the lower end of the bitrates shown above.

Another factor is your internet connection. It is recommended that your bitrate doesn’t exceed 50% of your overall bandwidth. It would help if you also close other programs/applications that use up your bandwidth, especially when streaming from your own computer at home.