StriveCast Streaming Dictionary

Learn about key concepts, technologies, and terminologies in the video streaming industry.

What does bitrate mean?

Even when the streaming area is none of your business, you have surely heard about bitrate once. Whenever you get in contact with any kind of video transmitted through the Internet, the term “bitrate” could occur. But what does it exactly mean, and how is it related to the quality of a video stream?

Where does the term bitrate come from?

A bit is a basic unit of information in digital communication. So bitrate means the data rate for a transmitted file. It is about how many bits are conveyed or processed per unit of time (f.i. the number of bits processed in one second = bit/s). You can often see the term “bit” in combination with “Mega,” “Giga,” “Tera”: Mbps (megabits per second), Gbps (gigabits per second), Tgps (terabits per second). That depends on the amount of data that is conveyed. To get a feeling of what ranges of bitrate are usually needed when streaming video data: A full HD video typically runs with 20 Mbps, a standard-definition video with 6 Mbps, and a video for mobile devices needs about 2 Mbps.

What does bitrate indicate?

Bitrate information is often used when talking about the quality of a video or audio transmission. That seems pretty clear: When you can stream with a higher bit-rate, you can get a higher amount of data in a range of time so that you can stream video content in a higher quality.

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