Streaming Definition Glossary

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Bandwidth measures internet connection speed or the amount of data consumed. In the streaming industry, bandwidth is typically measured in kilobits or megabits per second, or in gigabytes



Bitrate is a measure of the amount of data per unit of time in a video or audio stream. Typically this is measured in kilobits, megabits, or gigabits per second. For example, the bitrate of a typical 720p HD video stream may be in the realm of 2 Mbit/s (megabits per second), and a standard audio bitrate is 128 Kbps.



Buffering is when a streaming video is unable to be delivered in real-time and pauses to “buffer” additional data.  This happens when your network isn’t powerful enough to deliver all the data viewers are requesting. This can be solved by reducing bitrates of your video or by the viewer relocating to a location with faster internet speeds.



A “codec” is an encoding/decoding standard for reducing the file sizes of video, audio, and other media formats. The most common video codec is H.264, and the most common audio codecs are AAC and MP3.


Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a network of servers designed to increase the speed and reliability of delivering digital content to users. This is done by caching content dynamically at servers located close to the audience. It is especially important for live streaming.


Frame rate

Video is made up of a series of still pictures displayed one after the other. The speed of these pictures is known as frame rate and is measured in frames per second (fps). Most digital video uses 30 fps. Sports and other fast-action videos often call for 60 fps.


High Definition (HD)

Video quality is partly defined by resolution, which is measured in pixels. High Definition video refers to video that is at least 720 horizontal pixels by 480 vertical pixels in resolution. “Full HD” or 1080 HD video is 1920 x 1080 pixels in resolution.



Latency refers to the elapsed time between an event taking place and that event being displayed via live stream to viewers on their screens. Most live streams have a latency of less than or around 30 seconds. Lower latency is possible with specialized settings.


Live streaming

Live streaming is the process of broadcasting video over the internet in real-time.


Multi-bitrate streaming

Multi-bitrate streaming refers to the process of sending out multiple versions of your live stream feed at different quality levels.



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