Bitrate Guide for WebRTC Video

A guide to video encoding bitrates with WebRTC codecs

Determining the appropriate video bitrate for WebRTC can be challenging. Selecting a bitrate that’s too low may result in pixelated videos or encoding artifacts, while setting it too high can limit access for users with limited bandwidth.

So, how does one find the optimal balance? Refer to the tables below for a range of bitrates that we have verified using webrtc-vmaf, a tool we’ve developed specifically for analyzing WebRTC video codecs. All tests were conducted at 30 frames per second.

Webcam streaming

When it comes to meetings or other types of webcam-based video streaming, where the movement is typically low, the encoding is remarkably efficient. The suggested bitrates listed below aim to achieve a VMAF score of 90.

H.264VP8VP9AV1
1920x10802.70Mbps2.00Mbps1.20Mbps900kbps
1280x7201.25Mbps1.00Mbps700kbps550kbps
960x540700kbps600kbps450kbps350kbps
640x360400kbps400kbps270kbps190kbps
384x216170kbps180kbps120kbps90kbps
320x180140kbps160kbps90kbps70kbps
160x9050kbps90kbps35kbps30kbps

Gaming

Content involving gameplay often includes rapid motion and frequent changes in camera angle. Given the increased level of movement, we recommend using higher bitrates in these scenarios. The following suggested bitrates aim to reach a VMAF score of 85.

H.264VP8VP9AV1
1920x10808.50Mbps5.50Mbps4.00Mbps3.50Mbps
1280x7203.50Mbps2.50Mbps1.80Mbps1.70Mbps
960x5401.80Mbps1.50Mbps1.10Mbps1.10Mbps
640x360950kbps750kbps550kbps550kbps
384x216400kbps350kbps250kbps230kbps
320x180330kbps280kbps210kbps200kbps
160x90110kbps100kbps80kbps75kbps

Sports

Similar to gaming, sports game footage typically involves fast-paced movement and frequent camera angle changes. The recommended bitrates provided below are designed to achieve a VMAF score of 85.

H.264VP8VP9AV1
1920x10807.50Mbps5.50Mbps4.50Mbps4.40Mbps
1280x7203.50Mbps3.00Mbps2.30Mbps2.30Mbps
960x5402.20Mbps2.10Mbps1.50Mbps1.50Mbps
640x3601.20Mbps1.40Mbps850kbps1.00Mbps
384x216550kbps700kbps450kbps480kbps
320x180450kbps600kbps350kbps380kbps
160x90130kbps200kbps120kbps120kbps

The aforementioned bitrates were established by conducting VMAF analyses on representative sample clips from each category. They might not be optimized for your use case. We recommend using the webrtc-vmaf tool with video clips more accurately represent your usage.

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