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How can I determine the minimum constant internet bandwidth that is theoretically needed for smooth streaming in each video quality levels for Youtube: 480p, 720p and 1080p?

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See this list of Youtube codecs on Wikipedia, it gives the video and audio bitrate for each supported codec and resolution. – Indrek Oct 15 '12 at 2:37
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wikipedia gives bitrate for audio and video for each format, of which there are multiple for a given video resolution. Sum those, add about 20kbit/s to compensate for jitter and encapsulation overhead, and you'd have a decent ballpark.

For example, itag 22, 720p mp4 takes up to about 3 Mbit/s for audio and video together.

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So I just sum the video bitrate with the audio one and add about 20kbps and voila...? – Karolinger Oct 15 '12 at 3:35
@Karolinger yes, total bandwidth required is video bitrate + audio bitrate. – Mxx Oct 15 '12 at 6:09
Youtube might also send some additional information, like ads, video annotations, captions etc., but the bandwidth required for those is mostly negligible compared to the actual video stream. So yes, video and audio bitrates added together is a good enough approximation. – Indrek Oct 15 '12 at 15:38

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