Using Bits Per Pixel (BPP) To Calculate The Optimal Live Stream Bitrate
Bits Per Pixel or BPP is a value used to calculate the best video bitrate for live streams. When live streaming there’s always a trade off between available upload speed, viewer download speed and overall video quality.
We can mitigate the viewer download speed issue by using a service which transcodes (more info here) your live stream into multiple video qualities. This enables adaptive bitrate which serves the highest video quality a viewer can reliably view based on their internet connection.
All that remains now is determining what bitrate is best for your desired stream. We can calculate this using the desired video resolution (e.g. 1280×720) and frame rate (e.g. 30 fps).
Generally it’s considered that a BPP of 0.1 is the sweet spot for calculating bitrate.
This is where BPP comes in handy. Generally it’s considered that a BPP of 0.1 is the sweet spot for calculating bitrate. You could also go as low as 0.07 if you’re being limited by your upload speed.
Another determining factor is how much movement will occur during your live stream. If you’re streaming an interview with a solid background and no camera panning, then a lower BPP is possible.
If you’re live streaming a video game with movement in every frame, then a higher BPP is recommended. It might take trial and error to find out what works best for you.
Using the BPP Calculator below you can work out the best bitrate for your live stream.
Bits Per Pixel (BPP) Calculator(Width x Height x Framerate x BPP) / 1000 = Bitrate in kbps