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Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) has become a go-to solution for content creators and streamers looking to share their content online. One of the key parameters to pay attention to when using OBS is video bitrate. But what does video bitrate do in OBS, and why is it so important? In this article, we’ll explore the role of video bitrate in OBS and how it affects the quality of your streaming content.

What is Video Bitrate?

Video bitrate refers to the amount of data transmitted or encoded in a video stream over a given time frame, usually measured in bits per second (bps) or kilobits per second (Kbps). In OBS, it determines how much data is used to represent each frame of your video content during streaming or recording.

Why is Video Bitrate Important in OBS?

The video bitrate plays a pivotal role in determining the quality and overall performance of your streaming or recording sessions in OBS. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Quality of Video:

The video bitrate directly impacts the visual quality of your stream or recording. Higher bitrates generally result in better image quality, with sharper details and less compression artifacts. Lower bitrates, on the other hand, can lead to pixelation, blurriness, and loss of detail in your video.

  1. Bandwidth Usage:

Video bitrate is closely tied to the amount of data your stream consumes. If your bitrate is too high, it may exceed your available internet bandwidth, causing dropped frames and buffering issues for your viewers. Conversely, setting a bitrate that’s too low can result in poor video quality.

  1. Compatibility:

Different streaming platforms and viewers have varying degrees of compatibility with different bitrates. Some platforms may have bitrate limitations, while viewers with slower internet connections may struggle to watch high-bitrate streams without constant buffering.

How to Set Video Bitrate in OBS:

Configuring video bitrate in OBS is essential to optimize the quality of your stream. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open OBS Studio and go to “Settings” in the lower-right corner.
  2. In the “Settings” menu, select the “Output” tab.
  3. Under “Output Mode,” choose either “Simple” or “Advanced,” depending on your expertise and preferences.
  4. In “Simple Output Mode,” you can select a preset bitrate based on your streaming platform or choose “Custom” to set your desired bitrate.
  5. In “Advanced Output Mode,” you have more control over your bitrate settings. Adjust the “Video Bitrate” option to your desired value, typically in Kbps. Keep in mind the platform’s recommended or maximum bitrate guidelines.
  6. Click “Apply” and then “OK” to save your settings.

Best Practices for Choosing Video Bitrate in OBS:

  1. Consider Your Internet Upload Speed:

Ensure that your selected bitrate doesn’t exceed your internet upload speed. To avoid dropped frames or buffering issues, set a bitrate that leaves some headroom for other internet activities.

  1. Streaming Platform Guidelines:

Different streaming platforms have recommended bitrate settings. Check the guidelines for your chosen platform to ensure compliance and optimal streaming quality.

  1. Viewer Accessibility:

Consider the accessibility of your stream to viewers with varying internet connection speeds. Balance bitrate for quality and accessibility, and provide multiple quality options if necessary.

  1. Test and Adjust:

It’s crucial to test your stream with different bitrate settings to find the right balance between quality and performance. Monitor your stream for dropped frames and adjust accordingly.


Video bitrate in OBS is a critical parameter that directly affects the quality and performance of your streaming or recording content. Understanding how to set an appropriate bitrate, taking into account your internet speed and platform requirements, can help you provide viewers with a smoother and higher-quality streaming experience. By finding the right balance, you can enhance your streaming quality and engage your audience more effectively.


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