How to Choose YouTube Streaming Bitrate, Encoder Settings and Resolutions

When it comes to live streaming on YouTube, choosing the right bitrate is crucial for ensuring high-quality video and audio. Here, we will dive into everything you need to know about YouTube streaming bitrates, including the recommended settings for different resolutions and frame rates.

Recommended YouTube Streaming Bitrate for Different Resolutions and Frame Rates

To ensure a reliable stream based on your internet connection, it’s crucial to choose the right bitrate for your live stream. Here are the recommended bitrates for different resolutions and frame rates:

  • 4K at 60fps: 20,000 – 51,000 Kbps
  • 4K at 30fps: 13,000 – 34,000 Kbps
  • 1440p at 60fps: 9,000 – 18,000 Kbps
  • 1440p at 30fps: 6,000 – 13,000 Kbps
  • 1080p at 60fps: 4,500 – 9,000 Kbps
  • 1080p at 30fps: 3,000 – 6,000 Kbps
  • And more…

YouTube does not recommend streaming below a resolution of 720p due to potential poor quality. It’s important to note that these recommendations are based on video ingestion codec and resolution.

YouTube Encoder Settings and Protocols

When setting up your live stream encoder for YouTube streaming, it’s essential to consider protocol options such as RTMP/RTMPS Streaming. Additionally, choosing the right video codec (H.264), frame rate (up to 60 fps), keyframe frequency (recommended every two seconds), audio codec (AAC or MP3), and bitrate encoding (CBR) are critical factors in delivering a high-quality stream.

Moreover, advanced settings including pixel aspect ratio, frame types, entropy coding, audio sample rate and bitrate should be configured according to YouTube’s recommendations. It’s also important to consider using HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) ingestion protocol for HDR streams or codecs not supported by RTMP.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Different YouTube Streaming Bitrate

Streaming at higher bitrates than the recommended range may result in an issue with video buffering for low-end users/devices. On the other hand, sending lower bitrates may lead to potential loss of video or audio quality due to transcoding processes by YouTube.

It’s important to understand that when you send material over to YouTube for live streaming purposes; they reencode the upstream simultaneously into different bandwidth settings. This allows them to provide various video quality options based on viewers’ available bandwidth without compromising overall quality.


In conclusion, understanding YouTube streaming bitrate is essential for ensuring a high-quality live stream on the platform. By following the recommended settings and understanding how YouTube handles incoming streams through its reencoding process; content creators can deliver optimal viewing experiences across diverse devices and network conditions.

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