Streaming Fundamentals: Codecs and Bitrates

    Streaming Fundamentals aims to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in order to help you stream.

    Whether you have just started to consider the idea of streaming or you have been doing it for quite some time, this series should be beneficial to you. Each individual episode covers a specific topic that will be tackled as objectively as possible, while striving to use a range of sources and factual references rather than just a singular opinion.

    Anyone can dive in and start broadcasting their antics, but the sheer number of streamers nowadays can make it harder for those who are just getting started to stand out from the crowd. Whilst Streaming Fundamentals cannot provide you with guaranteed success, the series aims to get you to think about streaming in a more deliberate manner than you may have done previously.


    HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) is the Future!

    HEVC (H.265) is designed to substantially improve coding efficiency compared with H.264, i.e. to reduce bitrate requirements by half with comparable image quality, at the expense of increased computational complexity. HEVC was designed with the goal of allowing video content to have a data compression ratio of up to 1000:1. Depending on the application requirements, HEVC encoders can trade-off computational complexity, compression rate, robustness to errors, and encoding delay time.

    Two of the key features where HEVC has been improved when compared with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is support for higher resolution video and improved parallel processing methods. HEVC is targeted at next-generation HDTV displays and content capture systems.

    In comparison to H.264, HEVC offers about double the data compression ratio at the same level of video quality, or substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate. It supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, including 8K UHD. HEVC could very well make the dream of streaming on Twitch/Mixer at 2K or even 4K a reality!


    Streaming Fundamentals: Episode 5

    Following on from Episode 4,  this episode discusses the importance of codecs and bitrate choices. Whilst codecs are specifically of concern to those of us that stream from PC, bitrate is an important setting that affects console streamers as well.

    Which codec you choose to use will depend on your current hardware, whereas the bitrate you choose will be guided by a combination of your internet upload speed and the consensus of your audience. Whilst streaming at the maximum allowed bitrate will make your streams look stunning, it will not matter much if your viewers are not able to maintain a reliable connection to your broadcast. Episode 5 takes a look at the differences in visual quality between streaming at different bitrates as well as when using different codecs.

    I hope you enjoy watching this series, as I know I will enjoy recording it.


    AcuteJungle66 has been dabbling with tech ever since he tried improving the tape deck of his Commodore 64 back in the '80s. Tech and Gaming have both been interests of his for several decades, he holds Masters of Science in Advanced Internetwork Engineering and a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Cyber Security and Networks from Glasgow Caledonian University. As a proud Military Veteran who spent much of his life on 3 different continents, he is quite content being back home in Scotland; where he enjoys a much 'quieter' life these days as a College Lecturer.


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