What happens if bitrate is too high?

Answered by Edward Huber

When the bitrate of a video is set too high, it can have several consequences. Firstly, it can limit the number of potential viewers who can actually watch the video. This is because some computers or internet connections may not be able to handle higher bitrate videos. For example, viewers with slower internet speeds or older devices may experience buffering issues or be unable to load the video at all if the bitrate is too high. This can be particularly problematic for those with limited bandwidth or in areas with poor internet infrastructure.

Additionally, a higher bitrate does not necessarily guarantee better image quality. While it is true that a higher bitrate can result in more detail and less compression artifacts, there is a point of diminishing returns. Beyond a certain point, the increase in bitrate may not be noticeable to most viewers, yet it still incurs larger file sizes and requires more bandwidth to stream or download.

Furthermore, using a higher bitrate can also have practical implications. For example, it may require more storage space on servers or devices to store and play back the video. This can be a concern for content creators and distributors who have limited storage capacity or need to optimize their resources.

In my personal experience, I have encountered situations where videos with excessively high bitrates were difficult to play or stream smoothly. This was particularly evident when trying to watch high-definition videos on older computers or slower internet connections. The videos would frequently pause to buffer or simply not load at all. This frustration led me to understand the importance of optimizing video bitrates for different audiences and platforms.

To summarize, if the bitrate of a video is set too high, it can limit the number of potential viewers, especially those with slower internet connections or older devices. It may not necessarily result in better image quality, and it can also have practical implications such as increased storage requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to strike a balance between video quality and accessibility by choosing an appropriate bitrate for the target audience and platform.