Tips & Tricks

Low Bitrate vs. High Bitrate: Which is Better for Streaming?

4 min read
Low Bitrate vs High Bitrate

Video bitrate is the amount of data transmitted in a video file per second. It is typically measured in kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). Regarding video streaming, confusion often arises between low bitrate and high bitrate. A new streamer gets confused about whether a higher or lower bitrate is better for streaming quality.

A low bitrate produces low-quality images, while a high bitrate produces higher-quality video images. Bitrates not only co-relate with image quality but also with bandwidth. High-bitrate streaming requires more bandwidth than streaming with low bitrate.

In this blog, we will discuss further how low and high bitrate affects streaming quality, bandwidth requirement, and cost. Let’s get started.

Low Bitrate vs. High Bitrate: Pros & Cons

Low bitrate means the transmission of less data per second, while high bitrate refers to the higher amount of data transmission per second. Since more data is transmitted with a high bitrate, it requires more bandwidth and ensures better video quality. On the other hand, streaming with a low bitrate requires less bandwidth, so the video might be broken and choppy.

Low Bitrate Streaming:


  • Lower data usage
  • Faster streaming
  • Improved streaming on slower internet
  • Compressed and small file size
  • Reduced storage space
  • Improved device compatibility
  • Enhanced accessibility


  • Compromised audio and video quality
  • Reduced video resolution
  • Incompatibility with high-quality video

High Bitrate Streaming:


  • Higher quality streaming
  • Improved audio quality
  • Increased video resolution
  • Improved flexibility
  • Improved user experience


  • Higher data usage
  • Slower streaming on slow internet
  • Increased storage space
  • Limited compatibility

Is a Higher Bitrate better for Video Streaming?

Though a higher bitrate ensures improved video quality, it’s not always better for streaming. A high bitrate requires more bandwidth which can lead to buffering, stuttering, and lags. There are multiple requirements to grasp the advantages of a higher bitrate.

Since the bitrate of a video file is not the only factor affecting the streaming quality, other requirements such as frame rate, upload speed, proper video compression, device compatibility, and resolution should also be considered. It won’t be advantageous if you are streaming a video with a high bitrate, but the devices of your audiences don’t have compatibility.

Moreover, video files with higher bitrate take longer to upload and display. Therefore, finding the appropriate balance between quality and bitrate is better. That’s why, before starting video streaming, you need to calculate the bandwidth required for the event.

Recommended Bitrate for Streaming

In the earlier part of this blog, we discussed the low and high bitrate in detail. Now, let’s see how to specify the recommended bitrate for streaming video content.

Since there are various categories of streaming platforms, it is better to know the recommended bitrate for the platform. Recommended bitrates for Facebook and Youtube streaming aren’t the same. So, you must choose the best bitrate based on the streaming platform.

Moreover, when streaming with Castr on multiple platforms, you can easily calculate it with Castr’s Bitrate Calculator. This calculator will help you identify the optimum bitrates for all platforms with a few clicks. You can quickly estimate the best bitrates for your needs using a few factors, such as internet speed, frame rate, and video resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bitrate

How does Bitrate Affect Video Quality?

Bitrate and resolution both affect video quality. The higher the bitrate, the better the video quality and resolution will be. But it requires more bandwidth and ensures better video quality. In this case, with an optimal bandwidth, streaming with a low bitrate might be a better option.

Does a Higher Bitrate Mean Less Lag?

It depends on your internet connection and device compatibility. Since it needs higher bandwidth to send large video data with a high bitrate, it can cause lags or buffers. With a stable internet connection and proper device compatibility, streaming with a high bitrate can reduce video latency.

Is Bitrate the Same as Bandwidth?

No. Bitrate is the measure of data used to encode a video per second, while bandwidth describes the rate of your internet connection that enables you to send and receive media or data.

What is a Good Bitrate for Streaming?

Different video bitrates are suitable for different types of streaming. Depending on the purpose of streaming and the type of platform, you need to choose the bitrate. Simply, there is no standard bitrate.

What Happens if the Bitrate is too High?

Video and audio files with higher bitrate need large usage space and take more time to upload and download. As a result, it depends on the internet connection speed of your audiences and device compatibility. So, streaming videos with a higher bitrate can cause buffering.

Does a Higher Bitrate Mean Higher Quality?

Undoubtedly, a higher bitrate will ensure good streaming quality. However, other aspects, such as frame rate, upload speed, and resolution, may also impact the final viewing experience.

Does Increasing Bitrate Improve Video Quality?

Yes, increasing the bitrate will improve video quality. But at the same time, you need to improve the internet bandwidth and device compatibility.

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